6 Ways to Eat a Burger Without a Bun

Updated: May 17, 2018

Backyard barbecue meets healthy eating. We promise you won't even miss the bread!

You might want to opt out of a standard hamburger bun (whether you’re gluten free, on the Keto diet or simply watching your carb intake). But you shouldn’t have to miss out on the whole picnic! These burger bun substitutes will solve your sandwich situation–and make sure you chow down on an amazing grilled burger!

Portobello Mushrooms

Big enough to cover a burger and sturdy enough to hold things together, portobello mushroom caps are one of the best burger bun substitutes. Plop them on the grill with everything else, brush with olive oil and herbs, and they’ll be ready in 8 to 10 minutes. Bonus—thanks to their color and shape, they even look like buns!

Fresh Lettuce

Shake Shack offers lettuce “buns” on its menu so you know it must be good! You can use any variety of lettuce but romaine is sturdy and will hold up well to whatever toppings you use. Bonus–wrapping your burger in a large leaf acts as a pocket to catch any stray condiments. No more mess!


You likely eat tomatoes on your burger anyway…so why not just turn the tomato into a bun? Take a whole tomato and slice it in half horizontally, placing the burger in between the two halves. (Scooping out the seeds will help make it less messy.) Skip the grocery store and snag your tomatoes from the local farmers market for added flavor!


You can either grill or roast your eggplant slices for this alternative. Either way is a win: You get a crispy exterior with a light and airy inside (like a real bun!) along with plenty of nutrients and vitamins. These work for every diet—paleo, Keto, gluten-free, vegan, Whole30…you name it. We love eggplant on the grill!

Sweet Potatoes

Skipping the bun doesn’t have to mean skimping on carbs (they are necessary for energy, after all). And sweet potatoes are chock-full of complex carbs, aka the good kind. Cut your potatoes into slices about 1/2 inch thick, lay flat on a baking sheet and roast in the oven at 400°F for about 25 minutes. These “buns” make great toast the following morning, too.


It seems like cauliflower can be used for everything these days, from low-carb cauliflower rice to healthy pizza. And now it can be a burger bun, too. You can make your own using riced cauliflower, almond and coconut flour, Parmesan cheese and eggs. You simply combine the ingredients, press into a muffin top pan and bake for 20 to 25 minutes.

Keep in mind that these burger bun substitutes aren’t just great for those of us on special diets. They’re also an easy—and delicious—way to incorporate more vegetables into your meal. And doing that while feasting on a burger? Sign us up!

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