These Greek-inspired grilled lamb burgers are made with ground lamb, garlic, oregano, rosemary, thyme, and lemon and served with atypical yet inspired ingredients including cucumber and feta. We defy you to find someone who doesn’t swoon to them.
Lamb burgers constitute something of a shakeup to your routine. In a good way. They’ll be unexpected yet welcome, we swear, especially thanks to the inspired melding of tastes, textures, and temperatures of lamb, feta, cucumber, and cooling tzatziki sauce.–David Leite
Grilled Lamb Burgers FAQs
What should I serve with these burgers?
These Greek style lamb burgers are hearty and filling, so you really only need a simple salad, like this Mediterranean melon and avocado salad, or a handful of homemade potato chips to round out your meal. In keeping with the Greek-inspired theme, ouzo sorbet would make an excellent dessert.
How do you prepare a grill for indirect grilling?
To prepare a charcoal grill for indirect grilling, pile your charcoal on one side of the grill. For a gas grill, only light the burners on one side of the grill.
How can I stop my burgers from puffing up when grilling?
To avoid a bulge in the center of your burger when grilling, press your thumb into the center of the raw patty to create an indentation. This will allow the burgers to cook evenly and keep a flat shape.
Grilled Lamb Burgers
- 2 pounds freshly ground lamb
- 1/3 cup minced red onions
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped oregano leaves
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon dried rosemary optional
- 1 teaspoon dried basil optional
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 8 slices sourdough bread each about 1/2 inch thick, or hamburger buns
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- 8 thin slices cucumber
- 1 1/2 cups lightly packed baby spinach leaves
- 3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
- Tzatziki sauce
- In a large bowl, gently mix the burger ingredients until completely combined.
- Gently shape the meat into 4 patties of equal size and thickness, each about 1/2 pound in weight and 1 inch in thickness. Using your fingertip or thumb, make a shallow depression about 1 inch wide in the center of each patty so the centers are about 3/4 inch thick. (This will help the patties cook evenly and prevent them from puffing on the grill.)
- Cover and refrigerate the lamb patties for 2 to 4 hours.
- Prepare your grill for indirect grilling. (The two-zone fire combines direct heat, where the food cooks directly above the coals, and indirect heat, where the food cooks above and to the side of the coals. Direct medium heat is 350°F to 450°F (175°C to 230°C) or being able to hold your hand over the grill for 5 to 7 seconds.
- Grill the lamb patties over direct medium heat, with the lid closed as much as possible, until well browned on the first side, 4 to 5 minutes.
- Flip the patties and continue to grill over direct medium heat, 6 to 8 minutes for medium doneness, swapping their positions as needed for even cooking. If it looks like it's cooking too fast, you can slide the burgers to the indirect heat, or the safety zone.
- While the lamb burgers are finishing on the second side, lightly brush the bread slices with oil and toast them over indirect medium heat, 1 to 2 minutes, flipping once.
- Serve the lamb burgers warm on the toasted bread with the cucumber, spinach, feta, and tzatziki sauce.
If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We’d love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
If you enjoy lamb, these burgers are just the ticket for you. They were delish! And juicy and lamby and filling!
Two pounds made 4 very large burgers but after one bite you wouldn’t want them any smaller. The burger mix is quick to prepare. I chose not to use the dried rosemary as it’s not a favorite around here.
I didn’t have 2 hours to refrigerate the burgers before grilling but after 1 hour they seemed to be ok. I would imagine that another hour or two chilling in the fridge would only have blended the flavors further.
We grilled over a gas grill, 2 burners on one side and off on the other two. We grilled over direct heat for 4 minutes and a further 6 minutes on the other side. We moved the burgers closer to the indirect side as we like our lamb pinkish in the middle (and our grill tends to run a bit hot). As the burgers finished we lightly toasted the bread and then assembled the burgers.
The lamb was set off nicely with the salty bite of the feta and the refreshing spinach. None of us had room for the side salads after eating the burger, but that was a-ok with us. We had 3 burgers for dinner and 1 burger leftover for my lunch the next day. I have to say it was just as good the next day bunless in a lettuce leaf with a side of salad.
If you wanted to make these smaller, you could stretch the burger mix to 6 patties but I wouldn’t go any less than that. You really want the lamb to shine through. I can’t wait to make these again.
If you want a good lamb burger, then this is your recipe! Although a little bit of work, these were delicious. The first night we had them with feta, then my husband had one the next night with blue cheese and preferred that over the feta, although you can’t go wrong with either choice! I also added some Dijon mustard to mine. So good!
I grilled them on direct heat 4 minutes the first side and 4 1/2 minutes on the other side for medium.
These lamb burgers were delicious, juicy, and perfectly cooked.
I cooked the burgers over medium-high direct charcoal heat for 5 minutes on one side, 7 on the other, and then moved to indirect heat until the “touch test” felt right (5 additional minutes).
I’d recommend adding the feta to the burgers (and maybe the spinach so it wilts a little) as soon as they’re removed from the grill. I let them sit for 10 minutes after cooking and then we topped them, which didn’t really help everything come together. Next time I may try some blue cheese in lieu of the feta to see how this changes the profile.
Overall, I was very pleased with the recipe, and it will be a tough call in the future to decide between these and our all-time favorite lamb burgers.
Originally published August 1, 2007
If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We'd love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
Delicious and juicy grilled Greek lamb burgers with lots of flavor. The size of the burgers seemed a little intimidating but they were so delicious that it was impossible not to enjoy these great burgers.
I Googled the preferred meat/fat percentage for a burger and the consensus seemed to be 80/20, so I asked the butcher to give me that for the fresh ground lamb.
I didn’t think the thumb depression would do anything useful, but it really did as after cooking the flat side first, the depressed side popped out to make a nice even burger.
I realized after deciding to make these and inviting a friend over that the grill was out of action. I cooked them on the stovetop using my cast iron pan. I got it nice and hot, added a splash of oil and cooked it for the timing in the recipe.
The sides got nice and caramelized with a good crust and the inside of the burgers were delicious and moist. The timing for side one was 5 minutes, and side 2 I cooked for 6.
I grilled the bread in the oven under the broiler for 2 minutes per side.
The burgers were delicious with the feta. Although the picture is not accurate, it suggests serving with slices of sourdough, tomato and feta. The picture suggest cucumber, yoghurt and mint on a burger bun, which would also be delicious.
Totally yummy. Would make again for sure!