If you could all take a knee and bow your heads to the floor in honour of this, the most holy of all food seasons. It is officially grilling season. Want to get a bit more adventurous with your cheeseburgers this year? My guide to picking the best cheese for your burger.
I don't care if you eat turkey burgers, veggie burgers, hamburgers or brontosaurus burgers; they all taste better with cheese. Only a fool would rather eat a plain burger over a cheeseburger.
In fact, just moments ago, I saw a guy trip on what appeared to be air outside of my office window. That is the sort of pathetic thing that would only happen to someone who doesn't like cheeseburgers.
Since it's officially grilling season, or barbecue season or whatever they call it wherever you're from, it's time to fill our neighbourhoods with the scent of smoke and charred meat.
Or if you're vegan/vegetarian the scent of smoke and charred plant based, imitation meat. And YES, most of these cheeses have vegan options.
Table of Contents
Best Cheese For Your Burger
The classic. Grate it, slice it or shred it. Just get it on there. Use a sharp cheddar for the full flavour effect.
And not just any blue cheese. Get your hands on some Italian blue cheese with red wine running through it like Oro Rosso. Top a burger with this luxury cheese and get instant meat cred. Other good blue cheese choices are Stilton or Gorgonzola.
This is the one cheese I still haven't tried on a burger myself but I've heard enough people rave about it that it must be good. If you like goat cheese that is. One tip: Add the room temperature cheese after the burger has been cooked. It's already soft so you just need the residual heat from the burger to warm it up.
More of a turkey burger person? Load it with swiss. Lots and lots of swiss.
Hot Pepper Cheese
Like it hot? Top your burger with a Pepper Jack or any other cheese with hot peppers in it. I love a cheddar with some type of blindingly hot scotch bonnet in it.
Then up the heat by adding pickled jalapeno peppers to your burger. Then really mix things up with a couple of sweet pickles under everything. You're welcome.
Fontina is hardly ever mentioned with burgers but if you want a gooey cheese with some stretch you HAVE to go with Fontina. The most melty, string stretchy cheese ever.
Plastic Cheese aka American aka Processed
Yup. Good old fashioned, individually wrapped in plastic cheese. American cheese slices. I like them and there's nothing you can say to change my mind. Besides. I know you like them too.
I'm getting ahead of myself here, what with the talk of cheese and all. The most important thing for a good burger is to have a good base; the patty. There are two schools of thought on what makes the perfect hamburger patty. Yes, only two. No more and no less.
The 1 Ingredient Beef Burger.
Beef. That's it. There's just beef in this burger. Ground beef is carefully formed into a patty shape. Maybe, MAYBE the addition of a few spices. THIS is how you should make a burger if you have unbelievably good, top quality, fatty meat from a specialty butcher. Grass fed cows produce tastier meat and the fat is yellow, not white.
The meat shines as the one and only flavour.
Hamburgers made out of only beef with no filler or binders means they can fall apart on the grill easily.
The Burger Recipe
A homemade hamburger with beef and a few extra things is what you do when you're working with regular ground beef from the grocery store or extra lean ground beef that needs some help with flavour. By adding egg, breadcrumbs, onions, spices and other things you can enhance the flavour of the meat.
You can make standard ground beef taste great and because of the use of binders like egg or breadcrumbs, your hamburger will hold together as you move and flip it on the grill.
Burger purists will taunt you for adding anything to the meat.
When I have great meat I make hamburgers with just ground beef. But the majority of the time I add a few things to help the burger along. Here's the recipe to make homemade hamburgers my way.
Perfect. Now that you have an idea of what you're going to put those gooey cheeses on we can start talking about gooey cheeses. Seriously though. Cheese. The food so alluring that even people with side effects right out of a horror movie will take a hit every once in a while for it.
By the way if you are lactose intolerant, check and see what your blood type is. I did a whole post a while ago on eating right for your blood type and certain blood types are apparently associated with lactose intolerance. I've haven't yet decided if this view is hooey or not.
And now a word about buns. Brioche.
Next time you go to make a cheeseburger open your net a little wider when choosing cheeses for it. Live on the edge. If a lactose intolerant person can scarf down a wheel of Brie once a year, you can certainly widen your circle of hamburger cheeses.
Let the grilling season begin. All rise.
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I'm going to put my hand up and say I prefer burgers without cheese. I love cheese, I love a good burger, but the two should not be mashed into some sort of cholesterol special. No, those two things should be inhaled separately to properly enjoy their fatty flavours. A good burger should have lettuce for crunch, caramalized onions because they need to be with the patty, tomatoes just because and beetroot for tartness, with a dollop of mayonnaise on a toasted bun. A proper bun, not the overprocessed white bread of death.
Beets? on a hamburger? Good lord where are you from???
Australia. It's a classic here, man. It is simply against the rules to have a burger without beets (but don't you come near me with that egg or pineapple - other Australian, er, additions to culinary culture).
Is it a pickled beet? A pickled beet I could understand. Or a regular beet? ~ karen!
Whoa - that sounds fantastic. Shredded beets or pickled?
I’ve been doing Muenster on mine. It pairs well with the garlic, onion, and chili powders I load the burgers with.
Actually I'm an onion rings connoisseur and I love the look of those in the first photo. Have had no luck with any brands from the grocery store. Just bought frozen Aldi's brand by haven't tried them yet. Any suggestions out there?
