How to Keep Burgers From Falling Apart

How to Keep Burgers From Falling Apart?

Burger is one of the most popular fast food items in the world and this popularity is not only because of its amazing taste but also because it is relatively easy to cook.

Anyone with basic cooking skills and a few ingredients can make an excellent burger. But often, the burger patties, which are the most important part of the burger, fall apart during cooking and ruin the burger.

This can happen for various reasons such as low-quality meat, improper handling, incorrect heating, etc. We can solve these issues easily if we can identify them and follow some simple procedures to make sure that the burger patties stay intact.

Just being careful about a few factors while preparing and cooking the burger patties will ensure that the patties never fall apart during the cooking process and never ruin your burger.

Applying the methods that I have described here will not only make the process of cooking burgers smoother and easier but will also enhance the flavor of your burger.

Why Do Burger Patties Fall Apart?

Burger patties can fall apart because of numerous reasons. From my experience, I have noticed that the most common reason for the patty falling apart is the meat not being frozen sufficiently. Meat fibers do not stick to each other well when they are not frozen.

I recommend that you chill the ground beef in the freezer for at least 30 minutes before cooking but ideally, it should be chilled for hours or even overnight. Burger patties have a high tendency to fall apart if they are not chilled properly.

Another common reason I have seen for which the burger patties fall apart is the amount of liquid in the patty mix. The patties have a higher risk of falling apart if you use too many liquids like different types of sauce when you are mixing the ground beef with other ingredients.

It is better to not use any liquid sauce while making the ground beef at all if your patties fall apart frequently.

Handling the meat improperly can also cause the burger patties to fall apart during the cooking process. The patties will fall apart if you press the meat too tightly while making the round balls because the steam built inside the patties during the cooking process cannot escape properly and it breaks apart the patty itself to get released.

The quality of the ingredients also plays a vital role in ensuring that the patties hold their structures during the cooking process. Low-quality meat can cook unevenly and fall apart while flipping the patties.

Improper heating techniques can also be a reason why your burger patties seem to be falling apart while flipping. The pan or the flattop needs to be oiled and heated properly. Otherwise, the patties might fall apart when you flip them.

How to Keep Burgers From Falling Apart? 8 Easy Methods

There are numerous ways in which you can ensure that your burger patties do not fall apart when you flip them while cooking. These methods are described below in detail.

Refrigerate the Meat

You should always refrigerate the meat for at least 30 minutes and up to a whole night in the deep fridge. Frozen meat patties have a better cohesion between the meat fibers that hold them together more firmly. I always try to make sure to only use frozen meat patties to cook my burgers.

Add Egg Yolk

Adding egg yolks is another efficient way to ensure that the meat patties do not fall apart when you try to flip them. Egg yolks work like a binder to hold the meat together with each other like glue.

Egg yolks also add extra flavors and textures to the burger that make it taste better. Add one yolk per pound of ground beef for the best result.

Do Not Use Liquid Ingredients 

Lots of times, the burger patties fall apart because there is too much liquid in the ground beef. Many people add hot sauce, sriracha sauce, soy sauce, and many other types of flavoring liquids to the ground beef.

This results in the beef patty containing too much water. This water gets evaporated during the cooking process and sometimes the steam comes out too drastically and breaks apart the burger patties. So avoid using too much liquid in the ground meat before you make the burger patties.

Heat the Pan Correctly

No matter what type of pan or skillet you are using to cook the burger patties, you need to make sure that it is properly oiled and heated. The pan or skillet needs to be heated on medium-high heat, around 310-325 F or 155-163 C.

Non-stick pans do not usually require lubrication and the beef patty will release oil in which the burger will be cooked but you can add a tablespoon of oil. Heat the oil sufficiently and never put burger patties in cold oil.

Make sure that the pan or skillet is hot before you put the patty in it. Adjust the heat accordingly if you feel like the burger is not cooking fast enough or it is burning too fast.

Use Quality Meat

The best burgers are made from meat that you grind yourself. But you can also use ground chuck to make burgers. Ground chuck usually has a nice lean/fat ratio of 80/20 which works best for making burger patties.

You can also use brisket meat, boneless short rib, sirloin, etc to make burger patties. Whatever meat you are using, I suggest that you make sure to use 20% fat and 80% meat to make the burger patties.

Handle Properly

Carefully handling the burger patties will go a long way to ensure that your burger patty stays intact as you cook it. Use a spatula to push down gently if you are making a smash burger and flip in one stroke. Shaking the pan or poking the burger patty with the spatula will only cause problems and can even break apart the burger patty.

Do Not Over Flip the Patties

The burger patties need to stay undisturbed on the pan to get cooked properly. You cannot partially flip the burger to check if the bottom side is getting cooked or not. You have to trust the heat and your cooking skills to be patient to not touch the burger patties with a spatula before you are ready to flip the burger completely.

And you should flip the burger patties only once with one stroke of the spatula. This might be a little difficult at first but all you really need is confidence and practice to make sure that your burger patties never fall apart when you flip them.

Shape the Patty Properly

Shape the patty gently without squeezing them too tightly in between your palms. This can result in the patty being too tough which will prevent steam from escaping properly out from the burger and this pressure will build up and pop, breaking apart your nice burger patties.

So always roll the ground meat into patties gently with your hand and do not press too tightly to make sure that the burger patty does not fall apart when you cook it.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Adding Eggs Help Burgers Stay Intact?

Yes, eggs work as a binding agent to hold the ground meat together a lot better which helps the burgers to stay intact.

Can I Use Breadcrumbs or Other Fillers to Prevent Crumbles?

Yes, you can add breadcrumbs to the ground meat to help the meat stay together as you cook to prevent crumbles.

Do You Put Oil in the Pan When Cooking Burgers?

You do not always have to put oil in the pan while cooking burgers but adding a little bit of oil prevents the burger patties from sticking to the bottom of the pan.

How Do You Keep Burgers From Sticking to the Pan?

Heat a tablespoon of vegetable oil on the pan where you will cook your burgers. This will keep your burgers from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Also, use an 80/20 lean/fat ratio while making the ground beef. This also helps the burger to not stick to the pan.

How Do You Make Burgers Soft and Juicy?

Add at least 20% fat to the ground meat of your burgers to ensure that they come out soft and juicy.


The entire burger experience gets ruined if the burger patties fall apart while cooking. This not only ruins the taste and texture of your burger but it also results in frustration. So make sure that your meat is prepared correctly and you flip the burger patties properly to ensure that your patties never fall apart while cooking.

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