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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

Zucchini Pickles

These turmeric-spiked pickles lend spicy sweetness to the burger at Zuni Cafe in San Francisco.
"Tomato"

Tomato

A meaty, sweet presence between beef and bun.
"Sauteed

Sauteed Mushrooms

bolster a burger’s savory qualities.
"Cornichons"

Cornichons

sliced into strips add sour notes and snap.
"Alfalfa

Alfalfa Sprouts

Alfalfa sprouts, with their fresh, almost grassy taste, pair well with beef.
"Bibb

Bibb Lettuce

A velvety alternative to crunchy iceberg.
"Caramelized

Caramelized Onions

Few toppings are more delicious than sweet sauteed onions.
"Coleslaw"

Coleslaw

Coleslaw adds a cool crunch to burgers.
"Fried

Fried Egg

The soft yolk mingles beautifully with the beef.
"Olive

Olive Tapenade

Store-bought or homemade, it lends a briny, Mediterranean accent.
"Peperoncini"

Peperoncini

These brined peppers give mild heat.
"Pickled

Pickled Beets

An earthy alternative to sweet pickles.
"Pickled

Pickled Jalapeno

Pickled jalapeno slices convey an aromatic, tingly heat.
"Red

Red Onions

Red onions are a classic topping; briefly soak slices in ice water to temper their intensity.
"Roasted

Roasted red peppers

Roasted red peppers give burgers a smoky, sweet accent.
"Sauteed

Sauteed Garlic

A bold substitute for onions.
"Avocado"

Avocado

A few slices can stand in for mayo and impart a buttery richness.

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