Learn everything you ever wanted to know about the crowd pleasing classic All American Burger. We’ll cover everything from the history of hamburgers, seasoning and cooking methods, to a classic easy burger recipe your family will love!
If you’re ever traveling abroad and asked to name the most quintessential American food ever, I bet most people would name the classic All American burger.
They are a timeless, traditional comfort food for good reason. If you’re a meat eater, chances are you’re also a burger lover! These historically thick, juicy and succulent meat patties are versatile, delicious, and easy to make.
I’ve brought you some yummy burger ideas in the past, like this cute burger bar set-up (perfect for Superbowl entertaining and so much more!). I’ve also shown you a deliciously easy way to do oven baked burgers, cast iron burgers, as well as the juiciest little sliders!
Today I thought it would be fun to discuss a little burger background, as well as my favorite tips and tricks for creating this American classic!
I like to give a lot of detail in my recipe guides to answer any questions reader might have. If you’re just here for the printable burger recipe, feel free to click “jump to recipe” right under the title of this post and you’ll head straight there!
Table of Contents
What is an All American Burger?
While there’s some argument about the true origin of the hamburger, one thing remains indisputably true. The burger has become an All American tradition, evolving over time into a phenomenon unlike any other food!
At the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair, a food vendor serving burgers gained national recognition and became one of the first documented tales of the sensation that became an instant classic.
A quick glance through the Wikipedia page dedicated to hamburgers and you’ll see that numerous historical figures laid claim to inventing the All American burger we know today.
Regardless of who invented what, the basic foundation of an American burger is very simply a pure ground beef patty, sandwiched inside a sesame seed bun.
Sauces, condiments, toppings, cheeses and more can all be added to round out a traditional burger.
Today’s burgers can be made of more than simply ground beef, too! They might be turkey, chicken, pork or veggies of all kinds… cooked with a wide variety of methods. The creativity is endless and ever-evolving.
Why is it Called a Hamburger?
Historically, most people believe that the term hamburger originated in Germany.
While there’s no surefire evidence of the naming evolution of the hamburger over time, it’s known to derive in some way from Hamburg, Germany.
What is in a Burger?
While the current version of a hamburger could be made of a variety of meats, vegetables and legumes, for purposes of simplification today’s All American burger recipe is simply made of pure ground beef.
The joy of this delicious comfort food is in the simplicity. Ground beef and a little seasoning is truly all you need to enjoy a classic burger!
However, if you want to try something different, there are a multitude of ways to enjoy a burger with something besides ground beef. Consider the following options!
- Veggies like cauliflower, peppers and more
- Black beans
- Portobello Mushrooms
American Burger Recipe
This recipe for a traditional American burger is as simple as it gets! It’s incredibly good just as written, but equally fun to make your own. Mix it up with your favorite burger fillings and toppings to create your new favorite.
You’ll need the following ingredients for my incredibly simple recipe.
- Ground Beef
- Egg Yolk
- Olive Oil
- Black Pepper
How do you Make a Burger?
There’s also a lot of history surrounding all the ways that we can cook traditional American burgers! Did you know that you can fry, bake, broil, and grill your burgers? You can even smoke them and flame broil them, too.
In our home, ease of preparation generally beats out all the other methods. That’s why we’ll often use our oven to bake our burgers instead of frying, which can be so messy! Making a burger requires just a few simple steps, regardless of your cooking preparation method:
- Prepare your ground beef mixture by adding seasoning and any other additions. Many people like to add a little bread crumbs and eggs to help create a type of binder to ensure that the meat mixture holds together during cooking.
- After your meat mixture is combined, you’ll shape your patties. They are generally a round patty, up to an inch (or more!) thick, that mimics the shape of the traditional bun.
- Now it’s time to cook your burger patties. Use your grill, smoker, stove top or oven, cooking until the beef is cooked to your liking. While a ground beef burger can be eaten at a medium rare temperature, that’s quite pink for many typical Americans! Most fast food restaurants will serve them well done for food safety reasons.
