Are Your Burgers Shrinking on the Grill? (4 Guaranteed Ways to Stop It!)

Who doesn’t love to order a nice juicy burger?

But can’t always be eating out (unless you are made of money!)

That’s why it’s nice to make your burgers at home. However, you might find that the meat patties shrink as they cook!

Sometimes they can shrink up so much that you’re left with burger patties that are half the size of the original ones!

If you want to find out how to stop this, then keep on reading!

Our burger patties ready to go (they just need a dimple on the top!)

4 Ways to Prevent Burgers From Shrinking

Is your main method for cooking tasty burgers on a grill?

If you find your burger patties shrinking using this way of cooking, it’s not because of the flat cooking surface, or the cooking temperature. If it can be from a number of factors;

  1. You didnt put a dimple in them
  2. Not enough fat in the burger mix
  3. Leaving the lid on the grill
  4. Overcooking them

Below we have the ways to prevent this problem

how to stop frozen burgers from shrinking
Our finished burgers with a slice of brisket in it!

1. Are You Forgetting the Dimple in the Burger?

All you need to do for your beef patty to retain its shape and size during the cook is to make a small depression in the center of your pre-formed patties.

That’s all a ‘burger dimple’ is. You can accomplish these small depressions by gently pressing the tip of your finger onto the tops of your ground beef patties.

Not only does this helpful tip prevent the meat patty from shrinking, but it also keeps it from warping into that awkward dome shape.

You want to avoid making dome-shaped burgers. This is because the odd shape will make it difficult to later assemble everything in between the hamburger buns. 

how to prevent burgers from shrinking

Burgers from our last cookout! You can’t forget the pickle and cheese!

2. Leave the Lid Off to Prevent Burgers From Shrinking on the Grill

Of course, adding the dimples to any flat burgers you cook on the grill will also help prevent them from shrinking.

However, we also have another tip that we’d like to share with any of our readers who cook their patties on a grill.

The second factor that could contribute to meat patty shrinkage is the backyard grill lid.

Closing the lid on a hot grill while burgers are cooking on top of the grill grate promotes shrinkage.

This is because the closed lid traps all of that heat inside.

Not only does it keep all of that heat locked in, but it also cooks the meat and increased its internal meat temperature way too quickly.

This can dry out the meat as the juices will leak out of the patty way too quickly. That is why it will also come out appearing smaller.

In the end, you’ll just be left with a dry patty that’s not going to be very nice to eat.

This is also why a medium-rare patty will appear larger than one that’s been cooked all the way through.

Don’t forget to salt your burgers!

3. The Fat Is So Important

It’s always best to use minced meat or ground beef that has a decent amount of fat content.

You want to enjoy a juicy and tender burger, then you’ve simply got to start by working with a fatty burger. Nobody likes eating a dry burger that’s smaller than the actual bun size. 

So, how do you make sure that you’ve got the right kind of meat? 

We recommend starting with ground chuck meat that consists of at least 20% fat.

The fat is so important to ensure that you’re left with a nice patty that delivers on all the right juicy flavors.

Once you’ve formed your beef patties, just add the dimples to the tops and place them onto the grill or pan.

Next, leave it to cook uncovered for approximately four minutes. Try your best to refrain from touching them during this process. (Don’t even think of pressing down on them with a flat spatula!

Next, flip them onto the other side. And cook them for another four or five minutes. You can feel free to extend the cooking time to around six minutes if you don’t want your burgers to be cooked well-done.

Just make sure that you don’t take them off the heat until your meat thermometer reads the internal temperature of the meat as 160 degrees Fahrenheit.

Then just let the meat rest and voilà! It’s ready for serving!

4. What if You’re Working With Lean Meat?

Let’s say that all you had in your fridge or freezer was lean meat?

 Does that mean you can’t make great beef burgers with them? No!

Just make sure that you have some milk and bread on hand. You’ll need these ingredients to help improve the structure of your patty.

You’ll want to start by removing the crusts from the bread slices.

Next, tear it into tiny bits. After that, just pour enough milk onto the bread so that it’s all soaked through. Then let it sit in the refrigerator until the bread pieces aren’t just floating in milk anymore.

When it looks like all of the milk’s been absorbed, take it out of the fridge and gently squeeze any excess milk out of the bread pieces. (Make sure you’ve washed your hands first!)

Then you’ll want to place it into an empty bowl and go in with a fork or spoon. Just mash the moist bread pieces like how you would mash bananas.

After that, just mix it in with your ground lean meat until it’s combined nicely. Then form them into patties, press the dimples in, and cook them in the same way. 

Want to Cook Your Burgers From Frozen?

Forget to pick up the fresh mince for the burgers?

Don’t worry you can have dinner on the table in no time!

See how to cook frozen burgers in the oven here.

The kids will be happy and it will take no time at all!

Want Some Burgers Recipes?

If want to try smoking your burgers I have five EPIC recipe! See them below.

  1. Smoked Burgers on a Pellet Grill 
  2. Smoked Hamburgers
  3. Smoked Lamb Burgers
  4. Juicy Smoked Beef Burgers
  5. Brisket Burgers
  6. Cedar Plank Burgers

That’s all there is to it! 

We hope you found our tips useful in ensuring that the burger size of your patties remains the same size!

Just keep our tips in mind when you next make your delicious burger by hand, and you’ll be serving up perfect patties in no time at all!

Smoke On!


Author: Charlie Reeves
Hi, I’m Charlie, I am head taste tester at Simply Meat Smoking! I love it grilling, smoking, and getting out in the yard with the kids! The family also love to test all my recipes (especially my EXTRA CRISPY pulled pork, smoky pork loin, and ANY SEAFOOD I grill)

You will usually find me playing with the kids, perfecting my brisket bark, or sipping beers with boys around the fire. Can’t wait to share all my delicious smoking and grilling adventures with you!

You can read more on our About Us page.

Hungry For More?

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *