24 Toppings, Sides & Beverages That Go Well With Hamburgers

Explore the best side dishes and toppings for homemade hamburgers.
Fantastic juicy burger served with a side of fries and a cold beverage.
Fantastic Juicy Burger with a Side of Fries and a Cold Beverage: A Mouthwatering Feast of Deliciousness.

If you’re a burger lover, you know that a great burger is more than just a patty between two buns, it’s an experience that can be tailored for almost every occasion.

And while the patty itself is undoubtedly the star of the show, the right toppings, beverages, and sides can elevate your burger to new heights.

In this comprehensive blog post, we’ll delve into the world of burger accompaniments, exploring both classic and gourmet options that will take your burger game to the next level.

Whether you’re hosting a backyard barbecue, planning a casual dinner, or simply craving a juicy burger, we’ve got you covered.

Why The Right Pairings Matter With Hamburgers

You might be wondering why it’s important to choose the right accompaniments for your burger.

Well, just like a fine wine complements a delectable meal, the right toppings and sides can enhance the flavors of your burger, adding depth and complexity.

A well-paired burger can tantalize your taste buds, creating a harmonious balance of savory, tangy, and crunchy elements.

Moreover, thoughtful pairings can also help to counterbalance the richness and heaviness of the burger itself.

By incorporating fresh and vibrant ingredients, you can add a burst of freshness and acidity, cutting through the richness of the meat and adding a refreshing contrast.

How This Guide Will Help You

In this guide, we will take you on a culinary journey through the vast array of options for complementing your hamburgers.

We will start by exploring classic burger toppings that have stood the test of time. From crisp lettuce and juicy tomatoes to tangy pickles and melty cheese, we’ll cover all the essentials.

But we won’t stop there. We’ll also venture into the realm of gourmet burger toppings, where we’ll introduce you to exciting and unconventional ingredients that will elevate your burger to gourmet status.

Imagine the creamy richness of avocado, the smoky allure of bacon, or the complexity of caramelized onions. Get ready to indulge in a whole new level of burger deliciousness.

And what’s a burger without the perfect side dish?

In the next section, we’ll delve into the world of sides, exploring classic options like golden fries and creamy coleslaw, as well as alternative choices like sweet potato fries and quinoa salad.

We’ll even share recipes for homemade dips and salsas that will take your burger experience to the next level.

Of course, we can’t forget about the beverages. We’ll guide you through the art of pairing beer and wine with your burgers, suggesting the perfect libations to enhance the flavors of your meal.

And for those who prefer non-alcoholic options, we’ve got you covered with refreshing and flavorful alternatives.

So, whether you’re a burger aficionado looking to expand your repertoire or a novice seeking guidance on creating the perfect burger experience, this comprehensive guide will equip you with all the information you need to make your hamburgers shine.

Get ready to take your burger game to new heights as we explore the world of tantalizing burger accompaniments. Let’s dive in!

The Most Popular Classic Burger Toppings

When it comes to classic burger toppings, there are a few tried and true options that never fail to satisfy.

These toppings have become staples in burger joints around the world, and for good reason.

They add a burst of freshness, crunch, and tang to the burger, creating a delightful symphony of flavors.

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Raw Burger & popular toppings on the side (Lettuce, Tomato, Onion)

Lettuce, Tomato, and Onion

Let’s start with the basics. A classic burger wouldn’t be complete without a bed of fresh lettuce, juicy slices of tomato, and a generous helping of onions.

The crispness of lettuce adds a satisfying crunch, while the acidity of tomatoes brightens up the flavors. As for onions, you can choose between red onions for a milder and slightly sweet flavor or white onions for a more pungent kick.

Experiment with different lettuce varieties such as romaine, iceberg, or butter lettuce to find your favorite combination.

Pickles and Relish

Tangy pickles are another staple in the world of burger toppings.

Whether you prefer dill pickles, bread and butter pickles, these additions provide a burst of acidity and a satisfying crunch.

You can opt for store-bought options, but if you’re feeling adventurous, try making your own pickles at home for a truly personalized touch.

