What is a Burger Press?

Michael Pollick
Michael Pollick

One of the messier kitchen prep chores involves turning a cold pile of raw ground beef into finished hamburgers ready for the grill or pan. As the meat and fat accumulates on your hands, it becomes increasingly difficult to produce uniform patties of roughly similar weight and thickness. Fortunately, there is a kitchen gadget called a burger press which can take much of the labor and mess out of creating uniform hamburger patties. A burger press may simply consist of a well-oiled metal ring or it could be a very elaborate pressing and stacking machine.

A burger press is used to make uniform burger patties.
A burger press is used to make uniform burger patties.

The press allows a cook to measure out raw hamburger meat and place it inside a standardized ring to create a uniform set of burger patties. A hamburger or other ground meat patty usually cooks more evenly when it is of a uniform thickness. A hand-pressed hamburger patty can become much thicker in the middle than the edges, which often results in a well-done burger with a raw center. By using a press, all of the meat's surface comes into contact with the heat source.

A double hamburger press can make two patties at a time.
A double hamburger press can make two patties at a time.

The simplest form of burger press could still involve some hands-on contact as the beef is pressed against the sides of a well-oiled metal or plastic ring. Pressing rings can be purchased in various sizes, such as quarter pound, third pound and half pound. A more elaborate burger press may allow the user to drop rounded balls of ground beef into oiled chambers and use a hinged press to mold them into uniform patties. Pre-cut squares of butcher or patty paper can be placed between patties to keep them separated after pressing.

There is also another kitchen aid which may be described as a burger press, but its function has more to do with cooking than preparation. As anyone who has cooked a hamburger at home can attest, it often takes a significant amount of time for a burger to reach a state of doneness. Restaurants usually don't have the luxury of time, so they often use specialized equipment to speed up the cooking process of popular items. One piece of equipment is called a grill or burger press.

Much like a bacon press, a grill or burger press is usually made from cast iron or other heavy metal. The flat end of the burger press is laid on top of the hamburger patty as it cooks on a heated grill. The weight of the press does force some of the excess fat out of the meat, but it also keeps more of the patty's surface in contact with the heat. The press also provides insulation to force heat back into the patty, so the burger cooks faster. This is how a restaurant can serve a well-done hamburger in half the time of a similar burger cooked at home.

Michael Pollick
Michael Pollick

A regular wiseGEEK contributor, Michael enjoys doing research in order to satisfy his wide-ranging curiosity about a variety of arcane topics. Before becoming a professional writer, Michael worked as an English tutor, poet, voice-over artist, and DJ.

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Discussion Comments


@SarahGen-- There is an easy way to make sure that the patties do not stick to the burger press. Just put a sheet of wax paper on both sides of the press before placing the ground beef.

I do this every time. This is also a great way to prepare hamburger patties and freeze them (with the wax paper) so that they're easy to remove and grill later.


@fboyle-- The hamburger press is a life saver for people who make hamburgers often. Just make sure to get one with an in-built spring that ejects the hamburgers after pressing them or it can be difficult to remove the patties from the press. There are lots of options online and you can also read customer reviews to get an idea of which works best.

I've been using a hamburger press for the past couple of years. To make things easier. The one I have was not cheap, but I think it's a good investment because it gets used a lot.


I desperately need one of these! I love hamburgers but I can never make them all the same size and shape. My family members laugh at my hamburger patties. It's very difficult to deal with soft ground meat.

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