The Best Meat-Like Burgers That Taste Like the Real Thing
Searching for a plant-based, vegan-friendly patty to grill up at your next BBQ or family dinner night? We have you covered with a guide to the most popular and widely available options at a store near you—and even some you can order direct to your door. While there is certainly no shortage of beef taste-a-likes and look-a-likes on the market, not all plant-based patties are created equal.
Looking for plant-based burgers that don’t taste like meat? Check out this round-up of true and traditional plant-forward veggie patties.
While most meatless meat-like patties are very similar—with some ingredient lists nearly identical—there is variance in taste, nutritional value and protein base. There is however a common theme in that all are intended to look and taste like beef, making it easier to choose plant protein over animal protein. You will find that most use either soy protein or pea protein as a base, not all are gluten-free, and cost does vary. We’ve laid out an outline of each of the major and most widely available vegan-friendly meat substitute players so you can cut through the clutter and grill up a winner at your next cookout. And remember, whichever you do end up choosing, swapping meat for a plant-based alternative is winning in itself.
1. Plant-Based Burger, Tofurky
Tofurky has been a trusted brand in the plant-based food space for decades. Their Plant-Based Burger is a welcome addition to their line-up of store-bought vegan foods and a reminder that despite the name, the company is increasingly versatile in its plant-based offerings. Their Plant-Based Burger holds its own in both taste and texture. While it does have a beef-like texture, it has a little less of “meaty” taste than competitors; but with no strange after taste, and a solid flavor, your BBQ guests will be perfectly satisfied and ready to hop on the plant-based burger train.
Cost: $5.99 (2-pack)
Found at: Walmart, Target and other select retailers.
2. Protein Patties, Trader Joe’s
Trader Joe’s has been a longtime provider of veggie burgers—but now, they’ve come through in a much-needed moment with a meat-like meatless patty. Delivering 18 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber, TJ’s Protein Pattys deliver a softer texture and a bit of a mushy-upon-biting-into feel. While the taste is quite good, if you’re seeking a true beef taste-a-like, there are better options out there. But, a nice bonus here is the price: Their 2-pack is about $1.50 less than other high-protein meaty plant-based patties.
Cost: $4.49 (2-pack)
Found at: Trader Joe’s
3. Incogmeato Meat, Burger Patties, MorningStar Farms
Kellogg-owned MorningStar Farms has been a nearly 40-year player in the vegetarian food-product space. Their latest endeavor is a plant-based meat substitute line called Incogmeato, recognizable by a dapper monocle-wearing cow for their logo. While not all MorningStar products are vegan—although they’ve said that by 2021 all their products will all be—their Incogmeato Meat line is 100% vegan...and they are 100% wanting to replace your meat staples with better-for-you plant-based alternatives. Their Burger Patties do nail that big ‘ole meaty burger texture, flavor and size (as they are about 7 grams larger than competitors). Still, with a modest 250 calories per patty, they pack a whopping 8 grams of fiber, 21 grams of protein plus 100% of your daily recommended B12 intake.
Cost: $6.49 (2-pack)
Found at: Kroger, Albertson and other select retailers.
4. Awesome Burger, Sweet Earth
Since the acquisition by Nestlé earlier this year, Sweet Earth has continued to expand while staying true to its vegan meat substitutes. Their latest endeavor is the Awesome Burger that does deliver on the promise of a truly awesome plant-based patty. With a whopping 26 grams of protein and a lower fat count than most of its rivals, it’s certainly possible to get your BBQ-going guests excited about this plant-based patty. To really feel good about your purchase, check out their fun little “Eco Clock” that shows how much energy saved, greenhouse gasses avoided, cows saved, and more, when you choose plant-based over animal meats.
Cost: $5.99 (2-pack)
Found at: Costco and other select retailers.
5. Meat-Free Burger, Meatless Farm Co.
The UK-based Meatless Farm Co. graced the shores of the US in 2019 brining their plant-based products along with their mission to help people reduce their consumption of meat. Their fully vegan lineup includes their Meat-Free Burger. Grill this puppy up and you’ll get that nice browned outer crust and beef-like textured interior. While a tad on the salty side and higher salt count than its competitors, it does have lower saturated fat and packs in a little fiber too. Overall, your BBQ goers won’t be mad at this meat replacement truly trying to make the world a better place.
Cost: $5.99 (2-pack)
Found at: Whole Foods and online on their website available in bulk.
6. Perfect Burger, Dr. Praeger’s
Dr. Praeger’s, known for making traditional veggie patties, jumps into the meat substitute arena with its juicy Perfect Burger...truly perfect for cooking on the grill. Made with clean, veggie-forward ingredients and a pea protein base, the Perfect Burger does have the meaty texture and taste while subtly sneaking in veggies like sweet potato, butternut squash, beet, and carrot. Some might find the Perfect Burger a bit of a healthier option with its incorporation of the aforementioned veggies and also a lower calorie count than competitors. The Perfect Burger is a welcome addition to the meatless meat market.
Cost: $5.69 (2-pack)
Found at: Kroger, Wegmans and various other retailers
7. Beyond Burger, Beyond Meat
One of the leaders in the plant-based meat space is the recognizable Beyond Burger. A true juice fest on the bite in and a meat-like taste makes Beyond a winner every time. Its base is pea protein that some people may prefer over soy. They’ve also have managed to get their prices down and are now at a lower cost than beef when you swoop their limited-edition Cookout Classic™ burger 10-pack. They also have some killer burger recipes just in time for National Grilling Month (July), like this must-make BBQ Ranch Beyond Burger. You’ll be smart to heed the advice from their experts so you can dazzle guests with your plant-based BBQ burger game.
Cost: $5.99 (2-pack), Limited-edition 10-pack, $15.99
Found at: Walmart, Target, Ralph’s, Whole Foods and various other retailers
8. Impossible Burger. Impossible Foods
Getting on board with ditching meet is not Impossible thanks to the Impossible Burger.
When grilled up you’ll achieve that crusty outer exterior and juicy interior that yes, does taste like beef and even manages to “bleed” thanks to its use of heme, a plant-derived iron-containing compound found. Warning: Vegans and vegetarians might think it tastes too much like meat, so these are not for the meat-repulsed veg eaters. For everyone else, Impossible is easy to fall in love with and gives us a good reason to fall out of love with beef. Another bonus is that one Impossible patty delivers 130% of your daily B12 needs and is a good source of several essential minerals like magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, and iron. They also recently launched an online store that makes it easy to buy in-bulk online for delivery straight to your door.
Cost: $5.99, 2 patties, (Impossible Grilling Pack: 20 patties, $69.99 online)
Found at: Target, Ralph’s, Whole Foods and various other retailers; sold direct-to-consumer on their website in bulk.