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Cheeseburgers & slices of cheese on our beautiful wooden board.

Cheese Options: No discussion of classic burger toppings would be complete without mentioning cheese. The melty goodness of cheese takes a burger from ordinary to extraordinary.

Popular choices include American, cheddar, Swiss, and pepper jack, each offering its own unique flavor profile. Experiment with different cheeses to find the perfect match for your burger.

Don’t forget to consider melting techniques, such as placing the cheese directly on the patty while it’s still on the grill or using a broiler to achieve that perfect gooey consistency.

Sauces and Condiments: Last but certainly not least, let’s talk about sauces and condiments. Classic options like ketchup, mustard, and mayo are a no-brainer for many burger enthusiasts.

Ketchup provides a sweet and tangy kick, while mustard adds a sharp and savory flavor.

Mayo, on the other hand, lends a creamy and rich element to the burger. These condiments are versatile and can be customized to your taste by opting for different variations like Dijon mustard or spicy mayo.

Additionally, you can explore other popular options such as barbecue sauce, Thousand Island dressing, or even a tangy aioli for a more gourmet twist.

Remember, classic burger toppings are the building blocks of a great burger experience.

They provide a familiar and comforting taste that many of us crave. But don’t be afraid to experiment and get creative with these classics.

Add a twist of your own by incorporating unique ingredients or homemade versions of these toppings.

The possibilities are endless, and the result will be a burger that satisfies your taste buds and leaves you craving for more.

Gourmet Burger Toppings

While classic burger toppings are beloved for their simplicity and familiarity, sometimes you want to take your burger to the next level and indulge in gourmet flavors.

Gourmet burger toppings offer a world of exciting possibilities, allowing you to explore unique ingredients and combinations that will elevate your burger experience to new heights.

Get ready to tantalize your taste buds with these mouthwatering options.

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A juicy avocado bacon burger, filmed outside.

Avocado and Guacamole: Creamy, luscious avocado has become a favorite burger topping for many burger aficionados.

The rich and buttery texture of avocado pairs beautifully with the juicy patty, adding a luxurious element to each bite. Whether sliced or mashed into guacamole, avocado brings a velvety smoothness and a subtle, nutty flavor to your burger.

You can experiment with different variations like adding lime juice, cilantro, or even diced jalapeños to your guacamole for an extra kick.

Bacon and Caramelized Onions: If you’re looking to add a touch of smokiness and sweetness to your burger, bacon and caramelized onions are the perfect gourmet toppings.

Crispy, salty bacon adds a delectable crunch and an irresistible smoky flavor that complements the juicy burger patty. Caramelized onions, on the other hand, bring a deep, sweet, and slightly tangy taste that perfectly balances the savory elements.

To caramelize onions, cook them slowly over low heat until they become golden brown and caramelized, releasing their natural sugars and intensifying their flavors.

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A Crispy Bacon & Spicy Pepperjack Cheese burger, with fried onions on top.

Specialty Cheeses: While classic cheese options are wonderful, exploring specialty cheeses can take your burger to a whole new level of sophistication. Think beyond the usual cheddar and Swiss and consider unique cheeses like blue cheese, goat cheese, or even brie.

Blue cheese adds a bold and tangy flavor that pairs exceptionally well with the richness of the beef, while goat cheese offers a creamy and slightly tangy profile that adds a touch of elegance.

Brie, when melted over the patty, creates a heavenly combination of oozy cheese and juicy meat.

Don’t be afraid to experiment with different cheese varieties to find the one that tantalizes your taste buds.

Unique Sauces and Spreads: Gourmet burger toppings often involve creative sauces and spreads that elevate the flavor profile of your burger. Instead of traditional ketchup and mayo, consider options like truffle aioli, chipotle sauce, or even a homemade pesto.

Truffle aioli brings a luxurious and earthy element to your burger, while chipotle sauce adds a smoky and spicy kick.

Homemade pesto, made from fresh basil leaves, pine nuts, garlic, Parmesan cheese, and olive oil, offers a burst of herbaceousness that complements the flavors of the patty.

