Just Right (For You): A Quick Guide on Levels of Burger Doneness

burger doneness

The FDA recommends that restaurants cook ground beef to at least 155°F before serving. Home cooks should leave their ground beed over the heat for even longer or until the internal temperature reaches 160°F.

But if you grew up with a chef in the house, you know cooking a burger that long can have a serious impact on juiciness.

So, what is the best level of burger doneness that minimizes safety concerns and maximizes flavor? It depends. Learn more about burger cook types and how to choose the ‘best burger near me’ in this guide.


People who order rare burgers say they like it bloody for a reason. Rare is the lowest level of doneness you can get.

Rare burgers take around four minutes to cook. The goal is to raise the meat’s internal temperature to 120°F to 125°F. This cook time results in a red and juicy burger that will melt in your mouth.

Medium Rare

Many people swear by the medium rare burger. It sits on the grill long enough to get some char but not too long to keep the juices from running.

Leaving a burger on the grill for just a minute longer turns it from rare to medium rare. You know it’s time to dish up that patty when the internal temperature reaches 130°F to 135°F, and the center starts to lose its red color.


Medium is like the Goldilocks of cook temperatures. These burgers are neither too firm nor too dry, offering the perfect balance of juiciness and doneness.

Medium burgers have an internal temperature of 140°F to 145°F. It only takes around seven minutes to reach this level of doneness. Seven minutes is long enough to turn the center from red to pink.

Medium Well

Compared to medium burgers, medium well patties are a bit dryer and firmer. But they may still have a bit of pink at the center.

A medium well burger fits within the FDA Food Code guidelines. Its internal temperature reaches between 150°F and 155°F after about eight minutes of cooking or until the patty’s juices run clear.


Well-done burgers feature a heavily charred crust and a very firm center. If you’ve ever had a smash burger, you’ll recognize the texture this cook temperature produces.

To achieve well-done perfection, you have to cook the patty for nine or more minutes. The internal temperature should reach at least 160°F, which is within the FDA’s recommendation for home-cooked burgers.

Which Level of Burger Doneness Is Right for You?

The best level of doneness depends on the eater. Some people grew up eating burgers at a certain level of doneness, so that’s what they know best. Other people may prefer longer cook times for food safety reasons.

A medium well or well-done burger eliminates worries of food-contracted illnesses. But medium rare or medium is the way to go for a juicy and tender patty with just enough char.

No matter what level of doneness you prefer, a quality chef knows how to make the best burger you’ve ever had. Well-done burgers are juicier and rare burgers are less bloody when you pick the right burger spot.

Burger Republic Knows How to Cook ‘Em All

You can order your burger rare, medium rare, medium, medium well, or well-done. Each level of burger doneness has its pros and cons. But a good burger joint knows how to make them all taste right.

If you’re looking for the best burger in Middle Tennessee, you’ve found it at Burger Republic. Find a Burger Republic location near you to place your online order, or stop by and dine in when you’re in the area.