If Grilling Isn't An Option, You Should Try Baking Your Burgers

Many of us crave a delicious, juicy homemade hamburger every now and then. But, what do you do if you don't have access to a grill or the weather makes cooking outside less than ideal? You may be surprised to learn the best alternative is actually your oven.

The process is as simple as packing your meat into a casserole dish, seasoning it, and tossing it into the oven. One example on TikTok shows an extra layer of sliced onions on the bottom, which can help prevent sticking and add flavor.

Though most cooks might reach for the frying pan first, there are actually a few advantages provided by this oven technique. The first is your oven's consistent temperature, which allows the burgers to cook more evenly than they often do on less-predictable grills or pans. With a bit of trial-and-error, it's easy to zero in on the perfect time and temperature for your favorite burger doneness. While it will vary, half-inch burgers typically take around 15 minutes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Cleaner, more efficient, but a bit slower

With baked burgers, there's also the benefit of less splatter and mess, which are hard things to avoid when pan-frying burgers. Meanwhile, there won't be any more hungry guests crowding around trying to get that first burger, as home cooks can whip up large batches and have all of them ready at the same time.

However, like any cooking method, there are some drawbacks. Oven-baked burgers can take longer to prepare and are difficult to check on without opening the door and lowering your oven temperature. In addition, they don't get that char or sear that can result from proper grilling or pan-frying, a texture and flavor many love.

It's easy to step up your burger game, no matter how you cook them. Some other tips for making perfect burgers include choosing the right kind of ground beef (80-85% lean is ideal) and seasoning properly by using salt only on the outside of the patty instead of mixing it in. So, while many of us won't completely abandon our traditional burger prep anytime soon, there's no doubt that the oven is a top alternative when a grill isn't available.