Delicious Burger Creations to Elevate Your Summer Cookouts: 18 Must-Try Recipes

Memorial Day weekend marks the unofficial start of summer, which means cookout season has arrived. Whether you’re heading to the beach, attending a picnic, or throwing a barbecue for friends, choosing the best foods is a great way to properly celebrate the season and the holidays, from Memorial Day to July 4th to Labor Day. And what better way to enjoy summer festivities than with a delicious burger? This year, though, don’t go for the same old burgers you have every year. Instead, mix things up a bit with the non-basic burger recipes on our list.

Whether they have unique toppings like pepperoni or pineapple, or are made of something you didn’t even know a burger could be made of (like cauliflower), these burgers are far from traditional—and they’re much healthier than what you’d find at any burger restaurant or fast-food spot, too

Read on to find the perfect creative burger recipe for your next cookout, and if your BBQ tools and accessories could use an upgrade for 2024, check out the Best Grilling Gear You Absolutely Need This Summer.

Low-Calorie Sliders

Most burgers are going to be perfect for an afternoon gathering, but when it comes to pleasing a crowd and saving yourself a bit of money, nothing beats a slider. Not only can guests pick and choose from a variety of flavor options (this specific recipe makes a Chipotle-Bacon Slider and a Mushroom-Blue Cheese Slider), but the smaller size of the burger means you’ll have fewer wasted leftovers.

Get our recipe for Low-Calorie Sliders.

Jalapeño Cheeseburger

Jalapeno cheeseburger

There’s nothing quite like the subtle spice and powerful flavor of pickled jalapeños, especially when they’re thrown on top of pepper jack cheese, caramelized onions, and a juicy, freshly grilled burger. For the guests who want to ease up on the spice, you can always switch out the pepper jack cheese for Swiss or cheddar.

Get our recipe for a Jalapeño Cheeseburger.

Low-Calorie Green Chile Cheeseburger

Paleo green chile cheeseburger

This cheeseburger alone is enough of a reason to celebrate summer grilling season. Made with a juicy beef patty, a toasted potato bun, fresh green chilis, and melted Swiss cheese, this is a summer treat you and your guests truly deserve. Canned green chilis will work just fine if that’s what you have, but fresh peppers are always best if you have the time and if they’re in season.

Get our recipe for a Green Chile Cheeseburger.

Spicy-Cool Southwest Turkey Burger

Low-calorie southwest turkey burger

Burgers don’t have to be made with red meat to taste delicious. This Southwest Turkey Burger is made with Pico de Gallo, avocado, lime, chipotle puree, mayo, Monterey Jack cheese, and ground turkey, all on top of an English muffin. Using an English muffin instead of a bun will save you calories, but if you’re not counting calories this weekend, feel free to use a regular ol’ toasted potato bun instead.

Get our recipe for a Southwest Turkey Burger.

Chicken Burger with Sun-Dried Tomato Aioli Recipe

Chicken burger with sundried tomato aolia

Everyone’s had a beef burger, and turkey burgers are increasingly popular, too, so mix it up at your summer barbecues by serving this chicken burger. Even if guests have had chicken burgers before, the addition of the recipe’s sun-dried tomato aioli is certain to spice up the barbecue menu, and one serving is relatively low in calories, too.

Get our recipe for a Chicken Burger with Sun-Dried Tomato Aioli.

Cowboy Burger

Healthy cowboy burger

This fully loaded burger gets its inspiration from the classic Carl’s Jr. Western Bacon Cheeseburger, and it will certainly have your guests reaching for extra napkins. Loaded with onion, cheddar cheese, bacon, and barbecue sauce, this Cowboy Burger fully delivers on taste. If you’re wanting to keep the saturated fat a bit lower than usual, you can opt for lean bison instead of 80/20 ground beef.

Get our recipe for a Cowboy Burger.

Grilled Pizza Burger Recipe

pizza burger on wooden tray with marinara sauce

In most cases, pizza and burgers aren’t the healthiest choices for a meal. However, this recipe manages to combine the two and still remain low in calories, saturated fat, and sodium. That doesn’t mean that it compromises on any of the taste, either. The patty is seasoned with oregano and red pepper flakes, as any good pizza should be, and the burger is topped with warmed pizza sauce and toppings. One of the perks of this burger is that just like pizza, you’re able to customize the toppings however you want—go for a sweet and spicy combination with some grilled pineapple and hot peppers, or keep it traditional with plain cheese.

Get our recipe for a Grilled Pizza Burger.

Red Wine-Infused Mushroom Swiss Burger Recipe

Healthy swiss burger with red wine and mushrooms

You could just grill up some of the same hamburgers as always at your next barbecue, or you could make the dish more elegant with the addition of mushrooms, Swiss cheese, and a red wine-infused patty. This fancy burger recipe is also lower in calories than any restaurant-made specialty.

