The Umami Loaded Burger Recipe

Yield: 6 servings
Prep Time:
15 mins
Cook Time:
15 mins
Marinade Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
1 hr
Don't be afraid of the fish sauce. Understand the crucial umami factor that fish sauce brings to food and it will become your best pantry friend. So often, the powerful, pungent punch of fish sauce can be intimidating to cooks who aren't familiar with it's marinading magic. Fish sauce is essentially the salty liquid from the fermentation of small fish and salt. But when used in small quantities, fish sauce brings fabulous umami savoriness to the burgers. It won't taste like a "fish sauce burger." It just tastes like a darn great burger! You'll be a fish sauce marinade convert very quickly.


  • 2 lbs. Ground Beef
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons Fish Sauce (for more daring, savory depth, use 2 tablespoons)
  • 2 cloves Garlic , crushed or fine mince
  • 1 teaspoon Sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground Black Pepper
  • 4-6 Hamburger buns (or 8-12 slider buns)
  • condiments of your choice and cheese makes it extra decadent and special


  1. In a small bowl, combine fish sauce, garlic, sugar and black pepper. Add the marinade to the ground beef and combine until all the ingredients are mixed together well. Refrigerate the beef for at least 30 minutes. We like to allow the beef to marinade overnight in the fridge for optimum flavor, but most of the time don't plan that far ahead. They still always come out great, even with the shorter marinade time.
  2. Gently form meat into patties for sliders or burgers. Form them to the size of your burger or slider buns.

  3. Cook on a skillet or grill. If cooking on a grill, make sure to pre-heat the grill and to scrape the grill clean before grilling. It will help minimize the sticking. (1/2 pound patties on a med./high grill take about 3 min. per side for med. rare burger. Heat temp., thickness, etc. all affect cooking times). 

  4. Assemble your burger with your favorite condiments and treat yourself to the cheeseburger version!

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