Do Breadcrumbs Help Bind Burgers?

You may think of using breadcrumbs to assemble hamburgers, but they are not actually a binding agent. What they do is help retain moisture in the meat. As they cook, they absorb the moisture and then return it to the meat as it rests. Some butchers may claim that the reason they add it is to make the meat stick better, but I don't agree.

Although it will, of course, if the meat is well aged and not too “wet”, bonding is not a problem with hamburgers or sausages. If the meat is very fresh, adding something absorbent such as bread will help it stay, but surely hamburgers should be sold as meat burgers and bread. It's a good way to “stretch” meat to get more hamburgers per kilo of real meat, but that's a commercial reason to add breadcrumbs, not culinary ones. If the meat is excessively lean, you may need a binder, but you will still need a very lean hamburger in terms of flavor, so you should generally avoid it.

However, the effect of salt on meat protein will be a good binder and, depending on where salt is put in the handling of meat, the binding effect will be different. Adding some breadcrumbs to the burger can be a great way to make it a little crunchy after it's cooked. And a hamburger with too much breadcrumbs or biscuits won't win you over when it comes to taste, unless, of course, that's what you like. Adding breadcrumbs to a hamburger may seem like an odd combination, but there is actually a very sensible reason for this madness.

Adding breadcrumbs or not is a fully textured decision if you're going to make burgers yourself. If you're buying fresh meat, adding an absorbent ingredient such as breadcrumbs or even shredded bread from the pantry can be a great way to ensure that the hamburger stays together. So, if you're thinking about how you want to prepare your next hamburger, be sure to grab some breadcrumbs. People are afraid of fat, that's why they make their burgers VERY lean, lean meat doesn't stick, people start adding breadcrumbs, eggs, milk and other binders. As an alternative point of view, I tried it with a small amount of breadcrumbs and egg and it turned out very good.

Valerie Jhanson
Valerie Jhanson

Avid food enthusiast. Freelance coffee fan. Professional tv ninja. Hipster-friendly travel guru. Extreme thinker.