Is there any better combo than cheese plus burger plus bun? We don’t think so. And here’s the best part: The basic formula can be endlessly adapted to suit nearly any preference, whether you’re mayo-obsessed, a seafood fiend, or a heat seeker. Here, we concoct five riffs on the classic cheeseburger—a French Onion Soup Burger piled high with melty Gruyère and a tangle of caramelized onions, a Pimento Cheese Burger bedecked with spicy-sweet candied jalapeños, and a Lamb and Feta Burger swiped with rosemary aioli, just to name a few. We’re sure there’s something for nearly anyone, so ready the napkins and heat up the cast-iron pan. It’s time to stack some meat and cheese.
Since bison is so lean, this burger benefits from some additional fat in the form of eggs, bacon, and cheese, while honey mustard cuts through the richness. If you can’t find bolo levedos, use sandwich-size English muffins.
Gilded with toasty cheese and loaded with sweet caramelized onions, French onion soup is a classic pairing of beefy flavors and savory curds. Here, we’ve turned the appetizer into a main dish.
This classic spread gets the burger treatment, and candied jalapeños add an unexpected burst of spicy-sweet flavor. Candied jalapeños recipe adapted from Serious Eats.
Chock-full of flavor and slightly gamy, lamb needs a punch cheese—feta always gets the job done. The aioli can be made up to 2 days ahead if kept refrigerated.
Who says cheese and seafood don’t mix? Not us. Mild Monterey Jack is the perfect glue for spicy shrimp and meaty beef.
Photography by Craig van der Lende, Styling by Lori van der Lende