How Long to Grill Burgers: The Ultimate Guide

Challenger, Welcome to the Ultimate Guide on How Long to Grill Burgers

Summer is here, and it’s time to fire up the grill and cook some juicy burgers. However, getting the perfect burger can be a challenging task. Grilling burgers can be time-consuming, and with many variables, the cooking process can be tricky. The time and heat needed to cook a burger depend on several variables, including your grill’s heat, the thickness of the meat, and your desired level of doneness.

Don’t worry, Challenger, we’ve got you covered. In this article, we’re going to explain everything you need to know about how long to grill burgers. We’ll go over the different factors that affect your cooking time, common mistakes to avoid, and frequently asked quesions (FAQs) that will help you successfully grill the perfect burger every single time. Let’s get started.

The Importance of Cooking Time

One of the most important factors to consider when grilling burgers is choosing the right amount of time to cook them. If you cook the burgers for too long, they’ll become dry and rubbery, and if you don’t cook them long enough, they could be undercooked and potentially dangerous to eat.

The temperature and cooking time depend on the thickness of your burger, so let’s take a look at how to determine the perfect cooking time for your burger.

The Thickness of Your Burger

The thickness of your burger is the most important factor in determining the cook time. If your burger is too thick, it will take longer to cook and may not cook evenly.

When measuring the thickness of your burger, measure it in the thickest part of the patty. A quarter-pound burger can be anywhere from 1/2 inch to 1 inch thick. A thicker burger needs more time to cook, but also weigh more.

Internal Temperature Levels

Temperature control is key when cooking burgers. Under-cooked burgers can be a food safety hazard, while overcooked burgers will be dry and tough.

You can check the internal temperature of your burger using a meat thermometer. According to food safety guidelines, burgers should be cooked to at least 160°F (71°C). However, the temperature to reach depends on the desired doneness, which we explain in more detail later.

Heat of the Grill

Another important variable to keep in mind is your grill’s heat. Whether you are using charcoal, gas, or electric grill they all different types of heating elements. A grill with a higher temperature cooks your food faster than one with lower temperatures.

When cooking burgers, we recommend grilling over medium-high heat, which is around 375°F to 450°F. If you’re grilling over direct heat or high flame, the cooking time is shorter. This aspect can also vary depending if it’s an outdoor barbecue grill or an indoor electric grill.

Factors to Keep in Mind

When grilling a burger, there are several factors to consider, which can affect cooking time. We recommend considering these factors as you prepare to grill your burger:

  • The thickness of the burger patty
  • The internal temper of the burger
  • The heat of the grill
  • The type of grill being used
  • Resting time
  • Seasoning and flavorings
  • External factors on the grill (wind, altitude, moisture)

How Long to Grill Burgers According to Desired Doneness

The level of doneness of a burger is a personal preference based on the color, texture, and temperature you desire. There are different levels of doneness for burgers with conventional names, which we’ll explain below.

Well Done Burger

A well-done burger is cooked all the way through, with no pink or red juices. The internal temperature of a well-done burger should reach 165°F or higher, which usually takes around 8 to 10 minutes to grill.

Medium-Well Burger

A medium-well burger should also be cooked through, but a hint of pink is visible inside the burger. The internal temperature of a medium-well burger should reach 150°F to 155°F, which typically takes around 6 to 7 minutes to grill.

Medium Burger

A medium burger should be cooked through, and it comes with a pink center. The internal temperature of a medium burger should reach 145°F to 150°F, taking approximately 5 to 6 minutes to grill.

Medium-Rare Burger

A medium-rare burger is cooked through but retains a pink color inside. The internal temperature of a medium-rare burger should be 135°F to 145°F. This usually takes 4 to 5 minutes to grill.

Rare Burger

A rare burger has a red center and needs to be treated with special care. A rare burger is not cooked all the way through and the internal temperature should reach 125°F to 130°F, and it is usually grilled for 3 to 4 minutes.

