Frozen Burgers on the Grill

EASY & BEST Ways to Cook Frozen Burgers On The Grill

Here are the best ways how to cook frozen burgers on the grill. After over a decade in management in various types of restaurants including fast food, I will share all kinds of ways to make grilling frozen burger patties much easier. This is listed in our Grilling on Charcoal article and also is a part of our Food Guides & Resources category.

Overview of Cooking Frozen Burgers On The Grill

Regarding frozen burgers on the grill, you’re about to see a lot of easy, fast methods and tips for prepping, actual grilling, and storing burger patties in the freezer.

Steps for Grilling Frozen Burgers On The Grill

In getting started for grilling frozen burgers on the grill, you need to do some very common prep work steps with the frozen patties, seasonings, and grill. Then, there’s the cooking step and knowing when and how to turn over the burgers. Read on to see the details of how to perform these steps.

Step 1. Separate The Frozen Burger Patties

Depending on how your frozen burger patties are packaged, the first starting step is to separate them into individual patties. Whether they’re store bought frozen Bubba Burgers, Omaha Gourmet Burgers, other pre-packaged patties, or you made your own, toss out anything used that was separating them, like wax papers or plastic wrap. Whether you bought them or made them, you still must be able to perform this step. If you can’t separate them, read the Tips section further below for several different ways of separating stuck frozen burger patties.

Pulling out Frozen Patties Stack from Freezer
Pulling out Frozen Patties Stack from Freezer
Separated Frozen Patties
Separated Frozen Patties

Step 2. Get Burger Seasonings Ready

Sometimes I mildly season them and sometimes I don’t use anything. While some people will make their own patties with seasonings already mixed in, it’s better to have plain patties when freezing them. This assures to allow you for variations for serving different kinds of people. So, here is a basic seasoning blend you can use for a little over a pound of burgers (about 4 patties). It offers just a hint of seasoning that works with most individuals. Just mix this up in a small cup and have it available at the grill.

  • ¼ tsp Garlic Powder
  • ¼ tsp Onion Powder
  • ¼-½ tsp Salt
  • ¼ tsp Ground Black Pepper
Seasonings for Grilling Frozen Burgers
Seasonings for Grilling Frozen Burgers

Step 3. Prep The Grill

You’ll want to preheat the grill so that the grate is hot. Depending if you have a gas, pellet, or charcoal grill, prep it for heat showing about 400⁰F. Ensure you have your seasonings, turning spatula, and empty platter for the cooked burgers nearby. You’re now ready to put the frozen burgers onto the preheated grill.

Step 4. Can You Put Frozen Burgers On The Grill?

Yes, you can put frozen burgers on the grill and you’re ready to do that now. But, it matters where you put them and how you manage its heat from this point forward. In some situations, you might even have some of the burgers starting to thaw out by now. Either way, even if they’re still frozen solid, it’s still fine.

So, if they’re still very frozen, place them on indirect heat so they don’t cook too fast. If you have to place them directly over the heat (like in gas grills), turn the heat down immediately to low. You can later crank it back up, when desired but, initially, you’ll want the standard hot grill to start with. If they’re mostly thawed out by the time you put them onto the grill, just cook them as usual but just a little longer on the initial side.

While you can initially place frozen burgers onto a usual hot grill, it’s good for starting the thawing process rapidly followed by a good searing. The idea is to be aware you shouldn’t continue to cook them long term at the same temp you do when they’re starting out not being frozen. When frozen, they can be cooked long term on indirect heat or on an immediately lowered heat strength. This will allow them to thaw out during the initial cooking stage. In this manner, you can finish them as your normally would.

Step 5. Add Burger Seasonings

You can use you hands to sprinkle your seasonings mix across the top of the uncooked burgers after they’re placed on the grill. I’ve tested putting them on this side or on the cooked side after flipping them and putting seasonings on the uncooked side right away gives it the best overall melded flavor.

Step 6. How Long To Cook Frozen Burgers On The Grill

Knowing how long to cook frozen burgers on the grill is sort of easy. But, you have to know basically when is a good time to flip them over. That’s the big question.

How to Know When to Turn Over a Burger

You will want them to appear to be mostly thawed out and cooked well on its bottom. Also, you’ll see their juices on the surface and the burger edges beginning to turn brown and sometimes curl up a little (but not always). This initial cooking side should be done reasonably longer than a thawed out burger patty.

Cooking One Side of Frozen Patties Almost Ready to Turn
Cooking One Side of Frozen Patties Almost Ready to Turn

When they appear ready for turning, use your grill spatula to dig deep around about 1/2 of the outer edge of a burger first. Then, continue to dig deep underneath to force it free from the grill surface, and turn it over onto the other side. You then, of course, repeat this with each burger as they appear ready to flip over.

After they’re flipped over, the rest of the cooking is not long as the initial side. And, depending on each burger’s thickness, you’ll determine when they’re ready based on your usual method of checking, like a temperature probe or cutting into one. If they’re somewhat thin or standard thickness, they won’t take long at all after flipping them over.

Frozen Burgers On The Grill Time

There are differences among types of grills and frozen burgers on the grill time before turning them over to cook the other side. As indicated earlier, you’ll want that particular look of the browned edges, recognizing the burger appears nearly completely thawed, and the juices showing on top. For regular sized homemade burger patties that are 80/20 beef mixture, about 1/4 pound, and about 3-1/2 inches in diameter, they will take about 4-6 minutes on one side when using indirect heat on a charcoal grill. However, if they’re mostly thawed out, they might take about 3-5 minutes on one side.

