Recipe Spotlight

7 of the Greatest Regional Burgers in America

Try the best hometown burgers across the country, from Connecticut to New Mexico.

Published May 26, 2023.

When we think of burgers in the test kitchen, we don’t just picture buns, meat, and lettuce. Sometimes we envision the green chile mixture served as a topping on Green Chile Cheeseburgers from New Mexico, or the bright Pimento Cheeseburgers from South Carolina.

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Regardless of how we mentally picture a burger to be, we’ve learned that our choice of burger isn’t any less (or more) American than the burger choice of the person next to us. To equally spread the love for this all-American meal, we’re sharing seven of the greatest regional burger recipes we’ve come across during our recipe-research trips around the country.

1. Green Chile Cheeseburgers

Green Chile Cheeseburger

These burgers topped with chopped fire-roasted chiles and cheese hail from New Mexico. In New Mexico, green chiles are a regular on menus everywhere—even fast food joints. However, the hot green chiles from Hatch, New Mexico, can be difficult to find. To get the same heat and captivating sweet, smoky flavors from the green chiles from New Mexico, we combine Anaheims with jalapeños in our recipe. We use this mixture to top the burgers and also puree some of it and mix it into the meat to ensure those smoky-sweet flavors throughout.

2. Connecticut Steamed Cheeseburgers

Steamed Cheeseburgers

You might think steaming cheeseburgers sounds like a peculiar or unexpected idea, but this concept that has been a specialty of lunch counters and diners in Connecticut for decades is actually brilliant. You get incredibly juicy medium well–cooked meat smothered in gooey, molten cheddar cheese. And the buns get steamed as well, so they are supersoft and warm. If that’s not a win-win, we’re not sure what is.

3. Pimento Cheeseburgers

Pimento Cheeseburgers

Pimento cheeseburgers from Columbia, South Carolina, aren't ordinary cheeseburgers, where a ho-hum slice of cheese plays second fiddle to the burger. The neon pimento cheese spread—made with orange cheddar, chopped pimentos, mayonnaise, cream cheese, mustard, and cayenne pepper—is the emphasis of this burger and happens to taste just as bright as it looks. And because we add it inside the burgers and on top, its flavor stays front and center.

4. Shrimp Burgers

Shrimp Burger

Many shrimp burgers in Beaufort, South Carolina, are dressed with nothing more than a smear of mayonnaise. For our version, we found just the right way to prep the shrimp to ensure that the burgers hold together and are well-seasoned. And we add a subtle tang and brightness to the salty-sweet shrimp burgers with freshly made tartar sauce. These burgers will never take the place of a trip to the Shrimp Shack, but they will tide any home cook over.

5. Queso Fundido Burgers

Queso Fundido Burger

If you’ve been to California before, you know that they don’t take their queso game lightly. Our version of the Queso Fundido Burger is packed with bold flavors (the beef patties are pressed into a spicy mixture of Mexican chorizo and poblanos), sports a caramelized crust, and can easily be made in 30 minutes or less.

6. Oklahoma Fried Onion Burgers

The fried onion burger (or FOB, to locals) was born in the 1920s out of Depression-era necessity at the Hamburger Inn out on Route 66 in El Reno, Oklahoma. By adding thinly sliced onions into the mix, cooks could use less meat without reducing the portion size.

We make our fried onion burgers thick (no more wartime shortages, after all), and serve them on toasted-and-buttered hamburger buns with classic yellow mustard, pickles, and American cheese. These burgers are wickedly delicious—salty and sweet, tangy and juicy, and very hard to stop eating.

7. Wisconsin Butter Burgers

“Are you really putting butter on a burger?” Yes, and the minute a skeptic tries a bite of these butter burgers they’ll be convinced—like we were—that the folks over at Solly’s Grille in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, are doing something right. Buttery stewed onions and extra butter on top of a crispy patty—what could be better?

Your Guide to Burger Brilliance

The Ultimate Burger

The ultimate burger is what you want it to be. And The Ultimate Burger shows you how to get there with recipes for must-have classics and go-for-broke specialties, plus DIY condiments, sides, boozy milkshakes, and more.

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