A great burger with a charred crust and a juicy, savory interior is a cornerstone of summer's best cookouts. It doesn't hurt that it's also one of those crowd-pleasing foods that's easy to make in bulk. Unfortunately, a lot of impromptu burgers wind up dry, flavorless, overcooked, and all-around lackluster. I should know—I've had my fair share. Luckily, we've put in the legwork, testing the very best ways to shape and cook your patties to ensure optimal success. From vegan and vegetarian options to the meatiest, cheesiest, over-the-top-iest burgers of your dreams, we've got 21 recipes to make this July 4th one for the history books.
Mornay and Mushroom Duxelles Burger With Crispy Shallots
Rather than slicing our mushrooms for this burger, we chop them up for an intensely flavorful duxelles. Then, both mushrooms and burger get a generous pour of Mornay sauce—that's French for a creamy, absurdly rich Gruyère-loaded béchamel. We serve them beneath a shower of crispy fried shallots for some contrasting crunch.
Mini Grilled Gyro Burgers With Tzatziki and Pickled Peperoncini
If you love gyros, then these mini burgers will be right up your alley. A mixture of lamb, beef, garlic, onion, and oregano delivers that classic Greek flavor, while some bacon fat in the mix ensures extra-juicy patties. They get a cooling dollop of homemade yogurt-based tzatziki, followed by some pickled pepperoncini for some tangy heat.
Smashed Reuben Burgers
There's no real reason to mess with the classic Reuben—it's a pretty perfect sandwich. But that doesn't mean magic won't happen when it's reimagined as a hamburger. This smashed burger is best served on some nice Jewish rye bread, smothered in sauerkraut, melted Swiss, and our homemade, better-than-the-bottle Russian dressing.
Cemita Burger With Refried Beans, Chipotle Mayo, Avocado, and Oaxacan Cheese
The classic cemita—Mexico's perfectly balanced, delightfully meaty sandwich—and the best American-style burger collide in this spicy-cheesy-herbacious mix of refried beans, papalo, chipotles in adobo, avocado, shredded Oaxacan cheese, lettuce, tomato, and a swipe of mayo, all over a good old-fashioned all-beef burger. It's kind of perfect.
Amatriciana Burgers With Tomato-Onion Jam, Bacon, and Pecorino Romano Crisps
Amatriciana, the Roman sauce of onions, guanciale (cured pork jowl), and tomatoes, is deconstructed for a rich burger packed with Italian flavors. It starts with freshly ground beef chuck patties, cooked to a nice medium-rare and topped with a spicy tomato-onion jam. Then comes some crisp slices of bacon, and finally some Pecorino Romano cheese crisps. Make sure to grab some focaccia bread for the bun!
There's something about the way the caviar of the South (as pimento cheese is affectionately, if misleadingly, known) melts into a rich, oozy coating, its acidity and punch of pimento flavor accenting a thick and juicy grilled burger in a way that regular cheese just can't. Add some pickled jalapeño peppers in there in place of standard pickles and you've got yourself one hell of a fiery backyard treat.
Really Awesome Black Bean Burgers
These black bean burgers have a complex, satisfying flavor and robustly meaty texture that even devout carnivores will love (seriously, try them with bacon on top). The mixture comes together in just 25 minutes and can be used to make patties for cooking either on the backyard grill or indoors in a skillet.
Sichuan Peppercorn Burgers With Chili-Ginger Mayo and Cucumber Pickles
Inspired by beef momo seasoned with the tingly heat of Sichuan peppercorns, these burgers are spiked with a fragrant mixture of that spice, plus cumin, star anise, fennel, chili flakes, and brown sugar. A tangy chili mayo with plenty of fresh ginger and cucumber pickles round it out.
Grilled Mozzarella-Stuffed Italian Sausage Burgers With Vinegar Peppers
For an Italian-inspired burger, homemade Italian sausage is formed into patties and stuffed with nuggets of mozzarella cheese. Then, the burgers are heavily pepper-crusted on the rims and finished with a dollop of creamy ricotta, red sauce, and fresh basil. Roasted vinegar peppers top it all off.
The Ultimate Bacon Cheeseburgers
Bacon, bacon, BACON! To make the ultimate bacon cheeseburger, cook your beef in bacon fat and top with a bacon fat mayonnaise, onions caramelized in bacon fat, and a crisp bacon weave topping. Even the buns are toasted in bacon fat.
Spicy Buffalo Chicken Burgers
Combine two great July 4th foods—Buffalo hot wings and burgers. For real Buffalo flavor, the ground chicken is mixed melted butter and hot sauce, and the cooked burger is topped with thick blue cheese and chopped celery.
Poutine Burger (Burgers with Fried Potatoes, Cheese Curds, and Gravy)
There are only three elements that make up a perfect plate of poutine. First is really good fries, and this burger is topped with thin, matchstick, super crispy ones. Next is a meat broth-based homemade gravy and finally fresh, creamy cheese curds. Raw onions add a crunchy bite and help cut through some of the richness.
Hot and Smoky Cheeseburgers with Bacon and Pickled Cherry Pepper Relish
This flavorful burger is topped with a homemade smoky and tangy bacon and cherry pepper relish. Crisp bacon slices, sliced American cheese, and a fat slice of grilled onion complete the combo.
Juicy Turkey Burgers With Sriracha Mayo and Charred Scallions
These quick and tender turkey burgers are packed with flavor, including a topping of charred scallions and a flavor-packed sriracha mayo. The trick to their great, juicy texture if using thigh meat (though breast can be used in its place if you don't eat dark meat).
Home-Ground Bison Burgers
A lean bison burger, when cooked properly, is perfectly tender and moist and makes for an interesting change from the norm. For the best burgers, you'll want to grind your own bison meat. It's not as hard as it sounds—remember to keep everything ice cold, and don't handle the meat too much.
Surf N' Turf Burger (Grilled Burger with Lobster and Bacon)
There's not really much to making a perfect Surf N' Turf burger. All you need is some impeccably good beef and lobster and absolutely perfect execution. Easy, right? Follow this recipe, and you'll be surfing and turfing in no time.
Cuban Fritas (Seasoned Cheeseburgers with Shoestring Potatoes and Spicy Sauce)
The frita is a classic regional American burger created by Cuban immigrants in South Florida, and this version starts with a pork and beef patty that's grilled and served with a spicy, creamy sauce and few more vegetables. The crisp shoestring potatoes that are the hallmark of a traditional frita are piled on top.
Burgers with Creamy Feta Sauce and Tomato-Cucumber Relish
Beefy burgers are topped with a thick and creamy Greek yogurt and feta sauce, along with diced cucumbers and tomatoes and sliced onions. Salting and draining the diced veggies helps keep your burger from getting soggy.
Homemade Vegan Burgers That Don't Suck
Beans, nuts, grains, and sauteed and roasted vegetables all lend meaty texture and big flavor to these vegan burgers that do anything but suck. If you're not vegan, add a melty slice of cheese.
Sweet Barbecue Kim-cheese Burgers
It just makes sense that if kimchi tastes great with cheese, and cheese tastes great on burgers, then kimchi tastes great on a cheeseburger. It's certainly true with this juicy burger, which is glazed with a sweet soy reduction, topped with cheese, kimchi, and quick pickled carrots and cucumbers.
The Best Lamb Burgers
Funky, minerally, sweet, and dripping with juice, lamb is flavorful enough on its own that you don't need to add anything to it to have a great burger experience. This recipe uses shoulder meat that's fresh ground using a grinder or food processor. Finish it off with feta, sliced red onion, and homemade mayo.