When grilling burgers I usually flip several times, but have recently been advised to cook forever on once side, flip once, cook and be done.

Is that the best way to do it?

How do you know when a burger is ready to flip?

6 Answers 6


I'm solidly in the flip as often as you want camp. As long as it's not over (or under) cooked I find that you get better results flipping often. Plus you can rearrange things to make more room as you flip.

To tell how cooked a burger is poke it with a finger or something else that's not too sharp; just like a steak the more cooked it is the more firm it will be. You just need to learn how "squishy" you like them.

Also, as fun as it is, don't press the whole burger into the grill! All that happens is that the delicious juices are forced out.

  • I believe the flip once advice is mainly for getting better grill marks on the burger (or steak), although there's also "less handling = less temptation to squish the burger".
    – Marti
    Dec 1, 2010 at 20:09

Harald McGee says flipping more often will help the meat inside the burger (or steak) to warm without burning the outside.


Multiple flipping: more even cooking, thin crust Flip once: uneven cooking, thick crust

(Note: by 'uneven' I mean that you will have a much wider range of doneness from crust at the outside to possibly raw in the middle; more crust=less unevenness)

So it's a matter of taste really. I personally prefer multiple flipping, in a pan and not on the grill.

  • I prefer even cooking as well, but my father-in-law likes to put his steaks on the grill from frozen, specifically to enhance the bullseye effect. To each his own? I guess that's a +1 for pointing out the different effects each method gives and that it's a matter of preference
    – Ray
    Jul 2, 2012 at 23:49

i feel flipping any thing on the grill once for best results juices stay in side place the burger or steak on the grill few minutes or so depending on temp turn it weight 3-5 minutes then flip it once better diamonds juicier steak or burger is


I'm in the flip-turn-flip camp to sear in the juices and for some sweet looking grill marks. FWIW, I used to be a high volume grill cook. After a while you can tell when it needs the flip or turn just by looking at it. It's also really weak to cut into the meat to check the temp since you'll lose all the juices.


I prefer "flip once". Assuming you've got the heat right...

  • put them on the grill or pan
  • as soon as they're all on the heat, give each one a little nudge to make sure it's not stuck
  • finish messing with condiments or have a beer or something else for 3-5 minutes
  • flip the burgers, and give them the same "unsticking" nudge as before and wait another 3-5 minutes
  • get the buns toasted
  • serve and eat

I think the meat done-ness method I heard was to compare it to each of your "earlobe" (rare), "cheek", "side of nose", and "tip of nose" (well or medium well), going from least to most done. The more firm the meat is, the more done it is.

or you can do what my mother does, and get out a knife and cut into one of the burgers and see how pink it is on the inside.

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