How to Form Hamburger Patties

Fast & Easy Way of How To Form Burger Patties

This is how to form burger patties by hand in fast, easy steps. I’ve worked in restaurants and food service for 14 years. See this and my other articles in the Food Guides category.

Prepare To Form Burger Patties

Initially, get everything out you’re going to use for forming burgers. That includes the ground beef, a large mixing bowl, patty papers (if you have them), a tray or plate for the patties, and all your spices and flavorings.

  1. Wash hands.
  2. Layout mixing bowl, platter or plate, patty papers (or parchment), spices.
  3. Unwrap ground beef and put into a mixing bowl.
  4. Optionally, add any spices on top of ground beef and mix thoroughly by hand.
  5. Wash hands.
Planning to Form Burger Patties
Planning to Form Burger Patties

How To Form Burger Patties

This is how to form burger patties by hand. So, start by washing your hands. Then, just follow these steps in order and pay attention to the smallest detail so you’ll have firm, properly sized patties.

  1. Referencing using about a pound of ground beef, divide the meat into 4 portions or fewer. This will ultimately result in approximately 1/4 pound burgers (uncooked weight).
  2. Then, hand roll one portion into a ball.
  3. Change from rolling into gradually compressing to flatten it as you still rotate it in your hands. While pressing inward (and rotating), use your thumb to press inward the outer sides to restore its splitting edges.
  4. Place each patty onto the platter, dish, or tray. If using cut parchment (or patty) papers to separate stacked patties, use that when needed.
    • Patty papers are relatively cheap and a lifesaver, available in a ton of places online. You can also use them to flatten ground beef patties further. If available, place each patty on a patty paper, or keep somewhat separated on a plate.
Pull Meat to Use for Patty
1 Pull Meat to Use for Patty
Roll Meat into a Ball for Patty
2 Roll Meat into a Ball for Patty While Rolling Mash It and Press in the Sides to Form Disc Shape
Use Hands or Patty Paper to Flatten Patty
3 Use Hands or Patty Paper to Flatten Patty
Final Burger Patty Shaped
4 Final Burger Patty Shaped

Here’s a clever, alternate method of forming burger patties. It’s about making a template “mold” for shaping your own burger patties at home. See this excellent article with pics for a “DIY Burger Patty Mold” on site.

Move The Formed Burger Patties To Cook or Storage

You’re now ready with formed burger patties to either cook or store away. If you’re going to cook them soon but not right away, decide if they should go in the fridge temporarily.

Move the Formed Patties to Cook

Sometimes, you can actually form the hamburger patties and put them directly in the skillet or on the grill as you shape them. That’s good for about 3 or 4 burgers max.

Otherwise, they might not cook evenly. Regardless, you can now cook your patties in the manner of your choice. After starting to cook the burgers, get ready for removing them when done. Set aside a platter, plate, or tray..

Form and Move Small Amounts of Patties Directly Onto Grill
Form and Move Small Amounts of Patties Directly Onto Grill

Move the Formed Burger Patties to Storage

If you’re going to cook them relatively soon, but longer than about 10 minutes, consider setting them in the fridge for food safety purposes.

If you’re making hamburger patties cooking much later or the next day, you’ll want to cover them so they don’t dry out. Plastic wrap or a food storage bag is great for that purpose.

If you’re making these burger patties for longer term planning, they’re best for the freezer. Using patty papers makes it easier separating them after freezing. However, ensure you use a patty paper on both sides of every burger. They’ll come apart a lot easier while still frozen.

After that, all you need is a good food storage covering to prevent freezer burn. If I’m doing storage for a month, I’ll put them in a marked plastic food storage bag. If I’m planning on longer, I’ll double bag them.

Stacked Patties Inserted into Marked Food Bag for Freezing
Stacked Patties Inserted into Marked Food Bag for Freezing

Regarding frozen burger patties, there are several ways to separate them. Read the section named like “Separate The Frozen Burger Patties” in our “Frozen Burgers on the Grill” article, as linked below.

Tips on How To Form Burger Patties

Here are some final tips on forming burger patties.

Forming Burgers to the Right Patty Size Portions

The smartest way to approach reasonably equal size portions while dividing up the meat is to do this. Don’t pull out a guessed amount of meat for each patty. Think in terms of halves. Just visually divide the entire bulk ground beef in half. . Then, take each half and divide that into half. When done with all the halving into the approximate number of patties you want, look them all over. You can then pick and move portions from each mound to even out them all, as desired. Then, shape each mound into a patty.

Using Waxed Hamburger Patty Paper to Press for Thinner Burgers

If using patty papers, put a burger patty on one, add another paper on top. Then, press down to even it out and make it a more flat surface for better, even cooking. For thinner burgers, press down further to make them skinnier. However, ensure you’re still keeping a good shape. These thin patties are often not possible routinely with just hands.

This is more info about patty papers from the manufacturer, “Patty Paper, Inc“.

Recommended Optimum Ground Beef Ratio

80/20 Ground Beef Ratio

The recommended common meat to fat ratio is 80/20. So, this content ratio of 80/20 is 80% meat and 20% fat. This is the middle road of ground beef for burgers. Also, it has a modest amount of grease and shrinkage. In addition, the flavor is very good as a hamburger meat.

73/27 Ground Beef Ratio

You can use a higher fat content, like 73/27. It’s extremely popular and cheaper. However, there will be more grease and the patties will shrink more. So, if on an outdoor grill, there will be more flareups. These do, howcontent,ever, have more flavor overall.

93/7 Ground Beef Ratio

You can still use a lower fat content like 93/7. It is much more expensive and not as popular compared to a more common burger meat. There will be little or no visible excess grease and the patties won’t shrink noticeably. If using an outdoor grill, there will be little or no flareups. These have less burger flavor but are closer towards being like a steak burger.

Related Burger Articles and Recipes

Conclusion of How To Form Burger Patties

Now that you know the fast, simple way of how to form burger patties, tell me your experiences. I’m always interested in what methods others use. In the meantime, plan on cooking some burgers now.

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