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West coast, the best coast, right? Or something like that. This California burger features a juicy beef patty infused with mouthwatering seasonings, topped with creamy avocado slices, tangy ripe tomatoes, crisp lettuce, and a zesty homemade sauce, all nestled between a fluffy brioche bun.
My parents recently ditched me and the East Coast and moved to Southern California where it’s perfect weather 89% of the year. I don’t blame them at all. First, it’s much closer to Asia (Taiwan, specifically), and second they’re retired and who doesn’t want to retire in a state where the humidity is low and sunshine is abundant? Most importantly, California and the West Coast sure do have some pretty legit burger joints that we have yet to get over here. I remember when Shake Shack first came over, then Habit Burger. We are still waiting on In n Out.
What is a California Burger?
Well, the beef patty itself is pretty standard as a beef patty on a burger goes (however – I discovered this hack for burger patties that I’m pretty sure I will never make a burger without again. Keep reading…) but the ‘California’ part of the burger is more about the toppings on the burger than anything else.
As we all know, California is tends to have fresh ingredients all year long and the lettuce, tomatoes, onions on top of this California Burger are as fresh as can be! However, most notably, the avocado is what really gives this burger its name. I’m not sure how it was coined that when you throw an avocado on something, it automatically becomes Californian, but hey – I’m here for it.
Why You’ll Love This
- Sunshine on a bun. This burger is the epitome of fresh, vibrant, and sunny flavors. All the toppings stacked on the beef patty complement each other. This burger will transport you straight to the sunny beaches of California, no matter where you are!
- Prep ahead or not. The recipe is designed to be quick and easy to prepare, allowing you to whip up a delicious meal in no time. You can make the burger patties ahead of time and freeze them and grill later, or you can make them the day of and cook them same day! Whichever you choose, you can’t go wrong with this recipe.
- Fully customizable. Burgers are one of those things that can be fully customizable to whatever you’re going for. It’s a blank canvas for flavor and you get to be the creative artist!
Ingredients You’ll Need
Are you ready to make the juiciest and most flavorful burgers? Classic ingredients make up this California burger but there is one sneaky ingredient in here that I bet you have never thought to use! Make sure to scroll down to view the full recipe for exact measurements.
- Ground beef
- Onion dip seasoning mix – don’t sleep on this. This makes the burger have the most amazing caramelized onion flavor without having to caramelize the onion.
- Grated white onion – if you can finely dice an onion then go for it, but I love grating onions when it comes to making burger patties as it evenly distributes the onion better.
- Salt and pepper
- Green leaf lettuce
- Red onion
- Avocado slices
- Pepperjack cheese
- Burger sauce – use the recipe in my Big Mac Salad!
How To Make a California Burger
Here is a general overview of the steps involved to make this sunny and bright California burger. Be sure to scroll to the bottom of this post for the full recipe.
Mix the burger meat and seasonings. In a large bowl, mix together ground beef, onion dip seasoning mix, grated onion, salt, and pepper with your hands. Do not overmix!
Form the burger patties. Form even burger patties with your hands, about 5 ounces each. Flatten to desired thickness. Set aside on a baking sheet or plate.
Pop in the freezer. As you’re preparing the other toppings, pop the burger patties in the freezer. Since you were working with the meat with your hands, the freezer will quickly help the meat firm up again so it won’t fall apart on you since there’s no binder.
Cook the burgers. Once everything is prepped, heat outdoor grill on high or cast iron skillet on the stovetop. Cook the burger patties to your desired doneness.
Add the toppings. Toast up brioche buns then add all the toppings to your California burger!
Recipe Tips, Substitutions, and Variations
- Don’t overmix the beef mixture. Overmixing will cause the burger to be dense and tough which will result in a less than stellar burger. Mix until ingredients are just combined. Remember, you still have to form the patties so less time mixing it will help the entire mixture not be overmixed in the end.
- Why grate the onion? I love grating onion when I’m making burgers because sometimes the diced onions don’t allow the beef to bind together well and it makes it fall apart. The grated onions also are so fine that it is able to be evenly distributed throughout all the burger meat.
- Use another ground protein. For a leaner option, ground turkey and ground chicken would be a great substitute for the ground beef.
- Make it spicy. Adding a little bit of cayenne pepper would kick the heat up but pickled or regular jalapeño slices on top would be a great addition too!
- Go bunless. If you’re watching carbs, use the green leaf lettuce to make this into a wrap!
- Try not to press down on the patty while cooking. You’re essentially squeezing out all the juices that keep the burger moist! Resist the urge to press down on it. Just flip and let it do its thing.
- BYOB. Everyone loves options so laying out all the topping possibilities for this burger would give everyone different ways to build their own burger.
- Grill it, air fry it, sear it. Whichever method of cooking works for you, this burger recipe isn’t picky!
Storage and Reheating Instructions
There are several ways to store and reheat these burger patties! It depends on your method so here are some options for you.
Prepping ahead of time: If you’re making the burger patties ahead of time to freeze, form the burger patties then wrap them tightly in plastic wrap and place into a freezer-safe bag in the freezer for up to 3 months. You can cook them directly on your outdoor grill from frozen.
Refrigerator: For already cooked burger patties, store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days. To reheat, you may reheat on the stovetop or if you’re going to use a microwave, cover with a damp paper towel to keep some of the moisture.
What to Serve with a California Burger
You gotta have some classic (and not-so-classic) side dishes with burgers! From french fries to potato salads to a cocktail, I’ve got you covered for a well-rounded meal.
- Fries. Polenta Fries, Garlic Sweet Potato Fries, Crispy Buffalo Tofu Fries
- Chips. Air Fryer Pita Chips, Homemade Taro Chips, Easy Oven-Baked Zucchini Chips
- Salads. 4-Ingredient Tangy Potato Salad, Broccoli Salad, Big Mac Salad
- 1 pound (454 g) 80/20 ground beef OR 90/10 ground beef
- 1 ounce (28 g) packet onion dip mix
- 2 tablespoons grated white onion
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- Cheese slices
- Brioche hamburger buns
- Avocado slices
- Green leaf lettuce
- Red onions
- Burger sauce
- In a large bowl, mix together ground beef, onion dip seasoning mix, grated onion, salt, and pepper with your hands. Do not overmix!
- Form even burger patties with your hands, about 5 ounces each. Flatten to desired thickness. Set aside on a baking sheet or plate.
- As you're preparing the other toppings, pop the burger patties in the freezer. Since you were working with the meat with your hands, the freezer will quickly help the meat firm up again so it won't fall apart on you since there's no binder.
- Once everything is prepped, heat outdoor grill on high or cast iron skillet on the stovetop. Cook the burger patties to your desired doneness then add cheese on top, if using.
- Toast up brioche buns then add all the toppings to your California burger!
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For the most precise nutritional data use your preferred nutrition calculator based on the actual ingredients you used in the recipe.
The default measuring system for this website is US Customary. Unit conversions are provided for convenience and as a courtesy only. While we strive to provide accurate unit conversions, please be aware that there may be some discrepancies.