These unique sauces and spreads add complexity and depth to your burger, providing a gourmet experience that is sure to impress.

Gourmet burger toppings open up a world of possibilities, allowing you to get creative and explore flavors that go beyond the traditional.

These toppings add a touch of sophistication and elegance to your burger, turning it into a culinary masterpiece.

So, embrace your inner foodie and experiment with these gourmet options to create a burger that will wow your taste buds and leave you craving more.

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Sides to Serve with Hamburgers

No burger experience is complete without the perfect side dish. While the burger itself takes center stage, the right accompaniments can elevate the overall meal and provide a satisfying balance of flavors and textures.

From classic side dishes to alternative options, let’s explore a variety of sides that will complement your hamburgers and make your meal complete.

Classic Side Dishes: When it comes to classic side dishes, a few options immediately come to mind. Golden and crispy French fries are a perennial favorite, offering a delightful contrast to the juicy burger.

Whether you opt for shoestring fries, steak fries, or curly fries, achieving that perfect crunch is key. Make sure to season them with salt and any other desired seasonings for an extra burst of flavor.

Another classic side is coleslaw, with its creamy and tangy dressing that adds a refreshing element to the meal.

Traditional coleslaw typically consists of shredded cabbage and carrots, mixed with a dressing made from mayonnaise, vinegar, and a touch of sugar.

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Bacon burger & basket of fries – few nights ago!

You can also experiment with different variations, such as using red cabbage, adding apples for sweetness, or incorporating a tangy vinaigrette instead of mayo-based dressing.

Alternative Side Dishes: If you’re looking for something different or want to balance out the indulgence of a burger with healthier options, there are plenty of alternative side dishes to consider.

Sweet potato fries, for example, offer a slightly sweet and earthy flavor, with a crispy exterior and a soft interior.

These fries can be baked or fried, and you can even sprinkle them with cinnamon and sugar for a unique twist.

For those seeking a lighter option, consider a quinoa salad. Quinoa is a versatile and nutritious grain that can be combined with fresh vegetables, herbs, and a zesty dressing to create a vibrant side dish.

You can customize your quinoa salad by adding ingredients like cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, feta cheese, and a lemon vinaigrette.

Not only does it provide a satisfying and flavorful accompaniment to your burger, but it also adds a healthy dose of protein and fiber.

Homemade Dips and Salsas: Taking your burger experience to the next level involves adding homemade dips and salsas to your side dish lineup.

Instead of reaching for store-bought options, consider making your own dips and salsas to enhance the flavors of your burger.

For example, a homemade garlic aioli can elevate your fries, adding a creamy and garlicky element.

Salsas made from fresh tomatoes, onions, jalapeños, cilantro, and lime juice can bring a burst of freshness and a spicy kick to your meal.

Experiment with different flavors and ingredients to find the perfect dip or salsa that complements your burger.

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Burger and zucchinis being cooked on the grill.

Unique Side Dish Ideas: If you’re feeling adventurous and want to surprise your guests with unique side dishes, there are plenty of unconventional options to explore.

How about serving fried pickles as a side dish?

These tangy and crispy delights can be made by coating pickle slices in a seasoned batter and frying them until golden brown.

The result is a unique combination of flavors and textures that pairs well with the burger.

Another unique side dish idea is serving grilled vegetables.

Grilling vegetables like zucchini, bell peppers, eggplant, or corn not only adds a smoky charred flavor but also provides a healthy and colorful addition to your meal.

Toss the grilled veggies with some olive oil, herbs, and a squeeze of lemon for a bright and vibrant side dish that complements the richness of the burger.

The possibilities for side dishes are endless, and you can mix and match to create a well-rounded meal that suits your taste and preferences.

Whether you stick with the classics, explore alternative options, or get creative with unique ideas, finding the perfect side dish will enhance your burger experience and leave you fully satisfied.

Beverage Pairings

No burger meal is complete without the perfect beverage to accompany it. Just as pairing the right wine with a meal can enhance the flavors, choosing the appropriate beverage can elevate your burger experience to new heights.

