How to make your hamburgers stay together

Homemade hamburgers taste delicious when cooked in the pan or on the grill. Although packaged ready-made hamburgers grill or fry easily while remaining intact, homemade hamburgers can crumble during the cooking process, making it difficult to eat them on a hamburger bun. By using the right ingredients, your hamburger mixture will hold together and your burgers will come out of the frying pan or off the grill whole and ready to place on the bun.

Choose 80/20 minced meat for making hamburgers. This mixture of 80 per cent lean meat and 20 per cent fat contains enough fat to help hold the hamburgers together. Minced meat leaner than this is more likely to fall apart as you cook it.

Place the minced meat in a bowl and break it up into chunks with a wooden spoon. Add 1 egg and 1/4 cup breadcrumbs for each pound of minced meat, as well as seasonings as desired. Stir the additional ingredients into the minced meat until just mixed.

Form the hamburger patties with your hands. Make the patties 3/4-inch thick and larger than the hamburger buns to accommodate shrinking.

Turn the hamburgers with a spatula large enough to hold the entire hamburger. Avoid pressing the burger down as it cooks; this will maintain juiciness and prevent it from falling apart.


Instead of thawing out frozen minced meat to make hamburger patties, form the patties while the meat is fresh, then freeze the ready-made hamburger patties. This helps to avoid hamburgers that crumble and saves time when you make dinner.


Too much moisture in the hamburger mixture causes the burgers to fall apart. Use caution when adding sauces or other liquids to flavour the burgers. Counteract the addition of a liquid with an equal amount of an absorbent ingredient such as breadcrumbs or dried oats. Hamburger presses can make burgers crumblier. They push air out of the burger, and the burgers need some air to stay together well.

Things You'll Need

  • 80/20 ground meat
  • Bowl
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
  • Seasonings
  • Wooden spoon
  • Spatula
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About the Author

Mary Ylisela is a former teacher with a Bachelor of Arts in elementary education and mathematics. She has been a writer since 1996, specializing in business, fitness and education. Prior to teaching, Ylisela worked as a certified fitness instructor and a small-business owner.