How to Make Homemade Veggie Burgers Like a Pro

Spoiler alert: It's easier (and tastier) than you think.

Zucchini-Chickpea Veggie Burgers with Tahini-Ranch Sauce
Photo: Jamie Vespa, M.S., RD

A great-tasting veggie burger is more than just the sum of its parts. When done right, homemade veggie burgers deliver bigger flavor and superior texture than their premade counterparts. Plus, they offer a tasty way to integrate more plant-based ingredients into your dinner regimen, something we can all benefit from. This foolproof formula for making homemade veggie burgers shows you how to make your own at home and offers three easy burger recipes to try, all of which make delicious use of simple, wholesome ingredients (think chickpeas, zucchini, mushrooms, oats and plenty of tasty herbs and spices).

With the help of a food processor, these veggie burgers come together in a flash and create patties that won't crumble apart as they cook. An added bonus: they can be made ahead of time to make those busy weeknights a little less hectic or party prep more streamlined. Simply wrap the patties in plastic wrap (or cover with foil) and refrigerate for up to two days. Ready to enter veggie burger bliss? Follow along with our easy formula for creating the most flavor-packed veggie burgers ever.

How to Make Veggie Burgers from Scratch

Follow this step-by-step guide for making the best veggie burgers you'll ever have. You'll love how simple it is to make a batch of these tasty burgers.

1. Begin with a Bean Binder

Step 1

Canned beans offer more than just convenience: they add heft and binding ability to homemade veggie patties. We love the "meaty" mouthfeel of hearty beans like chickpeas, black beans and kidney beans; however, cooked lentils and mashed sweet potato also work well. Don't worry about blending the beans until completely smooth; a few chunks provide great texture.

2. Bulk Up with Grains & Veggies

Step 2

Hearty whole grains like brown rice, oats and farro retain their firm texture in the patty to give the impression of cooked protein. We also love quinoa for its ability to act as both a filler and binder. Look for cooked, vacuum-packed grains in the grain aisle for the best texture in the burgers, or cook, drain and refrigerate your own the night before.

For vegetables with higher water content, such as zucchini and mushrooms, it's best to add them to the patties raw. Root vegetables like beets, potatoes and carrots fare better after roasting.

3. Use a Condiment for Cohesion

Step 3

A condiment with a fairly robust fat profile helps coat the loose elements in the patty so that it holds together and isn't too crumbly. Some of our go-to condiments include canola mayonnaise, nut or seed butter and tahini (sesame seed paste).

4. Infuse Flavor with Spices

Step 4

Any bean-and-grain combination benefits from a hefty spice load to combat blandness. Go bold with black pepper to infuse the burgers with subtle heat, smoked paprika for quintessential backyard BBQ smokiness and ground cumin for an earthy, aromatic kick.

Read More: DIY Seasonings & Herb Mixes You Can Make at Home

5. Get Saucy

Step 5

A complementary sauce is what turns a good veggie burger experience into something truly transformative. It brings everything together, both in its flavor profile and in its way of acting as the "glue" to anchor the patty and toppings to the bun. The ideal sauce is creamy with a four-way intersection of fat, flavor, acid and heat. For inspiration, start with the same condiment you used in the burger patty (mayonnaise, tahini, nut butter, etc.), add a umami booster (ketchup, miso paste, soy sauce), an acid (vinegar, citrus juice or mustard) and a touch of heat (black pepper, chili flakes or chili sauce).

Lastly, don't forget the toppings; pile your burger high with crunchy, fresh elements like crisp greens and red onion, and a juicy tomato slice.

Delicious Homemade Veggie Burger Recipes to Try

Even meat-eaters will love these delicious veggie burger combinations. You might as well print a few extra copies of the recipes ahead of time to share with family and friends-we know they'll be asking for them.

Zucchini-Chickpea Veggie Burgers with Tahini-Ranch Sauce

Zucchini-Chickpea Veggie Burgers with Tahini-Ranch Sauce
Jamie Vespa, M.S., RD

This vegan veggie burger recipe is one you'll want to make again and again. Savory chickpea and zucchini patties are topped with a creamy, herb-flecked tahini-ranch sauce, juicy tomato slices and peppery arugula for a satisfying and healthy homemade veggie burger. Serve them on buns or stuff them in pitas. We recommend making extra sauce-it's a great dip for veggie sticks and, thinned with a little water, it makes a wonderful salad dressing.

Vegan Beet Burgers with Sweet Chili Slaw

Vegan Beet Burgers with Sweet Chili Slaw

If you've been curious about those store-bought veggie burgers that "bleed," like the Beyond Burger and Impossible Burger, you should try this homemade veggie burger recipe made with kidney beans, walnuts and beets. The natural red coloring from the beans and the beets make the patties look like they could be medium-rare beef burgers. A little chili powder in the mixture gives them a hint of spiciness, which works nicely with the sweet chili slaw.

Mushroom-Quinoa Veggie Burgers with Special Sauce

Mushroom-Quinoa Veggie Burgers with Special Sauce

These hearty mushroom, quinoa and black bean veggie burgers are a healthy and satisfying homemade alternative to store-bought veggie burgers and have a realistic look and mouthfeel like a meat-based burger. They take just 25 minutes of active time to prep, so while they're special enough for entertaining, they're quick enough for weeknight dinners too.

Watch: How to Make Meat-Free "Hot Dogs"

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