What’s more American than a burger? The classic combination of patty and bun is perhaps one of this country’s greatest innovations. And like our favorite sandwiches (we can argue about the difference another day), the burger is endlessly customizable.
Take, for example, our ultimate grilled cheeseburger, which riffs on the standard with a ribeye-short rib-hanger steak patty, runny egg yolk., and a fancy special sauce of shallots, pickles, mustard, cream, and vermouth. You can switch things up even more with a Japanese-accented pretzel-tonkatsu burger coated in panko breadcrumbs, or an Australian-inspired number topped with fried egg, pickled beets, and pineapple rings.
Once you’ve got the juicy, crusty patty you desire, take your burger to the next level with grade-A toppings. Homemade pimento cheese is great, as is tangy green chile sauce. For over-the-top decadence, you can’t beat our rossini burger, topped with seared foie gras and black truffles.
The patty melt isn’t quite a burger—rather than a bun, the patty is sandwiched between slices of rye bread. But with juicy beef, sweet caramelized onions, and melty cheese, we just couldn’t resist including it. Find these and more in our collection of best burger recipes.
At the Marketplace at Emerald Valley in Washington, Pennsylvania, lemon zest and fresh mint go into every lamb burger patty. A tangle of sweet balsamic onions, a hint of chile, and briny feta balance the charred meat and brioche bun. Ground lamb falls on the fattier side; if using a grill, watch out for flare-ups. Lamb Burger with Mint, Feta, and Balsamic Onions Ted + Chelsea Cavanaugh
“Combining a mild fish like cod with store-bought curry paste, cilantro, and kaffir lime makes for an incredibly flavorful patty, and serving it with a simple topping of thinly sliced cucumbers, red onion, and cilantro tossed with nuoc cham (a classic Vietnamese dipping sauce made from garlic, chile, sugar, fish sauce, and lime) is my ideal summer meal.” —Farideh Sadeghin, test kitchen director Get the recipe for Thai Fish Burger » Farideh Sadeghin
Amy Thielen combines her Midwestern roots with a Japanese fast-food favorite for this crunchy burger coated in pretzel and panko breading, fried in peanut oil, and topped off with a sweet-savory sauce made from browned butter, ketchup, sake, and a dash of fresh ginger. Get the recipe for Japanese Pretzel Tonkatsu Burger » Matt Taylor-Gross
For these addictively tasty burgers from Sid’s Diner in El Reno, Oklahoma, ground beef is pressed onto the griddle with paper-thin slices of onion and seared until crisp around the edges. Get the recipe for Sid’s Onion Burger » Penny De Los Santos
This burger, inspired by one created in Modernist Cuisine co-author Nathan Myhrvold’s culinary lab, is topped with a tangy cream and vermouth sauce. Adding egg yolks to freshly ground meat makes for a supremely rich burger. Get the recipe for Ultimate Grilled Cheeseburger » Todd Coleman
In 2014 Ernest Hemingway’s hamburger recipe resurfaced at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston. The maximalist patty calls for minced carrot and tomato, cheddar cheese, grated apple, capers, India relish, and a brace of spices, all mixed directly into the beef. The result is juicy and vibrant, its many constituent parts melding into a single, intensely savory whole. Get the recipe for Papa’s Favorite Wild West Hamburger » Helen Rosner
Pimento cheese is a popular burger topping in and around Columbia, South Carolina. The cheese gives so much flavor to the burger that you won’t need ketchup. Get the recipe for Pimento Cheeseburger » André Baranowski
Over-the-top burgers like this one—topped with a fried egg, pickled beets, and pineapple rings—are popular in Australia. Get the recipe for Aussie Burger » André Baranowski
This burger, created by the chef Hubert Keller, is an adaptation of the French dish known as tournedos rossini—filet mignon with foie gras and truffles. Get the recipe for Rossini Burger » André Baranowski
John Greeley, the chef at the 21 Club in New York City, grinds beef chuck and beef round with a couple of tablespoons of duck fat to make this tasty burger. Store-bought ground beef is a fine substitute. Get the recipe for 21 Club Hamburger » André Baranowski
There are many ways to make a bacon cheeseburger but this one, from former SAVEUR editor Colman Andrews, is one of our favorites. Tamari, which is aged soy sauce without added wheat, is available in Asian markets and many supermarkets. Lightly crusty, oval Portuguese rolls are sold mostly on the East Coast; if they’re unavailable, other rolls may be substituted. Get the recipe for Bacon Cheeseburger » Maura McEvoy
Parsley, dill, cumin, and garlic give these burgers a lively flavor reminiscent of a lamb gyro. The burger is enhanced by a tangy topping of feta, arugula, olives, and sun-dried tomatoes. The recipe is based on one from Michael Psilakis, the chef at Anthos, a New York City restaurant. Get the recipe for Lamb Burger »
This Dominican-style hamburger is topped with sautéed cabbage, onion, and tomato and doused in a Worcestershire-spiked ketchup-mayonnaise blend known as salsa golf. Get the recipe for Chimi Burger » Ingalls Photography