How Much Protein Is in Hamburger Meat? (What We Found)

Gabriel Woods
Published by Gabriel Woods
Last Updated On: December 4, 2023

As someone with a lifelong passion for burgers, my freezer is essentially a curated gallery—each patty a masterpiece awaiting its turn on the grill.

Despite my enduring love affair with this American classic, it recently dawned on me that I've never considered its nutritional complexities—namely, its protein content.

Eager to enlighten myself, I consulted a knowledgeable friend in the field of nutrition and sifted through a wealth of online data.

So, allow me to share the protein-packed details of what makes up a hamburger.

Quick Summary

  • Hamburger meat, usually ground beef, is rich in protein with a 3oz serving providing 21g of protein.
  • Hamburger meat is high in saturated fats, which can lead to health issues like cardiovascular diseases.
  • Despite the high-fat content, hamburger meat has health benefits such as building cells, boosting the immune system, and increasing hormone production.

Protein in Hamburger Meat

A half eaten close up shot of a hamburger

Hamburger meat is usually ground beef, and ground beef is rich in protein. 3oz of cooked lean ground beef has 21g of protein [1].

You’ll get about 40g of protein if you have a double pattie burger. This is from meat alone.

Hamburgers also have buns. 1.5oz bun has about 4g of protein [2]. Veggies have protein as well.

For example, one lettuce leaf, some onion, tomato, and a spoon of mayo only have 1g of protein combined.

However, protein also comes from cheese. 1oz slice of Swiss cheese has about 7.6g of protein, cheddar has 7g, and American cheese has 5g of protein [3] [4] [5].

Here’s how much protein different kinds of ground beef have [6].

  • 95% lean: 24.19g
  • 90% lean: 22.60g
  • 85% lean: 21g
  • 80% lean: 19.40g
  • 75% lean: 17.81g
  • 70% lean: 16.22g

Saturated Fat in Hamburger Meat

Hamburger patties being grilled

Many calories in ground beef come from fat. 3oz of 85% lean ground beef has 12g of total fat, out of which 4.5g is saturated fat [8].

Unfortunately, this is the bad kind of fat. Saturated fat can lead to heart disease, increased cholesterol, and other cardiovascular diseases.

You should limit saturated fat intake to under 10% of total energy. Ideally, it should be 5% to 6% of daily calorie intake.

So, if you eat recommended 2,000 calories a day, you should eat less than 20g of saturated fat, ideally no more than 13g.

The good news is that not all fats in hamburger meat are unhealthy fats. 3oz serving size of 85% lean ground meat has 6g of monounsaturated fat and 0,4g of polyunsaturated fat.

“Hamburgers should be cooked to a safe minimum internal temperature to destroy harmful bacteria that may be present. Use a food thermometer to be sure they have reached a safe minimum internal temperature of 160 °F. If you’re cooking turkey burgers, they should be cooked to 165 °F.”


There are several ways in which you can lower the amount of saturated fat in your hamburger meat. If you prepare hamburger meat with vegetable oil, you can avoid having too much saturated fat.

Plus, you’ll have juicy meat. Generally, a good way to control how much saturated fat you intake is to go for leaner beef cuts. Also, cut down on mayo and cheese.

Hamburger Meat Health Benefits

Close up shot of a hamburger

Hamburger meat has several benefits, such as:

  • Builds cells — Ground beef is full of proteins, which help the body build bones and muscles and improves skin and blood quality.
  • Boosts the immune system — Ground beef contains vitamins, such as thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate, and cobalamin. These vitamins can’t be stored in the body, but you have to consume them through food, and they help boost the immune system.
  • Boosts iron — Our bodies need heme and non-heme iron for red blood cells. Heme iron is found in animal proteins and helps boost iron which staves off anemia.
  • Increases hormones — Ground beef is rich in niacin and selenium, which boosts hormone production and helps thyroid function.

Related Articles:


How Much Protein Is in a 4 Oz Hamburger?

There is 17,81g of protein in a 4 oz hamburger[9].

What Kind of Meat Gives the Most Protein?

Turkey breast gives the most protein.


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About the author

Gabriel Woods
Chef/Food Editor
Bachelor of Science in Hospitality Management, Major in Culinary Entrepreneurship Summa Cum Laude. With a deep passion for the culinary arts and a keen business acumen, Gabrielle is set to embark on a journey that promises to leave a lasting impact on the world of the culinary industry. Growing up in a family where food created memories and bonds, she sustained an interest in cooking and baking. She earned her Culinary Entrepreneurship degree with a summa cum laude distinction from the University of Santo Tomas in the Philippines. Gabrielle then served as an assistant private chef – she helped clients achieve specific fitness goals by prepping protein-based meals and healthy side dishes. At Carnivore Style, Gabrielle has honed her strategic leadership by analyzing the trends in meat consumption preferences. This guides our team in producing engaging content, such as recipes featuring popular cuts or cooking techniques. She envisions a community where individuals follow their culinary dreams, making every delectable dish with love and soul for people to relish. In her free time, Gabrielle loves to travel to new places, study their culture, and dine at diverse restaurants and cafes.
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