Burgers: How can I keep burgers from plumping in the center?

Whenever I demonstrate one of my burger recipes, someone asks if there is a way to keep burgers from plumping in the center and becoming smaller in diameter as they cook.

My favorite trick to solve this problem is to create an indentation in the center when I shape the burgers and to make them a bit bigger than the bun so that when they do what comes naturally, they turn out the size and shape I want.

2 Responses to Burgers: How can I keep burgers from plumping in the center?

  1. Fred Marks says:


    I have been shaping my hamburgers like this for about 40 years. The method dawned on me when I saw my wife’s aunt shape her biscuits then press her knuckle in the center. After I saw her make biscuits a couple of time I realized that they where always flat. Shortly after that I was forming some hamburgers and the light bulb when on. The rest is history. Over the years whenever the subject of Julia’s biscuits comes up someone will say she always pressed her knuckle in the center but no one knows why because she would never tell anyone. I have always kept her secret until recently. Now when the question is asked I say, “I know why”, then I pass the secret on. You should see the looks I get.

  2. Susan Shonk says:

    I actually put a small hole through the middle of my burgers with my “pinkie” and that works great too.

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