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How do you eat leftover burgers?

Leftover burgers are a common occurrence for many people. Whether you made too many burgers for a backyard barbecue or have unfinished fast food burgers, you may be wondering what to do with the extras. Eating leftover burgers poses some safety concerns, but also provides an opportunity to get creative and make the most of your remaining patties. This article will provide tips on how to safely reheat and repurpose leftover burgers.

Can you eat leftover burgers?

Yes, you can eat leftover burgers, but proper storage and reheating is important. Ground beef has a higher risk of bacterial contamination than whole cuts of beef. Follow these guidelines for enjoying leftover burgers safely:

  • Refrigerate uneaten cooked burgers within 2 hours. Wrap individually in foil or place in a sealed container. Use within 3-4 days.
  • Reheat burgers thoroughly to 165°F. Use the oven or microwave to ensure even heating throughout.
  • Do not keep leftovers longer than 4 days, even if refrigerated. Toss burgers that have an off color or smell.

How should you reheat a burger?

The oven and microwave are two easy options for reheating leftover burgers. Here is a comparison:


Reheating burgers in the oven ensures even, thorough cooking. It avoids the rubbery texture microwave reheating can cause.

  • Preheat oven to 300-350°F.
  • Place burger patties on a baking sheet lined with foil or parchment paper.
  • Heat for 10-15 minutes until warmed through, 165°F.
  • Cooking time varies based on burger thickness. Cut larger patties in half.
  • Optional: Place burger buns wrapped in foil on baking sheet to warm.


The microwave provides a quick method for reheating burgers in 1-2 minutes. Take care to avoid overcooking.

  • Place burger patties on a microwave-safe plate, spaced apart.
  • Microwave in 30 second intervals until heated through, 165°F.
  • Flip patties and rearrange halfway for even heating.
  • Let burgers rest 1-2 minutes before serving. Microwaves can create hot spots.
  • Optional: Wrap bun halves in paper towel and microwave in 10 second bursts to warm.

What are some ways to use leftover burger patties?

Don’t limit yourself to reheating a plain burger patty between buns. Get creative with these tasty options for enjoying leftover burgers:

Burger salad

  • Chop patties and mix with lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, etc.
  • Top with your favorite burger toppings and salad dressing.


  • Slice thicker patties in half and serve on small slider buns.
  • Garnish with pickles, onions, ketchup, etc.

Breakfast burger

  • Top reheated burger with a fried egg for a protein-packed breakfast.
  • Add cheese, bacon, or avocado.

Burger nachos/potatoes

  • Crumble patties over tortilla chips or tater tots.
  • Top with melted cheese, salsa, sour cream, etc.

Burger soup

  • Dice patties and simmer in tomato or vegetable soup.
  • Stir in vegetables like peas, carrots, beans.

Burger casserole

  • Break patties into bite-size pieces and mix with rice or pasta.
  • Fold in vegetables like spinach, broccoli, or peppers.
  • Top with cheese sauce and bake until bubbly.

How long do hamburger patties last in the fridge?

Properly stored, cooked hamburger patties will last 3-4 days in the refrigerator. Follow these tips:

  • Let patties cool completely before refrigerating, within 2 hours of cooking.
  • Place in an airtight container or wrap individually in foil.
  • Store on a shelf, not in the door where temperature fluctuates.
  • Use refrigerated patties within 3-4 days for best quality.
  • Freeze for longer storage. Wrap well and use within 2-3 months.

Signs that refrigerated burgers have spoiled include off colors, sour odors, or slimy texture. When in doubt, throw it out.

Can you freeze leftover burgers?

Freezing is ideal for longer term storage of leftover cooked burgers. Follow proper freezing guidelines:

  • Let patties cool completely, then wrap individually in foil or plastic wrap.
  • Place wrapped patties in freezer bags, removing excess air.
  • Freeze cooked burgers for up to 2-3 months at 0°F or below.
  • Thaw patties in the refrigerator before reheating.
  • Do not refreeze previously frozen patties.

What are food safety tips for leftover burgers?

Follow these important food safety practices when storing and reheating leftover burgers:

  • Refrigerate within 2 hours of cooking.
  • Divide into smaller portions to chill faster if needed.
  • Reheat fully to 165°F until hot and steaming.
  • Avoid letting burgers sit at room temperature when thawing or reheating.
  • Never mix old and new patties when reheating.
  • Use refrigerated patties within 3-4 days, or freeze for longer storage.
  • When reheating in the microwave, check temperature with a food thermometer.

Following proper protocols minimizes the risk of foodborne illness from bacterial growth. Discard burgers that look or smell off.


Eating leftover burgers safely just takes a little planning. Let patties cool and refrigerate promptly after cooking. Reheat thoroughly to 165°F before enjoying your leftover burgers. Get creative and give those extras new life in casseroles, salads, nachos, and more. With proper storage and handling, leftovers can be delicious.