How Pink Can Burgers Be? [With Pictures]

How Pink Can Burgers Be?
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It’s a question that’s been asked for years: how pink can burgers be? Some people love pink burgers, while others find them too gimmicky. But what actually happens if you eat a pink hamburger? I think that differentiating between the levels of doneness is hard, and people don’t know enough about it. And to be honest, sometimes it’s hard to tell just by looking at them. In this article, I’ll break down each type of burger and show you what they look like. So, how pink can burgers be?

Different shades of pink indicate different doneness levels. A rare burger looks pink inside with only bits of red scattered, a medium-rare burger will have some light pink in the center, and a well-done burger should be entirely gray. If a burger is very pink or the whole patty has a red hue, that’s not good.

Before we can even start talking about preferences, we have to talk about what’s safe to eat. So whether you’re a fan of pink patty or not, read on to discover everything you need to know about how pink burgers can be!

How Pink Is Too Pink for a Burger?

One of the most critical questions regarding food, at least for all the rare burger lovers, is: how pink can burgers be? What’s the limit? 

If you’re wondering how pink is too pink for your burger, the answer is not as straightforward as it seems. Generally speaking, it’s best to err on the side of caution and avoid eating burgers that are too pink.

The rule of thumb that I always follow is this: if the middle part of the burger looks pink, it’s still safe to eat. However, if the entire patty has a slightly reddish hue to it, then it’s best to throw it away and start fresh.

Here’s a quick breakdown for the more visual folks: rare burgers will have a mostly red center and no trace of gray. You’ll also want to be sure that you don’t see any blood oozing out or pink juices coming from your burger when you cut into it.

Lastly, you can eat your pink burger, but grab your meat thermometer and check whether the meat’s inside temperature is 160 °F, which is the safe mark determined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. [1]

So, I would never eat a burger the inside temperature of which is lower than this. Still, what if you’re eating out, and you eat a burger that doesn’t meet the criteria?

You can find more information on this in this video:

What Happens if You Eat Pink Hamburger Meat?

There are some risks associated with consuming pink hamburgers. If your burger is not cooked to the correct temperature, you run the risk of ingesting harmful bacteria such as E. coli, salmonella, and listeria and getting serious food poisoning that can cause symptoms like diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, fever, stomach cramps, fatigue, chills, and aches. [2]

These bacteria can cause serious health problems and even fatalities if not treated properly. It’s best to always cook ground beef burgers at 160 °F or higher to ensure that any potential bacteria has been killed off.

This being said, it’s important to note that pink hamburgers are not necessarily unsafe if they are adequately cooked and handled safely. When a burger is cooked rare or medium-rare, the heat applied during cooking will denature the proteins in the beef, which can cause it to turn pink without compromising its safety.

When done correctly, a rare burger will be slightly pink in the center, with red juices running out when cut into. This is usually considered safe for consumption. On the other hand, if your burger is still very pink or even red in the center – that’s a definite no-go.

Medium-rare will be more brownish-pink throughout with a soft but still juicy texture and juices that run clear when cut into. You can find more about this in the text below.


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What Does a Rare Burger Look Like?

rare burger rare grilled burger meat

A rare burger is pink in the middle and has a slightly red hue. It’s not cooked all the way through, so there’s still a little pink in the center. A rare burger might not be for you if you’re not a fan of blood.

But, the term “rare burger” can be a little confusing because it doesn’t necessarily mean that the meat is red in the middle. In fact, a rare burger can be pink, but it’s not supposed to be bloody.

When a burger is cooked rare, it means that the center is still pink and slightly undercooked, and the outside will be charred and crispy, which is why so many people love cooking burgers this way. It gives you the best of both worlds: a delicious, juicy burger with a bit of crunch.

What Does a Medium Rare Burger Look Like?

medium rare burger

A medium rare burger is pink all the way through and is a little more cooked than a rare burger. It’s still juicy, and many people find it to be the perfect compromise between rare and well-done. If you’re not sure what “medium rare” means, it’s basically that the center of the burger is still a little pink.

This is the beauty of cooking your own burgers at home — you get to choose the level of doneness that you prefer. Of course, it’s also essential to pay attention to the color of the meat as you cook it so that you know when it’s reached your desired level of doneness or to use the thermometer and check its temperature.

It should be light pink, not too bright and not too dark. If it’s close to red, it’s probably still raw, and if it’s close to brown, it’s probably well done, and you should make a new one. Still, even the well-done one will probably be delicious, so I would in no way throw it out if it’s something you don’t want — just find a creative way to use it up in a different format!

What Does a Well Done Burger Look Like?

well done burger meat

Finally, let’s talk about well-done burgers. A well-done burger is brown all the way through and is the most cooked of all the types of burgers. You’ll also notice that any fat from the meat will be melted away. It can be dry and tough, but it’s still safe to eat. 

Being cooked all the way through means the interior of the burger will be grayish-brown with no traces of pink. The outside of the burger will also be browned and crisp.

Be warned, though; a well-done burger can easily become dry and tough if it’s cooked for too long. So if you’re going for a well-done burger, you’ll need to oversee your cooking time! It’s important to remember that a well-done burger will be completely cooked through, so it won’t have any pink in the middle. 

Having said that, I am aware that some people prefer their burgers this way because they may have food safety concerns or are just more comfortable eating things that are well-cooked. This can be an excellent option for those people who want to ensure their burgers are cooked through without compromising on taste. 

But this also means that there might not be as much flavor or juiciness as in other burgers, so if you’re looking for something super flavorful, you may want to go for medium rare or rare instead.

Rare vs. Medium Rare vs. Well Done: Which Is the Best?

rare burger medium rare burger well done burger differences

Which of the three options is the best? The answer really depends on what you prefer. Each has its own characteristics and advantages, so it can come down to personal preference and taste.

For example, if you like your burgers juicy, then rare or medium rare is the best option. But if you want to ensure that your burger doesn’t have harmful bacteria, then well done is your safest bet.

I personally prefer my burgers medium rare, so they’re nice and juicy with a slight hint of pink in the middle. If you like yours a bit more done, then go with the medium, and if it’s still pink in the middle but not overly so, then choose well done.

For me, the perfect burger should be juicy and full of flavor, and with a medium-rare burger, you get just that. No matter which option you choose, just make sure that your burgers are cooked before eating them to ensure their safety!

Which level of doneness is your go-to? I would love to hear about your preferences in the comments below!

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