Burger Grill Time Chart: How To Grill Perfect Burgers

Grilling burgers

There's nothing like the taste of a burger straight off the grill - the smoky flavor and juicy texture are just hard to beat. However, many people struggle with cooking burgers and ensuring they turn out fully cooked. But, by knowing how to grill burgers properly, you can be sure to get that perfect taste and texture every time.

Burgers are one of the most popular grill items for a good reason: they are easy and relatively quick to cook. Just place your seasoned burgers on the preheated grill and cook for a few minutes per side. Make sure that the grill is hot so that it sears the meat and locks in the juices, but not too hot that you'll end up with a charred burger.

Burger Grill Time Charts

When it comes to grilling burgers, timing is key. Undercooked burgers are not only unsafe to eat but also dry, crumbly, and not very flavorful. On the other hand, overcooked burgers are dry, tough, and can be burnt.

How long you should grill burgers depends on the burger's thickness, the type of meat, and whether you like your burger rare, medium-rare, or well-done. We've put together some burger time charts to help you achieve perfectly grilled burgers every time. Use them as a guide the next time you fire up the grill!

Fresh Beef Burgers

Fresh Beef Burgers

The most typical burger is made with raw ground beef or ground chuck. Beef patties come in various shapes and sizes, but the three most common burger sizes are quarter (113 grams), half (226 grams), and three-quarter pound (340 grams).

As a general rule of thumb, burgers should be grilled for about two minutes per side over direct heat for a quarter-pound burger. This means that a quarter-pound burger will take about eight minutes to cook through completely.

To keep things simple, the grill time chart below is designed to cook 3/4-inch thick patties weighing approximately six ounces. It is based on the USDA's recommended minimum internal temperature for cooking lean ground beef, which is 145 degrees Fahrenheit, and on the condition that you are using high heat on your grill.

Doneness First Side Time Second Side Time
Rare 2 minutes 3 minutes
Medium-Rare 3 minutes 4 minutes
Medium 3 minutes 5 minutes
Medium-Well 4 minutes 5 minutes
Well Done 4 minutes 6 minutes

You can see a slight difference in the cooking time for each side. This is because the reduced grilling time on the first side can help maintain the natural juices of the burger, ensuring flavorful and juicy results.

Frozen Beef Burgers

Grilling meat cold or frozen can be tricky since it is difficult to gauge how long it will take to cook through. To be on the safe side, prepare for about twice the cooking time of fresh burgers. For example, a fresh burger that normally takes four minutes per side should cook for eight minutes per side when frozen.

Unlike grilling fresh beef burgers, which require flipping them once, you will need to flip frozen beef burgers multiple times during the grilling process. This helps cook the burger evenly on both sides and prevents it from sticking to the grill.

Here is a grill time chart to help you cook your frozen beef burgers to perfection without the guesswork:

Doneness First Flip Second Flip Third Flip Fourth Flip Total Time
Rare 4 minutes 4 minutes 3 minutes 4 minutes 15 minutes
Medium-Rare 4 minutes 4 minutes 3 minutes 5 minutes 16 minutes
Medium 5 minutes 5 minutes 3 minutes 5 minutes 18 minutes
Medium-Well 5 minutes 5 minutes 4 minutes 5 minutes 19 minutes
Well Done 5 minutes 5 minutes 4 minutes 6 minutes 20 minutes

When grilling frozen patties, it is important to start with a very hot fire. This will help burn the outside of the burger, locking in the juices and flavor. 

If you are using a gas grill, preheat it for at least 15 minutes before adding your burgers. Before cooking on a charcoal grill, wait until the coals are covered in gray ash.

Turkey Burgers

Turkey Burgers

Turkey burgers are leaner than beef burgers and can dry out easily. For this reason, it is critical not to overcook them. However, grilling them until well done is equally crucial to ensure they are safe to eat. This also brings out their flavor and health benefits.

USDA recommends an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit for cooking turkey burgers. Use the following grill time chart as a guide:

Turkey Burgers First Side Time Second Side Time
Fresh 5 minutes 4-5 minutes
Frozen 8 minutes 7 minutes

Chicken Burgers

Chicken Burgers

Chicken burgers are another lean protein option perfect for grilling. They are made of ground chicken meat and bonded together by eggs and breadcrumbs most of the time. Chicken burger patties are flattened to be thin as they tend to expand when grilled.

Chicken breasts make great burgers because they are lean and have little fat. Chicken thighs can also be used and require less cooking time since they have more fat. For the juiciest, most flavorful burger, use a mix of both white and dark meat.

When grilling chicken burgers, cook them all the way through to prevent foodborne illness. Chicken burgers are fully cooked once they reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Here is a grill time chart for chicken burgers:

Chicken Burgers First Side Time Second Side Time
Fresh 5 minutes 4-5 minutes
Frozen 8 minutes 7 minutes

Bison Burgers

Bison meat is a healthier option than other red meats because it is lower in fat, cholesterol, and calories. It also offers additional health benefits and is a good source of protein, iron, and omega-three fatty acids.

