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How To Tell If a Burger Is Undercooked?

Your burger is not fully cooked just because it has sizzled for a while on the grill.

What does the FDA say?

The FDA says that the safe minimum internal temperature for ground meat, which is what a beef hamburger is, is 160 degrees Fahrenheit. This is a well done burger.

Not all people eat well done burgers. Many restaurants offer burgers at doneness levels besides well done.

Whether you are checking to see if your burger meets FDA recommendations or because you prefer a burger cooked to something other than well done, here are some methods to find out if your burger is ready.

Undercooked Burger
Rare to Medium Rare Burger

How Check If Your Burger Is Done?

There are three good methods to check if your burger is done and avoid serving an undercooked burger. They include:

Instant Thermometer

Using a thermometer is the easiest / safest / most accurate way to check if a burger is done. This ensures the meat in your burger is cooked at the right temperature. Choose a digital thermometer because it’s easy to use and comes in handy for various foods, including roast steak or chicken.

Plunge the thermometer in the middle of your burger and on the sides to get a correct reading.

Using a good instant thermometer will guarantee that you never serve an undercooked burger.

For example, if your thermometer reads 120°F the doneness of your burger is rare, medium-rare reads 130°F, medium-rare reads 140°F, medium-well reads 150°F and anything above 160°F indicates well done.

According to FDA, you should cook the ground beef up to 160°F. However, avoid cooking much more than 160°F as it loses its taste and will become quite dry.

Cutting into a burger

If you do not have a thermometer in your kitchen, remove the burger from the grill or pan and cut it. If the middle is dark pink, it’s a rare burger.

It is better to cut and see how your burger looks inside than guessing.

The only downside is that you end up with mutilated burgers as you try to slice them and see if they are cooked.

The Finger Test

This method is not for everyone!

However, it is easy when you know-how, and one of the ways to cook great burgers. You also do not have to always have a thermometer handy once you learn how to use the finger test method.

To use this method, you press the meat with a clean finger to gauge its doneness. The firmer the meat, the more done it is.

You can use your palm’s flesh to compare and know whether your meat is undercooked or not.

You do this by holding the left hand up and using your index finger from the right hand to press the flesh pad on the left palm. . From there, bring the left thumb and your forefingers together before touching the flesh pad of your palm again.

It will feel firmer, which is similar to the firmness you get in rare meat.

To know how medium-rare cooked food feels, touch the left thumb with middle fingers and for medium-well, touch the left thumb and ring finger.

Finally, for a well-done burger, touch the left thumb with the pinky finger. These are easy ways to use your finger to test, and you can if the burger is undercooked.

Of course, this is not an accurate measurement of the internal temperature of your burger. However, you may become a skilled burger chef and you will be able to get pretty close to the doneness of your burger by feel, whether with your finger or a spatula.


A good instant thermometer will help you avoid serving an undercooked burger by making sure that the internal burger temperature is at least 160 degrees Fahrenheit.

Some people choose to not follow that FDA advice, and your thermometer or other methods above can help you cook your burgers just the way you like them.