Recipe Spotlight

What We’re Putting on Our Burgers This Summer

Take a break from lettuce, tomato, and onion and try pickled avocado, grilled scallions, or red pepper relish on for size. 

Published July 21, 2022.

While there’s certainly nothing wrong with a standard lettuce/tomato/onion-adorned burger, by the time you’ve made it midway through grilling season, you might be craving just a little more variety in the toppings department. Enter: This list of our all-time favorite burger embellishments. Whether you’re working with a beef, turkey, or salmon base, and whether you have five minutes or a few hours before burger building time, you’re sure to find your patty’s perfect match among these bright sauces, colorful relishes, and savory umami boosters.

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Pickled Avocado

For a creamy topping that also contributes tang, we pickled an unlikely candidate: avocado. 

Here’s our method:

1. Combine ½ cup distilled white vinegar, ½ cup water, 1 tablespoon sugar, and 2 teaspoons table salt in medium bowl.

2. Whisk until sugar and salt are dissolved, about 30 seconds. 

3. Submerge 1 ripe but firm avocado, halved, pitted, and sliced ¼ inch thick, in the liquid and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 2 hours. 

4. Drain and pat dry before using.

Chipotle Mayonnaise

For a burger topping that comes together quickly but packs a punch, look no further than this creamy, chile-spiked spread.

Here’s our method:

1. Combine 3 tablespoons mayonnaise, 3 tablespoons sour cream, 2 teaspoons minced canned chipotle chile in adobo sauce, 1 minced garlic clove, and ⅛ teaspoon salt in a bowl. 

2. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Peppered Bacon

The only thing better than bacon on a burger? Black-pepper-spiked bacon on a burger. While these savory strips are a standout paired with aged cheddar and our juicy pub-style burgers, it’s hard to think of a burger that wouldn’t be improved by its smoky spiciness.

Here’s our method:

1. Heat oven to 375 degrees. 

2. Arrange 6 slices bacon on rimmed baking sheet and sprinkle with 2 teaspoons coarsely ground black pepper

3. Place second rimmed baking sheet on top of bacon and bake until bacon is crisp, 15 to 20 minutes. 

4. Transfer bacon to paper-towel-lined plate and cool. 

Caramelized Onion Jam

Onion jam is a test kitchen favorite—its savory sweetness and rich color belie its simplicity, and its versatile flavor and thick, spreadable texture make it a delicious addition to any burger.

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Grilled Scallion Topping

A dollop is all it takes to dress up your patty: This cross between a slaw and a sauce features smoky grilled scallions, tangy buttermilk, and cider vinegar. (Want an earthier, even more umami-forward take on this formula? Try the grilled shiitake mushroom version.) 

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Microwave-Fried Shallots

Fried shallots deliver bursts of crunch and savory flavor, but they're easy to overcook and require constant stirring. We found a way to make the method foolproof and more hands-off: Frying the alliums in the microwave.

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Spicy Red Pepper Relish

For acidity and added sweetness, we used equal parts white vinegar and sugar, which tempered the chiles’ heat. A quick simmer on the stovetop let the sweet and spicy notes of the relish meld.

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Potato Burger Buns

Could the old-fashioned trick of adding stodgy mashed potatoes to bread really create rolls with the lightest, most tender texture?
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Equipment Review

Grill Spatulas

A good grill spatula should be agile and sturdy and should keep cooks’ hands cool.
Read Our Review
Equipment Review

Burger Presses

Burger presses promise to make patty preparation quicker, with more consistently shaped results than making them by hand.
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