Heterocyclic amines (HCAs) are mutagenic compounds formed during cooking muscle foods at high temperature. Inhibition of HCAs by rosemary extracts were evaluated with beef patties cooked at 191 degrees C (375 degrees F) for 6 min each side and 204 degrees C (400 degrees F) for 5 min each side. Five rosemary extracts extracted with different solvents were used in this study: extract 100W (100% water), 10E (10% ethanol), 20E (20% ethanol), 30E (30% ethanol), and 40E (40% ethanol). The 5 extracts were directly added to beef patties at 3 levels (0.05%, 0.2%, and 0.5%) before cooking and HCA contents were extracted and quantified. All of the patties contained 2-amino-3,8-dimethylimidazo [4,5-f]quinoxaline (MeIQx), and 2-amino-1-methyl-6-phenylimidazo [4,5-b]pyridine (PhIP). There was no statistical difference in the inhibition of HCAs in the 0.05%, 0.2%, and 0.5% rosemary extracts. All rosemary extracts significantly decreased the levels of MeIQx and PhIP at both cooking conditions. When cooking at 204 degrees C (400 degrees F) for 5 min each side, rosemary extracts 10E and 20E were superior to rosemary extracts 100W, 30E, and 40E in inhibiting HCA formation. Rosemary extract 20E showed the greatest inhibition of MeIQx (up to 91.7%) and PhIP (up to 85.3%). The inhibiting effect of rosemary extracts on HCA formation corresponded to their antioxidant activity based on a DPPH scavenging assay. Rosemary extract 10E and 20E contain a mixture of rosmarinic acid, carnosol, and carnosic acid. It is possible that these compounds might act synergistically in inhibiting the formation of HCAs.