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It doesn’t get much more classic, or more satisfying, than a beautifully calibrated cheddar burger. Here’s how to make a great one.

a cheddar burger with lettuce, tomato, pickles, ketchup, mustard, and kewpie mayo on a brioche bun
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Why you’ll love this recipe

Burger night is always a good idea. But with a few dialed-in ingredients and techniques, it quickly becomes a great idea. You’ll love this cheddar burger for its:

  • Simple yet flavorful 1/3-pound patties
  • Toasty, tender, buttery brioche buns
  • Classic trio of just the right lettuce, tomato, and pickles
  • Strong condiment game

What you’ll need

Here’s a glance at the ingredients you’ll need to make this recipe.

ingredients in bowls
  • I apply the same sourcing standards to these burgers as I do to all meat. Start with great-tasting, good-quality ground beef. For me that means 100% grass-fed and grass-finished meat. For burgers, 80-85% lean works beautifully.
  • A soft, rich brioche bun is my favorite for most burgers, including this one. But you can buy any good-quality soft hamburger buns — or even level it up and make your own with my favorite recipe.
  • Extra-sharp cheddar melts well but still packs a super-savory, creamy punch. I prefer the semi-controlled chaos of shredding it on the large holes of a box grater and letting it melt over the sides of the burger. Or you can slice it fairly thin and tile the slices over the burger’s surface.
  • If it’s tomato season, any sliceable type will work beautifully. During the rest of the year, a nice ripe plum tomato will give you well-behaved, consistent results.
  • For the lettuce, I recommend a nice soft leaf with a bit of crunch, such as butterhead, little gem, or baby romaine (pictured).
  • Dill pickle chips are the classic move. I also adore full-sours for a slightly different flavor profile. You can’t go wrong with either.
  • We’ll make full use of the holy trinity of classic burger condiments: good old ketchup (I use Heinz), yellow mustard, and mayo. My strong preference for burgers is the umami-forward Japanese-style Kewpie mayo, but you can use regular mayo if that’s what you’ve got.
  • Use a really good-quality butter if you can. Here and virtually everywhere, I start with a cultured, salted butter from grass-fed cows. This sounds fancy but doesn’t have to be. Kerrygold, for example, is sold in most supermarkets at a reasonable price.

My favorite sources for meat & pantry staples

For years, I’ve been sourcing our meat from ButcherBox. We love this curated meat delivery service, which provides grass-finished beef, heritage breed pork, organic chicken, and more from small farms direct to the customer. You can learn more in my extensive Butcher Box review and unboxing.

I love Thrive Market for a wide variety of products. Often described as one part Whole Foods, one part Costco, they’re a membership-based online market for healthier products at discounted prices. Plus, they’re mission-driven, engaged in the community, and not currently owned by a giant corporation. You can learn more in my Thrive Market review and unboxing.

How to make it

Here’s an overview of what you’ll do to make a stellar batch of cheddar burgers. You can see the steps in action in the video that accompanies this post, and get all the details in the recipe card below.

step by step
  1. Butter and toast the buns.
  2. Shape, season, smash, and sear the burger patties to perfection.
  3. Top with the cheese, cover, and melt.
  4. Build your perfect burger. That’s it!

Expert tips and FAQs

Can I make this recipe in advance? What about leftovers?

These burgers are quick and easy to make and are really at their best right after cooking, so I don’t recommend making them in advance. That said, sometimes I’ll make a double batch of the cheeseburgers themselves and see what happens.

Some nights they all disappear, and other times I’ll store them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week and reheat in the toaster oven or microwave. That’s a perfectly good strategy for getting ahead on a second weeknight dinner, as long as you toast the buns and assemble the burgers shortly before serving.

