Asian Recipes/ Dinner/ Japanese/ Lunch/ Recipes

The Best Japanese Style Burgers

14/01/2021 (Last Updated: 10/02/2021)

Sink your teeth into these homemade Japanese Style Burgers, guaranteed to satisfy. Angus beef mince and umami flavours get together in this crispy, succulent burger packed full of fusion-flavours.  Oh, and don’t forget the winning combination of Kewpie mayonnaise and Japanese BBQ sauce.

Burgers plated up on a white plate ready to eat.

Why We Love This

When we think Summer, we think hamburgers. Like these juicy, homemade Japanese hamburgers that have been tricked up with a few extra mouth-watering flavours. They’re super easy to make, and you’ll have them on the table in 30 minutes!

Great for cooking for a large family by doubling the recipe, or even cooking for one and being able to freeze the patties for when you need a burger most!

P.S. If you prefer chicken, try these Japanese style chicken meatballs, or our favourite chicken burger recipes – Korean Gochujang Chicken Burgers or Easy Thai Chicken Burgers!

BBQ sauce dripping out of a fresh Japanese style burger.

What are Japanese Burgers? 

First, let’s talk about the burger patty. To kick things up a notch there’s a generous splash of sake, lip-smacking soy sauce, a drizzle of sesame oil, and a scoop of miso paste for umami goodness infused into the beef mince.

We also add freshly sliced leek to bring a zesty zing (and a dash of healthy goodness) to the mix without overpowering the magic balance of flavours.

Finally, may we present two essential Japanese condiments that will transform your Japanese burgers from ‘so-so’ to ‘so amazing’!

They are:

These guys go hand in hand to work magic on your epic burger-fest, and are equally tasty in other Japanese bites like the dishes they’re traditionally from: Takoyaki (fried octopus street snack) and Okonomiyaki (‘as you like it’ Japanese savoury pancakes).

We served up our tasty burgers on toasted buns and topped with slivers of napa cabbage.

Ittadakimasu!

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What You’ll Need

Aside from regular burger ingredients like beef mince, breadcrumbs, egg and salt and pepper, it’s the Japanese seasonings that really set this burger apart!

  • Cooking Sake – This is a type of Japanese rice wine for cooking. You can substitute with Chinese cooking wine, or a regular dry white wine if you need.
  • Soy Sauce – We use Kikkoman brand Japanese soy sauce which is a little lighter and sweeter than Chinese soy sauce. Both will work fine in this recipe.
  • Red Miso Paste – Red miso, also known as aka miso, is the dark brown miso paste with the strongest flavour. This compliments the beef so well, especially if you allow the flavours to develop for a few hours. You should be able to get red miso from most supermarkets, Asian grocers or online. You can read more about miso here.
  • Sesame Oil – The nutty aroma of the sesame oil will coat your patties in such a nice gloss as well as infusing its magic flavour in patty mix.
  • Leek – Instead of using onion, the leeks give these burger patties a subtler onion flavour that’s a little sweeter and works well alongside the miso and sake.

For the sauce toppings:

  • Kewpie Mayonnaise – This mayo is on a whole other level on the flavour scale and is, in our opinion, far tastier than it’s Western whole-egg counterpart. You can pick it up at any Asian grocery or the Asian aisle in your local supermarket. While you can easily substitute Kewpie with regular mayonnaise, it really is what makes this taste different to a regular hamburger topping. If you really can’t find it, we’d recommend you try and make your own Kewpie, so you can still replicate the flavour as close as possible. 
  • Japanese BBQ Sauce – We recommend using or making either Okonomiyaki Sauce or Takoyaki Sauce to pop on top. These sauces are similar, and both pair perfectly with Kewpie mayonnaise. If you don’t make them at home, you should find them online or at your local Asian grocer.
Ingredients laid out to make Japanese hamburgers.

Wandercook’s Tips

  • Use your hands – Always mix the beef mince mixture with your hands as this will give your burgers the best texture. 
  • Skip the buns – (aka carbs) and serve these burgers with a healthy side salad or vegetables instead, this is a more traditional way to eat them in Japan.
  • Grill them on the BBQ – For extra chargrill flavour, cook them on the bbq!
  • Spice it up – Swap out the sauces for our Gochujang mayonnaise instead.

FAQs

Can I freeze the burger patties?

Yes. We recommend layering uncooked burger patties in between sheets of baking paper so they don’t stick together. Cook straight from frozen, on a slightly lower heat and for double the time so it cooks through the middle. Alternatively, you can defrost them out on the bench for a couple hours before cooking or using your microwaves defrost setting.

Cooked burger patties can also be frozen, then reheated in the microwave. You can finish them off in a frying pan if you want to crisp them up slightly.

What burger buns should I use?

Regular burger buns work fine. You can also use damper style rolls or brioche buns if you prefer.

Can I batch cook or make the patties ahead of time?

Yes. You can make the patties up to 24 hours ahead of time. Keep them in layers using baking paper in an airtight container in the fridge until you’re ready to cook them.

Two Japanese style hamburgers ready to eat.

If you’re keen for more Japanese recipes check these out:

★ Did you make this recipe? Please leave a comment and a star rating below!

Burger on a white plate dripping with bbq sauce.

