The best cheeseburger salad recipe – How to make cheeseburger salad

The best cheeseburger salad recipe - How to make cheeseburger salad

Caitlin Bensel

When the desire for a cheeseburger hits, there’s not much that can be done to appease it except devour a pile of meaty, cheese-topped burger patties layered on a sesame seed bun with crisp lettuce and onions, juicy tomatoes, pickles, smoky bacon, and just enough special sauce to keep it together. This cheeseburger salad has everything you love about your favorite comfort food, but with a few clever and delicious twists that make it one of the best salads ever.

Do you make cheeseburger salad on the grill?

New! No grill is needed for this fresh take on cheeseburgers. This recipe uses the “smash” method of cooking the burgers in a hot cast iron skillet by “smashing” them flat against the surface of the pan with a spatula. This makes them super crispy around the edges and helps them cook quickly.

What’s in Cheeseburger Salad?

Everything you love about a cheeseburger, but with more toppings and a little less bun. But don’t worry, we made the sesame seed bun buttery croutons! Paired with the mini smash burgers with cheese, thinly sliced ​​onions, ripe tomatoes, pickles, bacon, and a drizzle of Thousand Island dressing, this salad has it all.

Can you make your own dressing for cheeseburger salad?

Absolute! Store-bought Thousand Island dressing is a great shortcut, but you can make your own “special sauce” from scratch. Special sauce is as simple as this: In a small bowl, stir 2/3 cup mayonnaise with 1/4 cup ketchup, 2 tablespoons mustard, 2 tablespoons pickle juice, and 1/2 teaspoon each smoked paprika, garlic powder, and onion powder until smooth. Dilute with a little water or extra pickle juice so it can be drizzled on as a dressing.

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Preparation time:





Total time:





1 tbsp.

Worcestershire sauce

1 tsp.

ground black pepper


slices of yellow American cheese


sesame seed buns, cut into 1-inch cubes


hearts of romaine lettuce

1/2 c.

dill pickle slices plus 1/4 cup pickle juice (from jar)

1 lb.

cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered


small red onion, thinly sliced


slices of cooked bacon, crumbled

Thousand Island dressing, to serve

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  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Stir together beef, Worcestershire sauce, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and pepper in a large bowl until combined. Roll the meat into 12 equal balls, about 2 ounces each. Cut a three-inch square of parchment paper and set aside.
  2. Add vegetable oil to a large cast iron skillet; heat over medium heat until shimmering. Place four meatballs evenly apart in the hot skillet. Working with one meatball at a time, cover with the square of parchment paper and press down firmly with a spatula to break each meatball into a 1/2-inch-thick patty. (Peel off the parchment paper and move on to the next ball.) Let the patties cook, without disturbing, for about 2 minutes, until the undersides are browned. Flip the patties and let them cook until the other sides are browned, about 2 minutes more. Transfer cooked patties to a rimmed baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining meatballs. Cut each slice of cheese into 4 squares; top cooked patties with cheese.
  3. Toss the diced buns into a medium bowl with melted butter and place on another rimmed baking sheet. Bake until toasty, about 10 minutes, adding cheese-covered burger patties to the oven in the last 5 minutes of cooking to melt the cheese.
  4. Meanwhile, thinly slice a heart of romaine lettuce to make fine shreds and roughly chop the other two. Place all the lettuce in a large bowl, along with the gherkins, tomatoes and red onion. Drizzle with the pickle juice and sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt; toss to coat.
  5. Just before serving, top the salad with the burger patties, croutons, and crumbled bacon. Drizzle with Thousand Island dressing, if you like.

Try any ground meat you like for these smash burger patties, such as ground sirloin steak, or even ground bison or lamb.

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