Sous vide cooking has become an increasingly popular technique for cooking juicy, flavorful burgers with a precise doneness. But one question home cooks often have is, how long does it actually take to cook burgers sous vide? The cooking time can vary substantially based on the thickness of the burgers and the desired doneness level.
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Cooking Time Based on Thickness
The thickness of the burger patties is one of the biggest factors that determines the cooking time for sous vide burgers.
Thinner burgers that are around 1 inch thick generally take 40-45 minutes to cook sous vide to medium doneness. Thicker burgers that are 1.5-2 inches thick will take longer, typically 50-60 minutes.
Here are some general guidelines for cooking times based on burger patty thickness:
- 1 inch thick burgers: Cook for 40-45 minutes
- 1.5 inch thick burgers: Cook for 50-55 minutes
- 2 inch thick burgers: Cook for 55-60 minutes
The increased thickness means it takes longer for the heat to penetrate to the center of the burger patty. So thicker burgers will require more time in the warm water bath to reach the desired internal temperature.
Cooking Time Based on Doneness
The desired doneness level also greatly impacts the cooking time. Burgers cooked to rarer doneness levels like rare or medium-rare require less time than burgers cooked to medium, medium-well or well-done.
Here are the approximate target cook times based on desired doneness:
- Rare burgers: 35-40 minutes
- Medium-rare burgers: 40-50 minutes
- Medium burgers: 45-60 minutes
- Medium-well burgers: 55-65 minutes
- Well-done burgers: 60-90 minutes
Burgers cooked beyond medium tend to benefit from slightly longer cook times to allow the interior to fully reach the higher target temperature.
Keep in mind these times assume 1-inch thick burger patties. The times should be adjusted up if cooking thicker burgers.
What Temperature Should You Sous Vide Burgers At?
In addition to cook time, the temperature of the water bath is crucial for properly cooking sous vide burgers to the desired doneness.
For burgers with a warm, red center that are cooked rare, the water bath should be set to 130°F. This allows the burgers to gently cook without overcooking the interior.
To achieve a pink, juicy interior that is cooked to medium-rare, set the water bath temperature to 135°F. This brings the center of the burger up to the ideal 130-135°F final internal temperature.
For burgers that are cooked until lightly pink in the middle (medium doneness), use a 140°F water bath. This will bring the burgers to an internal temperature of around 140-145°F.
If you prefer your burgers cooked until the interior is brown throughout with no pink (well-done), set your sous vide machine to 155°F. This higher temperature cooks the burgers through to an internal temperature of 155°F+.
The key is matching the water bath temperature to the desired doneness level based on the final internal temperature you want the burgers to reach. This ensures they are cooked perfectly edge to edge.
Sous Vide Burger Tips and Tricks
Follow these tips to take your sous vide burgers to the next level:
Seasoning Your Burgers
Generously season the burger patties before vacuum sealing for maximum flavor. Use kosher salt, cracked black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, Worcestershire sauce, or dry rubs.
Forming the Patties
Formed loosely rather than tightly compacted, the burgers will retain more juiciness after cooking. Make indentations in the center to prevent bulging.
Vacuum Sealing the Burgers
Vacuum seal the seasoned burger patties in bags to help them retain juices and shape during cooking. Remove as much air as possible.
Finishing the Burgers with a Sear
Quickly sear the burgers in a hot cast iron skillet after cooking to get a nice crust. Use a cooking fat like butter or oil.
Serve sous vide burgers on brioche buns with toppings like cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles, bacon, guacamole, and condiments.
Safety Considerations for Sous Vide Burgers
While sous vide cooking offers control and convenience, proper food safety is still important:
Safe Cooking Temperatures
To eliminate bacteria, cook burgers to at least 130°F for rare or 140°F for medium. Temperatures below 130°F are not recommended.
Prevent cross-contamination by thoroughly cleaning prep surfaces, using different utensils for raw and cooked meat, and bagging burgers separately.
Proper Storage and Reheating
Once cooked, quickly chill burgers in an ice bath. Store sous vide burgers in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Reheat to at least 130°F before serving again.
Conclusion: Enjoying Perfectly Cooked Sous Vide Burgers
With the right cook times and temperatures, you can achieve burgers cooked to precise doneness levels edge to edge using sous vide. Adjust the cooking duration based on the thickness and desired doneness. Vacuum seal for maximum juiciness and flavor. Finish with a sear to add a tasty crust. Follow proper food handling and enjoy your tender, succulent sous vide burgers!