Table: How Long to Grill Burgers

Doneness Internal Temperature Cook Time
Well Done 165°F or higher 8-10 minutes
Medium-Well 150°F-155°F 6-7 minutes
Medium 145°F-150°F 5-6 minutes
Medium-Rare 135°F-145°F 4-5 minutes
Rare 125°F-130°F 3-4 minutes

13 FAQs You May Have About Grilling Burgers

What temperature should I grill burgers at?

The grill temperature depends on what medium you use to grill burgers. For a gas grill, an optimal range is 375–450 °F. For a charcoal grill, light the charcoal, then spread the coals. The temperature can be adjusted by opening and closing your vents on your grill.

What can I use instead of a meat thermometer?

If you don’t have a thermometer, you can tell when a burger is done by checking its color and texture. A well-done burger is thoroughly cooked without any pink. A medium burger is slightly pink in the center. A rare burger is bright red in the middle. When poking with a fork, a juicy but not bloody texture in the burger is your sign that it is cooked medium.

Is it okay to cook frozen burgers?

Yes, it is safe to cook frozen burgers, but it needs to be defrosted first, which means your cooking time increases by 50%. However, we recommended using fresh patties or defrosting the burger first.

Can I flip my burgers multiple times?

Yes, you can flip your burger multiple times. However, it’s better to cook it once on one side and then on the other side. Multiple flips result in a longer cooking time and result in a dryer burger.

What is the best type of meat for burgers?

The best meat for burgers is ground beef with at least 20% fat. The fat helps to keep the meat moist while grilling and gives the burger an incredible flavor.

How do I keep my burgers from sticking to the grill?

To prevent sticking, oil the grill grates before putting the meat on it. Once your grill is heated, use a clean cloth to oil your grill grates and make sure it’s well-covered.

How long should you let burgers rest before eating?

You should let your burgers rest for at least 3 minutes before cutting into them or serving them. Resting allows the juices to settle, which enhances the burger’s flavor and texture.

Should you put salt on burgers before grilling?

You can salt your burger patties before grilling to add flavor, but be careful not to overdo it. The salt could make the meat taste salty and dry out your burger.

How do I know when my burgers are cooked?

You can tell when your burgers are cooked by checking the internal temperature of the meat. A meat thermometer will give you exact readings based on your desired level of doneness. We recommended allowing 3 to 4 minutes per side, and then use a meat thermometer to check when the burgers are done.

Can you grill burgers without foil?

Yes, you can grill burgers without foil. However, flipping burgers without using foil requires care, with a good quality spatula that is wide enough for the burger, to ensure the burger stays in one piece.

How long should I cook burgers on a charcoal grill?

The time required on a charcoal grill depends on the heat of the grill, the thickness of the meat, and the desired doneness. Usually, a good marker is 5 to 6 minutes per side for a ¾- to 1-inch-thick burger with high heat.

How can I keep my burgers juicy?

To keep your burgers juicy, use 20-25% fat, don’t overwork the meat or compact it too tightly, don’t press the juices out while cooking, and let them rest for 3-5 minutes before cutting, and keep your grill temperature between 375°F to 450°F.

What happens when you cook a burger too long?

When you cook a burger for too long, the meat will become dry and flavorless. The fats and juices, which give the meat texture and flavor will evaporate, and you’ll only be left with a tough and unappetizing patty in the end.

What should I avoid when grilling burgers?

The most common mistakes when grilling burgers include cooking burgers over high heat, flipping burgers frequently, not seasoning the burgers, and squishing the patty with spatula.


Congratulations, you’ve made it to the end of our ultimate guide on how long to grill burgers. You now know all about the different factors that affect your cooking time, avoiding common mistakes, and grill the perfect burger that meets your desired doneness.

If you follow our guidelines, use a meat thermometer, and don’t forget to give your burger time to rest, you’ll be grilling up some of the juiciest, most flavorful burgers you’ve ever had. So, why not try out our guide at your next barbecue party and impress your guests with your grilling expertise.


This guide is intended to provide general knowledge of how to cook a burger. The cooking times and temperatures listed are suggestions and may vary based on your grill, altitude, and thickness of the burger. Always use a meat thermometer, and please consult food safety guidelines from the USDA or other local resources to ensure that the burgers are cooked correctly and safely.