How Long to Grill Hamburgers for Rare, Medium, and More

Because no one likes an overcooked burger.

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Grilling hamburgers is an American pastime, as is each burger eater having their own preferred burger style. Whether it’s medium-rare with cheese, or cooked well and then some (people love their beef bricks), grilling a batch of burgers to different temperatures can be a bit tricky – though not impossible. And when you master medium-rare through well-done burgers, you’re the hero of the grill. Real Simple looped in ButcherBox meat expert and former butcher, Nathan Burk, for some professional burger advice.

“Using an instant-read thermometer is the best gauge of doneness,” Burk says. “If you don't have a good digital instant-read thermometer, go get one now. There is no need to be worried about over-cooking your burger or steak again. A thermometer will help you cook with confidence every time. I travel with mine. No joke. As a meat professional, I never know when I might be asked to throw down on the grill.”

How Long to Grill Hamburgers for Medium-Rare

Medium-rare is the lowest temperature you’ll want to cook your burger to. You’ll want the internal temperature to be about 125-130 degrees. “A good rule of thumb for a 6-ounce burger is to cook it for about 4 minutes per side for medium-rare,” says Burk. One flip is good enough. “Although you might be tempted to do so, the less you flip them, the more they retain their juiciness and flavor,” Burk adds. “Remember that your burger will keep cooking once you pull it off the grill, so, pull it about 5 degrees lower than your finish target temperature. For medium-rare, pull the burgers at 125-130 degrees.”

How Long to Grill Hamburgers for Medium

Add a minute on one side for medium burgers, flipping at 4 minutes for the first side, and removing from the grill after 5 minutes, for a total cook time of 9 minutes. Remember, your grill should be pre-heated before you even add the meat, so it’s cooking at a similar temperature the entire time. Medium burgers are cooked to about 140-145 degrees, so you can check the temperature at about minute 8 to ensure you’re cooking at the right heat and rate.

How Long to Grill Hamburgers for Medium-Well

Medium-well burgers have absolutely no pink in them, and should be cooked for about 10 minutes. Flip once at the five minute mark. 

How Long to Grill Hamburgers for Well-Done

Well-done burgers may be deceivingly simple, but you’ll want to pull them before they reach 160 degrees and potentially dry out. Well-done 6-ounce burgers need 10+ minutes on the grill, and should rest for a bit before going on a bun. Remember, all cook times vary with the thickness, weight, and size of your burger, so, just like pancakes, feel free to test a burger before throwing a whole batch on. You can also lower the heat if you feel like your burgers are becoming too seared on the outside, while not cooking internally. Creating a uniformly thick burger, about ½-inch, will help.

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