shrimp burger on bun

Tip for preventing your shrimp burger from falling apart

If you’re a pescatarian, you may be forgoing classic beef burgers this summer. But luckily, if you still want to enjoy a grilled patty and barbecue atmosphere with everyone else, shrimp burgers are a tasty alternative that pack in plenty of protein. You can still nestle them in between buttery buns or crisp lettuce, and pile on all the tasty toppings that you’d use with a meatier version.

The only downside to making shrimp patties by hand? Because the chopped up seafood still tends to be chunkier than ground beef, it’s easy for these burgers to fall apart on the grill. Luckily, there’s a way to prevent this from happening that requires absolutely no cooking technique. Simply refrigerate your patties for an hour before cooking them, which will help harden the shrimp’s slippery consistency and keep the shape of your burgers intact (spoiler alert: this works for beef patties too).

You can also refrigerate your ingredients once they’re mixed together, then make patties and stick them back in the fridge for about 10 minutes. Your mixture is exposed to plenty of heat as you’re stirring the ingredients together by hand and forming the burgers, so a nice cool down helps enforce the structure you’re looking for. If you’re in a hurry, you can also pop them in the freezer for 15 minutes — but no longer, since freezing your patties entirely means they’ll take longer to cook.

Always choose raw shrimp over cooked

raw shrimp on cutting board

While refrigerating your patties is a major step to holding your shrimp burgers together on the barbecue, there are a few others that will help as well. Always start off with raw seafood (but make sure it’s deveined with tails removed). Not only can the pre-cooked stuff get rubbery on the grill as it’s being heated again, but running some of the raw seafood through the food processor creates a gluey consistency that will help keep your patties intact. For the best texture that still gives you nice chunks of shrimp, however, reserve half of your stash to roughly chop with a knife.

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If you’re still worried about your burgers falling apart, including an egg in your recipe will be your saving grace — although if you want to leave it out, you can also just mince a little more seafood than normal instead. And when forming your patties, handle the ingredients with care. Overdoing it can make the burgers fall apart while producing tough, rubbery shrimp. But as long as you lead with a delicate hand while refrigerating your seafood before grilling, you’ll end up with fully intact, juicy shrimp burgers.

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