15 Delicious and Easy New Ways to Top Your Burgers

Doesn't everyone love a hamburger? We do in my family, but I felt like we were getting into a rut with the old patty, sauce, lettuce, cheese, and pickle combo. I recently spent a couple of weeks inventing and trying out new combos. Here are some new and creative ways to make and top your burgers. (See also: Great Vegan Grill Recipes)

1. Apple and Turkey Burger

For the burgers themselves, combine ground turkey, one egg, and a quarter of a tart apple, diced. Form into patties and fry in olive oil.

While the burgers are frying, make the topping. Thinly slice half a tart apple and sauté in olive oil, along with half of a yellow onion, also thinly sliced. When the apples and onion are tender, set aside.

Toast buns.

When your burgers are cooked through, place them on the bottom halves of buns and top with the apple-onion mixture, a tablespoon of Gorgonzola cheese, and a generous tablespoon of barbeque sauce. Add lettuce and the top bun.

Red potato home fries didn’t make the photo shoot, but they go perfectly.


2. Bacon Bleu Burger

These are just...well, they're decadent.

To make two burgers, take ¾ of a pound of ground beef, add ¼ cup of crumbled bleu cheese; ½ onion, finely chopped; and a shake of Tabasco sauce. I think these are best barbequed, but you can also fry them. Wait, it gets better.

Fry four slices of bacon. While the bacon is frying, toast buns. When your burgers are done, top with two bacon strips, mayo, lettuce, and a slice of tomato. Cry because it’s so good. Coleslaw is nice with these.

3. Sophisticated 'Shroom Topping

I know it’s silly, but when I saute leeks and mushrooms with a little sherry, I feel fancy. If you spoon that over a hamburger and add a little grated Emmental or Swiss cheese on top, you’ll feel that way, too.

4. Hola Burger

If you like spicy, well, try this Mexican-inspired masterpiece.

To make two burgers, take ¾ of a pound of ground beef, add a teaspoon of cumin and two shakes of Tabasco sauce. When the burgers are just about done, cover them with a slice of pepperjack cheese. But wait!

Drain a can of diced chili peppers (I like mild) and sprinkle on the burger, along with sliced tomato, and crispy romaine. Serve with curly seasoned fries and beer.

5. Peanut Burger

I could eat peanut sauce on just about anything — I like it that much. Top your burger with a couple of spoonfuls, some chopped green onions, and shredded iceberg lettuce. Serve with home-made sweet potato fries.

6. Not Your Basic Black Bean Burger

This is a good basic black bean burger recipe, with a somewhat fancier way to top them — corn coulis.

Cook two ears of corn, and slice off the corn when tender.

In a saucepan, saute ½ of a minced shallot and ½ teaspoon of garlic in two tablespoons of butter until the shallot is translucent.

Add the corn, ¼ cup of cream, ¼ teaspoon of cumin and stir until coated.

Put this all into a food processor and just pulse lightly — you want to see chopped corn, not pulverized corn — and spoon over burgers. Chopped, drained tomatoes look pretty on the top. Serve on toasted French bread, open-faced. Tossed green salad rounds things out.

7. Asian Salmon Burger

Let’s start with the burgers.

Drain and flake one can of salmon, and add an egg, ¼ cup panko crumbs, 1 teaspoon of sesame oil, and 1 teaspoon of soy sauce (shoyu). Form into two burgers and fry.

We’re going to top these with Sriracha mayonnaise (add three drops of Sriracha to two heaping tablespoons of mayonnaise, and stir. Taste; add more Sriracha as desired).

Add radish sprouts, sliced avocado, tomato, and nori. What? Yes, nori, like you use for sushi. Cut a piece in half, then in strips. I like these served on toasted French bread. A red-cabbage slaw on the side would be nice, too.


8. Crab Burger

Crabby, Patty? Naah, these make me happy.

For the burgers — drain and flake one can of crab. Add an egg, ½ cup panko crumbs, two shakes of Tabasco sauce, one green onion, minced, and one tablespoon of mayonnaise.

Fry burgers and buns; top with this divine remoulade sauce. These are very rich, so sliced tomatoes on the side are enough.

9. Italian-American Burger

I used ground turkey; beef will also work fine.

Add an egg to the meat, along with ¼ cup of Italian bread crumbs, two tablespoons of grated parmesan, ¾ teaspoon of fennel, 1 teaspoon of oregano, and a teaspoon of garlic salt. Mix and shape into burgers.

Fry burgers and toast bread.

Top with pesto, spaghetti sauce, mozzarella cheese, and spinach leaves.


10. Mediterranean Topping

I could just eat olive tapenade out of the jar and call it "dinner." However, over a hamburger, it’s even better. I also like a roasted red pepper (from a jar) in that mix. It’s so easy! Baby carrots go well with this, as a side.

11. Polynesian Burger

To ¾ of a pound of meat, add ½ can of crushed pineapple, drained, and ¼ cup of panko crumbs. Cook burger as usual. Top with slices of Maui onion. Serve on Hawaiian sweet bread rolls. Ono.

12. Kimchee Burger

I know, it sounds odd — but these are big hit here at my town’s Little League ballpark. Get all the how-to’s from Week of Menus.

13. Dijon-Mushroom Topping

This is a really good topping on turkey burgers because they can sometimes be dry.

Saute mushrooms in a little olive oil. When tender, add a teaspoon of Dijon mustard and a teaspoon of sour cream. Stir; spoon over burgers, and serve on toasted onion rolls. Green salad on the side cleans the palate for another bite.

14. Poor Man’s Filet Mignon Burger

If you close your eyes, and use your imagination, my husband says… you can kind of get it. Whatever — they are really good. I go bun-less with these babies, but you could certainly put them in a bun, if you wanted. I like to shake on just a little more Worcestershire before serving.  

15. Western Burger

This is one of my mother’s standbys and still a winner.

Heat a can of drained kidney beans with some barbeque sauce and bacon bits. Spoon over beef burgers and top with a slice of American cheese. I think that tater tots are the perfect side dish.

Note: Always make sure you cook meat to safe temperatures.

Have you tried any interesting variations on the classic burger? Please share in comments!

Burger photos by Marla Walters

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Guest's picture

All of these seem like great burgers to try. I would pass on the crab and Asian salmon ones though. My favorite to try first would be the Polynesian Burger!!

Marla Walters's picture

Thanks, Thomas! Enjoy. :-)

Guest's picture

Where is guacamole in this list?!?!?!? This is nearly on the the best condiments humans have ever created!

Marla Walters's picture

Hiya, Derek! Well, guacamole/avocado absolutely belong. We have an avocado tree and I put them in all kinds of stuff. I was just looking for some unusual things. You're right, though -guacamole, or sliced avocado, are delicious on burgers.

Guest's picture

Delicious ideas! The bacon and blue sounds awesome. Another idea is avocados, they're great on burgers too. This reminds me of Five Guys Burgers!

Marla Walters's picture

Hi, Monica! Never been to a Five Guys Burgers - do not have one here. Sounds like I am missing out! :-(

Guest's picture

Great ideas! I also love your uses of different types of bread!

Marla Walters's picture

Tx, MZ! And I know your feelings about canned crab . . . I'd use fresh but am unwilling to take out a second mortgage . . .

Guest's picture

Once in awhile, I will mix in some powder ranch dressing mix with the ground meat. And top it with tomato and avocado

Marla Walters's picture

Hey, Pete! Tx for the suggestion. That sounds like a new twist on the old Lipton onion soupburger. Those were delicious, too.

Guest's picture

I am definitely a burger fan. medium rare, cheddar and bacon. With lots of mayo.