What’s the best way to cook a burger? Consumer Reports tests different cooking methods to find out

What’s the best way to cook a burger? Pan-fried, broiled, or grilled? Consumer Reports cooked lots of burgers in three different ways to see which method delivers the best burger.

To find out, CR cooked up premade 5-ounce patties three ways: in a cast-iron skillet, under a broiler, and on a gas grill. They used an 80/20 mixture of ground beef because it has enough fat to keep the patties moist even when cooked through to a safe internal temperature. They also included two meat alternative burgers, the Beyond and Impossible.

Turns out, whether it’s meat-free or beef, broiling your burgers is the least messy method. But it leaves you with little control unless you want to keep opening the oven door to check. It’s hard to get the timing exactly right.

On the other hand, you can easily flip or rotate your burger with the skillet method without having to open a grill or oven door. It also delivers a burger with a crisp outer layer and a juicy and tender interior.

And finally, many of us are thinking of summer cookouts with family and friends. A gas grill delivers the best burgers when you’re feeding a crowd. CR’s grill required a full 10 minutes to preheat, but it was definitely worth the wait. And once the patties were on the hot grill, they cooked quickly in about 3 to 4 minutes per side. If you’re making cheeseburgers, wait until the last 30 seconds to add the cheese.

CR says if firing up the grill isn’t an option, don’t be too bummed. The added condiments and accouterments definitely help. Even the plant-based burgers were satisfying with the right toppings. And remember, you’ll get the best from your grill if it’s well maintained.

About the Authors:

As a consumer reporter, Marilyn is all about helping people stay safe and save a buck. Since coming to KSAT in 1985, she’s covered everything from crime to politics, winning awards for her coverage of the Mexican Mafia, Oklahoma tornadoes, children’s transplants, an investigation into voting irregularities and even a hit-and-run Santa Claus.