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.

For more tips on building the perfect burger:

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