Defrosting burgers before you can cook them is a nuisance. Defrosting must be done carefully to protect the meat from bacteria, so it has to be done in the fridge or using cold water, and this can be slow or fiddly. Often, it may be more convenient to cook your burgers from frozen, but is this safe?
Can you cook frozen burgers? Done correctly, it is safe to cook burgers that are frozen. However, you must check that you have got your temperatures right and that the burger reaches 160 degrees F at its center before you serve it. The middle must not stay cold or frozen, so the cooking method is very important.
How Do You Cook Frozen Burgers?
If you want to cook a burger from frozen, you have a few options. We will look at how to do so in a frying pan, but it can also be done on a grill if you prefer. It is a good idea to use a food thermometer to ensure that your burger is cooked properly throughout the meat.
Start by heating a frying pan and add a little olive oil to the pan. Once the oil is warm, add the burgers to the pan, leaving a little space between each one. Cook for about six minutes, and then flip the burgers.
Cook them for another six minutes, and then season them and add cheese if you want to. They should be cooked for a further six minutes, and then you can check that the burger is cooked in the center.
Use a meat thermometer to check this. Press it into the center of the hamburger and make sure it is cooked through in the thickest part. No part of the meat should be below 160 degrees F.
Once the burgers have reached the appropriate temperature, you can serve them onto the plates and add toppings and buns as normal.
You don’t need to do anything else in order to cook burgers from frozen.
What are the Dangers of Cooking Frozen Burgers?
The biggest risk when cooking frozen burgers is that the burger will not cook through properly, and this could lead to someone consuming undercooked meat.
Meat that has not reached a temperature sufficient to kill certain kinds of foodborne bacteria, such as salmonella, could be dangerous to eat. It might cause food poisoning, which can vary from an unpleasant evening to hospitalization, and even death.
Food safety is very important when it comes to meat, so you must make sure that burgers are hot right through to the center before you serve them. If they need longer in the frying pan than indicated above, make sure that they get it.
It takes time for the burger to defrost, so never just cook them for the amount of time that you would give to defrosted burgers. They will not be done and they will not be safe to eat. You may even find that they are still frozen in the centers!
Can You Refreeze Burgers After Cooking?
If you have cooked too many burgers, you might be wondering whether it is safe to freeze them again. According to USDA guidelines, it is safe to thaw, cook, and re-freeze meat as long as you cool the meat and freeze it quickly.
You should therefore place any burgers that are not going to be eaten onto a cold plate and give them the space to cool down quickly. You cannot put them into the freezer until they are cold, so be careful.
Cooked hamburgers need to be frozen within two hours of being cooked, so do your best to cool them down and get them into the freezer promptly.
You may notice that the texture of the hamburger changes after it has been cooked and frozen and then reheated, but it is still safe to eat – it just may not be quite as pleasant.
Do not try to freeze a burger that has been left at room temperature for longer than two hours, or an hour in hot weather (90 degrees F or higher). It will not be safe to eat and should be thrown away. Freezing does not kill bacteria.
How Long Does it Take to Cook a Frozen Burger?
This will depend heavily on the type of burger that you are cooking. Thicker burgers will take far longer to cook, because it takes time for the heat to penetrate the center of the meat and bring it up to temperature. You will need to be careful not to burn the outside while this is happening.
As a very rough rule of thumb, a burger will take about twice as long to cook from frozen as to cook if it is defrosted. If your burger needs ten minutes once it has thawed, it should be given twenty minutes from frozen.
However, you should not depend on this rule each time, because burgers will vary significantly. Use a meat thermometer to check that your burgers are hot enough in the center to have killed off any harmful bacteria before you serve them to your family.
How Should You Defrost a Burger?
If you want to defrost your burgers instead, you have three options. You can place them in the fridge and allow them to defrost slowly over the course of the day. Alternatively, you can defrost them using cold water or using the microwave. Do not defrost burgers using warm water.
Some people choose to defrost burgers at room temperature; if you do this, do not refreeze the meat. It is not a safe defrosting method, and it is certainly not safe to freeze meat that has been defrosted using this option.
It is perfectly safe to cook burgers that are still frozen, provided you make sure they reach the proper temperature before you serve them. A meat thermometer is the best way to check that the thickest part of the burger has reached 160 degrees F. Do not serve burgers that haven’t reached this temperature; cook them for longer, or you risk exposing the diners to foodborne bacteria!