How to Make the Perfect Veggie Burger

Veggie burger tips and tricks: how to fix crumbly veggie patties and more

black bean burger with mashed avocado, caramelized onions and tomatoes
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Homemade veggie burgers are fun to make and there are many great recipes to explore. And, while store-bought veggie burgers are convenient and generally taste good, they are pricey, so making them at home can definitely save money. However, many people find that their veggie burgers fall apart in the pan or on the grill. There are a few simple solutions that can ensure your homemade veggie burgers are absolutely perfect.

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Check Your Recipe

Veggie burgers need a binder to hold them together. Think of it as the glue that makes the patty's ingredients stick. Check to make sure that the recipe you use has a binder included in the ingredients list.

Eggs are the most common and effective binder, and egg replacers are an excellent alternative for vegan burgers. Other common binders include wheat germ, bread crumbs, oats, and ground flaxseeds. These are dry ingredients, though the recipe's other ingredients often add just enough moisture to make a sufficient binder.

Choose Your Bean

Though not essential, beans are common in veggie burgers because they're a great source of protein. You can use just about any kind of bean or legume to make a veggie burger but some work out better than others. Kidney beans, soy beans, and lentils work well and black bean burgers are quite popular. If you're adding spices, you can also go with pinto beans or even white beans, which have a more neutral flavor.

Remove Water

Another trick to successful veggie burgers is to make sure your ingredients are free of extra water. Drain and dry your beans or other ingredients thoroughly before mashing. You can even gently pat them dry with a kitchen cloth or paper towel. You'll also want to drain and press tofu and drain rehydrated TVP (texturized vegetable protein) very well so it's easier to form patties. Generally, you're looking for a sticky consistency that is not too wet or too dry.

Make Thick Patties

The thickness of your patties can make a difference as well. Very thin patties may fall apart during cooking, so try to form patties that are about 1-inch thick. Don't go too big, though, or your burgers may not cook evenly.

Grilling Tips

Veggie burgers are much lower in fat and don't have the same natural juices found in beef burgers. For this reason, it's essential that you oil your grill before lighting it to prevent veggie burgers from sticking. Start off by cleaning your grill to scrape off any bits and pieces left behind from your last cookout. Then, take a paper towel dipped in oil and rub it thoroughly across the grates. Alternatively, spray your grill with a non-stick cooking spray.

If you don't want the hassle of grilling, but enjoy the taste of grilled veggie burgers, add a dash or two of liquid smoke into the mix. You can also try using a small indoor kitchen grill.

Bake It

Grilling is not always practical and many recipes suggest frying veggie burgers in a pan with oil. This is convenient during colder months of the year or when your cookout is rained out. There is a chance, though, that your patties will crumble in the pan. If you want to avoid this possibility completely, bake them instead. Simply set your oven to 350 F, and bake for about 8 to 10 minutes.