The One Thing You Should Never Do to Your Hamburgers

Updated: Apr. 07, 2021

Before you put salt IN your hamburger mix, give this a read!


The best hamburgers are flavorful and juicy—whether you grill ’em, broil ’em, or sear ’em in a skillet. But adding salt to the hamburger mix, even a small amount, will cause the meat to form a texture similar to sausage. (That’s no bueno for burgers.) Here’s why:

The odd relationship between salt and burgers

Salt is especially good at dissolving protein, so when it’s mixed in with the meat and other seasonings, it will break down the hamburger before the patty even hits the grill. Test Kitchen expert James Schend painted a picture of what happens when you salt in advance: “What you end up with is a very tightly compacted patty whose texture is similar to sausage. Think about when you bite into a sausage—that firm, almost rubbery texture is perfect for links, but is that the texture you want in your burger?” Be sure to check out these 20 amazing burger recipes while you’re at it.

Yikes! The most perfectly cooked burgers should be moist and tender, definitely not rubbery. That’s not to say you should skip the salt altogether, though. Form the burgers and add salt right before putting ’em on the heat. (Schend suggests using Kosher salt because the larger crystals will help you see how much you’ve added and prevent over-salting.) Don’t miss 8 more mistakes we’re all making with our hamburgers!

Taste of Home
Originally Published on Taste of Home