Kiss goodbye to guilt with our Easy Cheeseburger Bowl Recipe. Brimming with juicy burger meat or your savvy use of leftover burgers, sharp and sweet onions, ripe cherry tomatoes, tangy pickles, and drizzled with a special sauce, it’s a meal that marries satisfaction with health. Dive into a bowl that’s as loaded with taste as it is with health benefits – all while being keto-friendly and low-carb.
❤️ Why you will love this recipe
Easy: This is one of those easy recipes that you’ll come back to again and again! Use leftover burgers or whip up the burger meat mixture in just 10 minutes, then pile up the salad and enjoy!
Quick: My favorite meals are the ones that are thrown together in just minutes…and this cheese burger bowl is just that! This recipe takes 15 minutes to throw together. Huzzah!
Healthy: With way more vegetables than usual, this cheeseburger in a bowl is a much healthier option compared to your local burger joint. It’s also less greasy cutting down on the calories.
Tasty: This cheeseburger bowl tastes amazing! It has all the flavors of a burger with no bun and extra greens! You really don’t need a bun to enjoy a burger.
Fits many diets: This recipe fits a keto or low-carb lifestyle really well, and just skip the cheese and swap the Worcestershire sauce for coconut aminos to make it whole30 or paleo. Check out my Loaded Burger Bowls for the Whole30 version!
Meal prep: If you made burgers this weekend, add a leftover hamburger patty to the cheeseburger bowl instead of making the burger meat mixture from scratch. Leftover burgers taste amazing over salad. If you need some ideas on reheating, check out my post: How to Reheat a Burger: 6 Ways! Reheating a burger in the air fryer is my favorite method but a hot skillet works really well too. Otherwise, you can also double the meat mixture recipe in the recipe card below to make plenty of extras for meal prep all week.
🗝️ Key Ingredients & Substitutions
The most important ingredient! You can either use leftover burgers, make a burger, or make a burger meat mixture. Leftover burgers are the easiest, but my second choice would be to make the meat mixture. All you’ll need is:
Lean ground beef: I tend to use extra lean ground beef for this recipe, however, ground chicken, turkey, or a 50/50 mixture of ground beef and ground pork are great options as well.
Ketchup: Ketchup adds a little sweetness and spice to the burger mixture. I used my homemade keto ketchup recipe which is sugar-free, but feel free to use store bought ketchup instead. BBQ sauce is also a great option, or you can try tomato paste in a pinch.
Worcestershire Sauce: Use a gluten-free variety or substitute it for coconut aminos if that’s easier for you.
Seasoning: Garlic powder, onion powder, dried oregano, kosher salt, and ground black pepper pack in a TON of flavor. It’s so tasty!
Homemade Burger Sauce
This sauce transforms the flavor of this big mac salad to scream “BURGER”! There is no mistaking the delicious taste of burgers when you add homemade special sauce. The ingredients are:
Mayonnaise: I highly recommend making homemade mayonnaise. My recipe is super easy and tastes incredible. If you make homemade mayo, make it with the fresh garlic and skip the garlic powder in this burger sauce recipe. Store-bought mayonnaise will work well too.
Yellow mustard: Yellow mustard is essential for that burger taste. Dijon mustard will not do, it must be yellow mustard.
Garlic powder: This ingredient can be skipped if needed but it just adds that little something extra to the flavor.
Pickle slices: Sliced dill pickles or butter pickles are chopped and added to this special sauce. If you’d prickle relish can be substituted, 1-2 tablespoons depending on your own taste preferences.
Pickle juice: Just a splash to make it even more pickle-y. I really like the taste of pickles!
A full list of recommended toppings is listed below in the “What to serve with” section. Here are the ingredients you see in the photos:
Greens: I used mixed spring greens and arugula that I bought pre-packed from the grocery store. Other greens like iceberg lettuce, romaine lettuce, shredded lettuce, or spinach are perfect for this recipe. Choose your favorite!
Red onion: I opted for caramelized onions this time but often just slice some red onion if I’m in a hurry. It’s sweet with a lovely bite!
