The Unlikely Ingredient You Should Try Adding To Burger Meat? Heavy Cream

While hamburgers taste perfectly good on their own, some creative cooks find ways to upgrade burgers by adding ingredients like onions and seasonings to elevate the flavor of the meat. Some people also incorporate egg into the ground beef mixture to hold the patty together while cooking. It's less common to use other dairy products as binding agents for ground beef, but doing so can have a positive impact on the flavor and texture. Famous chef and cookbook author James Beard, whose namesake foundation honors the best and brightest culinary minds in America, advocated for using heavy cream in burgers. In fact, this preparation was designated as Beard's favorite, and for very good reason.

Ground beef can sometimes become a little dry when cooking, which deprives you of a juicy burger. Adding heavy cream fortifies the beef's tenderness, while also creating a shielding layer over proteins in the meat. This ensures a slow and steady cooking process, which is ideal for giving the finished burger a pleasing texture. While Beard's recipe uses just a small amount of heavy cream, a TikTok burger recipe currently making the rounds showcases what can go wrong when too much is used.

A truly unhinged burger recipe

James Beard's most treasured burger recipe, which was actually created by famed culinary innovator Jeanne Owen, uses 2 teaspoons of heavy cream to 2 pounds of ground beef. Conversely, the TikTok recipe (the original clip is no longer available but has garnered lots of reactions) calls for adding 1 cup of heavy cream to about a half pound of ground beef. This recipe becomes even more bizarre as milk, flour, egg, and baking powder are added, plus seasonings like black pepper and oregano. This creates a slurry-like mixture that in no way resembles an actual hamburger. 


I didnt get to try it so idk

♬ original sound – Nick Smithyman 🤨

As the "patties" are placed into the pan, one can't help but notice that the mixture looks more like pancake batter, a comparison that is quickly commented on within the post. "Forbidden pancake hamburger," said one person, while another stated, "Ma'am that's beef pancakes." There are also questions about how long each patty is fried, which led to concerns that the already questionable burger was not fully cooked. The finished dish had a definable patty shape, but the color of the burger was much closer to something like turkey or tuna patties than actual beef.

Do burgers really need binding agents?

Although it's impossible to confirm, the heavy cream burger recipe circulating on TikTok may simply be a part of the rage bait trend, which entails creating intentionally off-putting recipes for the purposes of getting views and shares. As a result, it's best to stick with proven versions like James Beard's favorite if you want to experiment with adding heavy cream to your burgers. However, there are some other smart strategies you can employ to create a delectable burger texture. 

If you're concerned that your burger won't remain intact while cooking, be sure to use ground beef with an 80% to 20% lean to fat ratio, as the fat content will help keep the patty solid as it melts. Additionally, refrain from handling the meat too much or too vigorously when making the patty, as this can damage the bonds in the beef. When cooking the burger, one flip should suffice, as frequent turning may cause the beef to become loose and fall apart. When combined with the addition of heavy cream, these tips will result in one unbelievable hamburger.