- Add your toppings and condiments, and serve!
What do you Season Burgers With?
A classic hamburger can be seasoned in a variety of ways. There are so many fun ideas to take your burgers to the next level!
Traditionally, all you’ll need is a little salt and pepper for the most basic All American burger. This allows the flavors of the ground beef to shine! In fact, if you’ll note in my recipe card below… I don’t even use salt on these burgers, as it can draw the moisture out of the meat. Totally personal preference, of course.
Learn how to make your own homemade Burger Seasoning!
If you’re taking a more innovative approach, consider the following seasoning ideas:
- Soy sauce
- Italian seasoning mix
- Seasoned salt
- Brown sugar
- Cayenne pepper
The Best Burger Toppings
A classic hamburger isn’t complete without a variety of toppings to choose from, in addition to a Toasted Burger Bun. For a truly traditional burger, most restaurants will offer the following toppings:
- sliced tomato
However, don’t hesitate to get creative as there are so many delicious ways to top your All American burgers!
- fried egg
- avocado slices
Wondering What to Serve With Burgers? Click through for a comprehensive list of 30+ printable tried and true burger sides!
Traditionally, ketchup and mustard are used as the classic condiments. Some restaurants will also use mayonnaise as an included dressing. But again… don’t hesitate to make these burgers your own. Try any of the following, or a delicious combination!
- truffle aioli
- chipotle aioli
- pesto aioli
- buffalo sauce
- spicy mustard
- barbecue sauce
- ranch dressing
- tomato jam
- onion jam
- bacon jam
- jalapeño dip
- caramelized onions
A Comfort Food Classic
I hope you enjoyed learning about this delicious, eternal favorite American tradition with me today! I’d love to hear from you. What’s your family’s favorite burger? Do you love to keep them simple, or do you like to experiment with a variety of toppings and condiments?
If you make these delicious burgers at home, I’d love to hear from you! Please be sure to leave a comment and rate the recipe!
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More Beef Recipes to Love
- Mix all ingredients in a medium bowl.
- Create four burger patties, creating a thumb print in the center.
- Refrigerate for 10 minutes.
- Add your butter to your pan, setting the heat to high.
- Add burger patties into pan, searing on the first side for four minutes before turning.
- for medium rare burgers, sear on the opposite side for approximately 3 minutes. Medium should take an extra minute or so.
- Add cheese during the last 30 seconds of cooking to create the perfect melt!
- The less you handle the beef, the better. Stirring and mushing the beef as you mix will cause the proteins to break down, which makes your burgers less juicy and tender.
- Don’t add salt to your beef mixture until you make them into patties. Salt dissolves water and protein out of beef which makes them cling to each other, eliminating that tender texture. You can get the flavor while maintaining tenderness by adding the sea salt to formed patties just before baking. *As noted, I didn’t add any salt to this burger recipe at all, with this in mind!
- Loosely shape your patties! No need to tightly form them. Let the beef breathe a little and you’ll thank me later!
- Add a thumbprint to your patties. Pressing a small, shallow cavity into the center of your burger patties helps them sear and cook evenly throughout.
- Refrigerate for 10 minutes to lock juices in before throwing them onto the stove top pan or grill.
- Heat your pan to high heat. This sears the exterior of the burger and creates a little crust, locking the juices inside!
- You can add a little more oil to the pan, but it’s not necessary. The fat content from the ground chuck should prevent them from sticking.
- Cover your burgers with a lid once you’ve added them to the pan. This not only prevents grease from flying, it helps seal in the juices.
- Don’t push down with your spatula. It’s so tempting, but don’t do it! Lock those juices in!
- Add Cheese for the last thirty seconds to melt.
- Toast your bun for an extra special, delicious touch!
Estimated nutrition information is provided as a courtesy and is not guaranteed.