I Tried 27 Different Frozen Burger Patties and These Are the Very Best Ones

updated Jul 23, 2020
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Variety of frozen burgers, beers, and burger condiments on a picnic table
Credit: Sarah Crowley

Burgers make for the perfect lazy summer dinner — especially when the patties are already formed and ready to cook. Just fire up the grill or a fry pan and dinner is ready in minutes. No muss, no fuss. That’s why it’s smart to always keep a stash of frozen burgers on hand (and a pack of buns in the freezer, too).

But with so many brands on the market, it’s hard to know which ones are the standouts — unless, of course, you try them all. So, that’s exactly what I did.

Credit: Danielle Centoni

How We Selected and Tested the Frozen Burgers

I rounded up all of the frozen burgers I could find in the following categories: veggie, alt-meat, beef, and turkey. (I excluded bison and chicken, to keep the playing field even.) Then I proceeded to cook them in brackets over the course of a couple weeks. I cooked all of the patties according to package instructions in a skillet on the stove. (Note: One veggie burger brand recommended an oven, so I tried it both ways to be safe.) My family and I tested all of the patties plain, as well as classically dressed with a bun, lettuce, tomato, pickles, mayo, mustard, and ketchup. 

Here are the results of my two-week burger bonanza.

Credit: Danielle Centoni

Best Frozen Beef Burger: Bubba Angus Beef, $12.89 for six patties (2 pounds)

When I embarked on this journey, I was surprised to find that there really aren’t that many brands of frozen beef patties on the market. Either people seem happy enough to form their patties on their own, they’re buying the refrigerated versions (which are usually store brand), or veggie burgers have taken over all the real estate in the freezer section. Of the plain patties I was able to find, most tasted relatively the same, but there was one that stood out. Bubba’s had a loose, hand-formed texture, and really juicy, beefy flavor. These patties honestly tasted just like homemade.

Credit: Danielle Centoni

Best Frozen Turkey Burger: Trader Joe’s Turkey Burgers, $3 for four patties (1 pound)

Somehow I tracked down more frozen turkey burger patties than beef patties on my shopping excursions and ultimately ended up with more than half a dozen brands to try. Several were terribly dry and one was so overly brined that it reminded me of lunchmeat. Thankfully, though, Trader Joe’s pulled through with a delicious turkey burger that was extremely juicy. It didn’t have much flavor on its own (as you might expect from a turkey burger), but performed perfectly on a bun with all the fixings.

Credit: Danielle Centoni

Best Frozen Alt-Meat Burger: Gardein Ultimate Plant-Based Burger, $4.09 for four patties (12 ounces)

I’ve tasted other extremely convincing wanna-be beef patties and have found them to be great options for people who want the juiciness of beef … without the whole meat part. Gardein‘s Ultimate Plant-Based Burger beat out the competition because it’s comparable in taste to leading brands and the patties can be cooked from frozen (which isn’t the case for the others that have to be carefully defrosted in a fridge first). These burger patties also contain just 4.5 grams of fat (no saturated fat) compared to about 20 grams in other brands. Taste-wise, this brand blew the other frozen faux burgers out of the water with its clean, simple, and savory yet slightly sweet flavor, with no overwhelming soy aftertaste.

Credit: Danielle Centoni

Best Frozen Veggie Burger: Hillary’s World’s Best Veggie Burger: $5.49 for 4 patties (10 ounces)

This was the toughest category to judge, mostly because veggie burgers that aren’t trying to impersonate meat come in a huge range of flavors and styles. In the end, I narrowed it down to patties that skewed “classic” and compared their flavor, texture, and performance on a bun. Most were quite good, but Hillary’s stood out for having a more finely-grained texture, and a savory, balanced flavor that didn’t get lost on a bun. It cooked up with a lightly crisp exterior, which made it extra delicious on its own, like a flat veggie tot. And although it was quite soft inside, it held together nicely. The one vegetarian in my tester group proclaimed it the favorite and we couldn’t argue.

Is your favorite frozen burger patty on this list?