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How to Grill Frozen Burgers for Last-Minute Barbecues and Backyard Dinners

You stocked your freezer with frozen burger patties for that backyard party—they’re inexpensive, convenient and tasty, plus who wants to deal with ground beef when there’s burrata salad to assemble? And since you’re ahead of the curve, you’re going to plop them on the grill without thawing. Yep, you can totally do that: Grilling frozen burgers is as easy as preheating the grill, grabbing a spatula and flipping a few times. In all of 20 minutes, the patties will be ready to eat.

Need more guidance? Here’s how to grill frozen burgers step-by-step.

How to Grill Frozen Burgers in 3 Easy Steps:

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Step 1: Preheat The Grill

Before anything, you’ll need to make sure your grill is ready to go. And regardless of whether you’re using a gas or charcoal grill, that means hot, clean grates and a temperature of 350°F. You don’t want the grill too hot, or the burgers will burn before their insides are done. Similarly, a grill that’s too cold will require cooking the burgers for ages, drying them out.

In terms of cleanliness, those grates should be scraped of any leftover gunk or char from your last burger sesh. This is easy to do with a stiff grill brush, and even easier if you allow the grill to preheat first.

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Step 2: Arrange The Burger Patties On The Grill

If the burger patties are stuck together, separate them. (A small, stiff spatula can help.) If they’re separated by wax paper, remove and discard that. Wash your hands, then head for the grill with patties, a clean plate and a metal spatula in tow.

Arrange the burger patties on the grill grate with about two inches of space between each. Try not to crowd the grill, since this will only lower the temperature and prolong the whole process.

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Step 3: Cook The Burgers To 160°f

Cook the burgers for about five minutes on the first side, then use a metal spatula to flip them and cook on the other side. After the first flip is a good time to add seasoning, since the meat will be less frozen and the seasoning will have a better chance of sticking to the surface. (For what it’s worth, we like seasoned salt.)

Cook the burgers until they reach 160°F on an instant-read thermometer. For standard frozen burgers, this will take about 15 to 20 minutes total, but the exact timing will depend on the thickness of the patties.

Transfer the cooked burgers to the clean plate, annnnnd you’re done. Time to toast some buns, then pile on the toppings and enjoy your meal.

Is It Safe to Grill Frozen Burgers?

Yep, it’s completely safe to grill burgers from their frozen state. According to the USDA, it’s safe to grill both meat and poultry from frozen as long as you cook it to the proper doneness—for ground beef, that’s 160°F. Keep in mind, though, that it will take about 50 percent longer to cook meat from frozen than thawed, so you’d probably save more time day-of by defrosting in the fridge overnight. Defrosting meat also ensures it will cook more evenly, but with thin burger patties, this isn’t a big issue. So if you forget the defrost, don’t sweat it.