From refreshing beers to complement the richness of the burger to wine options that bring out the nuances of the toppings, let’s explore the world of beverage pairings for your hamburgers.

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Beer and Burgers: Beer and burgers have long been recognized as a classic pairing, and for good reason.

The carbonation and hop bitterness of beer help to cleanse the palate and cut through the richness of the burger, creating a harmonious balance.

When it comes to beer, the options are endless.

For a classic pairing, a crisp and hoppy IPA can provide a refreshing contrast to the savory flavors of the burger.

The citrusy notes and effervescence of a wheat beer can also work well, adding a bright and zesty element.

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A burger paired with a lovely pilsner


For those who prefer a lighter option, a lager or pilsner can provide a clean and crisp accompaniment to the burger.

Craft beer enthusiasts can explore a wide range of styles, from rich and malty stouts to fruity and aromatic pale ales, to find their perfect burger pairing.

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Fine dine, burger and wine?

Wine and Burgers: While beer is a popular choice, wine can also be a delightful accompaniment to your burger.

When pairing wine with burgers, it’s important to consider the flavors of the toppings and the richness of the patty.

For burgers with classic toppings like lettuce, tomato, and onion, a medium-bodied red wine such as a Merlot or a Pinot Noir can work well.

These wines offer a balance of fruitiness and acidity that complements the flavors of the burger.

If you’re opting for gourmet burger toppings like blue cheese or caramelized onions, a bolder red wine like Cabernet Sauvignon or Syrah can stand up to the intense flavors.

For those who prefer white wine, a Chardonnay with some oak aging can provide a creamy and buttery contrast to the burger.

Non-Alcoholic Beverages: Not everyone consumes alcohol, so it’s important to have non-alcoholic beverage options available for those who prefer them.

There are plenty of refreshing and flavorful alternatives to complement your burger. Homemade sodas made with fresh fruits and herbs can provide a burst of flavor and fizziness.

Consider flavors like lemonade, raspberry, or ginger for a zesty and refreshing beverage. For a mocktail twist, you can mix different fruit juices with sparkling water and garnish with herbs or citrus slices.

Don’t forget about iced teas, both sweetened and unsweetened, as they can offer a cooling and thirst-quenching option.

Experiment with different flavors and combinations to find the non-alcoholic beverage that satisfies your taste buds.

Pairing the right beverage with your burger can enhance the overall dining experience, allowing the flavors to harmonize and complement each other.

Whether you choose beer, wine, or non-alcoholic options, the key is to find the perfect balance that brings out the best in your burger.

So, next time you enjoy a juicy burger, take a moment to consider the beverage that will complete the meal and elevate your taste sensations to a whole new level.

Cheers to a fantastic burger and beverage pairing experience!

Eric’s Takeaways

From classic toppings like lettuce, tomato, and onion, to gourmet additions like avocado and bacon, there is no shortage of possibilities to take your burgers to new heights of flavor.

We also delved into the realm of side dishes, discovering classic options like French fries and coleslaw, as well as alternative choices like sweet potato fries and quinoa salad.

These sides provide the perfect balance to the richness of the burger, adding variety and depth to your meal.

Furthermore, we explored the art of beverage pairings, recognizing the importance of choosing the right libation to complement your burger.

Whether you prefer the refreshing bitterness of beer, the fruity notes of wine, or the non-alcoholic options, finding the perfect beverage can elevate your burger experience to a whole new level.

As you embark on your culinary journey to create the ultimate burger, remember to embrace your creativity and experiment with different combinations.

There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to burger accompaniments. Trust your taste buds and personalize your burgers to suit your preferences.

Now armed with the knowledge and inspiration from this comprehensive guide, it’s time to put your newfound expertise to the test.

Gather your favorite ingredients, fire up the grill, and let your imagination run wild.

Whether you’re hosting a backyard barbecue, enjoying a casual dinner, or simply satisfying a burger craving, the perfect accompaniments will take your burgers from ordinary to extraordinary.

So, go forth and create mouthwatering masterpieces.

With the right toppings, sides, and beverages, your burgers will delight your taste buds, impress your friends and family, and make every bite a memorable experience.


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