How Long to Cook a Burger on Each Side


For cooks of all levels, steaks and burgers are among the most intimidating things to cook. The fact that there are so many variables to consider—cut, thickness, fat content, temperature—and yet so much that can go wrong if you don’t factor them all in correctly is enough to make even the most seasoned chef want to reach for the phone and order takeout. But before you give up on even trying to cook a steak or burger yourself, let us help alleviate some of your concerns by providing detailed instructions on how long each size should be cooked for its desired doneness.


  • 2 minutes on each side, or until the juices run clear.
  • If you prefer your burger rare, this is the time to cook it. The heat of the pan will cause some browning and caramelization, so don’t be alarmed if your patty looks more brown than pink when flipped over.


Medium-rare burgers are cooked to the point where the meat is still pink in the center. If you want your burger medium or well done, go ahead and cook it longer than four minutes on each side.

For best results:

  • Add a few minutes to the cooking time if your burgers are thicker than 1/2 inch (1 cm).
  • When flipping your burgers, don’t press down on them with a spatula! This will squeeze out all their delicious juices and make them dry out faster. Instead, flip them gently with two forks or tongs–or even just one fork held in both hands like chopsticks!


When you’re cooking medium-rare burgers, the internal temperature should be between 150 and 160 degrees F. To get this result, cook your burger on each side for 3-4 minutes.

Then use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of your burger (see “How to Use a Meat Thermometer” below).


Medium-well: 160 degrees Fahrenheit

Medium-well is the middle ground between rare and well done. It’s still red in the middle and has a nice crust on the outside, but it’s not quite as bloody as rare, nor as dry as well done. To get this temperature, cook your burger for 2 minutes per side over medium heat (or until its internal temperature reads 160 degrees). Then remove it from heat and let rest for 5 minutes before serving


Here are the recommended cooking times for burgers.

Here are the recommended cooking times for burgers.

  • 3/4-inch thick: 2 to 3 minutes per side, medium-rare.
  • 1 inch thick: 4 to 5 minutes per side, medium-rare.
  • 1 1/2 inches thick: 6 to 7 minutes per side, medium-rare.

Need some help getting your grill just right? Check out our guide on how to set up a charcoal grill here!


Now that you know how long to cook your burgers, you can get back to enjoying the summer weather and cooking outdoors. Just remember that it’s not just about flipping them over at the right time–there are other important things to consider when making sure your burgers are cooked perfectly!

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