Tasty Burger Toppings

There's almost no limit to what works well on top of a burger; countless foods provide a pleasing contrast in taste or texture to the meat and the bun. Sometimes—in the case of cool and crunchy coleslaw, say, or fiery peppers—that contrast is striking; other times, as with avocado or caramelized onions, it's subtle. Here are 18 of our favorites.

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Zucchini Pickles
Zucchini Pickles
These turmeric-spiked pickles lend spicy sweetness to the burger at Zuni Cafe in San Francisco.Michael Kraus
Tomato
Tomato
A meaty, sweet presence between beef and bun.Michael Kraus
Sauteed Mushrooms
Sauteed mushrooms
bolster a burger's savory qualities.Michael Kraus
Cornichons
Cornichons
sliced into strips add sour notes and snap.Michael Kraus
Alfalfa Sprouts
Alfalfa sprouts
Alfalfa sprouts, with their fresh, almost grassy taste, pair well with beef.Michael Kraus
Bacon
Bacon
Smoked, cured pork belly adds a salty, meaty note.Michael Kraus
Bibb Lettuce
Bibb Lettuce
A velvety alternative to crunchy iceberg.Michael Kraus
Caramelized Onions
Caramelized Onions
Few toppings are more delicious than sweet sauteed onions.Michael Kraus
Coleslaw
Coleslaw
Coleslaw adds a cool crunch to burgers.Michael Kraus
Fried Egg
Fried Egg
The soft yolk mingles beautifully with the beef.Michael Kraus
Olive Tapenade
Olive Tapenade
Store-bought or homemade, it lends a briny, Mediterranean accent.Michael Kraus
Peperoncini
Peperoncini
These brined peppers give mild heat.Michael Kraus
Pickled Beets
Pickled Beets
An earthy alternative to sweet pickles.Michael Kraus
Pickled Jalapeno
Pickled jalapeno
Pickled jalapeno slices convey an aromatic, tingly heat.Michael Kraus
Red Onions
Red onions
Red onions are a classic topping; briefly soak slices in ice water to temper their intensity.Michael Kraus
Roasted red peppers
Roasted red peppers
Roasted red peppers give burgers a smoky, sweet accent.Michael Kraus
Sauteed Garlic
Sauteed Garlic
A bold substitute for onions.Michael Kraus
Avocado
Avocado
A few slices can stand in for mayo and impart a buttery richness.Michael Kraus