Bison burgers are leaner, so they can dry out quickly if not cooked properly. To prevent this, they should be grilled on medium heat and not overcooked. The suggested doneness for bison burgers is rare to medium, or once they reach an internal temperature between 140 and 160 degrees Fahrenheit.

When grilling bison burgers, you only need to flip them once. This is to prevent the burgers from crumbling. Here is a grill time chart to guide you in cooking the most flavorful and juiciest bison burgers:

Doneness First Side Time Second Side Time
Rare 4 minutes 5 minutes
Medium-Rare 5 minutes 5 minutes
Medium 5 minutes 6 minutes
Well Done 6 minutes 6 minutes

Veggie Burgers

Veggie Burgers

While veggie burgers are not technically burgers since they do not contain meat, they are a delicious and nutritious alternative to traditional beef burgers, especially for vegetarians or those looking to reduce their meat consumption.

There are many types of veggie burgers on the market today. They are typically made from healthier ingredients like black beans, lentils, quinoa, mushrooms, soybeans, and more. They also have less to no cholesterol and saturated fat.

Whether you are grilling store-bought veggie burgers or homemade ones, the process is pretty much the same as cooking beef burgers. You may want to cook veggie burgers on a preheated grill over medium-high heat. Be sure to oil your grill grates before adding the burgers to prevent them from sticking.

How long to grill vegan burgers will depend on the type of burger you are using. If you are grilling a homemade veggie burger, cook it for about five minutes per side. If you are using a frozen vegan burger, make sure to cook it longer.

Here is a grill time chart to save you from all the guesswork when making the perfect veggie burgers:

Veggie Burgers First Side Time Second Side Time
Fresh 5 minutes 7 minutes
Frozen 7 minutes 8 minutes

When grilling veggie burgers, cook them until they are hot all the way through and slightly charred on the outside. This will help to give them a more authentic burger flavor and texture. For extra flavor, brush the burgers with your favorite BBQ sauce or ketchup during the last few minutes of cooking.

What You'll Need

The grill is the most important tool for cooking burgers. While you can use any grill for cooking a burger, a gas or charcoal grill will give you the best flavor.

If you prefer using a gas grill, make sure to preheat it before adding your burgers. For a charcoal grill, wait until the coals are ashy and have reached medium heat before adding the burgers.

If you do not have a grill, you can cook your burgers in a cast-iron skillet over a stovetop. It will give a nice sear outside the burger without overcooking the inside. When using a cast-iron skillet, remember that it should be preheated over medium heat before adding the burgers.

Tongs are the best utensil to use when flipping burgers on the grill. They allow you to get a good grip on the burger without squishing it. Choose long-handled tongs to avoid getting too close to the heat.

Spatulas are best used for transferring burgers from the grill to a plate. They have a flat surface that allows you to slide the burger off the grill without losing any toppings.

A spatula can also be used to flip burgers, but it is not as effective as tongs. If you must use a spatula, make sure it is flat, so it can easily slide under the burger patties.

A basting brush is used to apply sauces and marinades to the burgers while cooking. This will help put additional flavor and prevent the burgers from sticking to the grill. To prevent damaging the burger patties, it is important to use a brush with soft bristles.

A grilling basket is a metal basket that has holes in the bottom. It is used to cook smaller items on the grill, such as vegetables. The grilling basket prevents them from falling through the grate and makes flipping them much easier.

Aluminum foil can be handy for a variety of things when grilling burgers. It can be used to line the grill so that cleanup is a breeze. You can also use it to keep burgers warm after they have been cooked.

A cooling rack is a metal container with legs used to cool down food after it has been cooked. It helps to prevent the burger from continuing to cook and becoming dry. It also prevents the food from sitting in its own juices and becoming soggy.

A meat thermometer is a grilling essential designed to measure the internal temperature of the meat. It is important to use one when grilling burgers to ensure that they are cooked all the way through.

You will need a grill brush to clean the grill before and after cooking. It is important to use a brush with stiff bristles to remove all the dirt and debris from the grill.

Cooking spray lubricates the grill and prevents the burgers from sticking. It is important to use a non-stick cooking spray to remove the burgers from the grill easily.

How to Grill Burgers

1. Prepare Your Grill

Preheated barbecue grill

Prepare the grill by seasoning it before cooking. Not only does it make cleaning a lot easier, but it also ensures that your grilled hamburgers will taste better.

If you are using your grill for the first time or after a long while, apply some high-heat cooking spray to the grates while they are still cold. Then, turn the heat to medium-high for at least 15 minutes or until the oil starts to burn. This helps remove contaminants, prevent rust, and keep the burger from sticking.

