I’m always on the hunt to find relatively simple ways to boost the flavor in a standard burger. My favorite technique for quick burger making is to smash the burger and while I’m not normally a fan of mixing things into the ground beef, this Brown Butter Burger is kind of a big deal.
When I served these to my family, my wife asked if there was blue cheese in them. Kind of a weird question, but it totally makes sense. Even though the burgers look simple, they are super juicy and have a nutty flavor from the butter in the burger that isn’t far off from blue cheese.
In any event, make these butter burgers and make your end of summer grilling as good as possible!
What is a Butter Burger?
For some reason, ground beef tends to be sold lean these days and I just hate lean beef for burgers so I’m always a fan of adding some fat to it which will make it much juicier (or making your own homemade burger mix).
Making brown butter is something you should probably know how to do anyway if you are learning how to cook (it’s crucial during the holiday baking season), but adding it to savory things is a solid idea also.
Unless you are getting your beef ground for you, it’s probably the case that you will find 90/10 ground beef or sometimes even leaner ground beef. This is fine for some dishes, but a good burger needs fat in it to stay juicy.
Some butter burger recipes will cook the burger in butter, which is delicious for sure, but I like to take it a step further with my butter burger version and actually mix the butter into the beef, increasing the fat content of the beef and making a super juicy finished burger.
These brown butter burgers are special, but not especially hard. Just be sure to pay attention to how you cook them. They can cause some serious flare-ups on a grill if you aren’t careful!
There are other butter burgers out there on the wide Internets, but browning the butter first gives it a really nutty delicious flavor. Optional step, but worth the little extra work in my opinion!
How to Make Brown Butter
Okay. Let’s start by making some brown butter! This really isn’t hard, but it can go wrong if you rush the process or don’t pay attention to it. I like to use a smaller pot for mine and start with a stick of unsalted butter (1/2 cup). Melt it and then turn the heat down to low. You could start with a full cup of butter if you wanted. Brown butter keeps fine in the fridge and you can probably find uses for it.
As the butter simmers, it will start to foam and the solids in the butter will fall to the bottom and start to turn brown. It’ll be kind of hard to see what’s going on because of the butter foam so swirl the pan regularly so you can see down to the bottom.
Over low heat, this will take 8-10 minutes to get to the right state where the solids on the bottom turn a caramel brown color and the butter will start to smell very nutty.
Pull it off the heat at this point and pour off the butter, leaving most of the solids behind.
What you cannot do is mix this hot brown butter into ground beef. Bad idea.
Instead, pour the butter into a mixing bowl and place it in a larger mixing bowl with ice water. The ice bath will rapidly cool the butter down and make it a solid again. Now we have solid brown butter! (Alternatively, you can stick it in the fridge for an hour, but that requires some planning.)
How to Make the Brown Butter Burgers
This solidified brown butter you CAN add to ground beef. I recommend mixing about 2 tablespoons of it per pound of ground beef. You want it in pea-sized pieces in the ground beef. Don’t mix it into oblivion. Chunks are fine.
Then make big 1/3-pound burgers out of the mixture and season them well with salt and pepper. I wouldn’t bother weighing them exactly, but the two pounds of beef plus the butter should give you 6 burgers. I recommend adding a little divot to the center so the burger cooks evenly and you don’t even up with football burgers.
Honestly, the easiest way to cook this burger is with a cast iron skillet because obviously that butter is going to render out a bit as the burger cooks. A lot of it stays in the burger, but you do lose some. A cast iron skillet handles this well and sears the burger nicely on both sides.
4-5 minutes per side will do the trick.
You can cheese these guys also. I always a fan of American cheese on burgers or a nice sharp cheddar works well on these also.
Can you grill the Butter Burgers?
You absolutely can. While you want to grill them over high heat, they will drip a lot of fat so keep a squirt bottle ready with some water in it to kill any flare-ups otherwise you’ll start a grease fire! But yes. They work fine on the grill also!
Serve them up on some toasted buns with lettuce, onion, and any other condiments you want. The butter burgers look unassuming but have an amazingly rich flavor and are really juicy.
You wanted to learn to make brown butter anyway RIGHT?!
- Need a great side dish for these burgers? Try this Gochujang Zucchini!
What to serve with butter burgers
These are rich burgers and so serving them with something light is my preference (although a good potato salad like this red bliss potato salad is nice as well).
Here are some other, lighter, serving ideas to go alongside these burgers!
Brown Butter Burgers
- 2 pounds ground beef, 90/10
- 4 tablespoons chilled brown butter
- Salt and pepper
- 6 slices American cheese
- 6 leaves green Lettuce
- Red onion, sliced thin
- 6 Brioche Buns, toasted
- To make brown butter, in a medium pot add butter over medium heat and cook until melted. Turn heat down to low.
- Cook, and whisk occasionally, until milk fats seperate out and slightly burn on the bottom of the pan. Little brown specks will appear and it will smell very nutty. This should take around 10 minutes, but keep a close eye on it and swirl it frequently to check the color at the bottom.
- Remove from heat when the brown butter smells really nutty. Strain off most of the solids and add the liquid to a small mixing bowl. Stick the small mixing bowl in a larger bowl with some ice water. Stir to quickly cool and set the brown butter.
- Use your hands to mix chilled brown butter mixture into ground beef. It should be in pea-sized chunks. Then form 6 1/3 pound sized burgers with the mixture and season them really well with salt and pepper.
- To cook the burgers, cook them over medium-high heat in a cast iron skillet for 4-5 minutes per side to form a nice crust on both sides. With a few minutes left, you can add some cheese to the burgers and cover them to melt the cheese.
- To grill burgers, cook burgers over direct medium-high heat for 4-5 minutes per side. NOTE: Because these have a lot of fat in them, you’ll have a lot of flare-ups as you grill them so be sure to keep a squirt bottle handy with some water in it to kill any flare ups!
- Serve burgers on toasted buns with lettuce and onions and any other condiments you want.