The very odd time I buy frozen onion rings (like once every 5 years??) and when I do they're from a local store called Zarky's. But if you aren't local to me that doesn't help, lol. However, I may have also made them with just a regular batter. ~ karen!
Thanks for knowledgeable articles for doing stuffs, practising in developing countries like Tanzania is a little bit hard as getting all materials for stuff doing is not easy. Thanks for making us ready by your good explainations
Happy to help! ~ karen
Feta is my go-to burger cheese; the saltiness goes so well and just crispy lettuce & fried onions to finish off.
Yes! I love feta on a burger. Salt overload but when I have feta on a burger I also add sliced green olives and some spicy Dijon mustard.
I love cheese and therefore talk of cheese. No matter how tenuous the intro . But I was shocked to see something orange described as cheddar, which, by the way, is an actual place about 30 miles from Bristol. Here that would have to be described as "coloured cheddar," which, if it was meat, would be described as "reclaimed meat" and has to come with a rectum content in bold lettering.
I am not so much disappointed as defiled. By the way the best way to eat a ripe stilton is with a pouring over of port and this really would be a crown on your burger.
Cheddar is cheddar here, lol. Although, there is uncoloured white cheddar as well to be found in its natural state. :) ~ karen!
Goat cheese is delicious on a big ol' burger. Creamy with enough flavor to come through and omg now after seeing these photos and thinking about burgers I have to have a burger with goat cheese today...
I tried a brioche bun the other night with my burger and I must say that I found it to be too sweet for my palette.....just sayin
It depends on the bun, but I love them for hamburgers and HATE them for hot dogs. ~ karen!
What is this “grilling season” everyone talks about?
Ours runs year round, even when we have to shovel off a few feet of snow or when it is -20 c. Yes it takes longer but oh my it’s worth it!
My daughter used to refer to the plastic wrapped cheese as “chemically goodness” and insisted that it have it’s place in the cheese drawer, not my thing but each to their own.
My current favourite on a good burger is a thick dollop of black pepper Boursin, so yummy with caramelized onions etc; but honestly I’ve rarely met a cheese I didn’t like.
Now I want burgers for dinner so that’s sorted, thanks Karen!
I LOVEEEEE black pepper Boursin. ~ karen!
Great post. Karen, I'm having a problem with your posts recently. I'm getting 3 black squares, one below the other on the left margin. One appears to be the Pinterest symbol with 16 below it. The next is the facebook symbol with a 1 below it, and the 3rd is an email symbol. They block the left side of your text. In fact they are blocking the first words in each line of this comment. Do you have any control over this? Keep grilling.
Try making your font smaller. I have a Mac, so I just hit COMMAND and the MINUS symbol to make my font smaller and the PLUS symbol to make the font larger.
Thanks. Will give it a go.
Hi Suzanne. I'd have to see what you mean. If you can take a screen shot and send it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org that would be helpful. :) ~ karen!
Thank you for all the useful as well as humorous information in all your posts.
Sometime would you do a future post focused just on cheeses, all types, where they are from, recommended, (are they available in Canada) & of course, your favourites? mmmmm!
Thank you bett
Ok Ima thinkin’ if cheddar’s good and blue cheese is good then Huntsman must be amazing on a burg. It’s a heavenly combo of double Gloucester cheddar and Stilton and available at Mickey McGuires cheese shop.... expensive but so worth it! Ever had it?
I'm not sure. I never, ever know the name of the cheeses I buy, lol. ~ karen!
Had a phenom 1/2 pounder with cheddar just yesterday. Topped with bacon, some sauteed shrooms and a slice of white onion. A little ketchup, mustard and giddy-up. A meal fit for the gods of one's choice. Mine is often Crom - a stern and unforgiving god that answers no prayers. Conan approved of course.
The Art of gooing Stuff by Karen
Try putting a bunch of dried oregano and chopped up parmesan into the beef
You can thank me later 😄
I like a good pretzel bun for burgers. It has a decent chew and won't fall apart on you. And the taste really complements.
Really?! Hmm. I'm not sure I would like it but just for you I'll try it. ~ karen!
Wacky but killer good: put an iron skillet on your grill to heat. Grill everything going onto the burger except the cheese and onions - lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, buttered bun, etc., to get the flavorful smokey char so good in a burger. Cook your meat and onions in the hot skillet, flip and add cheese, cover a minute or two. Assemble and flip out at how good it is. It’s an award winning method from SanFran, landed on the cover of Saveur Magazine. ANY of Karen’s cheese suggestions would be fabulous on it. Thank you, Karen, for bringing us your creative spice and powerful get er done energy.
Hey Pattie! But ... but ... doesn't everything get soggy? Well the lettuce specifically I suppose. They maybe use a very robust lettuce. I always hear Anthony Bordain in my head saying that lettuce should never go on a hamburger, lol. ~ karen!
Romaine does really well. Gets a little charred. Grilled romaine is a thing. So the smoky tastes come from the additions, the meat gets a proper cook without drying out. Really special. Give it a spin. I’d love to hear what you think.
Until you have tried a double patty smash burger with smoked cheddar (no need for bacon) you have not lived...just sayin'.
Duly noted sir. WILL do !
Omgosh you just gave me a cheeseburger epiphany. Sweet pickles under hot pepper cheese? WHAAAAAT?!? I'm SO going to do that. Also, don't forget the Lea and Perrins Worcestershire sauce generously mixed in with the ground beef. Ok bye.