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Mac and Cheese Burger Recipe

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Mac and cheese burgers! Two iconic dishes in one. Why settle for only a juicy burger or only mac and cheese when you can have them both in one go?

close up sloppy burger with mac and cheese and beef patty.

According to my teenage son, a mac and cheese burger is food for the gods. Two of his favorite meals reunited in one decadent, sloppy, cheesy burger… watching him devouring this is better than watching Netflix…

What makes this burger recipe a teenage dream?

  • Hearty beef patty
  • Crispy bacon
  • Sloppy mac and cheese
  • Extra cheese

Do I need to say more?

Expert Tips

  • There are two ways of making these mac and cheese burger recipe: the made-from-scratch version and the fast version. Choose whatever you like, both versions are thoroughly delicious, and if I might say so (although this is a food blog), nobody will notice if you decide to take the shortcut.
  • Way of cooking: You can cook the patties and bacon in a grill pan, on the grill outside, in a large skillet, or in the air fryer.
beef burger topped with lettuce, sauce and macaroni and cheese.

Made-from-scratch version

Ingredients for the beef patties:

  • Ground beef: You will need one pound of ground beef to make four burgers. When making your patties, it’s worth it to buy the best quality meat you can afford. Already packed meat is often too watery and relatively neutral in taste.
    • The best meat-to-fat ratio is 80:20; the fat content makes the burgers juicy without overwhelming the flavor of the meat.
  • Spices: sea salt, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder. The spices are optional (except salt and pepper), and you can always add other spices if you like.

Ingredients for the topping:

  • Burger buns – with or without sesame.
  • Sauce: Anything you like, something like BBQ sauce, chili, sweet chili or hot sauce, etc.
  • Mustard or ketchup or mayonnaise
  • Red onion
  • Bacon
  • A few slices of sweet and sour cucumbers
  • A few salad leaves
  • Sharp cheddar cheese slices (or other cheese slices like American cheese, Gouda, Monterey Jack, Pepper Jack).
listed ingredients patties, mac and cheese, buns, salad, onion, suace, cucumbers, cheese.

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Step-by-step instructions

Homemade mac and cheese:

  • Follow any of the above-linked recipes.
  • You can make the recipe one day ahead and keep what you need for the burgers in an airtight container in the fridge. Reheat in the microwave before adding to the burgers.

Cook the bacon:

  • Cook the bacon in a pan until nice and crispy and drain on paper towels.
  • If you only cook 2 patties, you can add the bacon slices to the pan or air fryer during the last 4-5 minutes of the cooking time.
  • If you make 4 burgers, you will need to use 2 pans as they will not all fit in a pan.

Prepare the toppings:

  • Slice the onion thinly.
  • Dry the sweet and sour cucumber slices with kitchen paper.

Cook the patties:

  • Mix the beef and all the spices, except the salt.
  • Form the patties and keep them refrigerated until ready to cook. Sprinkle them with salt before cooking. Adding salt at the last minute is best, as salt might draw out some of the juiciness.
  • Cook burgers in the air fryer (1,2), grill pan (3), or a large skillet.
  • Top them with a slice of cheese during the last minute of the cooking time (4). Cover the pan after you add the cheese if cooking them in the pan.
collage of two pictures of cooking patties and bacon in an air fryer.
collage of two pictures of cooking beef patties in a grill pan and adding cheese.

Build the burgers:

  • Toast the bun halves in the pan or the air fryer, about 1-2 minutes should do it.
  • Smear the lower halves of the buns with the sauce. Smear the upper halves of the buns with mustard, ketchup, or mayonnaise.
  • Top bun with one or two salad leaves (depending on their size) and some onion slices on the bottom bun.
  • Add some cucumber slices.
  • Top with the cheesy beef patty.
  • Cover with a generous amount of reheated macaroni noodles.
  • Add pieces of bacon.
  • Top with the upper bun half.

Fast version

Recipe ingredients

  • Leftover macaroni and cheese or prepare a box of mac and cheese according to the package directions.
  • Store-bought burger patties: use the best quality you can afford. They can fresh or frozen.
  • Topping ingredients: The same as above.

Step-by-step instructions

  • Mac and cheese: Prepare according to the packet’s instructions or reheat leftover mac in the microwave.
  • Cook the beef patties and the bacon in the grill pan, skillet, or air fryer. If you are using frozen patties, check out how to cook Frozen Burgers in the Air Fryer.
  • Prepare the toppings as instructed above.
  • Build the mac and cheese burgers as instructed above.

