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Classic Cheese Burger with Secret Sauce

A perfectly soft bun, quality, juicy meat that is seasoned well, plenty of cheese, caramelized onions and a really good secret sauce are the key to making a truly classic cheeseburger at home.


A Classic Cheese Burger with Secret Sauce, tomato, lettuce, on a plate

Just The Best Cheeseburger Recipe, Ever.

There’s no restaurant or fast food burger that compares to a homemade cheeseburger. If you don’t agree, then you clearly haven’t made THIS classic cheese burger recipe with our special secret sauce. Add a generous amount of it to each side of the hamburger bun along with a heaping pile of caramelized onions and you’ve got yourself one incomparable homemade classic burger!

ingredients laid out for Classic Cheese Burger with Secret Sauce lettuce, caramelized onions in a dish, tomatoes sliced
4 beef patties on a baking sheet with melted cheddar cheese

Ingredients to Make A Classic Cheese Burger.

This traditional homemade burger recipe has a few key components. The first is obviously the not so secret, secret sauce. Next is the perfectly caramelized onions paired with perfectly seasoned homemade hamburger patties! Add the classic cheese, lettuce and tomato combo and you are right on target for a big time winning dinner! Here’s everything you’ll need to make the burger sauce!

  • Mayo and ketchup make up the base of this special burger sauce.
  • Garlic powder, mustard powder & dried dill give this sauce a nice punch of flavor.
  • Smoked paprika & cayenne pepper take the heat and smokiness to new heights.
  • Lime juice & Spicy pickle juice are our two secret weapons.
Classic Cheese Burger with Secret Sauce with caramelized onions, lettuce and tomato
Classic Cheese Burger with Secret Sauce, french fries and ketchup with pickles on a plate

Best Burger Sauce Recipe Ever

We’d be lying if we said this secret sauce recipe is difficult to make. Because, you guessed it, special burger sauce is WAY and we mean WAY easy to throw together. There’s no big secret about how to make burger sauce—it’s the ingredients that are the “secret”. But, the secret’s out! Here’s what’s in our secret sauce:

  • Mayonnaise
  • Ketchup
  • Garlic powder
  • Spicy pickle juice
  • Dill (dried)
  • Fresh lime
  • Smoked paprika
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Ground mustard
side view Classic Cheese Burger with Secret Sauce, caramelized onions lettuce and tomato
Classic Cheese Burger with Secret Sauce with french fries and ketchup

And Now—Use That Burger Sauce! AKA How To Make The Best Cheeseburger Ever.

A lot of the work of making a truly classic cheeseburger is in the gathering of just the right ingredients. Get yourself some high quality ground beef. Then, look for some really nice, slightly squishy buns—no whole grains here. Good cheddar cheese—it has to be cheddar—or try a little cheddar and a little American cheese for a really classic, diner-style melty cheese situation. Once you’ve gathered your ingredients and made that killer secret sauce, make a cheeseburger! Here’s how:

  1. Caramelize some onions.
  2. Season your beef! With a light tough, use your hands to mix in eggs, grated onion, garlic powder, mustard powder, salt and pepper.
  3. Make patties! Whatever size you prefer.
  4. Grill those burger patties! Again, to whatever doneness you like. If you’d like, you can use a meat thermometer—160°F is medium, 145°F is medium-rare.
  5. Top with cheese! When you flip the burger, top it with cheese. That way the cheese has time to melt while the burger finishes cooking.
  6. Assemble! Everyone can assemble their own as they please but we highly recommend eating them with all of the fixings.
2 Classic Cheese Burgers with Secret Sauce, lettuce tomatoes and caramelized onions.

Tools You’ll Need

More Sandwiches with “Not-So-Secret” Sauces

hands holding Classic Cheese Burger with Secret Sauce

Show Us Your Classic Burgers

When you pull these cheeseburgers off the grill (or even before then) and pile them high with all your favorite toppings, we want to see them! Be sure to snap a photo and post them on Instagram using @themodernproper & #themodernproper if you do!

