Master the Art of Air-Fryer Burger Perfection with These Proven Techniques

Summer is here, and it’s time to relax, use that well-deserved PTO, and soak up some sun. For many, this means indulging in delicious Memorial Day foods like burgers, hot dogs, and ribs. While grilling is the classic way to enjoy these foods, not everyone has access to a grill. No worries! You can still whip up your favorite holiday hot dogs and burgers using everyone’s favorite kitchen appliance: the air fryer.

Why use an air fryer for your burgers? An air fryer is incredibly easy to use and perfect for those without a grill or much outdoor space. The compact design fits any kitchen, and the hot air circulation method ensures your food comes out crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside.

If you’re ready to try air fryer burgers, we’ve got you covered. We chatted with Chef Chris Nirschel of New York Catering Service to get his personal recipe. Trust us, these gourmet burgers are guaranteed to impress.


To make your air fryer burgers from scratch, gather the following ingredients (you can also buy pre-made burgers if you want to make the process faster and easier):


  • 1 lb ground beef (80/20 blend for juiciness)
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 slices cheddar cheese
  • 4 brioche burger buns
  • Lettuce (optional)
  • Tomato (optional)

The toppings you use are totally up to you and depend on what burger toppings you enjoy. If you have extra time and want to make these air fryer cheeseburgers as “fancy” as possible, Chef Nirschel suggests caramelizing some onions and making your own garlic aioli. Here are the ingredients you’d need for that:

Caramelized Onions

  • 2 large onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • Salt to taste

Garlic Aioli

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Prepare the hamburger patties, onions, and aioli.

three raw burger patties on a cutting board

Now that you have your ingredients, it’s time to prepare the patties.

If you want to make the caramelized onions, do this step first because it will take at least 20 minutes.

Caramelize the onions:

  1. In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter and olive oil over medium heat.
  2. Once the butter is melted, add the sliced onions and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes until they start to soften.
  3. After 10 minutes, add the brown sugar, balsamic vinegar, and a pinch of salt.
  4. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are deep golden brown and caramelized, about 20-25 minutes. Set aside.

Season & form the burgers:

  1. In a large bowl, combine the ground beef, finely chopped onion, minced garlic, egg, Dijon mustard, and smoked paprika. Mix until just combined, being careful not to overwork the meat.
  2. Form the mixture into four equal-sized patties, making a slight indentation in the center of each to prevent them from puffing up while cooking.

Make the garlic aioli: 

  1. Combine the mayonnaise, minced garlic, lemon juice, and Dijon mustard, and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Air fry the burgers.

three burger patties inside an air fryer
  1. Preheat your air fryer to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. When your air fryer is preheated, place the burger patties in the air fryer basket, making sure not to overcrowd. You may need to cook them in batches, depending on the size of your air fryer.
  3. Cook the patties for 8-10 minutes and flip them halfway through until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees Fahrenheit for medium doneness.
  4. If you want to add cheese, place a slice on the burgers during the last minute of cooking.

Toast the buns.

hamburger buns in an air fryer

This is an optional step, but one that can elevate your air-fried burgers. To toast your hamburger buns, open them, spread a light amount of butter, and place them in the air fryer for 1-2 minutes or until golden brown.

You can replace the basket you used for your burger patties, or you can do this step before cooking the burgers to avoid the basket touching the meat.

Assemble the burgers and enjoy!

two air fryer burgers on a plate

This part is totally up to you and how you want to enjoy your burgers, but Nirschel suggests spreading “a generous amount” of the garlic aioli on the bottom half of each bun and placing the lettuce and tomato on top of the aioli. Then, he suggests adding the burger patty with the melted cheese and topping it with a spoonful of caramelized onions.

“Serve the air fryer burgers immediately with your favorite side, such as French fries or a fresh salad.

Samantha Boesch

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