In this in-depth guide, I will show you how to make the best medium-rare burger patties and how to test (and control) their doneness. These patties will be uber-juicy, packed with delicious meaty and caramelized flavors, and have a tender and rich texture.
What Is Medium-Rare?
Medium rare is, in my opinion, one of the best doneness levels of meat for beef alongside medium.
It describes meat that has been cooked to a very specific point where the outside is beautifully (and evenly) browned while the inside remains partially pink or red (uncooked).
This helps give the meat a tender finish with most of the juices still inside. It’s not a dry and bland piece of meat. But it’s also not raw. It won’t be tough from overcooking, but also not chewy from undercooking.
Again, it’s perfectly cooked and brings out the best flavors and textures of this red meat.
Another benefit of making your meat medium rare is the quick cooking time. That comes in especially handy when you are in a time pinch!
Ideal Internal Temperature For Medium-Rare Burger
Now, to test the doneness of your meat, in this case, burger patties, you can use a probe thermometer. This is truly the only accurate way to test doneness.
Because it can give you the precise temperature the meat is currently at. This will help indicate how much longer you need to cook the meat to reach medium rare. And it can also show you when you’ve accidentally overcooked the patties.
So, what temperature is medium rare burger patties internally?
If you used regular ground beef to shape the beef patties OR bought premade patties from the store, it is best to cook them until the internal temperature has reached 160-165˚F (71.1-73.8˚C). This isn’t necessarily a medium-rare burger patty, but the safest way to cook processed meat, according to the USDA.
However, here is the exception. If you made the patties at home and kept them in a clean and cold working environment at all times, and if you use them immediately and avoid any form of cross-contamination, you can cook them to 130-135˚F (54.4-57.2˚C).
Many people say the ideal internal temperature for a medium-rare hamburger is 145˚F (62.7˚C). I wouldn’t necessarily say that it is wrong, but it is slightly overcooked, in my opinion. It gives more of a medium-rare to medium doneness than simply medium-rare.
It’s best to experiment with your homemade patty recipe to get the exact temperature. But it should NEVER be lower than 130˚F (54.4˚C).
Is The Medium Rare Burger Temp Different From Medium-Rare Steaks?
No, it is not!
A medium-rare steak has an internal temperature of 130˚F (54.4˚C). As you can see, that’s the lowest internal temperature for medium-rare homemade patties.
So, you can generally use the cooking temperature guidelines for steaks as well.
How To Make A Perfect Medium-Rare Burger
Now, it’s all good and well knowing what the internal temperature of medium rare burgers should be. But if you cannot get it there, there’s no point to this piece of information.
There is a couple of things that will affect the cooking time. First, the amount of heat you are using. Secondly, the thickness and diameter of the patties. Third, the number of patties you are adding to the pan.
A higher heat will brown the outside of the patty quickly but not cook it on the inside. For burger patties, it’s best to use medium-high heat.
Secondly, a thicker patty will take longer to cook than a thin one. The diameter doesn’t make a massive difference unless the thickness increases as well.
And finally, if you overload the frying pan or grill, the patties won’t cook evenly, and they will take a little longer to get done.
Step By Step For Stovetop Cooking Medium-Rare Burgers
- First, bring your burger patties to room temperature. This helps them cook more evenly and reduces shrinkage.
- Preheat the frying pan or griddle over medium-high heat. You can add a little bit of olive oil or some butter. I also love adding some crushed garlic and rosemary.
- This step is optional and depends on the patty you have and your personal preference. Before cooking the patty, you can season it on both sides with salt, pepper, or a spice rub.
- Add the burger patty and leave it to cook for roughly 2 minutes on the first side. Don’t press the patty down when it’s cooking. Its surface should become golden brown.
- Flip the patty over with a spatula and leave it to cook on the other side for another 2-3 minutes.
- Test the internal temperature in the thickest area of the patty (within the center). It should reach 130-135˚F (54.4-57.2˚C). You can leave the patty longer if you want it medium or medium-well.
Internal Temperatures For Other Levels Of Doneness
Now that we know how to make medium-rare burgers, let’s briefly look at other degrees of doneness.
Naturally, you have to leave the patties on the heat for slightly longer. But again, your burger patties should always be at least 130˚F (54.4˚C). And, if they are store-bought, they should be cooked until they reach an internal temperature of 160-165˚F (71.1-73.8˚C).
So, for medium hamburger patties, the internal temperature will be between 145-150˚F (62.7-65.5˚C).
For medium well, your temp will be between 150-155˚F (65.5-68.3˚C). And, for well done, they can be between 160-165˚F (71.1-73.8˚C).
Internal Temperature For Other Types Of Meat Patties
If your hamburger patties are a different kind of meat, the internal temperatures will be different. And generally speaking, other meats cannot make a medium-rare burger. The risk of harmful bacteria is simply too high.
For ground poultry (chicken or turkey) burger patties, you can cook them until their internal temperature reaches at least 165˚F (73.8˚C). This takes about 10-15 minutes to achieve depending on the thickness of the patty.
If you are making ground pork patties, the same temperature range applies, between 160-165˚F (71.1-73.8˚C). Many people say 145˚F (62.7˚C) is fine, but I don’t like to take any chances when it comes to ground pork meat.