We Tried MorningStar Farms' Steakhouse Style Burgers And These Plant-Based Patties Are Growing On Us

dressed burger on a plate
dressed burger on a plate - Michael Palan / Static Media

Craving all those meat staples like burgers, dogs, chicken, tacos, or even pepperoni pizza bites, but want nothing to do with meat? The growers at MorningStar Farms have been cooking up this sort of thing as far back as 1974, delivering plant-based options that are "good for you," and "good for the planet." Its latest farms-to-your-table offering is the brand new Steakhouse Style Burger, which joins the already juicy line-up that includes Veggie Grillers Original Burgers, Veggie Grillers Prime Burgers, and Spicy Black Bean Burgers.

With 21 grams of protein, the Steakhouse Style Burger appears to be just the second "Steakhouse" style plant-based quarter-pound burger now on the market, after the folks over at Crave House beat it to the punch. Joe Beauprez, senior director of marketing, Frozen Foods for the Kellogg Company, said in a press release, "We know shoppers have been seeking a premium plant-based burger option — something that's already seasoned and truly tastes like meat, but with prep simple enough to fit their busy lifestyles."

So, does MorningStar Farms' new Steakhouse Style Burger replicate the taste sensations enjoyed by carnivores, but by way of greener pastures? Daily Meal tapped its meat-loving reviewer (me), with knife and fork in hand and a very open mind, to see how this burger stacked up. Here are the results of my chew and review.

Some recommendations are based on first-hand impressions of promotional materials and products provided by the manufacturer/distributor/etc.

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What Does The MorningStar Farms Steakhouse Style Burger Taste Like?

packaging with 4 burgers
packaging with 4 burgers - Michael Palan / Static Media

Straight from the bag, the burgers looked like grizzly-bear-brown hockey pucks. The texture resembled canned bread, and in a way, had a yeasty smell too. While the appearance didn't change much during cooking, there's less concern about undercooking something that isn't meat. The only worry was overdoing it, but once they got a little darker, it was time to stop flipping them and give them a try.

A true test is to try the patty as is, with no accouterments. The smell wasn't exactly inviting to start, bordering on the scent of wet cardboard, but it got a bit better from there. I cut out a small pie slice of the patty, and the interior resembled the kind of hamburgers served in a middle school cafeteria, with a meaty texture and a taste that comes sort of close to matching that too. It's passable as a burger, but not something that one is necessarily salivating to wolf down. However, if you dress this burger up like you would with a real hamburger, say, with pickles, tomatoes, onions, and ketchup, tucked into a bun (I held off using cheese), it moves on from being passable to permissible, and even butts up against being pleasant.

What Is The MorningStar Farms Steakhouse Style Burger Made Of?

back of the packaging
back of the packaging - Michael Palan / Static Media

As you can gather, the MorningStar Farms Steakhouse Style Burger is a meat-free, fully vegan product made of 100% plant protein, and contains soy and wheat. Its main ingredients include water, soy protein, and vegetable oil. It also has numerous other ingredients like potato starch, dextrose, yeast extract, and wheat gluten. Fruit juice and beet juice were used for coloring, and made this burger look well-done before even being cooked.

A serving size is one burger, with four included in the 16-ounce bag. A burger, with no other toppings, clocks in at 230 calories, with 14 grams of fat, 450 milligrams of sodium, 11 grams of carbohydrates (6 grams of which are dietary fiber with 1 gram of sugars), and 21 grams of protein. One of the key things to note is that they are 100% cholesterol-free, which is quite something for a burger. Of the recommended daily value, each one fulfills 8% calcium, 15% iron, and 10% potassium. In comparison to a meat-based steakhouse hamburger made by Good & Gather, MorningStar's version has 100 fewer calories and half the total carbs, while giving 3 more grams of protein, six times the amount of calcium, and 5% more of the daily amount of iron. However, the bad news is that these plant-based burgers have double the amount of sodium, which, based on the FDA guidelines would account for almost a whopping 20% of the recommended daily dietary intake.

How To Prepare MorningStar Farms Steakhouse Style Burger

2 burgers cooking in pan
2 burgers cooking in pan - Michael Palan / Static Media

The MorningStar Farms Steakhouse Style Burger can be prepared in a handful of ways, including in the oven, skillet, air fryer, microwave, and of course on a grill. They're best cooked from frozen, and MorningStar recommends two methods over the rest: Oven or skillet. When cooking them in the over at 375 degrees Fahrenheit, they'll be ready in about 14 to 17 minutes, while they take 9 to 14 minutes on a skillet. Use a non-stick skillet if available, and spray it with a little cooking oil.

For crispier patties, the air fryer is the way to go; cook them at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 to 11 minutes. However, throwing them on the grill gives a more smoky flavor. For those in a hurry, you can also opt to use the microwave for 90 seconds to 2 minutes. It's recommended to flip the burgers often while cooking, except in the microwave, where they should only be flipped once, halfway through.

For the purposes of this taste test, I went with my normal method of cooking burgers — a skillet over a gas stove. The light oil I used kept the patties from sticking to the pan, made them easy to flip, and gave them a bit of juice that they didn't seem to have on their own. Beyond browning the already brown exterior, it wasn't exactly easy to tell when they were done, so I followed the instructions to a tee, and it all worked out as planned.

When, Where, And How To Buy MorningStar Farms Steakhouse Style Burger

freezer rack with packages
freezer rack with packages - Michael Palan / Static Media

MorningStar Farms Steakhouse Style Burgers are available in a 16-ounce package that contains four vegan burgers. The suggested retail price of $9.19, although prices may vary.

The burger packs can be found at retailers like Walmart, Publix, and Target. I found mine in the plant-based freezer aisle at a local Target, nestled right next to other similar MorningStar Farms products, like its Original and Buffalo Chik Patties, and Garden Veggie Burgers. The Steakhouse Style Burger packaging stands out from the rest of its brethren with its unique and stark dark forest green coloring, which grabs the eye above the other MorningStar Farms products, which tend to be white.

The Final Verdict

burger with a missing bite
burger with a missing bite - Michael Palan / Static Media

On the fittingly green packaging, a stacked and tasty-looking burger tells the buyer that this illusion of the real thing and more can be yours. All you have to do is open it, cook it up, suspend your disbelief, and take a bite. I took the bait and dug right in.

Although the MorningStar Farms Steakhouse Style Burger might not be exactly like an actual steakhouse burger, it will get vegetarians closer to one without having to actually go there. As for someone who often pads his stomach with hamburgers, like me, I cannot say how they stack up against other veggie burgers, but I do plan on eating the other two patties I have left in the bag. The trick to completing the illusion of a regular burger is to add all the toppings as you normally would, because these plant-based burgers make for a decent delivery mechanism for all the tasty elements. In the end, this one of the things we love most about a good burger in the first place.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.