What does the Impossible Burger taste like?

BBC Good Food investigates the first plant-based vegetarian 'meat' burger, using genetically engineered ingredients. Does it taste like the real thing?

Impossible Burger

I was lucky enough to go to the USA three times this summer and the highlight of my time out there was being able to try the famous ‘Impossible Burger’. On occasion, I’m a fan of meat substitutes, but I really miss the satisfaction of a good old ‘dirty burger’, so I was super excited to get my teeth into this famous burger I’d been lusting after on Instagram for months.

What is the Impossible Burger?

You may have heard about the Impossible Burger, a plant-based patty that bleeds and sizzles when it cooks. It’s made using an ingredient called haem (or heme, an iron-containing compound that's abundant in animal muscle) and aims to mimic that basic moreish meaty flavour. Since it’s made from plants, it has a much smaller environmental footprint than its classic beef counterpart. 

5-a-day burger

What does the burger taste like?

I went to The Public House in San Francisco and sat down with anticipation and excitement. I ordered it with American cheese, of course. It was really wonderful and met the craving I had since turning veggie. The feeling I wanted was the joy that comes with a warm, fatty and salty burger wrapped in an amazing brioche bun, pickles, sauces, salad and cheese. This definitely had that naughty, fatty taste and texture I was looking for.

The outside of the burger is coated in coconut oil, so it has a crunchy savoury outside like you get on a beef burger when you fry it. And there it was inside: that pinky soft middle. It was simply delicious. The flavour was really good – the best veggie burger I’ve ever had. However, I was hoping it would be indistinguishable from a meat burger so I was slightly disappointed that I could still tell the difference.

Green burgers with ketchup
My expectations were pretty high after seeing all the hype on social media, so I was expecting it to be exactly like meat, but I don’t think they've quite gotten there on texture... yet. I’m sure they'll improve it and it was honestly amazing, but just a tad too soft and mushy. If asked to give it a rating, I would give it eight out of 10 – the top end of the scale being on a par with my old favourite from MeatLiquor! My husband, who normally eats beef, also had one and even he said it was very good. Pretty impressive in my book.

What other kinds of veggie burgers are on offer?

A few months later I tried another version in Los Angeles, this time at Umami Burger. Here, they do a special umami coating that has anchovies in it, so they advise you to have it without the sauce if you're veggie. I went for a double patty, with double American cheese and all the good stuff. Again, it was pretty legendary. Even better than the first time. It seemed to have been prepared or cooked better as it had a bit more bite, and it was gorgeous.

I also went to Veggie Grill in LA and tried the other famous ‘Beyond Meat’ burger. It was good, but for me, the Impossible wins. I think it will be big news and hopefully, the environmental impact of cattle farming can be diminished if people switch to this type of burger over beef. Ultimately, people will only buy the Impossible Burger if it can replicate the joy of eating a naughty, salty, fatty dirty burger without the extra side of guilt.

Try making your own veggie burgers at home with our guide to the perfect plant-based patty. 

Ultimate veggie burger

Enjoyed this? Read other vegan guides...

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How to switch to a vegan diet
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Would you try the Impossible Burger? Leave a comment below...

Comments, questions and tips

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Brother Bob's picture
Brother Bob
1st Nov, 2019
14g fat 8g saturated fat No wonder you like it so much....
Trish Windeatt's picture
Trish Windeatt
8th Oct, 2019
YES YES YES PLEASE!!!!! Been waiting to get hold of one of these for the past year, having changed from a very confirmed carnivore 18 months ago to a vegetarian. All I'm reading about it is so positive and cant wait to try it.
Lee Jones's picture
Lee Jones
8th Aug, 2019
I gave the Impossible Burger a try. It was ok, it had that grilled flavor. Some of the flavor might be from grilling meat on the same grill. I could have had a double Whopper for the same price and calories. A committed carnivore won't be satisfied with it but someone wanting a meatless burger eating experience will likely be ok with it
12th May, 2019
I tried one when I was in Hong Kong on business. The texture was more like pulled meat than a burger, but hey, pulled meat is pretty popular too, and the taste was good.
Junkman Junior's picture
Junkman Junior
8th Mar, 2019
Great! A healthier, greener way to consume the food we all love!? Currently, a pound of 80/20 ground beef is costing $3-$5. When this stuff is made available to the consumer, even though it was stated that it is cheaper to make, it will be what? $10? $12 a pound? Organic Milk anyone?
Donald Allen's picture
Donald Allen
26th Feb, 2018
Creating decent "fake hamburger" is the Holy Grail for food companies; driven more by it's lower ingredient costs than environmental benefit. Millions will continue to be poured into development until they get it right. Looking forward, NOT a good time to be a cattle farmer.
30th Jan, 2018
I can't help notice on the irony of someone who commends a burger on having "a much smaller environmental footprint than its classic beef counterpart" and yet flies to America 3 times in one summer! Possibly even for the purpose of tasting said environmentally friendly burger...
rlgreaves's picture
2nd Dec, 2017
Love to try it.
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