Our 6 Favorite Store-Bought Beef Burger Brands Are Almost As Good As Homemade

Store-bought beef burger brands
Store-bought beef burger brands - Gina Badalaty/Tasting Table

Fresh burgers are a delicious but inconvenient dinner, especially on a busy night. Prepping ground beef takes extra time out of your busy schedule, and it can be frustrating to pre-portion burger patties from the meat. Of course, you can get burgers at the butcher, but that will cost you precious time and money. Instead, premade burger patties are great choice to simplify your life, and I've chosen six brands that taste just like they're homemade.

Not only are they convenient, but many of these burgers come from choice cuts of beef -- they're so good your guests will think you got them at a top-quality butcher or steakhouse. You can cook them right away without worrying about over- or under-cooking. Most have directions to help you to make perfect beef burgers in under 15 minutes without worrying about making any common burger mistakes.

I selected these burgers as the top choices based on popularity and availability, but mostly for the quality of the beef. All of them were cooked on a cast iron pan, as I believe that gives you best flavor of any indoor cooking method. I tried each without additional seasoning to highlight their natural flavor -- and most of them were great as-is. (Not that you can't season them, of course.) You can read more about the methodology at the end of the article.

Read more: Tips You Need When Cooking With Ground Beef

1. Original Bubba Burgers

Original Bubba Burger cooked
Original Bubba Burger cooked - Gina Badalaty/Tasting Table

The most recognizable store-bought burgers are those from Bubba Foods, named for Walter "Bubba" Eaves. He wanted to create the perfect burger with no additives and believed that freezing 100% USDA Choice beef chuck was the best way to achieve a burger the company could offer nationwide to build their business. It seems he was right.

The first thing you notice about these burgers is their irregular shape. Shaped more like a rhomboid than a square, they look weird. But the reason for the irregular shape became obvious while cooking. Unlike the round burgers on this list, the Bubba burger lies flat when cooking, as opposed to curling up at the edges. There's no doubt this is a real beef burger, as your home will smell like a burger joint when it's cooking.

The taste and size -- ⅓-pounder -- will satisfy you. This is a good-tasting, quality burger, reminiscent of old-school fast food. Think Wendy's burgers, circa 1980. This burger also gets high points for being the easiest to cook. The directions provide exact timing, allowing you to cook the burger to perfection every time in less than 10 minutes.

Original Bubba Burgers are available at all major grocery stores. Each contains 420 calories and packs 25 grams of protein. Each box contains six burgers with enough meat to fill you up, making these a great value. Bubba also offers plenty of other options, with three varieties each of beef, turkey, and veggie burgers.

2. Holten's Chop House Steak Burgers

Holten's Chop House Steak Burger cooked
Holten's Chop House Steak Burger cooked - Gina Badalaty/Tasting Table

Holten's Chop House takes a lot of pride in its steakburgers. What's the biggest difference between steakburgers and hamburgers? While hamburgers only contain beef ground from more typical cuts, usually chuck, round, or sirloin, steakburgers contain higher-quality cuts. The meat may come from T-bones or ribeye steaks. Holten's offers three varieties of steakburgers, as well as smashburgers and sliders.

Holten's certified Angus burgers have the most flavor of any on this list, and that's likely because they are seasoned beforehand. Holten's adds salt, natural flavor, and ground black pepper so you don't have to. You do need to preheat the pan, but the ⅓-pound burgers cook up quickly and easily, with little curling. They're perfect with a bit of ketchup, but they are so yummy, you could eat them naked. If you prefer to add toppings, I recommend you go light on them.

Filling and satisfying, each of these burgers has 410 calories and 27 grams of protein. Holten's boxes contain six burgers, so they're an exceptionally good bargain, costing around the same price as Bubba's and Wahlburgers.

3. Schweid & Sons Prime Burger

Schweid & Sons Prime Burger cooked
Schweid & Sons Prime Burger cooked - Gina Badalaty/Tasting Table

Schweid & Sons is a company with a long history dating back to its roots as a New York City butcher shop in the 1800s. It switched to a focus on ground beef in 1978, and today, Schweid & Sons offers a large variety of burger options. Choices include its brisket-based Signature Blend and its Katana Blend, made with Wagyu beef. Some of the blends are also available as unshaped ground beef. The most readily available option is The Prime Burger, but I recommend trying all you can find.

Of all the burgers, this one was the thickest and took a bit longer to cook. I'd watch it to make sure it's cooked all the way through. This burger has a ton of flavor and no additives, just 100% beef, and the taste was very satisfying. Schweid & Sons states the Prime Burger has a 75-25 ratio of lean to fat and is made with premium cuts of boneless USDA Prime chuck.

With the highest caloric content of any burger on this list -- 440 per burger -- and only 24 grams of protein, save this one for special occasions. Schweid & Sons' burgers come in four-packs but are priced lower than most of the other brands.

