Pan Seared Burgers

Pan Seared Burger

My niece recently moved into her own apartment and has bravely and wisely decided to do her own cooking. Despite having a very talented chef as her father, she never really learned the basics so I promised I would post some simple stuff for her. I think she will be pleasantly surprised by how capable a cook she can be.

 It’s hard to beat a good, home cooked burger. Use the best quality ground beef and buns you can find and you’ll still spend less than you would at a restaurant. Well, maybe not a fast food restaurant but those burgers aren’t even in the same category. This recipe is consistent with how I remember my mom seasoning her burgers and it always brings compliments. I know there are plenty of purists out there who believe salt and pepper are all you need. To each their own. I like this version. I also really love using my cast iron skillet to get a good sear on the burgers for the added flavor and texture.

This is my family waiting for their burgers. Bob looks pretty excited and can’t keep his eyes off the pan, Hailey is posing in her sequin top (she will wear sequins anytime, anywhere), Ella’s going for ultimate comfort with the neck pillow, and Scooter is wondering why the hell no one will throw his damn ball. I’m wondering why the hell they are just sitting there and not setting the damn table.

pan seared burgers

Pan Seared Burgers

(Makes 4 burgers. If you are cooking for one or two, freeze the extra patties.)

1 lb ground beef

1/2 tsp kosher salt

1/4 tsp garlic powder

1/4 tsp onion powder

1/4 tsp black pepper

2 tsp Worcestershire sauce

sliced cheese, onions, pickles, tomatoes (optional)

Gather ingredients.


Preheat your cast iron skillet over medium-high heat until it’s hot enough to rapidly sizzle and evaporate a drop of water. If you don’t have cast iron, a heavy bottomed, hard anodized or stainless steel saute pan should work. A nonstick pan will never give a good sear.  I’m using a 12-inch skillet and it fits four patties without crowding them. If you have a smaller pan you may have to cook two rounds.


Add seasonings and work them into the ground beef using the tips of your fingers quickly and with a light touch to avoid overmixing which can lead to tougher meat.

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Divide meal into four round balls and press them into discs. I like them on the flatter side to maximize caramelization and even cooking. Plus they fit on the bun better.


Place patties in the hot pan. They should sizzle right away. Cook on medium-high heat 3 – 5 minutes per side depending on how well done you like your burger.

pan seared burgers

They should look like this – a different pan may not yield this level of caramelization but you’ll still have a tasty burger. If you are adding cheese, put it on after the first flip and allow it to melt.

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Load it up… You know the rest.

pan seared burgers