The Crucial Reason You Should Only Flip Your Burgers Once

Burgers can be thoroughly enjoyed at a fancy steak house, the nearest fast food chain, or your favorite bar, but sometimes the best burgers are the ones you enjoy in your own home. There, they can be truly made-to-order and crafted to perfection using whatever type of meat you prefer, seasoned however you like, and adorned with whichever toppings your heart desires.

Whether you grill, pan-fry, or even bake them, burgers are an easy go-to meal to cook for yourself. But unfortunately, there's a simple mistake many of us make when firing up a burger. We've all been there — maybe the outside isn't browned as much as you'd like, or you realize you flipped a little too early, or the darn thing is just taking a while to cook. So you flip and flip again. And maybe you even flip some more.

But if there's one important thing to keep in mind to ensure you cook a burger to its greatest potential, it's this: Only flip it once.

Why you should always stick to one flip

The essence of any good burger is its juiciness, so the last thing you want to do is lose that. And that's why the one-flip rule is so important — because the more you flip, the dryer the meat will become (via Bobby Flay). If you flip the burger several times, more juices will be released says Michael Pasquarello, owner of Kensington Quarters and KQ Burger in Philadelphia. The chef tells Food & Wine that a burger should be cooked about " 75% on one side" and then flipped until it's reached the desired temperature.

It's tempting to play around with the burger while it cooks, checking for doneness or pressing down to ensure it's making good contact — but resist the urge to poke, prod, and flip. The best thing you can do is let the burger do its thing. As long as you've followed some other burger best practices, you'll have nothing to worry about, and that one flip will get the job done perfectly.

Try these practices for a juicy burger

Over-flipping isn't the only common mistake we make when whipping up a home-cooked burger. There are a few simple tips to keep in mind that can help ensure you make the tastiest, juiciest burger possible — like how long should you actually cook it. This depends on the thickness of the patty, but a good rule of thumb is three to four minutes on each side to accomplish a nice medium to medium-rare. Best Burger Guide offers a chart detailing suggested cooking times.

It's also important to be gentle when forming your patty and not overwork or overpack the meat. Don't be shy with seasoning, and make sure your patties are even in thickness so that they cook at the same rate. Pro tip: Try using takeout containers to shape the burgers. As with any meat, you'll want to bring it to room temperature so it cooks evenly, as well as ensure your cooking source is properly heated before you throw it on — so be patient and wait for your grill or cast iron pan to get nice and hot. Lastly, the burger will rest and continue to cook when you take it off the heat, so you can remove it right before you think it's done.

Looking for some burger recipes to make at home? Try a juicy turkey burger or pick one of these 10 ways to upgrade a regular burger. Just remember to stick to one flip.