Dinnertime is brutal for most parents. You don’t want to make a different meal for everyone in your family — but you end up doing it half the time anyway. Even when your partner and kids are on the same page, you wind up feeling like a short-order cook as you customize each person’s portion. Perhaps that’s why the internet is obsessing over one TikTok mom’s seemingly simple solution to tired weeknight meal planning: sheet pan ground beef. And, specifically, sheet pan ground beef burgers.
Luckily, almost everyone who eats meat loves burgers. Not everyone loves handling cold raw meat, however. When it comes time to do burger formation, nearly everyone has an opinion. Some people put dents in the centers of their burgers. Other people use a burger press. Even if you buy frozen burger patties, there’s a bit of a debate over whether you should grill them from frozen or from thawed. Typically, making them for the family involves firing up the grill (and all that entails), individually forming them (what a pain in the ass), or waiting impatiently for two at a time to cook in the air fryer.
But TikTok mom Brandi Ward simply pushes her ground beef into a sheet pan, like you would for a cheesecake crust.
Admittedly, when you first watch this, you’ll worry it’s a prank. It’s such a simple idea, it seems almost wild and unreal. It’s also a little gross-looking when it’s raw. And yet, the end result looks delicious and will feed a small army.
After Ward has pressed the meat into the sheet pan, she seasons it how her family prefers and bakes the giant sheet of meat in the oven. Once it’s all done, she flips the sheet-sized hamburger on top of her bun of choice, adds the tops, and then uses the buns as a guideline for cutting the burger. In the end, it saves time and looks juicy and completely burger-like once it’s cooked.
Tips and Tricks for Sheet Pan Ground Beef
All recipes require notes, and this one — however simple — is no different. There are a few things to consider here.
Use Lean Meat
Burgers leave a ton of grease and drippings in a skillet or on the grill. While you can get away with it in the skillet with occasional draining or a grill, where it drips below, there’s just no way to escape the grease when cooking in a sheet pan. Cooking your meat in a baking sheet or sheet pan means your burger is sitting in its own rendered fat. A little bit of that fat is what makes for a juicy burger, but too much can make a burger inedible. Using a leaner burger to start with will cut down on how much grease it sits in during cooking.
In a follow-up video, Ward suggests draining the grease when you first take the sheet of meat out of the oven and patting it down with paper towels. If you’re making burgers, do this before placing the meat on the buns so that the buns don’t get soggy with grease.
Season The Meat Before You Smoosh
There’s nothing wrong with seasoning your meat once you’ve pressed it into a sheet pan. Take a note from most quality restaurants, though, and season your meat beforehand. That way, the seasoning is good and mixed in.
Meat Seasoning Mixes:
- Taco seasonings
- Brown sugar, garlic, onion, cayenne, salt
- Brown sugar, paprika, cayenne, garlic, salt
- Salt, pepper, garlic, onion
- Dry mustard, garlic, onion, black pepper, salt
- Onion soup mix
Condiments To Mix In:
- BBQ Sauce
- Mustard and ketchup
No one wants to be remembered as the mom who food-poisoned her entire family. Ground beef should be cooked to an internal temperature of 160 degrees in order for it to be safe to consume.
Other Sheet Pan Ground Beef Recipe Ideas
Arguably the greatest thing about sheet pan ground beef is how versatile it is — meaning, you could lean on this hack multiple nights a week without your family suspecting as much. A few suggestions? Sheet pan ground beef quesadillas, mini meat loaves, and shepherd’s pie. Or cook up your ground beef sheet-pan style and then crumble it for soups, salads, or nachos.
If you do follow in Ward’s footsteps and make sheet pan ground beef burgers, don’t let anyone tell you burgers aren’t square. You don’t need that kind of negativity in your life. With all the time you’ll save by not molding and flipping burger patties, you could saute toppings for them instead. Or, you know, you could do literally anything else in the world that you need or want to do.