Tips For Grilling Frozen Burgers on the Grill

Tip: How To Flip A Frozen Burger on Grill

Technically, the burger won’t be so frozen when it’s time to flip it over to cook the other side but it might be partially frozen still. Either way, you’ll still want to ensure you don’t turn it over too soon and just as importantly, too late. Read the earlier cooking section on when to visually know when to turn over a burger. The significance is that it’s important to know that it will probably be stuck on the grill and it’s easy to tear up the burger. So, use your spatula initially to prep it and don’t be thinking of turning it over during these steps.

  1. Use the spatula to dig around the outer portions of the patty to free up the border. You’ll dig inward and downward scraping the grill, as if you’re getting about 1/2 to 1-inch of the burger off it.
  2. Then, remove the spatula and move it around to do another edge of the same burger.
  3. After you have about half of one patty’s edging done, you can now dig much deeper and go in about 1/2 to 3/4 deep to “scrape” the burger from the grill.
  4. Then, remove and reinsert the spatula to fully scrape the burger from the grill and turn it over.

These actions actually only takes about 5-7 seconds per patty. And yes, I timed it for this article. Lol!

How To Separate Stuck Frozen Burger Patties

Whether you made the patties or bought them, there are times where they do get stuck together while in the freezer. Here are 3 ways to separate them:

Frozen Burger Patties Separation Method 1

  • Take a sturdy knife (not the sharp kind) and hold it vertically with its tip downward, between any 2 stuck patties while the frozen burgers stack is on its side. Try piercing downward with the knife and twisting it left and right trying to separate them. If this doesn’t work, go to the next tip.
Frozen Burger Patties on Side with Butter Knife Piercing
Frozen Burger Patties on Side with Butter Knife Piercing

Frozen Burger Patties Separation Method 2

  • Duplicating the previous tip positioning, this time lift up the burger stack (still on its side) while the knife tip is in place between any 2 patties. Then, somewhat slam this down onto the counter while increasing your piercing action between the patties. The only difference is that you don’t twist the blade tip left and wright; you only focus on the downward action during the downward slamming process. Sometimes it will take a few tries. If this doesn’t work, try it again but between 2 different patties. If it still doesn’t work, advance to the next tip.
Getting Ready to Slam Frozen Burgers into Counter with Knife Tip
Getting Ready to Slam Frozen Burgers into Counter with Knife Tip

Frozen Burger Patties Separation Method 3

  • Sometimes, in more difficult frozen patties, you have to move your frozen patties over to the sink. So, with that said, do everything you did in the previous tip but this time perform this slamming actions while the burgers are under running (cold or warm) water. Also, don’t forget to repeat this action between different pairs of patties. Eventually, they start to come free. If not, rotate the burger stack under the running water, and repeat the piercing slamming action. Keep the rotation going as you work around a selected pair of patties.
Running Water over Frozen Burger Patty Edges
Running Water over Frozen Burger Patty Edges

Frozen Burger Patties Separation Method 4

  • The final method, which I rarely use, is to use the defrost cycle of the microwave. When prompted, enter about a third of the total weight of the frozen burger stack. This is usually the longest period needed. They most often will separate readily, using the above tips.
Microwave Defrosting Patties for One Third Time
Microwave Defrosting Patties for One Third Time

Tips For Grilling Frozen Burgers On Charcoal Grill

Here are a few tips for grilling frozen burgers on charcoal and they happen to focus on using a Weber charcoal grill. Cooking on charcoal maximizes the outdoor grilling flavors.

If the patties are rock solid frozen, place them on indirect heat (not directly over the charcoal). During the initial cooking of the frozen burgers, cover the grill with its lid but keep all the vents wide open. This will speed up their thawing.

After about 3-6 minutes cooking on the first side (if they were frozen and show signs of ready for turning), dig deep to free them up from the grill and turn them over. But, place them on direct heat for cooking this other side. Use caution and be prepared for flame-ups. They typically will only need 1-2 minutes for that 2nd side. Leave the lid off for this 2nd side of cooking.

Prepare for Flare Ups After Flipping Frozen Burgers
Prepare for Flare Ups After Flipping Frozen Burgers

Tips for Making Your Own Frozen Burger Patties

You can make your own burger patties and store them in your freezer. Here are some tips on how to store them. Also, here’s my detailed article on shaping burger patties at “How To Form Burger Patties“.

The idea is that you make a stack of 4 burger patties with a patty paper between each one, including one at the bottom and the top of each stack. As I add each burger patty, I add a paper and press it out more evenly.

Getting your own box of “patty papers” is one popular method. A small box of 1,000 takes up little space, is very affordable, is precut, and will last you many years. We used them all the time in restaurants for a lot of things and it’s one of the few commercial items I keep in my home today.

ADVANCED TIP: To doubly ensure easier separation after freezing, use 2 patty papers between each burger.

I also use them to separate other things in the freezer, like potato patties, crab cakes, pork chops, cooked pancakes, and other homemade foods of similar thickness. One box will last me about 10 years or more.

Patty Papers for Frozen Burgers
Patty Papers for Frozen Burgers

After you’re done making the patties and separating them with these papers, store them into a plastic food storage bag. The patty papers add a second layer of freezer burn protection so I can now use a regular food storage bag instead of the more expensive freezer storage bags.

Related Posts

Here are some related posts to grilling burgers you might enjoy.

And here are some related articles about Charcoal Grilling.


Now you’ve read all about how to cook frozen burgers on the grill. You’ve learned the tips of knowing when to turn them over and how to turn them over without tearing them up. You’ve seen some prepping steps to take, including methods of separating stuck frozen patties. And you’ve read some ideas of cooking them on different temps at different times. So now, how about planning that cookout by getting some frozen burger patties or even making your own and test it out.

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