Shaking Off the Chill: How to Grill Frozen Burgers

August 21, 2022
Written by Kristy J. Norton

You can grill frozen burgers straight from the freezer or allow them to defrost first.

I know that frozen burgers are often looked down upon by pit masters, but even I can admit that I have resorted to these on occasion. They are quick and easy way to whip up hamburgers and if you find a good brand, the taste is pretty good as well.

In this post I will show you how to get thawed burgers, set up the grill, and cook the burgers to perfection.

grill Frozen Burgers

Can You Cook Frozen Burgers on the Grill?

So, here’s the all-important question:

Can you grill frozen hamburger patties?

Yes, you can! These can cook up just as well as fresh prepared ones. The key is to know just how to get the results that you are looking for…

Is it Better to Grill Frozen or Thawed Burgers?

Technically, grilling frozen burgers straight from the freezer is possible. However, this isn’t something that I would recommend.

man grilling frozen burgers

First off, frozen patties take a lot longer to cook without thawing. This, of course, is because the ice has to melt before the meat can begin to cook.

The other reason that I don’t like to grill frozen meat patties is because they rarely cook evenly. As a result, some spots may be still raw or half-done while other parts are already done. You end up with burgers that are burned in places or that are undercooked in parts.

How to Thaw Burgers?

There are two ways to defrost frozen patties:

With Cold Water

This is by far my favorite method as it guarantees that even thawing for each burger. The only issue is that it can take a bit longer so you will need some time to prep.

Take the frozen burger patties and place them in a Ziploc bag. Fill a large bowl with cold water. Then, place the sealed hamburger patties in the water. Let the patties thaw for about 30 to 45 minutes.

Microwave Method

The easiest way to get a thawed burger is to defrost it in this machine. I will admit that I don’t like this method too much. Yes, it is quick but the burger patties rarely defrost evenly. There is also an increased risk of cooking or even burning the burgers.

Needless to say, I’m not a fan.

If you are short on time, though, always use the defrosting setting on your machine. I would also suggest that you stop the timer every 10 to 15 seconds to determine whether it is defrosted all the way through.

How Long to Cook Burgers For?

This is a question that I get asked often and it is one that I don’t particularly like answering. Why? Well, this is because time isn’t a good indicator of doneness. The exacting cooking time for burger meat can vary based on thickness, how frozen it is, and the temperature of the grill.

Technically, I could tell you that it can take ten minutes or longer. You will need to flip the beef patties over every 3minutes or so. But, it is too easy to go wrong with this method. You can easily end up over or undercooking your patties.

Instead, pay attention to the internal temperature to ensure that the burgers are perfectly safe for you to eat. The the burgers should have an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit. If you are grilling turkey burger patties then the temperature in the middle should be 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

So, how do you check the internal temperature ? Well, you use a meat thermometer. Simply insert this into the middle of each burger patty and check the doneness.

How Long Do You Grill Frozen Hamburgers?

As you can imagine, frozen hamburger patties on the grill are going to take a lot longer to cook. In total, I would venture that they can take from 20 to 35 minutes until they are thoroughly cooked. Of course, you will need to keep flipping the frozen burgers in between.

As mentioned, though, I wouldn’t rely on time alone to tell me if the burgers were cooked or not. A thermometer is the way to go once more.

Now, with a frozen patty, there are some parts that are going to cook faster than the others. This means that it isn’t enough to stick the thermometer at just one point on the patty but rather to check several spots. This will ensure that each area is cooked all the way through.

How to Grill Frozen Burgers – A Step-By-Step Guide

Here is your ultimate guide on how to grill burgers – both frozen and thawed.

Set Up Your Grill

The first thing that you need to do is to set up your charcoal or gas grill. I would advise you to preheat the grill to 325 degrees. Now, you may usually set the temperature a little higher, but you do run the risk of overcooking the outside and undercooking the inside of the burger.

frozen burger patties

At the same time, I would tell you not to set the temperature less than medium heat. If the temperature is too low, there is a chance that you patties will come out dry and chewy.

I would suggest you setting up a two zone fire on your grill for more evenly grilled meat. See, one issue that you want to avoid at all costs is flare ups. This is when the flames leap higher than the grill grates, burning your food and potentially you! To make it safe to grill, use the two zone method.

With a gas grill, this is a pretty straightforward process. You turn the heat on one side up and down on the other – it is as easy as that.

A charcoal grill requires a little bit more effort. Once the coals are lit and glowing, use tongs or some other tool to move all the coals onto one side of the cooking grates. The other side should have no or only few coals under it.

This is the best way to grill frozen burgers.

Prep the Burger Patties

While the grill is heating up, it is time to prep the frozen meat patties.

Remove them from the freezer and separate them, removing the paper separators between each patty. If you are going to thaw the burgers, do so now using your desired method.

If you are going to grill frozen burgers straight up, season them instead. You can choose your seasoning – salt and pepper is fine or your can get creative.

In case you defrosting the burgers first, add seasoning once they are thawed. Once seasoned, it is time to grill the burger patties.

Grill the Burgers

Brush the grill grate with some oil so that the burger patties don’t get stuck to the grill. Then, place the patties on the grill – make sure that they are on the side with the indirect heat.

Close the lid and let the burgers cook for about two minutes. Then, open the lid and flip them over. Shut the lid and let the burgers grill for another two minutes. Continue flipping them for up to 10 minutes at a time.

If you are grilling frozen burgers, then I would press the burgers lightly with your tongs to see if they have softened up. Don’t let any of those delicious juices escape, though!

At this point, I would check the internal temperature to see if they need to be cooked further. If they are done, move the burgers over to the side with the direct heat. This will give you nice grill marks.

I would also advise you to the grill the burger buns until they are browned. This isn’t a necessary step, but hamburger buns do taste nicer when they are toasted.

There you have it – how to grill frozen burgers! The next time you’re in a rush or can’t be bothered with the defrosting process, you now know what to do!

By Kristy J. Norton
I'm Kristy – a chef and connoisseur of all things BBQ! You can find me either in my kitchen (or someone else's) or at a big outdoor barbecue surrounded by friends and family. In both my professional and personal life I’ve picked up more than a few tips and tricks for turning out delicious food. I consider it a privilege to share it with others!
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