The best cheeseburger means different things to different people, but I think there are some things we can all agree on: The burger patty itself should be tasty, substantial, and well seasoned. The cheese should be melty—making a cheeseburger and not melting the cheese is a crime punishable by death in some states. The bun should be squishy, pleasant, and not too bready. And, lastly, the whole shebang should be topped with things that enhance the burger’s overall flavor rather than detracting from it.
If you’re planning on hosting a cookout this summer, we have good news. We’ve taste tested all the elements of a great cheeseburger—patties, cheese, buns, sauce—and can now tell you exactly which products combine to make the best cheeseburger going. Serve with caution; guests may be reluctant to ever leave.
- Bubba Burger Angus Beef
You may be dubious that the best cheeseburger involves a frozen burger patty. Some of you are butcher shop purists. I hear that! But I also hear that working smarter not harder is an excellent M.O., particularly when you’re hosting a cookout and would rather be pounding beers than standing in the kitchen making burger patties by hand. These Angus patties from Bubba are exceptionally delicious—rich, beefy, and clean tasting—and they can be thrown on the grill straight out of the freezer. The Angus burgers are a couple bucks more expensive than regular ol’ Bubba burgers, but the flavor and texture makes them worth the splurge.
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Read the full ranking of the best frozen burger patties
- Kraft Deli Deluxe American
The best cheese for a cheeseburger is American cheese. Yes, other cheeses obviously taste good with chargrilled beef—cheddar, Swiss, provolone—but there’s a reason why even fancy smash burger places use American. It’s salty. It’s melty. It was born (in a laboratory, of course) to ooze into the crannies of a burger patty. And if you’re still using regular Kraft Singles, we have a hot tip: Kraft Deli Deluxe American is way better. These slices are thicker and melt like a dream without becoming grainy. I know, I know—American cheese isn’t actually cheese, but it makes the best cheeseburger all the same.
Credit: Merc / Target
Read the full ranking of the best American cheese
- Francisco Deli Hamburger Buns
Here’s the thing about the best bun for a cheeseburger: It should taste good, but it shouldn’t be something you think about a whole lot. Burger buns are vehicles for meat, cheese, and toppings. We want something unfussy and not too big and dense—I hate eating a burger and filling up on bread—and that’s why these Francisco Deli buns make the best cheeseburger buns. Sporked contributor Danny Palumbo described Francisco Deli as a “utilitarian hamburger bun for a cookout,” and that’s honestly high praise when it comes to buns. Did I mention they’re cheap, too?
Credit: Sarah Demonteverde / Instacart
Read the full ranking of the best hamburger buns
- Kroger Burger Special Sauce
You may generally like your cheeseburgers with some combination of mayo, mustard, or ketchup, but, hear us out, burger sauce is the truth and the way. This Kroger burger sauce in particular covers all the flavor bases: It’s sweet like ketchup, tangy like mustard, and creamy like mayo. It’s brilliant stuff in one convenient bottle. Honestly, you might want to grab a couple to get you through the summer.
Credit: Merc / Ralphs
Read the full ranking of the best burger sauces
Best Burger Patty
Best Burger Sauce