Classic Cheese Burger with Secret Sauce

  • Serves: 6
  • Prep Time:  15 min
  • Cook Time:  35 min
  • Calories: 887


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 yellow onions, thinly sliced in rings
  • 2 lbs 80% lean grass fed ground beef
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup yellow onion, grated
  • 3 tsp garlic powder, granules
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire
  • 2 tsp mustard powder
  • 2 tsp salt + more for seasoning patties
  • 1 tsp freshly ground pepper + more for seasoning patties
  • 1 tomato, sliced
  • 6 cheddar cheese, slices
  • 6 romaine lettuce leaves, torn into pieces
  • pickles, optional
  • 6 brioche hamburger buns, or sweet Hawaiian buns

Secret Sauce

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp ketchup
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tbsp pickle juice
  • 1 tsp dried dill
  • 2 tsp lime juice
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp stone ground mustard


  1. In a small bowl, whisk together all secret sauce ingredients until smooth. Cover and refrigerate until use. Can be stored in an airtight container for up to a week.
  2. Heat olive oil in medium sized, heavy bottom sauce pan over medium heat. Add the thinly sliced onion rings and sauté over medium-low heat until caramelized. About 25-35 min. If they start browning too quickly, lower the heat. Once finished, set aside.
  3. In a large bowl place ground beef, eggs, grated onion, garlic, Worcestershire, mustard, sea salt and pepper. Using your hands (or stand mixer) mix the meat together until completely combined. Divide the meat into four equal parts and form it into patties about ⅓ inch thick. Set aside on parchment paper.
  4. Heat grill on high for 10 min.
  5. Season each patty with a little salt and pepper and place on the hot grill. Reduce heat to medium and close the lid. Cook for 5 minutes. Flip the burger patties and cook for another 3-5 minutes, or until center is just barely pink (to your liking). Add the cheese to the patties, close the lid and allow it to melt. While the cheese is melting, use your hot grill to toast your buns!
  6. To prepare the cheeseburgers, add a generous amount of secret sauce to both top and bottom of the toasted bun. Add the beef patties, then layer on the lettuce, onions and tomato. Serve with pickles.

Nutrition Info

  • Per Serving
  • Amount
  • Calories887
  • Protein56 g
  • Carbohydrates43 g
  • Total Fat53 g
  • Dietary Fiber3 g
  • Cholesterol339 mg
  • sodium816 mg
  • Total Sugars10 g

Classic Cheese Burger with Secret Sauce

Questions & Reviews

Join the discussion below.

  • Janet

    Is it better to use spicy pickle juice instead of regular?

    We just use regular but feel to try it with spicy, hope you enjoy Janet!

  • Jenny Gervasi

    If we don't have a grill- would you recommend over medium heat- 4 minutes or so on each side for medium?

    That would definitely work Jenny! It might take closer to 5-6 minutes on each side but just make sure it is browned on beachside and cooked through to your liking.

  • Colette Burnum

    Best burger sauce ever!

    Yay! Thank you!

  • Brennen

    This recipe is SO good. The combination of all the pieces was so delightful. I prepped everything while cooking a diff recipe last night (baked rigatoni, also delish) and came home to a quick dinner once thrown on the grill!

    My husband always makes a burger sauce and kept asking what the secret was 😇

    Thanks, so happy you both loved it!

  • Amy Betterton

    This is my new go-to seasoning blend for burgers. So quick and easy with juicy delicious results. Didn’t have time to make the secret sauce or grilled onions but will do so next time. The burgers are flavorful enough even without them.

    Thanks Amy, that is so great to hear!

  • Alicia H

    This recipe was a big hit with my family! The burgers were very tasty and the secret sauce and caramelized onions were the perfect compliment. This will definitely be in our meal rotation!

    Thanks Alicia, we are so happy that you enjoyed it! It's so exciting to hear when a meal makes someone's rotation!

  • Heidi Hill Baenen

    These burgers were excellent! Very flavorful and juicy! Will definitely make again. Loved the secret sauce too. Followed recipes as written but halved for a family of three :)

    Thanks Heidi, so happy the family loved them!