When I broil or grill my burgers, I end up with burgers that are round in the middle.

I grind my own beef blend and form my patties the same every time. When I cook my burgers in a pan I don't get the rounded burgers.

What makes the burgers rounded and smaller when broiling/grilling, but not with pan cooking?

  • 1
    I know this is a bit obvious, but when you fry them, do you squish them with the skillet at all as they're cooking?
    – Blorgbeard
    Commented Jul 9, 2010 at 20:07
  • 2
    FWIW: loose-packed burgers made with course-ground beef don't suffer from this problem - I suspect they're better able to shrink evenly as the fat renders out, where tightly-packed patties find the edge shrinking faster than the center.
    – Shog9
    Commented Jul 19, 2010 at 0:51

5 Answers 5


I'm not sure what causes the bowing to be more pronounced from one cooking method versus another, but the solution is to put a thumbprint indentation in the middle, creating a slight "donutted" shape. This will help to ensure you get the "patty" shape you want.


The difference is probably the level of heat being applied to the burgers. Pan frying is only heating one side and probably isn't as intense as the broil/grill method.

I always use a patty press when I make my burgers since it compacts them really well and helps them to be less round.


It's almost the same effect as frying Baloney (yeah, think back to college) - if you're using thin patties put little slits in three places and the bubbling effect will disappear.


Making an indentation works, but I prefer to poke a hole all the way through with my pinky finger. The hole disappears while cooking.


On top of using a patty press as Bryant suggested, freezing the patties first helps them hold their shape until they cooked enough to be self-supporting.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.