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Louis' Lunch Burger Copycat Recipe

Hailed by many as The Original Hamburger, this hamburger prototype is served to this day at Louis' Lunch in New Haven Connecticut. This copycat recipe is easy to make at home without special equipment like antique broilers or toaster ovens.
Course Main
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 1
Author Johan Johansen



  • 200 grams ground beef 20% fat
  • 2 slices of onion
  • 2 thick cut slices of bread
  • 1 tablespoon butter

Cheese spread:

  • 200 grams finely grated sharp cheddar cheese room temperature
  • 20 ml white wine
  • 20 ml cream more as needed
  • 20 grams softened butter
  • 1 tablespoon mustard


  • Salt and pepper to taste


Form patties:

  1. Grab your ground beef and shape carefully into relatively thick 200 gram patties large enough to cover the slices of bread you’re working with.
  2. Season well with salt and leave at room temperature.

Make cheese spread:

  1. Pour about an inch of water into the bottom of a sauce pan over medium heat, then nestle a glass bowl on top to create a double boiler.
  2. Pour white wine, cream and mustard into bowl and stir to combine.
  3. Gradually add in cheddar and stir until melted and a smooth mass has formed, add more liquid if mixture is too thick.
  4. Kill the heat and let spread cool slightly while you make the burgers.

Broiling the burgers:

  1. Preheat your broiler till as hot as it goes.
  2. Line a baking tray with aluminum foil then place the patties on the tray and slide them into the oven beneath the broiler.
  3. Broil for 3-5 minutes or until well-browned on one side, watch them closely to make sure they do not burn!
  4. Slide tray out of the oven, flip the burgers and broil for another 3-5 minutes.
  5. Slide tray back out of the oven, flip the patties again, add the onion slices on top and slide back under the broiler for about a minute until onions are soft and lightly caramelized.
  6. Test for doneness by using the finger test or a thermometer. If using a thermometer, your target core temperature is 55-57C.
  7. Slide the tray out of the oven, set the patties aside, season them with a few grinds of black pepper, then cover loosely and let rest for about five minutes.

Toasting the bread:

  1. Dump the slices of white bread onto the fat-soaked baking tray that you used for the patties.
  2. Put half a tablespoon of butter on top of each slide of the bread.
  3. Slide under the broiler for about 30-60 seconds or so or until well-browned on one side.
  4. Slide tray out of the oven, flip bread slices and repeat.

Assembling The Original Burger:

  1. Remove bread slices from oven.
  2. Smear one slice with a thick coating of your homemade cheese spread.
  3. Place the grilled patty, onions and all, on top of on slice of bread.
  4. Top with remaining slice of bread.
  5. Cut in half on the diagonal and serve.

Recipe Notes

This recipe feeds one hungry diner with cheese spread to spare. Remaining cheese spread can be stored in the fridge but will firm up. Always serve at room temperature or slightly warmer. If after refrigeration the spread is too firm to spread even at room temperature, you can either reheat it carefully or blitz in a food processor to desired consistency.