For a frequently used grill, preheat it for about 15 minutes. Then, using a long-handled wire brush, scrub the grates to remove debris. No need to use cooking spray.

It is also important to remember that some grates have porcelain enamel and do not require seasoning. Check the grill's instructions manual to know if you need to season it and avoid needless effort.

2. Season Your Burgers

Raw burger patties and spices

When it comes to seasoning burgers, there is no right or wrong way. You can go as simple as salt and pepper or get creative with a spice rub or marinade. If you are using leaner ground beef, we recommend adding some fat, like olive oil, avocado oil, or bacon grease, to help keep the burgers moist.

Like other meats, coarse or kosher salt is the best way to season your burgers. Its large and unrefined granules allow the most control and enhance the burger's flavor. For extra flavor, you can also use spices like garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, cumin, chili powder, or even a little Worcestershire sauce.

Keep in mind that when it comes to grilling burgers, less is more. Grilled burgers have many natural juices, giving them that delicious flavor and succulent texture.

3. Heat the Grill

Barbecue Fire Grill

Now that the grill is ready, it's time to talk about temperature. For perfectly cooked burgers, you will want to aim for a hot grill with temperatures ranging from 375 to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Any temperature lower than 375 degrees and your burgers will take too long to cook, resulting in dry, overcooked burgers. On the other hand, you risk burning the outside of your burgers while the centers remain raw with heat higher than 400 degrees.

How do you ensure that the grill is at the perfect temperature? The best way is to use the instant-read thermometer that most grills come with. 

If you do not have a built-in temperature gauge on your grill, there is an easy way to test the temperature. Just hold your hand about an inch or an inch and a half above the grate. If you can only keep it there for two to three seconds before it feels too hot, your grill is ready to go.

Here is a chart to help you determine the temperature according to how long you can hold your palm over the grill and let it relax above there:

Check this video on how to test your grill temperature without using a thermometer:

Once you've got your grill at the perfect temperature, it's time to start cooking!

4. Grill the Burgers

Check out this video for instructions on how to grill burgers!

Now that the grill is heated at the perfect temperature, place the burgers on the grill. You should hear them sizzle as you place them down, which means they are already cooking.

Let them sit on the heat for a few minutes, or as suggested in the grill time charts, without moving them to sear the outside. This brings out the meat flavor while keeping the natural juices inside the burgers. 

It is also important to note that pressing down on your burgers while cooking will eliminate these juices, leaving your burgers dry and less flavorful.

5. Flip the Burgers

Flipping burger patties with a spatula

Once the first side is fully cooked, it is time to flip your burgers. Gently pick them up with a spatula, being careful not to press down on the meat, and turn them over. You will know they are ready to be flipped when you see juices bubbling up the surface.

When grilling burgers, flipping should be kept at a minimum. Overflipping your burgers will mean more movement, resulting in losing more of those natural juices. Ideally, you will want to fully cook one side, flip them, and let the other side finish cooking.

On the other hand, if you want nice grill marks on your burgers, flipping them every minute or so should do the trick. Keep an eye on the juices, and do not let them dry out. This is also true when working on frozen beef burgers requiring multiple flips. The first few flips are for thawing them, and the subsequent ones are for the actual cooking.

6. Add Cheese

Cheese melting on top of cooking burger patty

Most people add cheese when they are putting the burger together. But if you are looking for that perfect grilled burger, then you will want to wait until the last couple of minutes of the grilling process to add your cheese. This will ensure that the cheese is melted and gooey.

Grilled burgers are delicious, with or without the cheese. But if you want to add cheese to your burger, this is the best way to go. Melted cheese over a freshly grilled burger - who can resist that?

7. Check If Your Burger is Done

Using a meat thermometer to check the doneness of the burger patties

One of the trickiest parts of grilling burgers is to know when they are done. It is too easy to undercook or overcook them, and the line between the two is too thin. Thankfully, there are several ways to check your burger's doneness.

  • Use a Meat Thermometer

The easiest and most reliable way to tell if your burger is done is by checking its internal temperature using a meat thermometer. To get an accurate reading, insert the thermometer's needle through the thickest part of your burger patty. Leave it for about 10 seconds and allow the temperature to register.

You want to aim for an internal temperature suggested by the USDA to ensure that your burger is safe to eat. They recommend cooking beef to an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit, which usually yields well-done burgers.

  • Check the Meat's Juices

There is another method of knowing if your burger is done even if you do not have a meat thermometer. But remember that this technique is not as accurate as a thermometer.

Using your index and middle fingers, gently press the burger until a small amount of juice comes out. If you are sensitive to heat, use the back of a fork instead, but be careful not to press down on the burger too hard so it won't lose too much juice.

