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Frozen Burgers: What to Buy & Why

If you want to have “fast food” on hand at home, frozen burgers are absolutely essential. Why? Most all of the boxed brands do NOT require a defrost. Which means, you can cook them frozen! Get the temp. guide here too!

Convenience is the big advantage over fresh burgers, because they’re always ready to go in the freezer to “cook & eat”.  in less than 10 minutes on an outdoor grill or in a pan on the stove top. Either way, you’ll likely waste less even if you’re entertaining guests, by cooking only what you need and leaving the surplus frozen in the freezer. 


Read the box before you buy! Because not all brands are the same. And while the majority say, “do NOT defrost” there are a few brands, like Trader Joe’s Frozen Burgers that require defrost prior to cooking. Even if they need to be defrosted, 15 minutes is typically all it takes. And remember, once defrosted, they cannot be refrozen. 


Meat quality matters because that’s what determines the juicy consistency and taste of the burger. Most grocery stores and meat counters will sell at least one ground beef option including all of or most of the following high quality characteristics: 


  • Ground Beef 
  • 80% Lean 20% Fat 
  • Grass Fed 
  • Pasture Raised 
  • Pasture Finished -not grain finish 
  • 100% Vegan Diet 
  • No Added Growth Hormone 
  • No Antibiotics Ever


Avoid added or blended ingredients (see image below) Real meat with nothing added will likely not have a “list of ingredients” and if you do see a list, it should only say “beef”. What you don’t want are “fillers” and blends because when hamburger meat is pre-seasoned with salt it and then blended to add more ingredients like onions, mushrooms and more, the protein bonds are activated, which means the meat is tough and chewy, resembling sausage or meat loaf. If you want to learn more about how salt works with burger meat, watch my LIVE replay on grilling burgers to learn more! 


Quarter Pounder is perfect! 4 oz equals 1/4 pound of meat, which is scientifically proven to perform best on the grill. The meat won’t buckle or bulge into a meatball. And from a nutritional perspective it’s the “right amount” of protein and fat. All you need to add is an high fiber appetizer and you’ve got a complete meal! For high-fiber appetizer ideas, check out my recipes here and consider making my family’s favorite “roasted cauliflower” or “buffalo cauliflower”.  

Costco’s frozen burgers have been wildly popular. I used to buy them too. But here’s why, now, I don’t, I’ll pass them by. Size is 1/3 lb. or 5.33 ounces, too big. Too much fat with only 75% lean and 25% fat. And finally, meat quality is poor. There are none of the good meat characteristics on the list.

Trader Joe’s frozen burgers “meats” most all the standards of quality, size and fat ratios are in line, along with size. Pun intended, fun! All those points are great! Only draw-back: the box recommends defrost prior to cooking. 

Price is the biggest disadvantage. Anytime something is “prepared” or “processed” more, there’s an added fee for the convenience. That’s why, you’ll want to buy them on sale. And most stores offer sale prices and discounts now, a week or so before a major holiday. Buy on sale, keep them on hand and ready to eat any time, as an easy, convenience food for entertaining and making an exception on occasion too!  

Less waste is a big advantage to the frozen vs. fresh. With a “grill frozen” brand, no defrost required, then you only grill what you need. 

Recommended Frozen Brands: Ovvia Members check out the Member’s Resource Center for specific brands and images for easy, convenient shopping! 

Bottom-Line: fresh ground beef is always best and they’re less expensive. But frozen burgers can save time, especially when they’re the right quality and size, they’re great to have on hand in the freezer for a quick, convenient meal or for entertaining! 


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