Shredded cheddar cheese: Skip the plastic-y American cheese and go for shredded cheddar cheese! I find that grating the cheese makes it easier to eat in salad form. If you’re making or reheating burgers for this recipe, you could melt cheese onto the patties in the last minute of cooking.
Tomatoes: Any kind of ripe tomatoes will work, however, cherry tomatoes are my absolute favorite. We always have them on hand.
Sliced pickles: Just to really bring that pickle flavor home, I added a long slice of pickle skewered on a toothpick. Diced pickles or pickle relish are also great substitutes.
🥣 How to make Healthy Burger Bowls with Cheese
1. To start, cook beef in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook until the ground beef turns brown and is no longer pink, and drain excess grease (if needed). I slowly tip the pan over a jar and hold the cooked ground beef back with a slotted spoon.
2. Add the remaining ingredients: Worcestershire sauce, ketchup, garlic powder, onion powder, dried oregano, salt, and pepper. Cook for 5 more minutes and set aside.
Another option: Dice up leftover burger patties instead if you happen to have some on hand. Check out this post on How to Reheat a Burger. For a great burger recipe, try the BEST Burger Recipe. It’s SO good, and it’s what this salad bowl is based on.
In a small bowl, mix together mayonnaise, ketchup, yellow mustard, diced pickles, and a splash of pickle juice.
Tip: I use homemade garlic mayonnaise. If you aren’t making my mayo recipe, add 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder to the sauce.
Assemble the Burger Bowls
In a large bowl (I use pasta bowls), start with a generous bed of your chosen greens, layer on the seasoned ground beef mixture or burger patties, and top it off with diced fresh tomatoes, tangy pickles, sliced or caramelized red onions, grated cheese, and any other burger toppings you desire. Finally, drizzle the special sauce, and serve!
On the off-chance you have leftovers, don’t worry! They store really well and are great for lunch the next day! Store any leftover burger mixture or burgers in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days. Store the salad dressing (special sauce) and toppings in separate containers to keep them fresh for longer.
Meal prep cheeseburger bowls
This recipe is great for meal prep! Start by adding the salad and ground beef or burgers to the meal prep containers, followed by other toppings. Keep the special sauce salad dressing separate to stop the fresh ingredients from deteriorating. A small container is perfect for this.
🪄 Recipe Notes & Tips
Ground beef temperature: Cooking ground beef to perfection is essential for avoiding complications like food poisoning. Ensure it reaches a safe internal temperature and savor the juicy deliciousness without any worries. This is especially important if you’re reheating burgers for earlier. Make sure the burger reaches 72°C/165°F. Safety first, flavor always!
Other kinds of burgers: Swap the ground beef burgers for chicken burgers, ground turkey burgers, lamb burgers, or veggie burgers.
Vegetarian burger bowls: Use vegetarian burgers instead of meat burgers for a truly delightful veggie option.
Vegan burger bowls: Make it completely animal-free by using vegan burgers and vegan cheese. Swap the mayo for plant-based mayonnaise in the burger sauce. I can’t tell the difference
🍽️ What to serve with Cheeseburger Salad
Favorite Burger Toppings
What do you enjoy on a cheeseburger? Whatever your favorite toppings are, they are also perfect for a healthy cheeseburger bowl. Here are some that I love:
Bacon: Of course. Add crispy bacon or turkey bacon to make bacon cheeseburger bowls (yum!!).
Raw red onion: If you don’t have time to make caramelized onions, raw red onion is a great option, and often found in burgers. Yellow onion tastes delicious as well.
Cheeses: Try other cheese on top like blue cheese, feta cheese, gouda, or Swiss.
Peppers: Bell pepper (yellow, red, orange, or green bell pepper) is great added raw to the salad. It adds another delicious layer of flavor. If you like it spicy, diced jalapenos or pickled jalapenos taste delicious!
If you’re looking for something other than burger sauce, there are plenty of options out there! Ketchup, bbq sauce, mayonnaise, or mustard on their own (instead of mixed into burger sauce) are fantastic ideas. If you’re looking for some spice try Green Taco Sauce or Chili Jam.