Recipe FAQ

Why are the patties shrinking in the pan?

A certain amount of shrinking is normal. That’s why you should make the patties slightly larger than you want them.
To reduce the shrinking, use best-quality beef and keep the flat patties cold before cooking them. Make a small dent in the middle by pressing with the fingers when you form them.

How long does it take to cook the patties?

It depends on their thickness and on how well-cooked you like them. To get them cooked exactly to your liking, it’s best to check the internal temperature with a meat thermometer.
The safe internal temperature recommended by USDA is 160°F (71°C), but in this case, they will be well done.

Can I use turkey or chicken burgers?

Sure, they are delicious. Check out our Air Fryer Turkey Burger recipe if you would like to use ground turkey. 

How to store?

Only build as many burgers as you can eat immediately. Leftovers can be refrigerated for up to one day, but they are difficult to reheat and will get rather soggy.
You can refrigerate the cooked patties and bacon for 2-3 days in an airtight container and reheat them when needed.

loaded burger with macaroni on a black background.

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Mac and Cheese Burger Recipe

Mac and cheese burgers! Two iconic dishes in one. Why settle for only a burger or only mac and cheese when you can have them both in one go?
5 from 2 votes
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Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 535kcal
Author: Adina

Equipment

  • Grill pan, large skillet (cast-iron) or air fryer Note 1

Ingredients  

From scratch:

  • 8 tablespoons macaroni and cheese Note 2
  • 1 lb ground beef 450 g, Note 3
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder optional
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder optional
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • sea salt to taste
  • 2 tablespoons oil

Fast version:

  • 8 tablespoons mac and cheese from a box
  • 4 beef burger patties store-bought store-bought

Toppings for both versions:

  • 4 burger buns
  • 4 slices cheddar
  • 4 tablespoons sauce of choice, Note 4
  • 4 teaspoons mustard or ketchup or mayonnaise
  • 8 slices bacon
  • 1 red onion small
  • 4 lettuce leaves large or 8 smaller leaves
  • 12 slices sweet sour cucumbers more if necessary

Instructions

Macaroni and cheese:

Prepare the toppings:

  • Slice the onion thinly.
    Dry the sweet and sour cucumber slices with kitchen paper.

Beef patties:

  • Make patties: Mix the beef and all the spices, except the salt. Form the patties and keep them refrigerated until ready to cook. Sprinkle them with salt just before cooking.
  • Cook patties in the pan or the air fryer for 3-4 minutes per side or until they are done to your liking (Note 5 – important).
  • Top them with a slice of cheese during the last minute of the cooking time. Cover the pan after you add the cheese if cooking them in the pan.
  • Cook the bacon in a pan until nice and crispy and drain on kitchen paper.

Build the burgers:

  • Toast the bun halves in the pan or the air fryer, about 1-2 minutes should do it.
  • Smear the lower halves of the buns with the sauce. Smear the upper halves of the buns with mustard, ketchup, or mayonnaise.
  • Place one or two salad leaves and onion slices on the lower half of the bun.
  • Add some cucumber slices.
  • Top with the patties.
  • Cover with a generous amount of reheated mac and cheese.
  • Add the bacon slices.
  • Top with the upper part of the bun.

Fast version

  • Prepare mac and cheese according to the package instructions or reheat leftovers in the microwave.
  • Cook the patties in the pan or the air fryer according to the packet’s instructions.
  • Cook the bacon.
  • Prepare the toppings and build the burgers as instructed above.

Notes

  1. You can cook the patties and bacon and heat the buns in a skillet/pan or the air fryer.
  2. Make macaroni and cheese using any of the linked recipes. ½ a batch will be more than enough. That is why I usually make this recipe using leftover mac and cheese.
  3. Use best-quality ground beef, 80:20 meat-to-fat ratio.
  4. Any sauce you like: BBQ, chili, sweet chili sauce, etc.
  5. The cooking time depends on the thickness of the patties and on how well-cooked you like them. To get them cooked exactly to your liking, it’s best to check the internal temperature with a meat thermometer. The safe internal temperature recommended by USDA is 160°F (71°C), but in this case, they will be well done.

Nutrition

Serving: 1burger | Calories: 535kcal | Carbohydrates: 28g | Protein: 27g | Fat: 35g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 12g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 80mg | Sodium: 570mg | Potassium: 452mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 988IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 160mg | Iron: 4mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @thefastrecipe or tag #thefastrecipe!

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