More favorite burger recipes

a cheddar burger with lettuce, tomato, pickles, ketchup, mustard, and kewpie mayo on a brioche bun

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a cheddar burger with lettuce, tomato, pickles, ketchup, mustard, and kewpie mayo on a brioche bun
5 from 2 votes

Cheddar Burger

By Carolyn Gratzer Cope
It doesn't get much more classic, or more satisfying, than a beautifully calibrated cheddar burger. Here's how to make a great one.
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Total: 20 minutes
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Ingredients 

  • 1 pound (454 grams) 80-85% lean grass-fed ground beef
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 brioche hamburger buns
  • 3 tablespoons (42 grams) butter
  • 3 ounces (85 grams) extra-sharp cheddar cheese, shredded or sliced
  • 1 ripe plum tomato, cut into 6 thin slices (ends reserved for another use)
  • 9 dill pickle chips
  • 3 leaves soft lettuce
  • ¼ cup (68 grams) ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon (15 grams) yellow mustard
  • ¼ cup (60 grams) Kewpie mayonnaise

Instructions 

  • Divide the beef into three equal portions and shape into patties. Sprinkle on both sides with the salt and pepper.
  • Butter the inside faces of the buns.
  • Heat a 12-inch cast iron skillet over medium for two minutes.
  • Place buns buttered sides down and toast for a few minutes, until light golden brown on the undersides.
  • Transfer buns to serving plates and raise heat to medium-high.
  • Place patties onto skillet and use a sturdy metal spatula to firmly smash each one until it grows in diameter by about an inch. After this, absolutely ignore the burgers for about three minutes, until the undersides are brown and crisp at the edges and any juices on the surface are hot and bubbly.
  • Flip each burger and top with one ounce of the cheddar.
  • Cover skillet and continue cooking for another minute or two, until cheese is almost melted.
  • Remove from heat and place burgers onto buns.
  • Stack each burger with two slices tomato, three pickle chips, and one leaf lettuce, torn to fit, if necessary.
  • Divide ketchup, mustard, and mayo among top buns and spread to the edges. Close each burger and serve right away.

Notes

  1. I apply the same sourcing standards to these burgers as I do to all meat. Start with great-tasting, good-quality ground beef. For me that means 100% grass-fed and grass-finished meat. For burgers, 80-85% lean works beautifully.
  2. A soft, rich brioche bun is my favorite for most burgers, including this one. But you can buy any good-quality soft hamburger buns — or even level it up and make your own with my favorite recipe.
  3. Use a really good-quality butter if you can. Here and virtually everywhere, I start with a cultured, salted butter from grass-fed cows. This sounds fancy but doesn't have to be. Kerrygold, for example, is sold in most supermarkets at a reasonable price.
  4. Extra-sharp cheddar melts well but still packs a super-savory, creamy punch. I prefer the semi-controlled chaos of shredding it on the large holes of a box grater and letting it melt over the sides of the burger. Or you can slice it fairly thin and tile the slices over the burger's surface.
  5. If it's tomato season, any sliceable type will work beautifully. During the rest of the year, a nice ripe plum tomato will give you well-behaved, consistent results.
  6. Dill pickle chips are the classic move. I also adore full-sours for a slightly different flavor profile. You can't go wrong with either.
  7. For the lettuce, I recommend a nice soft leaf with a bit of crunch, such as butterhead, little gem, or baby romaine (pictured).
  8. We'll make full use of the holy trinity of classic burger condiments: good old ketchup (I use Heinz), yellow mustard, and mayo. My strong preference for burgers is the umami-forward Japanese-style Kewpie mayo, but you can use regular mayo if that's what you've got.
  9. These burgers are quick and easy to make and are really at their best right after cooking, so I don't recommend making them in advance.
  10. That said, sometimes I'll make a double batch of the cheeseburgers themselves. Patties can be stored, tightly wrapped, in the fridge for a week. Toast buns and assemble burgers right before serving, even the second time around.

Nutrition

Serving: 1burger, Calories: 477kcal, Carbohydrates: 37g, Protein: 22g, Fat: 27g, Saturated Fat: 15g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 10g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 156mg, Sodium: 824mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 7g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Burgers
Cuisine: American
Tried this recipe?Mention @umamigirl or tag #umamigirl!

Hungry for more?

Subscribe to Umami Girl’s email updates, and follow along on Instagram.

Hungry for More?
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About Carolyn Gratzer Cope

Hi there, I'm Carolyn Gratzer Cope, founder and publisher of Umami Girl. Join me in savoring life, one recipe at a time. I'm a professional recipe developer with training from the French Culinary Institute (now ICE) and a lifetime of studying, appreciating, and sharing food.

5 from 2 votes (2 ratings without comment)

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