Get our recipe for a Red Wine-Infused Mushroom Swiss Burger.

Healthy Ultimate Burger Recipe

Healthy ultimate burger

You may think there’s nothing like going to a restaurant and ordering a delicious burger, but it’s actually possible to recreate that experience at home. This burger recipe uses equal parts sirloin and brisket and is topped with arugula and caramelized onions.

A bonus—the burger comes in at a fraction of the calories and saturated fat that you’d find in a burger from almost any restaurant. The Healthy Ultimate Burger may not seem too extraordinary, but with the calories saved by making a healthier burger, go crazy on different toppings to spice things up.

Get our recipe for The Healthy Ultimate Burger.

Ultimate Patty Melt Recipe

Healthy patty melt

When you think of a patty melt, it’s more likely that your thoughts take you to a diner rather than a 4th of July barbecue, but this inventive recipe is so delicious that you’ll be inspired to make it a new BBQ staple. The recipe calls for a patty made out of either sirloin or turkey and Swiss cheese to top it off.

Get our recipe for The Ultimate Patty Melt.

Best Copycat Big Mac Recipe

Healthy bigger better big mac

We all love the Big Mac, McDonald’s iconic signature hamburger, which features two thin patties between three buns, lettuce, cheese, pickles, and of course, Big Mac sauce. But it’s safe to say the Big Mac isn’t exactly the healthiest burger available. Our Best Copycat Big Mac Recipe is a recipe that’s just as delicious, but with far fewer calories.

Get our recipe for The Best Copycat Big Mac.

Thai Turkey Burger Recipe

thai turkey burger with asian slaw

It’s been disputed whether the hamburger’s origins lie in Germany or the United States, but the Thai Turkey Burger’s flavor profile won’t remind you of either country and will instead take you straight to Thailand. The burger is infused with lemongrass, Thai basil, and ginger and topped with a vegetable slaw to ensure that not only is it a delicious turkey burger, but a good way to get your veggies in, too.

Get the recipe for Thai Turkey Burger with Asian Slaw from Feasting at Home.

Spicy Cauliflower Burger Recipe

spicy cauliflower burger

Sure, cauliflower can be a great vegetarian substitute for chicken wings, but did you know that you can also make a burger out of this versatile vegetable? This recipe kicks up the patty’s flavor with cumin, chili powder, or cayenne, and also has pepper jack cheese in the patty to help hold it all together.

Get the recipe for Spicy Cauliflower Burgers from Pinch of Yum.

Mexican Green Chili Veggie Burger Recipe

mexican green chili veggie burger

There are plenty of toppings you can place on your burger to infuse it with a bit more flavor or texture, but if you really want to kick things up spice-wise, try adding chili peppers into the actual burger, like in this recipe for a Mexican Green Chili Veggie Burger. The patties are made of chickpeas, green chilis, and finely crushed tortilla chips.

Get the recipe for Mexican Green Chili Veggie Burgers From Minimalist Baker.

Portobello Mushroom Burger Recipe

stuffed portobello mushroom burger

Many homemade veggie burger recipes require a lot of work when putting together the patty, but for mushroom lovers, this one’s relatively simple: marinate a portobello mushroom cap and put it on the grill. Because this burger patty consists solely of a portobello mushroom cap and seasonings, it remains low in calories, fat, and sodium, while not sacrificing any savory flavor.

Get the recipe for Stuffed Portobello Mushroom Burger from Well Plated by Erin.

Baked Falafel Burger Recipe

baked falafel burgers

Not all burgers have to be made on a grill—give yours a rest over this weekend, and try out this gluten-free baked falafel burger recipe for a real way to spice things up. Speaking of spice, this burger, which only has seven ingredients, is seasoned with garlic, cumin, salt, and pepper, making the savory patties packed with flavor.

Get the recipe for Baked Falafel Burgers from Minimalist Baker.

Brown Butter Burger Recipe

brown butter burger

This recipe requires a bit of extra effort, but it’s worth it to impress your barbecue guests with the flavor bursting out of these brown butter-coated patties. Before the burger is put together, the recipe’s brown butter needs to be prepared by letting butter heat up on the stove and separating out the browned solids at the bottom of the pan from the rest of the melted butter. By adding browned butter to the burger patty, the burgers will have a nutty flavor and will be extremely moist.

Get the recipe for Brown Butter Burgers from Crunch Time Kitchen.

Easy Grillable Veggie Burger Recipe

grillable veggie burger

One of the most enjoyable parts of summer holiday weekends like Memorial Day and July 4th is grilling up food for your friends and family. And just because this burger doesn’t feature any meat doesn’t mean it’s not entirely grillable. This protein-packed veggie burger is made with black beans, brown rice, and walnuts, and is relatively low in saturated fat and calories.

Get the recipe for Easy Grillable Veggie Burgers from Minimalist Baker.

This story has been updated to include additional information, copyedits, and updated contextual links.

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