The 5 Best Plant-Based Burgers for a Meat-Free Meal

Plant-based burgers have come a long way, baby. I still have a soft spot in my heart for those health food veggie burgers from the 1990s with their discernible bits of grain and morsels of diced mushroom. But advancements in fake meat technology have produced options that genuinely look and taste like meat—some of them even bleed like meat.

For this taste test, the Sporked team was joined by Rekha Shankar, a comedian, podcast host, and veggie burger lover. According to Rekha, plant-based burgers shouldn’t contain big chunks of vegetables unless they’re black bean burgers (don’t worry, one of those made the list), and should manage to be flavorful and even a little fatty tasting. We tried some of the most popular veggie burgers at the grocery store and decided these were the five best.

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impossible burger patties

Best of the Best

Impossible Burger Patties

Pitting Impossible against Beyond pains me. Both companies make an incredibly delicious and realistic meat alternative, and choosing one over the other isn’t something we took lightly. But there’s gotta be a best, and in our taste test, Impossible came out on top by a hair. Sporked‘s resident fake meat freak Jordan Myrick said the contest was “very close,” but that they liked the “texture and moistness” of the Impossible burger more. The texture is excellent, and Impossible chars up super nicely on the outside, just like a real burger. “It has crumble and it has fat,” Rekha said. The Impossible meat itself is less seasoned than Beyond, and I think that makes it more like real ground beef. If you’re (wo)manning the grill, you should be able to make your own seasoning choices. Impossible makes that possible.

Credit: Sarah Demonteverde / Target

Rating:

10/10

Sporks

beyond burger

Best Flavor

Beyond Burger Plant-Based Patties

Okay, so Impossible may win top honors based on its combo of texture and flavor, but Beyond pulls out a W for flavor alone. If you like a salty burger, Beyond is your jam. These burgers have an excellent beefy chew and big, rich flavor—no additional seasoning needed. “This tastes more like a McDonald’s hamburger,” Rekha said. “Meatier, saltier, and more umami forward.” Sporked editorial assistant Naajia Shukri even detected a little bit of sweetness in these burgers. They’re flavor bombs through and through and tasty additions to the veggie burger canon.

Credit: Sarah Demonteverde / Target

Rating:

9.5/10

Sporks

boca burger

Best for a Double

Boca All American Veggie Burgers

If you’ve ever dabbled in eating vegetarian, then you’re probably super familiar with the yummy, comforting flavor of a Boca burger. These are like Second Gen veggie burgers—more advanced than Gardenburger but no match for the taste and texture of Impossible and Beyond. Still, with their bold, savory flavor and pleasantly chewy consistency, these will always have a spot in our freezers. As Rekha put it, “They’re a classic for a reason.” These are thin and make for a perfect double cheeseburger. (And, hey, if you’re looking for good plant-based cheeses, we can help you out there too.)

Credit: Sarah Demonteverde / Instacart

Rating:

8/10

Sporks

morningstar farms spicy black bean burger

Best Black Bean

Morningstar Farms Spicy Black Bean

Morningstar Farms’ Spicy Black Bean burger is another freezer aisle classic that still holds up. These have a nice zesty flavor, a rich, rib-sticking quality that I love, and a lot of built-in nostalgia. They’re versatile too. Besides being piled on a bun with guac and a nice, spicy chipotle mayo, these can be crumbled on nachos or cut into strips to make a good burrito filling. If you’re going the Mexican route in the morning, I think these make good breakfast sides too in lieu of a veggie sausage patty. Rekha’s only complaint? “You can give me two of these instead of one.”

Credit: Sarah Demonteverde / Target

Rating:

7.5/10

Sporks

sweet earth burger

Best for Seitan Lovers

Sweet Earth Awesome Burger

These big, thick burgers from Sweet Earth left some plant-based blood on the plate, but they don’t really have the same meaty impact as Beyond or Impossible. Still, these are rich, filling, and tasty, especially if your fake meat of choice is seitan. These burgers have that same dense, toothsome, grain-rich quality. Extremely good and perfect if you’re in the mood for something a little bit different. Put one of these on a nice kaiser roll with lettuce, tomato, and mayo and your burger craving will be satiated.

Credit: Sarah Demonteverde / Instacart

Rating:

7.5/10

Sporks

Other Products We Tried: Dr. Praeger’s Perfect Burger, Wicked Kitchen Jalapeño Burgers, Gardein Chipotle Black Bean Burger, Gardein Ultimate Plant-Based Burger, Morningstar Farms Grillers

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About the Author

Gwynedd Stuart

Gwynedd Stuart, Sporked’s managing editor, is an L.A.-based writer and editor who spends way, way too much time at the grocery store. She’s never met an Old El Paso taco or mozzarella stick she didn’t like.

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  • This will make shopping so much quicker. Thanks!

    Reply