Doughnut Cheeseburgers Are a Beautiful Thing—Here’s How to Make ‘Em

Not for the faint of heart, this doughnut cheeseburger consists of crispy bacon, melted cheddar cheese and a 1/4-pound beef patty—all piled high on a sugary glazed doughnut.

If you’re on a sugar-free or low-carb diet, then I implore you to look away from what I’m about to share: doughnut cheeseburgers. If you’re a fairgoer, you’ve probably seen these indulgent burgers at food stands in recent years. They’re usually found at the concession window with a long line of people eager to try this unusual (and delicious) creation.

By the way, these are the best fair foods in the country.

Who Invented the Doughnut Cheeseburger?

Legend has it that the first doughnut cheeseburger was served up at a bar in Decatur, Georgia in 2005 after the bar ran out of regular burger buns. The owner later started calling his version a Luther Burger, named for singer Luther Vandross. The burger was allegedly a favorite (and possible invention) of the famed singer, songwriter and producer.

Krispy Kreme Donut CheeseburgersLauren Habermehl for Taste of Home

Psst… Do you know about the secret cinnamon roll cheeseburger at Disney World?

How to Make a Doughnut Cheeseburger

While your best bet at finding an authentic “Luther Burger” is at your local fair, you can make doughnut cheeseburgers at home, too. The ingredients are affordable and the recipe will have you chowing down on one of these gut-busting burgers in under 30 minutes.

Ingredients

  • 4 glazed yeast doughnuts, (we recommend Krispy Kreme)
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil or melted butter
  • 1 pound ground sirloin
  • 4 strips thick-cut bacon
  • 4 slices mild cheddar cheese
  • 4 leaves green leaf lettuce, optional
  • 4 slices tomato, optional
  • 4 slices onion, optional
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Editor’s Tip: The classic doughnut cheeseburger calls for cheddar, bacon and traditional burger toppings. But don’t be afraid to get creative with your ingredients. We think a “jelly-filled” doughnut burger topped with raspberry jam, melted brie and caramelized onions would be absolutely divine!

Instructions

Step 1: Grill the doughnuts

Grilling donut halvesLauren Habermehl for Taste of Home

Preheat a large skillet over medium heat. Next, using a serrated knife, carefully cut each doughnut in half to resemble a bun with a top and bottom. Lightly brush the cut side of each doughnut half with a little coconut oil or melted butter and then place onto the hot skillet. Let toast for 2 or 3 minutes, or until golden, then place on a wire cooling rack.

Step 2: Cook the bacon

Return the skillet to your stovetop and add four strips of bacon. Cook over medium heat until both sides are crispy. Remove the bacon from the pan and let drain on a paper towel-lined plate. Let the hot bacon grease cool slightly and then wipe the pan nearly clean. You want to reserve a little of the bacon grease in the skillet.

Step 3: Make the burgers

Next, form the ground beef into four equal patties about 1/2-inch thick. Season with salt and pepper and then cook, over medium heat, in the reserved bacon grease for 3 to 5 minutes. Carefully flip the patties once. Then, cook for an additional 3 to 8 minutes until the desired doneness is reached.

Step 4: Get melty

During the last few minutes of cooking, place a slice of cheddar cheese on each burger. Cover the skillet and let the burger cook until the cheese is melted.

Step 5: Dig in!

Krispy Kreme donut cheeseburger ingredients laid outLauren Habermehl for Taste of Home

Finally, it’s time to assemble the burgers. Add a slice of crisp bacon to the top of each cheeseburger patty and then place on the bottom half of a toasted doughnut. Top with lettuce, tomato, onion and any other desired burger garnishes. Top each doughnut cheeseburger with the top half of a toasted doughnut and devour immediately.

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Lauren Habermehl
Lauren Habermehl is a recipe developer, food photographer and creator of the blog, Frydae. She is a prolific quoter of FRIENDS, lover of weekend DIY projects and procrastinating fitness enthusiast who enjoys exploring the Milwaukee-area with her husband, daughter and ugly mutt named Tyson Doodles.