Easy Japanese Burgers

Easy Japanese Burgers
Easy Japanese Burgers
5 from 1 vote

Easy Japanese Burgers

My Irishman went through a Japanese phase for his Sunday night cooking experiments a few months ago. Which meant an influx of Japanese cookbooks and ingredients into the house.

Not that I’m complaining… The idea for these unusual bunless burgers actually came from one of his Japanese books.

I’m always on the lookout for new ways to use minced (ground) meat because it’s one of my favourite cuts. I mean it’s economical, readily available and always tender. What’s not to love!

If you can’t find miso paste, check out the variations for other ideas.

Oh and… If you’re a mayo addict like me, the miso mayo is to die for. Use it anywhere you’d normally use mayonnaise for an extra depth of flavour. It’s especially great with eggs and fish.

Course Dinner
Cuisine Japanese
Keyword beef, mayo, minced, miso, spinach, sunflower seeds
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 2


  • 500 g 1lb minced (ground) beef
  • 2-4 green onions finely sliced
  • 2 teaspoons miso paste + 2 teaspoons for the mayo
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • large bag baby spinach or other greens
  • handful sunflower or sesame seeds


  1. Combine beef, green onions and 2 teaspoons miso paste in a large bowl. Divide mixture into 4 and form each into a burger patty about 1/2 inch (1 1/2cm) thick. Rub each patty generously with oil.
  2. Heat a BBQ or frying pan on a high heat. When the pan is very hot sear burgers for 4-5 minutes on each side or well browned and cooked to your liking.
  3. Meanwhile, combine extra 2 teaspoons miso with the mayonnaise. Divide miso mayo between two plates smearing in an off-center circle.
  4. When the burgers are cooked place two burgers on each plate on top of your pool of mayo.
  5. Return the pan to the heat and cook spinach or greens, stirring often until just wilted. Divide cooked greens between two plates. Top with seeds and enjoy!

Recipe Video

Recipe Notes

WINE MATCH: Lovely with a cold Japanese beer or a savoury red wine like temperanillo.

Variations & Substitutions

no miso paste - season the burgers with 1 tablespoon soy sauce instead. And make a garlicy mayo by adding 1 small finely crushed clove of garlic to the mayo in place of the miso. If you are buying miso you can order online or look in the Asian section of your supermarket. I like 'shiro' miso which is also called white miso because it has the mildest flavour. Feel free to use any miso, just adjust quantities to taste (you may not need as much).

vegetarian - use these flavours in my chickpea burgers or zucchini burgers.

more substantial (carb lovers) - serve on burger buns or with steamed rice.

more substantial (low carb) - serve with more substantial low carb veggies like beautiful boiled broccoli or some steamed green beans or cabbage. Or use more mayo or add some avocado chunks to the cooked greens. A handful of roast almonds, macadamias or hazelnuts will work too.

different meat - use any ground (minced meat) such as lamb, pork, chicken or turkey. Or use a tender cut of meat like steak, lamb cutlets, pork cutlets, chicken thigh or breast fillets or even sausages and just serve the green onions scattered on top. White fish or salmon would also work.

different greens / veg - any fresh or frozen greens will work. Baby spinach is easy because it wilts down so quickly. But tossing a pack of defrosted frozen spinach will do the trick. Green beans or snow peas can be sauted in the pan instead. Or serve with a green salad or my beautiful boiled broccoli.

flavour explosion - serve sprinkled with the Japanese spice blend schicimi togarashi

hot - add a little chilli powder or dried chilli flakes to the mayo.

Waste Avoidance Strategy

minced (ground) beef - freeze it.

green onions – skip them or keep in the fridge in a plastic bag for weeks.

miso paste – unopened paste can be kept in the pantry, once open needs to be refrigerated.

mayonnaise – unopened in pantry or once opened will keep for months in the fridge.

baby spinach – best to use for another meal. Can be frozen but will wilt when defrosted.

sunflower or sesame seeds - keep them in the pantry.

Prepare Ahead

You can! Just cook as per the recipe but keep the mayo, spinach and sunflower seeds separately. Leftovers will keep in the fridge for 2 weeks or can be frozen. Don't freeze the mayo because it will split. To serve, warm burgers in a pan on a medium heat. Then warm spinach / greens in the same pan and serve as per the recipe.