We don’t know about you, but we need no excuse to chow down on a juicy cheeseburger. Since September 18 is National Cheeseburger Day, though, it makes it easy to decide what’s for dinner. You can start and end with a simple Perfect Cheeseburger recipe (and maybe top with crisp bacon), but if you’re craving a little more excitement, here are 12 of the best cheeseburgers you’ve probably never tried at home before.
1. Juicy Lucy
This deceptive-looking burger hides its gooey heart of gold(en cheese) on the inside, but honestly, we’re not against sneaking another slice on top. Get our Juicy Lucy Cheeseburger recipe and find out where they came from in the first place.
Lodge Chef Collection Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet, $29.95+ from Sur La Table
If you don't have a grill, cast iron is the perfect way to cook burgers indoors.
If you love In-N-Out, this one’s for you—and if you’ve never tried recreating their secret menu stalwart at home, you’ll find that brushing yellow mustard on the burger patties is an essential trick. Of course, the animal sauce is also accounted for. Get our Animal Style Burger recipe.
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This bespoke burger brings salty, pungent black olive tapenade and Monterey Jack cheese to the bun. It’s a simple construction, yet complex in flavor. Get our Black Jack Burger recipe.
Don’t have a cow? Ground chicken makes great burgers, as long as you don’t dry them out. Starting with ground dark meat helps a lot, but adding a cap of Black Forest ham and gooey swiss cheese will make even white meat taste luxurious and amazing. Get our Chicken Cordon Bleu Burger recipe.
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For another spin on the Juicy Lucy, stuff ground chicken patties with creamy blue cheese and top with bacon, lettuce, and the last of summer’s perfectly ripe tomatoes. Get our Blue Cheese Chicken BLT Burger recipe.
Turkey burgers have a reputation as the healthy, uninteresting alternative to traditional beef, but these BBQ sauce-slathered, cheese-blanketed, bacon-topped beauties beg to differ. You’ll just beg for more. Get our BBQ Bacon Turkey Burger recipe. (Try our Guacamole Turkey Burger recipe with pepper Jack too.)
Burgers for breakfast? Using sage-scented breakfast sausage for the patty is a brilliant move, but these are delicious any time of day. The grilled apple slices are brushed with maple for a lovely fall flavor, and the sharp cheddar pairs perfectly with the sweet and savory notes. Get our Apple and Cheddar Breakfast Sausage Burger recipe.
Related Reading: 5 Brand-New Breakfast Sandwiches You Need to Try
A lamb burger is robust enough to stand up to assertive toppings; here, we spread the bun with spicy harissa mayo and sprinkle on plenty of briny feta cheese. Cumin, garlic, and cilantro mixed into the meat add even more interest, but if you’re a cilantro hater, use another fresh herb like parsley or even mint. Get our Mediterranean Lamb Burger recipe.
Vegans needn’t be left out of the celebrations—vegan cheese is better and more widely available now than ever, and it’s even easy to make vegan cheese at home. Put it on a veggie burger made from roasted eggplant, black beans, brown rice, and smoked paprika (among other spices) and even meat eaters will be satisfied. Just be sure to replace the egg with a flax egg or other egg alternative if you do need it to be vegan and not just vegetarian. Get our Black Bean Cheeseburger recipe.
If that seems like too much work, a meaty portobello mushroom is a time-tested veggie burger option that’s delicious draped with a mantle of molten cheese (provolone is especially nice if you use pesto on the buns, but any kind—and any condiments—will work, though you might want to switch up the marinade from the balsamic and garlic one we use here depending on your other changes). Get our Marinated Portobello Burger recipe.
11. Cheeseburger Pie
What if you want cheeseburgers but don’t feel like messing with buns and forming multiple patties—or hitting up a drive through? This is the ideal shortcut to full cheeseburger flavor in savory pie form. Get our Cheeseburger Pie recipe.
And now for something completely different: If you have leftover burgers (or are cool with buying the freezer case kind, as recommended in “The Culinary Bro-Down Cookbook“), chop them up—buns and all!—for a bread pudding casserole style dish. If this sounds like a specious idea at best, come back to it around 1 a.m. and reconsider. Get the Cheeseburger Pudding recipe.
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