Giving up grains is one of the most challenging parts of following a low-carb lifestyle, especially a very low-carb ketogenic diet. In fact, for most people it's far more difficult to give up bread than to give up sweet treats.
And I know a lot about that. I grew up eating bread and it was served with almost any meal so I couldn't imagine not having it. I didn't miss candies, cakes or sweet drinks. I craved warm, fluffy, soft bread with a nice crispy crust, ideally topped with butter, ham and cheese. And of course homemade burgers! Don't get me wrong, I love bunless aka naked burgers but there is nothing like a proper burger.
These burgers are delicious and very filling but with none of the carbs to spike your blood sugar levels and trigger cravings. You can finally enjoy a burger that tastes just like the real deal and even include it in your keto meal plan.
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To make the burger sauce I used homemade ketchup and mayonnaise made with walnut oil. If you are short on time, any store-bought ketchup and mayo will do as long as they are sugar-free and ideally made with healthy fats. Pickles often contain added sugar and preservatives so I made my own using a healthy low-carb sweetener.
You can make smaller or larger burgers to fit your macros. Serve them on their own or with a big bowl of green salad, especially if you practice intermittent fasting and eat just twice a day.
If you can’t eat nuts, these nut-free burger buns are the perfect alternative. If you can’t eat dairy, just skip the cheese and make a regular keto hamburger. And it's not just burgers! There are keto-friendly food swaps for almost anything you can imagine!
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Nutritional values (per cheeseburger)
|of which Saturated||24.6||grams|
|Magnesium||137||mg (34% RDA)|
|Potassium||1,012||mg (51% EMR)|
Macronutrient ratio: Calories from carbs (4%), protein (22%), fat (74%)
Ingredients (makes 4 cheeseburgers)
- 600 g ground beef (1.3 lb)
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 tbsp ghee or lard for greasing (15 ml)
- 4 Ultimate Keto Buns or Nut-Free Keto Buns
- 2 tbsp butter, melted (30 ml)
- 4 slices slices bacon, cut lenghtwise (120 g/ 4.2 oz)
- 2 cups green shredded lettuce (60 g/ 2.1 oz)
- 16 slices sugar-free pickles (40 g/ 1.4 oz) - you can make your own pickles
- 8 slices red onion (60 g/ 2.1 oz)
- 4 slices tomato, sliced (120 g/ 4.2 oz)
- 4 slices slices cheddar, provolone or Monterey Jack cheese (85 g/ 3 oz)
Note: Fat for greasing is not included in the nutrition facts. Some fats in the meat are lost during the cooking process.
- Prepare the keto burger buns. If you don't have any, you'll need an extra hour to prepare them.
I brushed a batch of these buns with one egg yolk mixed with a tablespoon of water which gave them a shiny finish. I make mine in batches and freeze for future use. You can make any keto bread in advance, freeze and defrost at room temperature.
- In a bowl, mix the ingredients for the burger patties: beef, minced garlic, onion powder, apple cider vinegar, sea salt and black pepper. Do not overmix or the burgers will become tough.
- Using your hands, create 4 equal patties, 1/2 to 3/4 inch (1 1/4 to 2 cm) thick. Use your hands to smooth any cracks.
- Pierce the patties with a fork several times. This will loosen the patties and help them cook equally without curling or getting tough while enabling maximum caramelisation. Set aside.
- Prepare the burger sauce by mixing the mayonnaise, ketchup, pickle juice, salt and pepper. Set aside.
- To brown the keto burger buns, cut them widthwise. Brush them with melted butter and cook in a hot skillet cut side down for about a minute or until browned and crispy. Remove from the skillet and set aside.
- Grease the hot skillet with a tablespoon of ghee and add the burger patties. The patties should sizzle as soon as they touch the skillet. Do not crowd the pan - work in batches. Cook over high heat, until a crust forms on the bottom and the burgers are easy to flip on the other side. This will take 2-3 minutes.
- Once flipped, cook until the crust forms on the bottom and the sides are browned. Do not pierce the burgers with a fork or you will lose the juices. It will take another 2-3 minutes to cook through. The thicker the patties, the longer they will take to cook. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
- In the same pan, cook the bacon slices. Cut each of the slices lengthwise and cook until browned and crispy. Alternatively, bake in the oven.
- To assemble the burger: Spread about 2 teaspoons of the burger sauce on each bun halve. Top each the bottom half with 4 slices of pickles and add a quarter of the shredded lettuce.
- Add a burger patty, 2 onion slices, 1 slice of tomato and 1 slice of cheese.
- Place under a broiler for a minute until the cheese is meted. Otherwise, you can add the cheese directly on top of the burger patty while still hot (see more in step 8). Finally, top with 2 slices of cooked bacon and add the top half of the burger bun.
- Enjoy! Serve with leftover burger sauce, or low-carb ketchup and homemade Dijon mustard. Optionally, serve with more pickles or a big bowl of crispy vegetable salad drizzled with olive oil and lemon juice.
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