How to Make Veggie Burgers

Learn how to make veggie burgers and explore exciting cooking methods.

| June 2014

  • The instructions on how to make veggie burgers are clear and concise and offer alternative cooking methods for all tastes.
    Photo courtesy The Experiment
  • "Veggie Burgers Every Which Way" from Lukas Volger offers thirty veggie burger recipes, including many vegan and gluten-free varieties.
    Cover courtesy The Experiment

Veggie Burgers Every Which Way (The Experiment LLC, 2011) is the perfect alternative to the rubbery, over-processed frozen burgers found at the supermarket. Author Lukas Volger offers more than thirty unique and delicious veggie burger recipes, more than half of which are vegan and/or gluten-free. This excerpt from “Veggie Burger Basics” gives helpful tips on how to make veggie burgers, from shaping to baking.

Shaping Veggie Burgers

I prefer my veggie burgers to be moderate in size: about 4 inches in diameter and 3/4 inch thick. If you shape the burgers any larger, you run the risk of having them fall apart when you flip them. If they’re any smaller, they’ll seem like an after thought to the hamburger bun.

Veggie burger “sliders” are also a fun variation. Simply shape rounded tablespoons of the mixture into small patties and then sauté. See note below regarding cooking time and cooking method.

Cooking Methods for Veggie Burgers

I’ve been cooking veggie burgers for a long time—for years before I began to work on this book. And I cooked them in many different ways over the years: in a sauté pan, in the oven, on the barbecue, and [gulp] occasionally in the microwave. As I began to develop the recipes that appear in this book, I experimented with many different ways of cooking veggie burgers. Based on all of my past experience and then my more recent experimenting, I’ve settled on what I believe to be the one almost universally fail-safe method.

• Best Veggie Burger Cooking Method: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. In an oven-safe skillet or nonstick sauté pan, heat oil over medium-high heat. When hot, add the burgers and brown, turning once, for 6 to 10 minutes total. Transfer the pan to the oven and bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until the burgers are firm and cooked through. If cooking a larger quantity than will fit in your skillet, brown the burgers in batches and then transfer them to a baking sheet or roasting pan before going into the oven.

This combination of first “searing” the burgers and then finishing in the oven is the same method that restaurants use on cuts of meat. I realize it’s a fairly nontraditional approach to veggie burgers. I repeatedly found that when the size of burgers I wanted to cook were cooked only in a sauté pan, they weren’t fully cooked in the center, forcing me to either overcook the exterior or add more bread crumbs than I’d like so as to dry out the mixture. Just baking the burgers is fine, but in my opinion the absence of a crisp, “charred” exterior is far too much of a compromise. My method resolves this issue and offers the best of both worlds: a crispy exterior and fully cooked interior. It also facilitates a slightly wetter mixture—which means that fewer bread crumbs are needed— because the burgers will dry out a bit and firm up in the oven. Most of the recipes included here use this method, but if you’re not persuaded by my advocacy of the method and prefer alternate methods, I offer the guidelines below.

7/30/2014 11:26:03 AM

Seriously? Burgers? I tried making this recipe and it was so soupy and loose I couldn't even begin to make them hold their shape. I even tried to use a burger press to get excess moisture out of it, but it made no difference. I finally gave up and cooked the first couple of attempts loose in the pan and threw the rest away.

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