Brown Butter Burgers
I’m always on the hunt to find relatively simple ways to boost the flavor in a standard burger. My favorite technique for quick burger making is to smash the burger and while I’m not normally a fan of mixing things into the ground beef, this Brown Butter Burger is kind of a big deal.
When I served these to my family, my wife asked if there was blue cheese in them. Kind of a weird question, but it totally makes sense. Even though the burgers look simple, they are super juicy and have a nutty flavor from the butter in the burger that isn’t far off from a melted blue cheese.
For some reason ground beef tends to be sold lean these days and I just hate lean beef for burgers so I’m always a fan of adding some fat to it which will make it much juicier. Making brown butter is something you should probably know how to do anyway if you are learning how to cook (it’s crucial during holiday baking season), but adding it to savory things is a solid idea also.
These brown butter burgers are special, but not especially hard. Just be sure to pay attention to how you cook them. They can cause some serious flare-ups on a grill if you aren’t careful!
- Updated March 5, 2019 to add new images and spiffy up the directions!
1) In make brown butter, in a medium pot add butter over medium heat and cook until melted. Turn heat down to low.
2) Cook, and whisk occasionally, until milk fats seperate out and slightly burn on the bottom of the pan. Little brown specks will appear and it will smell very nutty. This should take around 10 minutes, but keep a close eye on it and swirl it frequently to check the color at the bottom.
3) Remove from heat when the brown butter smells really nutty. Strain off most of the solids and add the liquid to a small mixing bowl. Stick the small mixing bowl in a larger bowl with some ice water. Stir to quickly cool and set the brown butter.
4) Use your hands to mix chilled brown butter mixture into ground beef. It should be in pea-sized chunks. Then form 6 6-oz. burgers with the mixture and season them really well with salt and pepper.
5) To cook the burgers, cook them over medium-high heat in a cast iron skillet for 4-5 minutes per side to form a nice crust on both sides. With a few minutes left, you can add some cheese to the burgers and cover them to melt the cheese.
To grill burgers, cook burgers over direct medium-high heat for 4-5 minutes per side. NOTE: Because these have a lot of fat in them, you’ll have a lot of flare-ups as you grill them so be sure to keep a squirt bottle handy with some water in it to kill any flare ups!
Serve burgers on toasted buns with lettuce and onions and any other condiments you want.
What is a Butter Burger?
Unless you are getting your beef ground for you, it’s probably the case that you will find 90/10 ground beef or sometimes even leaner ground beef. This is fine for some dishes, but a good burger needs fat in it to stay juicy.
Some butter burger recipes will cook the burger in butter, which is delicious for sure, but I like to take it a step further with my butter burger version and actually mix the butter into the beef, increasing the fat content of the beef and making a super juicy finished burger.
To take it even a step further, I brown my butter first which gives it a really nutty delicious flavor. Optional step, but worth the little extra work in my opinion!
How to Make Brown Butter
Okay. Let’s start by making some brown butter! This really isn’t hard, but it can go wrong if you rush the process or don’t pay attention to it. I like to use a smaller pot for mine and start with a stick of unsalted butter (1/2 cup). Melt it and then turn the heat down to low.
As the butter simmers, it will start to foam and the solids in the butter will fall to the bottom and start to turn brown. It’ll be kind of hard to see what’s going on because of the butter foam so swirl the pan regularly so you can see down to the bottom.
Over low heat, this will take 8-10 minutes to get to the right state where the solids on the bottom turn a caramel brown color and the butter will start to smell very nutty.
Pull it off the heat at this point and pour off the butter, leaving most of the solids behind.
What you cannot do is mix this hot brown butter into ground beef. Bad idea.
Instead, pour the butter into a mixing bowl and place it in a larger mixing bowl with ice water. The ice bath will rapidly cool the butter down and make it a solid again. Now we have solid brown butter!
How to Make the Brown Butter Burgers
This solidified brown butter you CAN add to ground beef. I recommend mixing about 2 tablespoons of it per pound of ground beef. You want it in pea-sized pieces in the ground beef. Don’t mix it into oblivion. Chunks are fine.
Then make big six ounce burgers out of the mixture and season them well with salt and pepper. I recommend adding a little divot to the center so the burger cooks evenly and you don’t even up with football burgers.
Honestly the easiest way to cook this burger is with a cast iron skillet because obviously that butter is going to render out a bit as the burger cooks. A lot of it stays in the burger, but you do lose some. A cast iron skillet handles this well and sears the burger nicely on both sides.
4-5 minutes per side will do the trick.
You can cheese these guys also. I like a nice sharp cheddar on these brown butter burgers.
Want to grill the Butter Burgers?
You absolutely can. While you want to grill them over high heat, they will drip a lot of fat so keep a squirt bottle ready with some water in it to kill any flare-ups otherwise you’ll start a grease fire! But yes. They work fine on the grill also!
Serve them up on some toasted buns with lettuce, onion, and any other condiments you want. The butter burgers look unassuming but have an amazingly rich flavor and are really juicy.
You wanted to learn to make brown butter anyway RIGHT?!
Here are a few other favorite burger recipes!