No More Frozen Burger Patties

Written By: Sofia Layarda, MPH

Title: Master of Public Health

Alumni: University of California, Berkeley

Last Updated on:

Healthy Burger

One of the most ubiquitous items on our nation’s collective plate has got to be the hamburger. Now that everyone’s grill is out of hibernation and ready for the summer season, we thought it would be timely to test out a homemade beef patty against a frozen pre-made one. Fire up the grill

Schneiders Beef Burger

Homemade Healthy Burger

Check out the following table for the comparison between a boxed and our homemade version:

Beef Burgers


2 patties (116 g raw)

Healthy Burgers

(made with lean ground beef, spices, and bulgur)

Serving Size:
2 patties (116 g raw) 1 patty (120 g raw)
320 kcal 170 kcal
16 g 19 g
26 g 4.2 g
4 g 14 g
0 g 3.5 g
Trans Fat:
0.8 g N/A
680 mg 137 mg
12% DV 14% DV
Preparation time:
15 minutes (5 mins preheating grill + 10 mins cooking) 31 minutes (5 mins preheating grill + 15 mins prep + 11 mins cooking)
Price per serving:
$1.25 $0.65

How Did the Two Stack Up?

The frozen pre-made burger patties were quite small and thin (weighing only about 60 g each), so realistically an adult (especially a burger lover!) would need two of these to feel satisfied. As you can see, at about half the price, we were able to produce patties that were pretty much comparable in weight. Better yet, our burger patties cut the calories in half, mostly because of the addition of bulgur, which dramatically lowers fat and adds fiber as a bonus. Our version also has much lower sodium and is absolutely trans fat free.

The Bottom Line

Burger “purists” may be quick to dismiss our version, which uses some whole grain bulgur to extend the volume, but consider this: without sacrificing taste, it helps you use less meat, which in this day and age will help you get extra mileage out of your grocery budget. Tasters described the burgers as beefy, hearty, and moist. If you cannot find bulgur at the store, you can substitute cooked cracked wheat, whole wheat couscous, or steel-cut oats.

Our Beef Burger Recipe:

The original recipe is courtesy of Food Matters by Mark Bittman. The original calls for the addition of 1 lb of fresh spinach, which was not included in ours. If you would like to try the version with spinach but are unsure how your hard-core meat lovers will react, use one-third to one-half that amount.


  • 1 tbs vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp salt1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, choppedpinch cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp ground cumin (or 1 tbs chili powder)
  • Black pepper
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups soaked and drained bulgur (~ 1 cup dry)


Pre-heat the grill. While you wait, in a large bowl, combine the ground meat, onion, garlic, spices, and salt and pepper. Thoroughly mix using a rubber spatula or your hands, then add in the egg and bulgur (or any other cooked grains of your choice). Mix well and, using your hands, form into patties (you should have 8 or 9 patties). Brush the patties with a thin coat of oil before throwing them on the grill.

Grill on medium high, turning once or twice during cooking to ensure the patties cook evenly. If you are new to this, turn the patties over only when the first side is no longer sticking to the grill (which, depending on your heat, will be about 5 minutes or so). A patty should take about 15 to 20 minutes to cook.

 Our test kitchen produced 8 1/2 patties weighing 120 g each. 


Cooking, Lifestyle

bbq, burgers, grilling, home cooking, men's nutrition, no more packaged foods, recipes


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