Classic Burger-Joint Cheeseburger

Prep Time:
25 mins
Total Time:
25 mins

Forget waiting in the drive-thru lane! You can make a better burger at home with quality ingredients in no time.


  • 1 pound ground beef (85 percent lean), preferably grass-fed

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

  • Mayonnaise, for grilling buns and for serving

  • 4 seeded hamburger buns, such as Big Marty's

  • 4 slices American cheese

  • 1 beefsteak tomato, sliced into ¼-inch-thick rounds

  • Dill pickle slices, for serving

  • Shredded iceberg lettuce, for serving

  • Ketchup or other desired condiments, for serving


  1. Preheat grill for direct-heat cooking. Gently form beef into 4 patties, each 4 1/2 inches in diameter and 1/2 inch thick (do not overwork meat or patties will be tough). Season generously with salt and pepper. Spread a thin layer of mayonnaise onto the cut sides of each bun.

  2. Place patties on grill and cook, uncovered, until browned and sizzling on the bottom, 3 to 4 minutes. Flip, top each with a slice of cheese, cover grill, and cook until cheese is melted and patties are medium-rare, 2 to 3 minutes more. Transfer to a plate. Place buns on grill cut-side down; cook just until lightly toasted and golden brown in places, about 1 minute.

  3. Dress the cut side of each bottom bun with ketchup and mayonnaise (or desired condiments), then top with patties. Place a tomato slice on top of each patty and season with salt. Stack with pickles and lettuce. Dress cut side of top buns with condiments, then sandwich toppings and serve.

    burger lettuce tomato pickle cheese
    Armando Rafael


Havarti, Cucumber, and Dill
Swap out American cheese for sliced Havarti. Swap out tomato, pickles, and iceberg for thinly sliced cucumber seasoned with salt, shaved red onion, and fresh dill. Serve with Dijon mustard and mayonnaise or desired condiments.

Feta, Grilled Onions, and Radicchio
Swap out American cheese for 4 ounces feta cut into slices or crumbled. Swap out iceberg for thinly sliced radicchio, lightly tossed with red-wine vinegar and extra-virgin olive oil and seasoned with salt. Omit tomato and pickles. Slice a sweet onion, such as Vidalia, into 1/4-inch-thick rounds. Brush with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill, turning once, until charred in places and crisp-tender, 5 to 7 minutes.

Fontina, Grilled Mushrooms, and Arugula
Swap out American cheese for sliced Fontina. Swap out iceberg for arugula. Omit tomato and pickles. Halve 8 ounces cremini mushrooms (about 2 cups), brush with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Grill, turning a few times, until charred in places and tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Serve with whole-grain mustard or desired condiments.

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