A Juicy Lucy is an iconic burger that’s turned inside out, with a cheese filling that oozes out of the patty. The way this burger is cooked also separates the cheese from the bun, creating a different texture than the usual cheeseburger. You don’t have to travel to Minneapolis, where this delicacy originated, to try a Juicy Lucy; you can easily make it at home. Learn how to make the perfect stuffed burgers—plus, we have a few helpful hacks, too.
Prep the Grill
Before you press the burgers, prep your grill by preheating it and oiling the grates. Or, use a cast-iron skillet or heavy-bottomed pan to fry your burgers. Any way will work; just prep and preheat your cooking surface.
Press the Layers
Are you wondering how to get the cheese into the burger? One easy way is to try a stuffed burger press. These tools have convex lid sections that you press into the bottom half of your ground burger meat to create a small indentation. That’s where you add your cheese filling and cover it with a second layer of meat so there’s a pocket of stuffing inside. It’s easy to form these patties by hand, too. Just be sure you flatten them between your palms or two pieces of wax paper so they cook evenly. Whether you use a press or not, it’s easiest to work with cold meat. For the juiciest burgers, stuffed or not, use quality ground beef that has a good amount of fat (we like 20 percent). Check out our video of Williams Sonoma Culinary Director Amanda Haas stuffing a burger:
Take about 2 ounces of meat (a bit bigger than a golf ball-sized portion) seasoned to your liking, and gently pack it together in your hands. Put it on one side of the press. Use the press cap or your palms to flatten it down, and create a concave area where your fillings will go. Use shredded cheddar, pepper jack, a slice of American cheese—any type of melting cheese that you like will work well, but cheeses like these with higher moisture levels definitely keep things jucier. To fit a piece of American cheese, fold the slice of cheese in half when inserting it between layers.
Place another two ounces of meat over the cheese and press it all down, making sure the layers are sealed with the cheese inside. When the burger cooks, it contracts and may begin slowly forcing out melted cheese through large nooks and crannies in the patty. That’s a delicious way of eating a Juicy Lucy, but you might like to keep the cheese hidden. With two perfectly even, intact patties, the cheese should mostly stay inside the burger. Here’s a tip: To keep oozing cheese at a minimum and to let out steam building up inside the burger, poke the top of your patties with a toothpick in several places around the top and bottom to release excess moisture.
Grill the Patty
Put the burgers on your preheated grill or pan. Give the burgers about four minutes on one side and flip them. Remember the toothpick trick. Grill them another three minutes. You may still see little bits of cheese oozing out of the burger’s middle. As the cheese-stuffed patty cooks, the cheese inside melts, keeping the meat near the center of the burger very juicy. Cook it well done to make sure the cheese has melted into its rightful oozy, gooey place. Let the burgers rest for a few minutes before serving so all the cheese melts and the juices re-absorb into the burger.
Top It Off
You can serve these patties any way you like, whether that’s with a tomato slice and lettuce or heaped with caramelized onions and mushrooms. You can also borrow ideas from other bars and restaurants around Minneapolis area that have created interpretations of the Juicy Lucy recipe. Try grilling a cheddar cheese burger and top it with even more cheddar cheese, lettuce and potato chips. Top off a stuffed burger with sautéed onions. Turn your outdoor grilling parties upside down with this quintessential inside-out burger!