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How to Keep Burgers Flat While Cooking?

Last Updated on February 27, 2024 by Lauren Beck

During my exploration in the kitchen, I have faced the dilemma of burgers expanding into small meaty hills while being cooked. However, do not worry because I have found clever methods to prevent those patties from becoming too raised on the grill.

Today, I’m sharing my tried-and-true tips for burger perfection, ensuring even cooking and delightful bites every time! Let’s tame the burger bulge and sizzle our way to backyard barbecue bliss!

3 Ways to Keep Burgers Flat While Cooking:

  1. The Thumbprint Trick: Create a slight indentation in the center of each patty with your thumb before cooking. This prevents them from puffing up, ensuring an even and flat cook.
  2. The Ice Cube Secret: Place a small ice cube on each burger patty as they cook. The ice cube melts gradually, releasing steam and keeping the burgers from bulging.
  3. Weight it Down: Use a burger press or a heavy spatula to press down on the patties as they cook gently. This helps maintain their flat shape and ensures even cooking.

Tips & Tricks:

  • Avoid over-mixing the meat when forming the patties, as this can lead to a dense and uneven texture.
  • Keep the patties chilled before cooking to help them hold their shape better.
  • Resist the urge to flip the burgers too often; once on each side is enough to retain their flatness.

Why Do You Flatten Burgers?

Flattening burgers before cooking serves two key purposes:

  • Even Cooking: Flat burgers cook more evenly, ensuring the center is perfectly cooked without the risk of undercooked or overcooked spots.
  • Ideal Burger Size: Flattening prevents burgers from bulging, so they fit snugly in buns and deliver a delightful bite every time.

How to Make Sure Your Hamburger Is Cooked in the Middle?

Burger Patties on a Plate

To ensure your burger is cooked to perfection in the middle:

  • Invest in a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature. For medium-rare, aim for 130-135°F (54-57°C), while medium should be around 140-145°F (60-63°C).
  • Slice into the center of one burger to check for the desired doneness if a meat thermometer is unavailable.

Should You Flatten Burgers While Cooking?

Flattening burgers while cooking can help keep them flat and ensure even cooking. 

However, don’t press them excessively; it may squeeze out the juices, leading to a drier burger [1].

How Do You Cook Burgers So They Don’t Shrink?

To prevent burger shrinkage:

  • Make sure to use meat with an appropriate fat-to-lean ratio, around 80/20, to retain moisture during cooking.
  • Avoid pressing down on the burgers excessively while cooking, as it can cause the juices to escape.


In pursuing burger greatness, conquering the puffy patty problem is a must. With the thumbprint trick, the ice cube secret, and the gentle weight of a spatula, we’ve unlocked the secrets to flat and fabulous burgers. 

As a seasoned cook, I can attest that these tried-and-true techniques ensure even cooking and juicy bites in every bite. So, fellow grill masters, fear not the burger bulge and embrace the art of keeping burgers perfectly flat while cooking. 

With these tricks up your sleeve, you’ll master the grill and sizzle your way to burger perfection, delighting all with your culinary prowess. Happy grilling!


Lauren Beck
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