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How to Make the Perfect Impossible Burger

Whether you grill or sauté it -- it's "impossible" to not make it delicious.

Six Impossible Burger patties on a grill
Impossible Burger 2.0 was designed to be cooked on grills.
Mariel Myers/CNET

I'm going to be honest with you. When I first heard about the Impossible Burger, I thought it was just hype. But after trying it, I can tell you this -- this burger looks, tastes and even bleeds like a regular ground beef burger. It's everything we look for in a burger. So what makes an Impossible Burger so impossibly delicious?

To find out, I gave it a go cooking Impossible Burger's ground meat alongside real ground beef to note any differences. If you're planning to snag a pack at the grocery store this weekend, here's what you need to know before cooking the Impossible Burger. 

Read more: The Ultimate Impossible Burger vs. Beyond Burger Taste Test

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What's the best way to cook the Impossible Burger? 

If you want an actual burger, the best way to cook the Impossible Burger is on a grill in the same way you'd cook a beef burger. I don't have a grill, so I sautéed mine instead. 

Compared with cooking the Beyond Burger, the Impossible Burger seemed to cook a lot more like real beef: It produced more grease than the Beyond Meat, sizzled more and shrank like beef burgers do as they heat up. But the Impossible Burger patty still doesn't produce much grease compared with real beef (a good or bad thing, depending on your perspective). 

A stovetop with an Impossible Burger patty and some beef cooking

On the back right burner, an Impossible Burger sizzles about 4 minutes into cooking; I had just added the remaining meat to the pan on the left.

Amanda Capritto/CNET

Impossible Burger is available in two different forms from the grocery store: a 12-ounce pack of ground Impossible Burger that you can form into patties yourself, and preformed patties.

There are three servings in the 12-ounce package, so I cut one-third off to make a burger and tossed the remaining two-thirds into a separate pan to make taco meat. 

You're definitely not limited to burgers and tacos, though -- you can brown Impossible Burger and add it to spaghetti, casseroles, meat pies, burritos, lasagna or essentially anything else that uses ground beef. 

Do you need to season Impossible Burger patties?

You don't have to season it. It tastes alright without any seasoning. But I highly recommend you do to make it extra tasty.

Here's what I use to season Impossible Burger patties:

  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • A pinch of cumin
  • Smoked paprika (especially if you're not grilling it, to give it a smokey flavor)
  • Onion powder
  • Garlic powder
A package of Impossible Burger on a counter

The 12-ounce block of Impossible Burger you can now find at select Gelson's locations in Southern California.

Amanda Capritto/CNET

Do I have to cook it well-done?

Nope -- the Impossible Burger has actually been served as tartare.

As beefy as it looks, the Impossible Burger is made of plants, so the risks that come with handling and eating raw meat don't really apply. The CDC notes that although fruits and vegetables can possibly become contaminated, raw meat and poultry are far more likely to carry food-borne illnesses. That should be reassuring if you like pink hamburgers. 

I, however, am kind of grossed out by pinkness in anything except a steak, so I browned mine all the way through. Impossible Foods Chief Financial Officer David Lee told CNET that browning the Impossible Burger until there's no pink left or cooking it to the recommended 160 degrees Fahrenheit for ground meat is the best way to eliminate any health risks. 

Two containers of cooked taco filling on a counter

Impossible Burger on the left; 80% lean ground beef on the right. Both seasoned with the same taco seasoning and cooked in the same pan. The most notable difference is that the Impossible chunks are larger than the real beef chunks.

Amanda Capritto/CNET

Handling the raw Impossible Burger

The "raw" Impossible Burger substance is a bit sticky -- you'll want a kitchen towel on hand if you're forming burger patties. It's definitely stickier than real ground beef, and it takes longer to break into small pieces while it's cooking. 

The Impossible crumbles stuck to my pan a bit, unlike real beef. I definitely recommend coating your pan with a nonstick spray prior to cooking. 

As mentioned above, plant-based alternatives aren't likely to have the same contamination risks as real ground beef, but you should still follow safe cooking practices and wipe any surfaces that came into contact with the Impossible Burger. 

A tortilla in a pan with cheese and Impossible Burger on one half.

Making a quesadilla with ground meat-style Impossible Burger crumbles. 

Amanda Capritto/CNET

Where can I get Impossible Burger?

You can find Impossible Foods products in many grocery stores across the US, including Safeway, Jewel-Osco, Walmart, Costco, Target, Kroger, Meijer and Fry's. You can use Impossible's store locator to find a retailer that sells it near you.

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.