Burgers | The Jewish Week | Food & Wine




Up to 6 servings

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This recipe lets you customize as many burgers as you like. You can make each patty plain, or you can add any number of toppings before wrapping them up in aluminum foil. Why do we wrap the frozen patties and not just set them on the rack in the pot? Because the juices stay with the burgers, rather than running into the water below, giving the patties a much “beefier” flavor.

Notice that you must make your own patties, ones that are larger than the standard, 3- or 4-ounce burgers sometimes sold frozen in boxes. We find that those smaller patties cook too quickly and dry out in the Instant Pot. (They’re best for the grill, even when still frozen.)

You can prepare the patties for this recipe far in advance — if, say, you’ve bought fresh ground beef ahead of time. Make 6-ounce patties that are about 1⁄2 inch thick and add the toppings of your choice (if any). Wrap each patty individually and store them in the freezer for several months. And one more thing: Label them so you’ll know which patty has which toppings (if any).


1½ cups water

For the Burgers:

One 10‑inch‑long piece of aluminum foil

One 6‑ounce frozen burger patty

Table salt and ground black pepper, to taste

Optional Add‑Ons:

1 thin slice semi‑firm cheese, such as Cheddar, Swiss, mozzarella, Monterey Jack, Colby, Gruyère, or American cheese

1 brown or white mushroom, thinly sliced

2 tablespoons frozen chopped onion or peeled and chopped yellow or white onion

Up to 4 thin fresh jalapeño slices

Up to 1 tablespoon butter

Up to ¼ teaspoon dried seasoning blend (omit the salt on the patties if there’s salt in the blend)

Up to ¼ teaspoon peeled and minced garlic


1. Pour the water into a 6‑ or 8‑quart Instant Pot. Set the pot’s rack (with the handles up) or a large, open vegetable steamer inside the pot.

2. Set the foil sheet on your work surface with one long side facing you. Set the frozen patty in the middle of the sheet and season with salt and pepper. If desired, set one, a few, or many add-ons on the patty (smearing the condiments over the meat). Fold over the foil’s short sides until they meet in the middle, then crimp them closed. Also crimp closed the seam along both sides of the foil packet, folding the ends up (not down), so that the juices in the packet won’t run out. Repeat to make up to 6 patties. Set the patties on the rack or in the steamer, overlapping where necessary without stacking them on top of each other (and also without any being placed vertical in the pot). Lock the lid onto the cooker.


4. If you’ve used the MAX pressure setting: For a pink burger, when the machine has finished cooking (20 minutes), use the quick‑release method to return the pot’s pressure to normal. For a no-pink burger, turn the machine off when it’s finished cooking (25 minutes) and let it return to normal pressure for 5 minutes, then use the quick‑release method to get rid of the remaining pressure.

If you’ve used the HIGH pressure setting: For a pink burger, turn the machine off when it has finished cooking (25 minutes) and let the pressure return to normal naturally for 5 minutes. For a no-pink burger, turn the machine off when it has finished cooking (30 minutes) and let the pressure return to normal naturally for 10 minutes. In both cases, then use the quick‑release method to get rid of any remaining pressure.

5. Unlatch the lid and open the cooker. Use tongs and a large metal spatula to remove the wrapped patties one by one from the cooker. Unwrap them carefully (they’re super hot), then use the spatula to transfer them to serving plates.


You can fit up to 10 wrapped burgers in an 8-quart Instant Pot.

• Of course, you can garnish your burgers with lettuce and sliced tomato. And maybe a thin slice of red onion, too, if they hadn’t already been topped with chopped onions before cooking. But you can also go far beyond the norm. Try kimchi and mayonnaise (our personal favorite), sauerkraut and deli mustard, pickled jalapeño rings and barbecue sauce, or tapenade and Dijon mustard.

• Don’t stand on ceremony with hamburger buns. Consider kaiser rolls, toasted English muffins, or even thick slices of Texas toast.

• Note that there are no acidic condiments among the add-ons, like chutney, pickle relish, India relish, chowchow, kimchi, ketchup, or Dijon mustard. These can react with the foil as the burger cooks. If you want any (or all?) of them, add them after cooking, or lay a sheet of parchment paper on top of the patty and condiments before wrapping it in foil so the acidic condiments never touch the aluminum.

Excerpted from FROM FREEZER TO INSANT POT Copyright © 2019 by Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough. Used with permission of Little, Brown and Company, New York. All rights reserved

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