The Best Japanese Style Burgers

Sink your teeth into these homemade Japanese Style Burgers, guaranteed to satisfy. Angus beef mince and umami flavours get together in this crispy, succulent burger packed full of fusion-flavours.  Oh, and don't forget the winning combination of Kewpie mayonnaise and Japanese BBQ sauce.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Japanese
Servings: 6 burgers
Calories: 435kcal
Author: Wandercooks
Cost: $10

Ingredients

To assemble your burgers

Instructions

  • Add the beef mince into a large mixing bowl along with the leek, breadcrumbs, sake, soy sauce, red miso paste and egg. Mix everything together with your hands until well combined.
  • Form mixture into 6 equal size patties about 2 cm / 1 inch thick.
  • Heat the vegetable oil and sesame oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Pop in your beef patties and cook for 4 – 5 minutes per side until cooked through.
  • Optional step – lightly toast your burger buns in a toaster OR butter them and place butter side down in a large frying pan until lightly toasted. Transfer to serving plates ready to assemble.
  • Stack a beef patty onto the base of a burger bun and slather (or artfully decorate) with your favourite ratios of Kewpie mayonnaise and Japanese BBQ sauce.
  • Top with cabbage slices and the lid of your burger bun.
  • Serve immediately.

Video

Recipe Notes

  • Ingredient Notes
    • Cooking Sake – Can substitute with Chinese cooking wine, or a regular dry white wine.
    • Soy Sauce – We use Kikkoman, you can also use any regular soy sauce or tamari.
    • Red Miso Paste – Red miso, also known as aka miso, is the dark brown miso paste with the strongest flavour. Other miso paste types will work okay but have a lighter flavour.
  • Freezing and Storage – We recommend layering uncooked burger patties in between sheets of baking paper so they don’t stick together. Cook straight from frozen, on a slightly lower heat and for double the time so it cooks through the middle. Alternatively, you can defrost them out on the bench for a couple hours before cooking or using your microwaves defrost setting. Cooked burger patties can also be frozen, then reheated in the microwave. You can finish them off in a frying pan if you want to crisp them up slightly.
  • Burger Buns – Regular burger buns work fine. You can also use damper style rolls or brioche buns if you prefer.
  • Batch or Make Ahead – You can make the patties up to 24 hours ahead of time. Keep them in layers using baking paper in an airtight container in the fridge until you’re ready to cook them.
  • Skip the buns – (aka carbs) and serve these burgers with a healthy side salad or vegetables instead, this is a more traditional way to eat them in Japan.
  • Use your hands – Always mix the beef mince mixture with your hands as this will give your burgers the best texture. 
Adapted from Angela Nahas – Mini Japanese Favorites

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
The Best Japanese Style Burgers
Amount per Serving
Calories
435
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
23
g
35
%
Saturated Fat
 
9
g
56
%
Trans Fat
 
1
g
Cholesterol
 
86
mg
29
%
Sodium
 
631
mg
27
%
Potassium
 
371
mg
11
%
Carbohydrates
 
32
g
11
%
Fiber
 
2
g
8
%
Sugar
 
4
g
4
%
Protein
 
22
g
44
%
Vitamin A
 
211
IU
4
%
Vitamin C
 
5
mg
6
%
Calcium
 
130
mg
13
%
Iron
 
4
mg
22
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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The Best Japanese Style Burgers

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14 Comments

  • Reply
    Glenda Groves
    16/06/2021 at 12:28 pm

    5 stars
    Different, but absolutely delicious. Have made the recipe twice…… just to be sure!

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      16/06/2021 at 12:32 pm

      Fantastic Glenda, they really do pack a punch of flavour from regular burgers. It’s always good to cook them again…just in case 😉 haha

  • Reply
    Aish Padihari
    27/08/2016 at 3:12 am

    First of all gorgeous pics. I’m a fan. Loved your post.

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      06/09/2016 at 11:59 am

      Thanks Aish!

  • Reply
    Dannii @ Hungry Healthy Happy
    26/08/2016 at 6:35 pm

    5 stars
    My husband would LOVE these. He is burger obsessed and loves Japanese flavours too. I will be making these very soon.

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      06/09/2016 at 11:58 am

      It’s like a match made in heaven haha. Enjoy!

  • Reply
    Judy
    26/08/2016 at 10:46 am

    5 stars
    We love burgers (who doesn’t?) and need to up our game! I think your Japanese-style burgers will do the trick. 🙂

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      26/08/2016 at 11:33 am

      Especially when practicing tastes so good… 😉

  • Reply
    Kate @ Veggie Desserts
    25/08/2016 at 11:09 pm

    Adding miso paste is SUCH a great idea! I really want to try Japanese BBQ sauce now, too.

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      26/08/2016 at 11:31 am

      It definitely adds a whole new flavour dimension to the burger patty. Ooh and hope you love the Japanese BBQ sauce too, it is amazing, especially when paired with Kewpie mayo!

  • Reply
    Gloria @ Homemade & Yummy
    25/08/2016 at 10:43 pm

    These sound so delicious… Japanese food is so good. These would be perfect for our annual Labour Day BBQ get together. I think everyone would love them.

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      26/08/2016 at 11:29 am

      Oh for sure, they’d taste amazing cooked outside on the grill! 😀

  • Reply
    Andrew Prior
    10/08/2016 at 12:59 am

    5 stars
    Two of my favourite things combined Japanese food and burgers. A must try!

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      15/08/2016 at 11:26 am

      Life’s too short, why not have both in one?? 🙂

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