We know: Calling this recipe the Perfect Cheeseburger is pretty bold, but we stand by it. Our burger is big, juicy, and seasoned right. Gather up the cold beers and the ketchup because this cheesy beast is the ultimate.

To make it a true classic, though, we do recommend following a few guidelines for ingredients and technique. Here are some rules to remember as you whip up your perfect patty.

Cheeseburger 101: Don’t flip without these tips

  1. Fat equals flavor and moisture, so buy high-quality chuck with a fat content of 15-20%.
  2. Gently pack the meat. If you overwork it, it can get dense and tough.
  3. Meat shrinks when cooked, so form patties larger than the size of your buns.
  4. Make a slight indentation in the middle of each patty to ensure that the burgers stay flat as they cook.
  5. Never press down on the patties while they’re cooking. You want those juices in the burger, not on the grill.
  6. Be generous with the salt and pepper.
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Makes 4 cheeseburgers

Cooking time: 40 minutes


  • 1 1/2 pounds ground chuck (15-20% fat content)
  • Vegetable oil, for oiling the grill
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 slices American, cheddar, or Swiss cheese (about 6 ounces)
  • 4 (4-inch) hamburger buns, split
  • Iceberg lettuce, sliced tomato, pickles, ketchup, mayonnaise, and mustard, for garnish


  1. Divide the meat into 4 equal portions. Shape each portion into an even 1/2-inch-thick patty that is about 1 inch wider in diameter than the hamburger buns. Using your thumb, make a shallow 1 1/2-inch wide indentation in the center of each patty. Transfer the patties to a plate and refrigerate while you prepare the grill.
  2. Heat a grill pan or outdoor grill to 600°F-800°F (315°C-430°C). When the grill is ready, use tongs to rub the grate with several layers of paper towels dipped in vegetable oil.
  3. Season the hamburger patties generously on both sides so that you can see a thin layer of salt and pepper. Place the patties on the grill indentation-side up, cover the grill, and cook the patties undisturbed (do not press down on them) until grill marks appear on the bottom, about 3-4 minutes. Using a spatula, flip and cook for about 2 minutes more. Place 2 slices of cheese on each patty, cover the grill, and continue cooking until the cheese has melted and the patties are just slightly pink in the center for medium, about 2-3 minutes more. Remove to a clean plate and let rest in a warm place or tent loosely with foil.
  4. While the patties are resting, place the bun halves cut-side down on the grill and toast until golden brown, about 1 minute. Remove the buns to a clean serving plate, place a patty on each bun bottom, garnish as desired, and cover with a bun top.