There is nothing wrong with baking frozen burger patties in the oven. Although putting frozen hamburger meat in the oven increases the cooking time, it is still a quicker option than properly defrosting the patties first.
However, rather than bake frozen hamburger patties, there are shortcut defrosting methods that are faster than this if you're pressed for time.
Regardless of exactly how you cook hamburger in the oven, it's important to thoroughly cook the ground beef to kill any bacteria, such as E. coli or salmonella, that cause food-borne illnesses, according to Mayo Clinic.
Cook Burgers in the Oven
Step 1: Preheat the Oven
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Step 2: Prep the Patties
Place the frozen hamburger patties on a lightly greased oven tray. Cover the tray loosely with aluminum foil. Put the tray in the middle of the center oven rack.
Step 3: Bake the Burgers
Cook hamburger in the oven for about an hour. Cooking time varies significantly depending on the density and thickness of the patties, as well as differences among individual ovens.
Step 4: Check the Temperature
Remove the tray using an oven mitt. Uncover the tray and insert the tip of a meat thermometer into the center of the thickest patty, making sure not to press through to the cooking tray.
Determine whether the meat has reached 160 F, the point at which it is considered safe to eat, according to the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service. Do not rely on textural or visual inspection, as both can be misleading.
Step 5: Cook to Desired Doneness
Return the hamburgers to the oven if they have not yet reached 160 F, or if you prefer them more well-done.
Thawing and Food Safety Tips
The best way to defrost frozen hamburger patties is to store them in the refrigerator at 40 F for a few hours. According to the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service, food thawed using this method is safe to store for another day or two before cooking.
A shortcut is to put the frozen ground beef in a water-tight plastic bag and keep it under a constant stream of cold running water, or changing cold water in a bowl every 30 minutes, until thawed. Turn the meat over frequently. Cook any meat defrosted in this manner right away.
Thawing in the microwave for several minutes works, but it can negatively affect the quality of the final product. A microwave often begins to cook the outside of the patties before the inside is fully thawed, and it can contribute to a rubbery texture in the cooked hamburgers.
Make It Healthier
Hamburger meat can be high in total fat and saturated fat — the "bad" type that can increase risk of heart disease, according to the American Heart Association.
A 3 ounce burger made with 80 percent lean hamburger meat has 15.1 grams of total fat and 5.75 grams of saturated fat, according to the USDA.
Swapping in ground beef that is 93 percent lean cuts total fat content to 7.6 grams with 3.13 grams of saturated fat for the same sized serving.
Things You'll Need
- Mayo Clinic: "Salmonella Infection"
- USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service: "Safe Minimum Internal Temperature Chart"
- USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service: "The Big Thaw — Safe Defrosting Methods — for Consumers"
- American Heart Association: "The Skinny on Fats"
- USDA: "Beef, Ground, 80% Lean Meat/20% Fat, Patty, Cooked, Broiled"
- USDA: "Beef, Ground, 93% Lean Meat/7% Fat, Patty, Cooked, Broiled"