How to Shape a Hamburger Patty (3 Easy Methods)

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Are you making homemade burgers, but you are unsure how to get them into the perfect burger shape? You’ve come to the right place! 

In this TheGrillingDad.com guide, we will cover:

  • How to shape a hamburger patty
  • Tips for making your own hamburgers
  • And much more!
a cheecburger on a cutting board

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What You Need to Know About Shaping Hamburger Patties

Many people think that making burgers at home is some sort of elusive feat, but the reality is it is quite easy to do as long as you know how to shape your own hamburger patties. There are actually several tools you can use.

To shape hamburger patties, you can use either the lid from a jar or a hamburger press. Either one will give you amazing, hamburger-shaped patties with a quick press. 

You can also just use what we call the “smash” method, where you form a ball of meat and press it down on the grill with a flat spatula. 

No matter which method you want to learn more about, read on to learn how we shape the best hamburger patties. 

Related >> How To Grill Frozen Burgers

Supplies Needed to Shape a Hamburger Patty

You won’t need all of these supplies unless you truly intend to try all three methods we listed above. Look through the list and see what you have on hand to help you decide which method to use! 

  • A hamburger press
  • Parchment paper
  • A jar lid
  • Plastic wrap
  • A flat spatula
  • Ground beef
  • Any desired spices or fillings

Have a few of these things on hand? Great! Let’s take a look at the first method.

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01/28/2023 03:03 am GMT

Method 1: A Hamburger Press

Using a hamburger press is the official way to shape a hamburger patty perfectly at home. It’s easy to use, and typically they don’t cost too much to add one to your kitchen appliance collection. 

Step 1: Roll the Meat

Unpack the meat into a mixing bowl and mix it with your desired spices or fillings. Then, form into balls that are about the same shape. 

Step 2: Prepare the Hamburger Press

Take the hamburger press and place parchment paper over the side the burger will end up on. 

Step 3: Place the Meat

Put a ball of meat in the hamburger press and press down until you can’t anymore.

Step 4: Set Aside and Repeat

Set the first burger aside and repeat with the remaining balls.

Pretty easy, right? Don’t worry if you don’t have a hamburger press, however, because there are still two more methods you can use! 

We’ve got an entire guide on using a hamburger press if you’d like to read more.

Method 2: A Jar Lid

The jar lid method is one of our favorites because you can truly use any size lid. This means you can use a peanut butter jar lid for your regular burgers and a mason jar lid to make mini burgers for sliders–the options are endless! Here’s how you do it. 

Step 1: Prep the Lid

Wash the lid if it recently came off a jar, dry it, then place plastic wrap over it. 

Step 2: Prepare the Meat

Place the ground beef in a bowl and mix in any spices or fillings you want. Roll the ground beef into similar size balls.

Step 3: Shape the Meat

Place one ball of meat inside the lid and cover it with plastic wrap. Press the meat down with your hand until it fills the lid.

Step 4: Remove and Repeat

Remove the plastic-wrapped burger and repeat with the rest of the meatballs. Before you know it, you’ll have a bunch of perfectly shaped and plastic-wrapped fresh burgers. 

Method 3: Spatula Smashing

The spatula smashing method is the least favorite of all of our methods as it is difficult to get the patties the same size. But it does work to shape a patty and can work great for making them last minute on the grill. Here are the steps you need to follow. 

Step 1: Prepare the Meat

Dump the ground beef in a bowl and mix it with spices and whatever mix-ins you desire. Roll the meat into similar-sized balls. 

Step 2: Preheat the Grill

Preheat your grill or griddle to the temperature you want to cook the meat at. 

Step 3: Place the Balls on the Grill

Place the balls on the grill one by one and flatten them with the back end of the spatula. Don’t press down too hard, just enough to make it flat and the thickness you want it. 

Step 4: Wait and Flip

Wait one minute before you flip the burgers. After you flip them, continue cooking them as you normally would. 

No matter which method you choose, these will all yield amazing burgers. So next time you have a hankering for a hamburger, buy your own meat and give making your own burgers a try.

Tips for Shaping Burger Patties

Below are our best tips for shaping the perfect hamburger patties. 

Tip 1: Don’t Rush

Preparing the perfectly shaped hamburger patties takes time. If you are planning to make burgers for a large crowd, don’t be afraid to make them a few hours in advance before everyone shows up. Then just pop them in the fridge until they are ready to cook. 

Tip 2: Don’t Forget to Season

While hamburger meat can be flavorful on its own, the whole point of making your own burgers is making them to your taste. Don’t be afraid to experiment a little, adding your favorite seasonings into the mix. If you can’t decide, even just salt and pepper will do nicely. 

Tip 3: Use Fattier Meat

While leaner meat is healthier, hamburger patties need a bit of meat to help them adhere as they cook. We recommend using 70%-80% lean meat to ensure there is at least a little grease to melt as the burger cooks. 

Tip 4: Don’t Over-Press the Meat

The number one thing you don’t want to do with hamburger meat is to overwork it. Rolling it into a simple ball and pressing it once with your chosen method is plenty. Even if it doesn’t turn out perfect, it’s best to continue cooking it as is rather than try to reshape it multiple times. 

And if you have a burger that just doesn’t fit your requirements, then we recommend still cooking it and making it a treat for your dog. 

If you’re ready to press them and put this guide into practice, make sure to read our complete guide on the internal temperature of hamburgers.

Hope Davis

Hope Davis

Born in Denver, Colorado as the oldest of 5 children, I learned at a young age that the grill was one of the best ways to prepare food for a crowd. And during the winter storm months, when the snow was likely to knock out the power to our house, the propane grill was a lifesaver! You wouldn’t believe the number of things you can cook on a grill when necessary. With parents who couldn’t tell salt from pepper unless you told them, I spent my late teen years making my own seasoning mixes and marinades to dress the meat before barbecues. It wasn’t long before I developed a secret marinade that people still beg me to make for them today! When I was 21 years old I bought my first smoker. Picked up some cedar chips for making a cedar plank salmon...and well, the rest they say is history! I’ve been grilling and smoking all kinds of creations ever since and I’m always excited to share my passion with others through my favorite medium--writing!

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