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How to Cook with Plant-Based Meat

By Steve Dunn Published

Follow our guidelines—not the manufacturer’s—when you’re subbing the Impossible Burger for real meat in recipes for burgers, chili, and meatloaf.

The new generation of veggie burgers looks and tastes like ground beef. Our favorite is the Impossible Burger, which we found remarkably similar to the real thing in our tasting. Ounce for ounce, the Impossible Burger has the same amount of protein as ground beef. That said, it sheds less moisture and fat, and the company claims that a 12-ounce package can be substituted for every pound of real ground beef called for in a recipe. We tested the Impossible Burger in three common ground-beef applications, comparing an ounce-for-ounce swap along with a swap using a 3:4 ratio, and found that a single package wasn’t always enough. Read on for our recommendations for how best to substitute this product in recipes calling for ground beef.

BURGERS

Swap ratio: We recommend a 1:1 sub by weight. Three-ounce patties instead of standard 4-ounce burgers felt a little skimpy, even though the patties barely shrank during cooking. 

Ideal doneness: Cook the burgers to at least medium (135 degrees) to avoid a pasty texture. Taking them to an even higher temperature is fine—this product hangs on to moisture remarkably well. 

Cooking time: The burgers browned and lost their internal pinkness rapidly. Start checking for doneness in half the time the recipe suggests.

Other tips: To avoid sticking, cook in a well-oiled nonstick or carbon-steel skillet.


MEATLOAF

Swap ratio: We recommend a 1:1 sub by weight. Less than that and the loaf was too small, despite not shrinking much during cooking. An ounce-for-ounce swap made for a denser loaf, but some tasters actually preferred this tighter texture. Follow this same advice for meatballs.

Ideal doneness: Cook the meatloaf to at least 160 degrees to avoid a pasty texture. A higher temp (even up to 200 degrees) won’t noticeably impact moistness or flavor.

Cooking time: Start checking for doneness in half the time the recipe suggests. 


CHILI

Swap ratio: Twelves ounces per pound of ground beef is acceptable and will still allow a chili (or other stew) to seem plenty meaty.

Cooking time: Cook for 30 minutes to allow flavors to meld and product to cook through.

Other tips: Watch the pot carefully when browning this product, as it develops a dark fond rapidly. Because the Impossible Burger doesn’t release juices or fat, add extra liquid to the pot to achieve the same consistency as chili made with real ground beef.

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JC
JOHN C.
16 days

Absolutely the best chicken ever, even the breast meat was moist! It's the only way I'll cook a whole chicken again. Simple, easy, quick, no mess - perfect every time. I've used both stainless steel and cast iron pans. great and easy technique for “roasted” chicken. I will say there were no pan juices, just fat in the skillet. Will add to the recipe rotation. Good for family and company dinners too. I've done this using a rimmed sheet pan instead of a skillet and put veggies and potatoes around the chicken for a one-pan meal. Broccoli gets nicely browned and yummy!

Absolutely the best chicken ever, even the breast meat was moist! It's the only way I'll cook a whole chicken again. Simple, easy, quick, no mess - perfect every time. I've used both stainless steel and cast iron pans. great and easy technique for “roasted” chicken. I will say there were no pan juices, just fat in the skillet. Will add to the recipe rotation. Good for family and company dinners too.

MD
MILES D.
JOHN C.
9 days

Amazed this recipe works out as well as it does. Would not have thought that the amount of time under the broiler would have produced a very juicy and favorable chicken with a very crispy crust. Used my 12" Lodge Cast Iron skillet (which can withstand 1000 degree temps to respond to those who wondered if it would work) and it turned out great. A "make again" as my family rates things. This is a great recipe, and I will definitely make it again. My butcher gladly butterflied the chicken for me, therefore I found it to be a fast and easy prep. I used my cast iron skillet- marvellous!

CM
CHARLES M.
11 days

John, wasn't it just amazing chicken? So much better than your typical oven baked chicken and on par if not better than gas or even charcoal grilled. It gets that smokey charcoal tasted and overnight koshering definitely helps, something I do when time permits. First-time I've pierced a whole chicken minus the times I make jerk chicken on the grill. Yup, the cast iron was not an issue.