What goes with burgers? Fries! You can absolutely add fries into this bowl to really load it up. My Air Fryer French Fries or Air Fryer Sweet Potato Fries are great options, however, they are not low carb so avoid them if you’re on the keto diet. Instead, try avocado fries or zucchini fries.
🥬 Can I make this into a lettuce wrap burger instead?
Sure! Using romaine lettuce, place 2 leaves on the plate followed by a burger, then add sliced tomatoes, onions, and pickles, and top it with our classic burger sauce and then 2 more lettuce leaves. Delicious!
😋 More burger recipes you will love
- Air Fryer Hamburgers
- How to Season Frozen Burgers
- How to Freeze Homemade Burgers (Raw or Cooked)
- Loaded Burger Bowls with Special Sauce (Whole30/Paleo version)
- The BEST Burger Recipe
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Cheeseburger In A Bowl Recipe
Ground Beef Mixture (see note 1 for leftover burger option)
- 750 g extra lean ground beef
- 1.5 tablespoons ketchup bbq sauce or tomato paste (see note 2)
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 4 tablespoons mayonnaise homemade or store-bought, see note 3
- 4 tablespoons ketchup
- 4 teaspoons yellow mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder optional
- 12 pickle slices chopped
- splash of pickle juice
- 3 bags of salad greens of choice baby spinach, arugula, spring mix, etc.
- 16 cherry tomatoes diced
- Sliced pickles to taste
- Sliced or caramelized onions to taste, see note 4
- 1-2 cups shredded cheddar cheese to taste
- Other toppings as desired get creative! See note 6
Ground Beef Mixture
- To start, cook beef in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook until the ground beef turns brown and is no longer pink, and drain excess grease (if needed). I slowly tip the pan over a jar and hold the cooked ground beef back with a slotted spoon.
- Add the remaining ingredients: Worcestershire sauce, ketchup, garlic powder, onion powder, dried oregano, salt, and pepper. Cook for 5 more minutes and set aside.
- Another option: Dice up leftover burger patties instead if you happen to have some on hand. Check out this post on How to Reheat a Burger.
- In a small bowl, mix together mayonnaise, ketchup, yellow mustard, diced pickles, and a splash of pickle juice.
- Tip: I use homemade garlic mayonnaise. If you aren't making my mayo recipe, add 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder to the sauce.
Assemble the Burger Bowls
- In a large bowl (I use pasta bowls), start with a generous bed of your chosen greens, layer on the seasoned ground beef mixture or burger patties, and top it off with diced fresh tomatoes, tangy pickles, sliced or caramelized red onions, grated cheese, and any other burger toppings you desire. Finally, drizzle the special sauce, and serve!
- Leftover burgers: Diced leftover burgers work well in this recipe and are often what I use instead of the ground beef mixture in the summer after grilling.
- Ketchup: For a homemade option, try my Keto Ketchup Recipe. Sugar-Free BBQ Sauce is great too!
- Mayonnaise: My homemade mayonnaise recipe is keto-friendly, as well as delicious! It already has garlic in it so no need to add garlic powder if you use it.
- Caramelized Onions: Check out my post on How to Caramelize Onions for Burgers. Perfect for burger bowls!
- Ground beef temperature: Cooking ground beef to perfection is an art form. Ensure it reaches a safe internal temperature and savor the juicy deliciousness without any worries. This is especially important if you're reheating burgers for earlier. Make sure the burger reaches 72°C/165°F. Safety first, flavor always!
- Other burger bowl toppings: Want to add a little crunch? Try crispy bacon. Craving creaminess? Slice up some creamy avocado. The possibilities are endless, and your taste buds are the guide. Check the full post for more toppings and additions to add to your healthy burger bowls.
- Meal prep: For those days when time is not your ally, prep your ingredients ahead of time. Chop those veggies, pre-cook the beef or use leftover burgers, and have your special sauce at the ready. This way, you can create a burger bowl in minutes when the craving strikes.