4. Wahlburgers Prime Blend

Wahlburgers Signature Blend burger cooked
Wahlburgers Signature Blend burger cooked - Gina Badalaty/Tasting Table

The name Wahlburgers is familiar to anyone in the Boston area. The famous burger joint is the brainchild of celebrity brothers Mark and Danny Wahlberg and was the center of their eponymous reality TV show, and you can now buy Wahlburgers burger patties at your local grocer.

Wahlburgers offers six varieties of beef burgers. I chose the Signature Blend, which is a mix of Angus chuck, brisket, and short rib. What is Angus beef? Technically, Angus comes from a Scottish cattle breed called the Aberdeen Angus. This beef has a higher level of marbling than other varieties, which keeps it juicy while cooking.

There's plenty of debate on whether or not Angus beef is the best, but Wahlburgers claims it selects meat based on marbling, as well as quality and coloring. Whatever the company chose, the result is pure heaven. The Signature Blend burgers are so rich and tasty, you'll feel like you've died and gone to burger heaven.

This crowd-pleaser is good as-is -- no reason to put any seasoning on it. But if you want to add something, treat it with the respect it deserves and use steak sauce instead of ketchup. Finish with upscale toppings like stewed tomatoes or mushrooms. A word of caution: These perfectly round burgers do curl in the pan, so keep an eye on them to make sure they cook evenly and flatten as needed. Each burger contains 320 calories and 26 grams of protein and comes in a four-pack.

5. Whole Foods Organic Grass-Fed Beef Burgers

Whole Foods Organic Grassfed Burgers plated
Whole Foods Organic Grassfed Burgers plated - Gina Badalaty/Tasting Table

My family loves burgers, but I love organic, grass-fed burgers. Is grass-fed beef really better than regular beef? The USDA states that "grass-fed" refers to cattle that eat grass or forage rather than living on a diet of conventional feed, which contains grains or products derived from grain. These cows also must have pasture access. Does all this really make a difference? A cow's diet does impact the nutritional value of its beef, particularly the fat content. Grass-fed beef may contain less fat. Additionally, it has significantly higher amounts of omega-3s, as well as CLA, another fatty acid which may benefit health.

Whole Foods' premade burger patties are grass-fed and pasture-raised. The product is even animal welfare-certified, so you can feel good about this choice. These burgers were fairly thick yet cook up easily. While they have a very beefy flavor, they do require seasoning because they were a little bland on their own.

Each ¼-pound patty only has 290 calories, so go ahead and load up those toppers, like a good Colby cheese. This is also an ideal choice for an exotic burger topping like kimchi. Whole Foods' burgers also contain 19 grams of protein. While there are only four in a pack, they're a great bargain if you love to eat clean.

6. Philly Gourmet Angus Beef Patties

Philly Gourmet Angus Patty plated
Philly Gourmet Angus Patty plated - Gina Badalaty/Tasting Table

While the city of Philadelphia is renowned for its cheesesteaks, Philly Gourmet has been making quality beef burgers since 1960. This family-owned and operated company is, naturally, located in Pennsylvania. The state is a major beef producer in the U.S., with over 25,000 cattle farms as of 2017. That's a whopping 1.4 million heads of beef.

If you're in the mood for that diner burger taste but can't get out or want to save money, Philly Gourmet's Angus Beef Patties have you covered. They have a square-ish shape, so they didn't curl when cooking. However, these burgers are thin, and that makes them cook fast. My one complaint is that the photo on the box looks nothing like the actual burger. Even when you follow the directions on the box, keep an eye on them to avoid burning.

Philly Gourmet gives you six burgers in a box, so they are reasonably priced. However, while they're billed as ¼-pounders, they seemed much smaller than that once cooked. They were also the thinnest burgers. So, while they're not my top pick, they're still tasty and good in a pinch.

Philly Gourmet Angus Beef Patties have 370 calories and contain 29 grams of protein. They are an excellent choice if you want a smaller burger -- think slider-sized -- with the full flavor of a well-marbled Angus burger.

How The Burgers Were Tested

Frying burgers in cast iron pan
Frying burgers in cast iron pan - Gina Badalaty/Tasting Table

These burgers were chosen for their name recognition and availability, as well as for using high-quality meat with few or no additives. Each was cooked without seasoning in a cast iron pan according to the directions on the packaging, if included, usually from frozen. However, different burgers had different thicknesses, so I made sure they were cooked all the way through to a level without any pink but not yet well done. Most of these brands had directions for different cooking options, like grilling.

While I tested these burgers on their own, the endless range of possible toppings, condiments, and seasonings is one of the reasons burgers are a favorite American dish. I love to think of a burger as a plate for my veggies, but that's just me. If you're eating a steak burger, your added seasonings and toppings should be at a higher level. I recommend matching the flavor to the burger. For example, a burger that contains brisket should be topped and seasoned like brisket. Barbecue sauce would work well.

Another consideration is the bun. I used a thin bun to let these burgers stand out on their own, but choose the bun that you like best. Potato buns are a favorite where I live, but they have a lot more flavor than a standard white bun. You don't want the bun to cancel out the taste of the burger. Of course, for a more nutritious option, you could wrap the burger in lettuce instead to let the flavor of the beef have its day.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.