Check the juices that come out of your burger. If the juices are red, your burger is still rare and needs more time to cook. If the juices are pinkish, your burger is medium-rare to medium. Finally, if the juices run clear, your burger is medium-well to well-done.

  • Look Inside the Burger

If you are not sure your burger is cooked through, take a peek inside. Make a small cut from the top into the center of the burger. Then, check the color of the meat.

The USDA recommends cooking burgers until they are no longer pink in the center. So you will want the inside of your burger to be light to grayish brown.

8. Remove from Heat

Removing cooked burger from the grill

Once the burgers are cooked to perfection, remove them from the grill. Let the grilled burgers rest for a couple of minutes so the juices can redistribute throughout the burger. This will make for a juicier, more flavorful burger.

Serve immediately on toasted burger buns with classic burger fixings such as tomato slices, lettuce leaves, and pickles. You may also add your favorite toppings, like caramelized onions or bacon.

Tips on Grilling Perfect Burgers

Here are some helpful tips on how to grill burgers perfectly all the time.

  • Choose the Best Grill For You

Conventional wisdom will tell you that grilling over charcoal imparts a better flavor to your burgers. And while that may be true, it takes a bit more effort to get the grill going. If you prefer using a charcoal grill, wait until the coals have ashed over before cooking to ensure that your burgers don't have a charred flavor.

On the other hand, using gas grills makes it much easier to get consistent results as they allow for more temperature control. Additionally, gas-grilled burgers are said to be healthier than their char-kissed counterparts.

If you want to get the best of both worlds, try using a gas grill with some wood chips. It will give your burgers that charcoal-grilled flavor without all the hassle.

  • Concave or Flat? Shape Matters

Another hot debate regarding burgers is whether to make them concave or flat. Many people will tell you that a burger should be slightly flattened so it can cook evenly on both sides. Others believe a burger should be left in its natural and slightly concave state so juices don't run out while grilling.

The jury is still out on this one, so it's up to you to decide which camp you're in. Try both methods and see which one you prefer.

  • Make a Thumbprint Indentation in the Center of the Burger

Whether you shape your burgers flat or concave, here's another tip to ensure that you cook them perfectly. Create a thumbprint indentation in the center of each burger before putting it on the grill. This will help distribute heat throughout the burger, cooking it more evenly inside.

The indentation will also help prevent the burgers from swelling up and becoming round patties, keeping their shape as they shrink during cooking.

  • The Best Time to Season Your Burger

When it comes to seasoning your burger, timing is everything. But when is the best time to season your burger?

When seasoning your burger, make sure to put in the salt when you are done forming patties. Salt extracts the moisture from the meat, leaving you with a dry and hard burger patty.

To ensure cooking juicy burgers all the time, add the salt right before you put the burgers on the grill. This way, the salt won't have a chance to draw out any moisture from the meat. On the other hand, if you use a spice rub or BBQ sauce, apply it early enough so that the meat has time to absorb.

  • Grill Temperature is Key

Before cooking the burgers, ensure your grill is nice and hot. You do not want to put the burgers on a grill that is not heated properly.

If your grill is not hot enough, the burgers will only stick, making it difficult to flip them. And if the grill is too hot, the burgers outside will char before the inside is cooked through.

  • Let the Burgers Breathe

One of the biggest mistakes people make when grilling burgers is overcrowding the grill. Not only does it make it harder to flip and rotate the burgers, but it also lowers the temperature of the grill, resulting in unevenly cooked burgers.

So, how many burgers can you fit on a grill? This will depend on the size of your grill and how many burgers you can comfortably place on it at a time.

The total cooking area of grills often includes the cooktop areas and warming rack. So to get the total usable area of the grill, you should only identify the primary grill grate area. A 500 square inches grill grate can hold approximately 24 burgers at a time.

  • Do Not Press Them Down

As mentioned earlier, do not press down on your burgers while cooking. This is one of the most common mistakes people make when grilling burgers.

Pressing down on burgers with a spatula or grill press might seem like a good way to get rid of excess fat, but all it does is squeeze out all the delicious juices, resulting in hard, dry, and flavorless patties. So resist the urge to do so, no matter how tempting it may be. Just let them cook, and they will be perfectly juicy every time.

  • Use a Thermometer

Another mistake most people make is not using a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of their burgers. This is key to making sure your burgers are cooked to perfection. The general rule of thumb is to cook burgers until they reach an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit.

Although there are other ways to check the doneness of your burgers, using a thermometer is the easiest and best way to ensure that your burgers are cooked perfectly every time.


Grilling burgers is easy, but achieving that perfect flavor and texture can be challenging. By following these tips and techniques on how to grill burgers, you will be able to make delicious patties that are juicy, flavorful, and cooked to perfection.

So what are you waiting for? Up your burger game this summer and turn those small backyard barbecues into delicious feasts that will keep your guests coming back for more. If you have other tips for grilling burgers, share them with us in the comments below.

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