This summer, as you search for easy weeknight recipes to enjoy with family and friends, I’m challenging those of you who are unfamiliar with cooking lamb to give it a try in #TheLambChallenge (additional details below). Not only is this lamb burger recipe quick and simple, but ground lamb, in particular, is highly accessible and easy to cook!
Alright, let’s talk flavor! This lamb burger recipe is decidedly Greek in flavor, thanks in part to a homemade yogurt sauce (essentially a simple tzatziki) and quick pickled red onions. I immediately think to pair ground lamb with these flavors, as the cool, tangy sauce beautifully compliments the slight gamey flavor of the lamb. Use a high quality lamb to make these the best lamb burgers ever!!
Ingredients for Lamb Burgers
- Ground lamb
- Kosher salt – When making burgers, you always want to season them generously with salt. Use more than you think you should, anywhere from ½ – 1 tsp per patty!
- Freshly ground black pepper – You also want to season well with black pepper. This helps to bring out the natural flavor of the ground meat (whether you’re cooking with lamb, beef, chicken, pork, etc.)
While the flavor and seasoning of these lamb burgers is very straight forward and simple, it’s the homemade yogurt sauce and quick pickled red onions that take these over the top.
Homemade Yogurt Sauce (Tzatziki)
When you hear the phrase ‘lamb burger,’ what comes to mind? Most likely a Greek or Mediterranean lamb burger. This homemade yogurt sauce is inspired by a classic Greek tzatziki and is, personally, my favorite way to top ’em.
Combine cool and creamy Greek yogurt with fresh dill, mint, lemon juice and zest, minced cucumber, garlic, kosher salt, and black pepper. Whisk to combine and voila! A simple homemade yogurt sauce to take your Greek lamb burgers to another level!
Tips for Perfect Lamb Burgers
- First, make sure your burgers are uniform in both shape and weight. I recommend investing in a kitchen scale to ensure equal weight for all burger patties. You can buy a decent scale for less than $15! Recommended weight? 5.5 ounces for traditional burgers and 3.5 ounces for sliders!
- As far as height, we recommend your burgers be between ¾” and 1″ tall. This will affect the cook time, as thinner burgers will reach desired cook temperature sooner!
- Gently form burgers by carefully pressing ground lamb into patties without fussing too much with the meat. The more you work the meat, the tougher the final burger will be. Shape them quickly and move on!
- Once you’ve formed the lamb burgers, use your finger or thumb to press a slight indentation into the center of the patty. Burgers tend to puff up in the center as they cook. Taking the time to press a small dent in the center will help them have an even, uniform shape once fully cooked. (see photo above)
- Allow the formed burgers to sit at room temperature for about 20-30 minutes before cooking.
Don’t season lamb burgers (or any burgers!) until just before cooking.
But then make sure you season them very generously with kosher salt and black pepper. That’s it, they don’t need anything else!
What Do You Put on a Lamb Burger?
In addition to tzatziki and pickled red onions, the following would make delicious burger toppings: arugula or salad greens, thinly sliced cucumber, kalamata olives, feta cheese, even a squeeze of sriracha if you like heat!
How Long to Cook Lamb Burgers
The key to cooking any type of burger — lamb, beef, chicken, anything! — is knowing how hot your grill or pan is and also what internal temperature you’re looking for.
The USDA recommends cooking lamb to an internal temperature of 160 F, about 5 minutes per side. You can pull the lamb burgers off the grill at 150 F, then let them rest 2-3 minutes before serving. The temperature will continue to rise even after they come off the heat. Use a meat thermometer to ensure your burgers are always cooked perfectly!
We recommend the Thermapen MK4 to check for doneness on all meats!
Make these tonight! They will instantly become your family’s new favorite burger recipe!
More lamb recipes to try!
- Simple pan fried lamb chops
- Pasta with lamb and mint sauce
- Goat cheese-crusted roast rack of lamb with red wine sauce
- Simple sous vide leg of lamb with rosemary
- (Not quite kofta) weeknight lamb meatballs with golden raisins
If you make these Lamb Burgers, let me know by leaving a rating and review below!
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For more recipes perfect for summer, check out the following:
- Watermelon feta salad
- Cherry tomato confit
- Ultimate black bean burgers
- Cheeseburger Sliders
- Roasted potato wedges with chimichurri
- Turkey feta burgers with apple cabbage slaw
For the lamb burgers
- 1 ½ lbs ground lamb (patties will be roughly 5 ½ ounces each, so 4 patties requires just under 1 ½ lbs ground lamb)
- kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 4 burger buns
For the herbed yogurt sauce (tzatziki)
- 1 cup Greek yogurt
- 3 Tbsp fresh dill finely chopped
- 2 Tbsp fresh mint finely chopped
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- 1-2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
- ¼ cup cucumber minced
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- pickled red onions
- arugula or mixed greens
- kalamata olives
- feta cheese
- thinly sliced cucumbers
- nonstick spray or oil for cooking
To make lamb burgers
- Divide ground lamb equally into 4 portions weighing roughly 5 ½ ounces each. To make slider-sized patties, weigh each to 3 ½ ounces each. Flatten into uniform rounds, then use your thumb or finger to make a small indentation right on top in the center of each patty (see note below).
- 30 minutes prior to cooking, sprinkle each patty generously with kosher salt (about ½ tsp per burger) and freshly ground black pepper (about ¼ tsp each) on both sides.
To make herbed yogurt sauce
- Combine all sauce ingredients in a large bowl, then whisk to combine. Refrigerate until needed.
To cook lamb burgers
- Preheat a grill, cast iron skillet, or griddle over medium-high heat. Coat with nonstick oil spray (if grilling) or a couple tablespoons olive oil (if cooking indoors). Cook each burger patty for 5 minutes per side, or until an internal temperature of 150 F is reached (for medium). Allow burgers to rest 2-3 minutes before serving on buns with herbed yogurt sauce and additional toppings.
- Forming burgers – Work quickly and carefully, so as not to overwork the ground lamb. The more you press and squeeze the meat together, the more tough the cooked burger will be.
- As far as height, I go for a burger that is between ¾” and 1″ tall. This will affect the cook time, as thinner burgers will reach desired cook temperature sooner!
- Press a dent into the center of the burger patty – As you form the lamb burger patties, make sure to press a slight indentation into the center of the meat. As burgers cook, they tend to puff up in the center. This quick step helps ensure they are uniform in shape as they cook.
- Seasoning burgers – Do not season burgers in excess of 30 minutes prior to cooking. A steak, by contrast, benefits from a longer seasoning phase, but burgers will remain juicier if you season them just before they hit the grill!
- Cook time – The USDA recommends lamb be cooked to an internal temperature of 160F. For medium-rare burgers, cook lamb patties for 4 minutes per side. For medium-well, cook lamb for 6 minutes per side.
- Other meats – You can of course substitute ground beef, pork, chicken, turkey, or any combination of the above in place of lamb, but I highly recommend you trying as is before altering! The slight gaminess of the lamb pairs beautifully with the tzatziki and pickled cucumbers!
- Resting time – Allow cooked burgers to rest for 2-3 minutes before serving. This allows the juices to reabsorb into the patty instead of dripping all over your plate!