Timothy Woods
Published by Timothy Woods
Last Updated On: August 23, 2022

I have been through various situations where I forget to pull out my burger patties from the freezer for thawing.

It’s happened to me alone, and when I’ve had guests over, it causes a relative amount of stress when everyone is hungry and depends on me for food.

That said, I have mastered the art of grilling frozen burgers and learned that it’s safe to do so from some expert pitmasters.

Quick Summary

  • You can grill frozen burgers for around 15 minutes, flipping them every 3-4 minutes.
  • The patties should have an internal temperature of 160°F that will ensure they are cooked through and safe to eat.
  • You can grill frozen burger patties on an open grill, in the oven, or even in a grill pan on the stove.

In the article, you can read more on grilling frozen burgers using different methods and ensuring it is cooked properly and safe to consume. We also discuss other techniques of grilling frozen patties.

Is Grilling Frozen Burger Patties Safe?

The USDA confirms that it is perfectly safe to cook frozen burgers as long they reach an internal temperature of 160°F.

That ensures they are cooked all the way through [1].

You would have to slightly change your method of grilling compared to thawed or room temperature burgers to accommodate the frozen patties.

Is It Better To Grill Burgers From Frozen?

Grilling fresh patties on grill

It is always better to thaw your patties beforehand because that helps cook them more evenly.

It also reduces the grilling time; however, using frozen burgers can help reduce your prep time and save you any effort of remembering to thaw it in time.

The benefit of grilling patties from frozen is that if you ever find yourself rushing, forgetting to thaw them, or they don’t defrost in time, you can still cook them without any worry.

The Cons Of Grilling Frozen Burgers

As mentioned, defrosting your patties for a while before cooking is always better to help with even cooking and getting it done faster, and although it is safe and normal to grill frozen patties, there are some cons.

  • Cooking burgers from frozen can cause uneven cooking because the heat might not pass through all parts of the patty at the same time.
  • The outside can cook much faster and burn and dry while the inside is not fully cooked through – the same concept as uneven cooking.
  • It takes much longer to get done - almost up to twice the time than a thawed patty.
  • The burger patties can get dry instead of staying moist and juicy because they need to be grilled for a much longer time.

The Art Of Grilling Frozen Burgers

Top view of raw patties

There are several ways you can grill frozen burgers other than on traditional gas or open grill outdoors. Let’s take a look at each option:

1. Grilling Frozen Burgers In A Traditional Gas Grill

Place the frozen burgers over indirect heat (on a cooler part of the grill) for around 10-15 (longer if needed) minutes, flipping them over every 3-4 minutes.

When done, move it over higher heat for 2-3 minutes, flipping halfway through to get them a little extra brown if you desire.

2. Grilling On A Barbeque Grill

Using the barbeque will require a similar concept to the gas grill.

You will place the frozen patties on indirect heat for 15 minutes, flipping occasionally. Shift them to direct heat for an additional 2-3 minutes, turning in between to get that caramelized/charred effect.

As a BBQ fan myself, I always love what Guy Fieri, American chef and author, said, “

There’s grilling, and there’s barbeque. Grilling is when people say, ‘We’re going to turn up the heat, make it really hot and sear a steak, sear a burger, cook a chicken.’ Barbeque is going low and slow.” [2]

3. Using Oven to Grill Frozen Burgers

Putting patty inside the oven

Set the oven on 420°F to preheat. Line a baking sheet with foil to catch drippings, and add a wire rack on the tray.

Place your frozen patties on it without overlapping.

Bake it in the middle for around 15 minutes. Open the oven, turn the burgers around, and bake for an additional 10 minutes.

Check doneness and leave for 2-3 minutes longer if not yet done or if you want them well-done.

4. Grilling On A Grill Pan

Heat your cast-grill pan on medium heat. Add about 1-2 tbsp oil of your choice.

Place 1-2 patties on the pan (depending on how many you can fit without overlapping), and fry them for 15 minutes, turning every 3-4 minutes.

Check the doneness and fry for an additional couple of minutes if necessary.

Why Grilling Frozen Burgers Take Longer To Get Done?

Three patties close up image

When you grill burger patties from frozen, it takes much longer to get done because it has to defrost while being cooked.

As the patties get heated, they will start to thaw and, after that, cook.

To achieve the proper results of this process, it also means that you need to grill the frozen burgers at a lower temperature, and cooking meat from frozen at low temperatures means that it will take longer to get done.

The extra cooking time shouldn’t stop you from grilling your delicious, juicy burgers because if you follow the proper steps, they taste delicious either way.

How To Defrost Frozen Burger Patties Quickly

Slices of raw burger patties

If you are in a pickle where you did not thaw your burgers in time to grill, you can use a quick defrosting method to soften them slightly before the grilling step.

Here’s how you can do that:  

  1. Remove the patties from the packaging and place them on a microwave-safe plate.
  2. Set your microwave to the defrost setting.
  3. Heat the patties at 20-30 second intervals – checking them after each interval.
  4. Poke about 4-6 holes through the patties when you can (probably after the first interval).
  5. If you notice the burgers getting brown, immediately stop heating them. If they are still frozen in some parts, grill them on low heat for a few minutes on the side.
  6. Cook your patties immediately after defrosting in the microwave [3].

Conclusion

Now that you know you can most definitely grill burger patties from frozen, you never have to panic again if you ever forget to take them out of the freezer again in time for grilling.

Remember to keep the heat low, turn them every few minutes, and ensure the internal temperature reaches 160°.

We recommend these stainless steel grills to do the job.


References:  

  1. https://ask.usda.gov/s/article/Can-you-grill-frozen-meat-or-poultry#:~:text=Yes%2C%20but%20it%20will%20take,grills%20can%20vary%20in%20heat.
  2. https://www.guyfieri.com/
  3. https://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/food-poisoning/ss/slideshow-cold-hard-truth-about-defrosting

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