This Greek Lamb Burger Recipe (Biftekia) is out of this world flavorful, satisfying and refreshing all at the same time! The Greek Burgers are laced with feta, garlic, dill, mint, cumin and oregano, grilled to succulent juicy perfection then topped with roasted red pepper hummus,sun-dried tomatoes, cucumbers, pickled red onion, tomato, arugula and tzatziki. It is a juicy, textural flavor bomb that you don’t want to miss. Of course, all of the toppings are customizable to make it YOUR best Greek Burger! I’ve included tips and tricks on how to cook lamb burgers (grilled or stove top), how to make ahead and how to freeze and the Greek’s secret to the JUICIEST burgers. Serve this lamb burger recipe with a simple Greek salad, watermelon feta salad, Greek tortellini salad, feta fries or lemon rice, for the ultimate feast!
If making tzatziki, make it first so it has time to chill.
Grate the onion on the largest holes of the grater straight into a large bowl (we want all the juices!), then add all the remaining burger patty ingredients up to the ground lamb and mix well. Add lamb and mix with your hands just to combine (don’t over-mix or your burgers will be tough).
Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Divide the mixture into 6 equal sections on the parchment. Form each section into a loose, big ball. Flatten each ball with the palm of your hand until it is about 1-inch larger than your buns. Create a shallow depression in the middle of each patty so the outer ½-inch edges are almost twice as thick as the center (see photos in post).
Cover the patties with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes (cold patties stay intact better) while you prep the rest of your toppings. DON'T bring patties to room temperature before cooking.
Working in batches, add the patties to the hot skillet and cook until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees on an instant read thermometer, about 4-6 minutes per side. Remove to a plate and tent with foil and let rest 5 minutes.
TO COOK ON THE GRILL
Heat grill to 375-400 degrees F with the lid closed. Once hot, clean and grease the grill with vegetable oil. Add patties and cover. Cook until brown and slightly charred on one side, about 3-5 minutes.
Flip burgers (but do not press down), cover and cook an additional 3-5 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees on an instant read thermometer. Remove to a plate and tent with foil and let rest 5 minutes.
To toast hamburger buns, spread softened butter on the cut sides of the buns (optional). Add to the grill, or skillet, cut side down and toast for about 1 minute or until golden.
Top toasted buns with a layer of hummus, plenty of chopped sun-dried tomatoes, arugula, burger patties, harissa (a little goes a long way!), tzatziki, tomatoes, cucumbers and pickled red onions. Dig in!
*Ground pork, turkey, chicken: are leaner than lamb or beef so you may wish to add an extra tablespoon or so of olive oil to the ground meat mixture so the burgers aren’t dry.
Don’t skip grating the onion. I have tried this recipe with grated onion, dried minced onions and onion powder and the recipe with grated onion was by far the juiciest.
Don’t overmix biftekia ingredients. Overmixing results in tougher burgers. To mix gently, use clean, wet hand, with fingers spread apart then combine until loosely mixed. Damp hands will prevent them from becoming sticky which will help the meat combine faster and prevent over-handling.
Use the correct pan. Use a cast iron skillet or heavy bottom pan because they distribute heat more evenly and therefore cook your biftekia more evenly.
Flip the burgers once. As the lamb burger goes from cold to warm, to cooked, it is more likely to fall apart, so handle your burger as little as possible on the stove top or grill. You should only need to flip your burger once. This will also ensure even cooking.
Turn the heat down as needed. If the burgers are charring or burning before they are finished cooking, turn down the heat or move the burgers off the flame to another part of the grill.
Don’t overcook. Overcooked lamb burgers are dry lamb burgers. Cook just until an instant read thermometer registers 160 degrees F to ensure the lamb is properly cooked and your burgers are still juicy.
How to store and reheat
To store: store lamb burger patties separate from buns in an airtight container in the refrigerator. For longer storage, freeze burger patties instead (see below).
To freeze cooked burger patties: place cooked patties in a freezer size plastic bag and separate patties with parchment paper OR place patties in individual plastic bags and squeeze out excess air. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
To freeze raw burger patties: line a baking tray with parchment paper and add the patties in rows so they aren’t touching. Place the tray in the freezer and freeze until solid, about 1-2 hours. Using kitchen shears, cut the along the imaginary grid to separate the patties, this way each patty has its own parchment square. Stack patties separated by parchment paper in a freezer bag. Freeze for up to 4 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before cooking.
To reheat in the oven: place burger patties on a baking rack placed in a baking tray. Bake at 400 degrees F for 3-5 minutes.
To reheat in the microwave: be cautious when using the microwave because it can make the patties rubbery. Microwave for 30-40 seconds, just until warmed.
To reheat on the stove: add about three tablespoons of water to a large nonstick pan and heat over medium heat. Add the burgers and top with the lid and let steam for 3-5 minutes. Transfer the patties to a paper towel lined plate to release excess moisture.
You can make all of the elements for this lamb burger recipe ahead of time so all you have to do is grill and eat:
Burgers: shape the burger patties, place them on a parchment lined plate or tray, cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to cook. Store them in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. DO NOT bring to room temperature before cooking – cook straight from the refrigerator.
Tzatziki Sauce: make tzatziki sauce according to recipe directions and store in an air-tight container for up 5 days, but it is best used within the first 2.
Pickled Red Onions: store in a mason jar in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.
Toppings: prep the toppings while the burgers are chilling so they are all ready to go as and all you have to do is cook and eat!