These are the best homemade bison burgers! They’re lightly seasoned with aromatics and spices to allow the lean and juicy bison meat to shine. Bonus: they’re just as easy to make and cook as classic hamburgers!
If you are a die-hard beef burger lover, give bison burgers a try, and you’ll be converted.
Compared to beef, they both have a mild flavor and are naturally juicy, tender, and flexible. The key difference is bison’s nutritional benefits: it is lower in saturated fat and higher in protein. I like to choose this meat when making burgers for my family because of it, and well, I think it tastes better than beef, too!
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Why you’ll love this recipe
- Not gamey. Bison has a reputation for being gamey, but that simply isn’t true. It has a slightly sweeter flavor compared to beef. Plus, with the right seasonings, it tastes very similar to real hamburger meat.
- A twist on classic hamburgers. You don’t always need ground beef to make a great hamburger. Just take these turkey burgers, chicken burgers, or lamb burgers for example! But ground bison is the best choice when you want to put a twist on regular hamburgers without losing the classic, rich, and beefy flavors.
- A fun and crowd-pleasing dinner. Change up your usual BBQ fare with these burgers on the grill.
Ground bison is, of course, the star of this recipe. But you need a handful of other simple ingredients to help the burgers shine! This is everything you need:
- Ground bison meat. Try to use lean ground bison if you can. An 85/15 mix is perfect or even 90/10. Also, try to get your meat from a butcher because there is less risk of it containing hormones and antibiotics (my butcher calls it pasture-raised).
- Shallot. This mild aromatic adds a savory, onion-like flavor that compliments the juicy meat perfectly.
- Salt and pepper. To round out the other flavors, making every bite pop.
- Olive oil. A small amount of oil helps the burgers turn out extra moist and juicy. It also encourages browning on the outside.
- Paprika. For a subtly smoky and sweet flavor.
- Chili flakes. These bring a mild kick of heat.
- Butter. To pan-fry the burgers to golden brown and tender perfection.
- Burger fix-ins. Anything and everything. My family loves cheese, caramelized onions, lettuce, tomatoes, mayo, and BBQ sauce.
Find the printable recipe with measurements below.
How to make bison burgers
What I love about these burgers is that you don’t need to crank up the grill to whip them up- I love using my grill pan or cast iron skillet and cooking them stovetop.
Step 1- Mix and form the patties. Add all of the ingredients (except the butter) to a large bowl and mix until combined. Shape the mixture into four burger patties.
Step 2- Pan-fry. Melt the butter in a skillet, then pan-fry the burgers until they’re browned on both sides.
Step 3- Serve. Serve the burgers in buns with your favorite toppings and enjoy!
Tips to make the best recipe
- Don’t overmix the ground meat mixture. Also, be very gentle when forming the patties. Overworking the ground meat will lead to tough and dry burgers.
- Cook to medium rare. Bison burgers are best when they’re cooked to medium rare (130ºF to 135ºF). Use a meat thermometer to check and see that they’re cooked to temperature.
- Avoid overcooking. Bison burgers can dry out quickly because the meat is so lean. Try not to cook them beyond medium rare or else they could turn out dry, and no one wants that!
- Use a grill. During the warmer months, I love to cook the burgers on the grill. Just crank it to medium-high heat, clean the grill grates, and cook the bison burger patties for 3-4 minutes on each side.
What to serve with bison burgers?
To store: The cooked burgers stay fresh for 3 to 4 days when stored in an airtight container in the fridge.
To freeze: You can also freeze cooked and cooled bison burgers for up to 3 months. Just let them thaw overnight in the fridge before reheating.
To reheat: Warm the burgers in the microwave or a skillet over medium heat until they’re warmed through. Be careful not to cook them for too long, as bison can dry out very easily.
More delicious burger recipes to try
You can never have too many burgers, and these delicious options will have your grill game strong with tons of variety.
Frequently asked questions
Bison meat is naturally lean, so its best to mix with a higher fat red meat, like lamb or beef.
Yes! Prep the pattie mixture up to three days in advance and when ready to cook, bring to room temperature.
- Place the meat in a bowl and combine it with the onion, spices, and olive oil.
- Knead well with your hands and form into 4 equal-sized patties.
- Heat butter in a skillet and cook patties until browned on both sides.
- Serve in burger buns with your favorite burger fillings.
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