The Complete Low Carb Burger Guide
Whether you’re grilling on a beautiful summer evening or searing on a stovetop in the winter, everyone should be able to enjoy a burger. This includes low carb dieters who often feel as if they need to forego burgers unless they want to eat it without toppings and wrapped in a rather stark leaf of lettuce.
If you know what you’re doing, burgers can fit into most low carbs diets. In fact, they can be just as juicy, satisfying and delicious as a “regular” burger. With only a few minor adjustments, you can enjoy this classic meal often and guilt-free.
Let’s get started so you can begin prepping burgers for tonight’s dinner. We’ll introduce you to what a proper meat blend consists of and which low carb toppings and buns are best. Lastly, we’ll share a beef burger recipe and a chicken burger recipe that you’ll love.
The basis of a low carb diet is to minimize one’s daily carb intake while increasing the amount of protein and fat consumed. This means that you can enjoy various meats if you’re careful about pairings and diligently choosing which toppings and ingredients to include.
Burgers are traditionally made with a blend of meats to ensure that there is enough fat to deliver the most flavour. The lean-to-fat ratio should be 70/30. This means that 30% of your blend should be dedicated to fat, giving it a better chance to cook to a medium or medium-rare temperature.
If you have a meat grinder, we recommend using one of these cuts of beef:
- Chuck steak
- Short rib
- Hangar steak
- Skirt steak
You then want to combine the freshly ground beef with a fat like bacon or bacon trimmings.
Tip: For the same effect – simply mix lean or medium ground beef with ground pork. The two balance each other out and it’s a great way to improve the flavour for burgers and anything else you traditionally use ground beef for.
Burger Toppings & Flavouring
Toppings can take a burger from good to great. Luckily, a lot of fun and tasty options happen to be low carb, including:
- Sautéed mushrooms
- Lettuce including kale and spinach
Onions are also okay as a burger topping but use a small amount because they are higher in carbs than other vegetables.
Even the juiciest patties can be lacking without ketchup or a spicy mustard. The trick is to find delicious low carb condiments that taste better than their less nutritious counterparts.
Nature’s Hollow Sugar-Free Ketchup is all-natural, deriving its sweetness from Xylitol while still packing that tomato punch. This condiment lets you lower your sugar intake and enjoy burgers without adding too many additional carbs to your meal.
Walden Farms Calorie-Free Ketchup is made from fresh ground herbs and spices and has no calories, sugar, fat, cholesterol or carbs. It’s great to pour onto your burger or to mix with some spice if you want a condiment with a bit more of a kick.
Mr. Spice Low Sodium Honey Mustard is a gourmet condiment that’s healthy, all-natural and features a delightful mix of sweetness and spice. A small amount can elevate your burger to the next level.
If you’re more of an aioli person, then check out Primal Kitchen Paleo Garlic Aioli. An aioli is an emulsion that’s traditionally made with garlic, olive oil, lemon juice and an egg yolk. Primal kitchen’s unique taste comes from avocado oil and cage-free eggs.
Low Carb Burger Buns
Buns are where things can get tricky for low carb burgers. Many low carb burger recipes will have you wrapping the patty in a lettuce leaf or simply ditching the bun altogether. Fortunately, you can have your burger complete with a great tasting bun! Here are some of the most popular and delicious low carb buns worth trying.
Unbun is a great option for hamburgers. In addition to being low carb, it’s gluten and grain-free and keto and paleo-friendly. They are dense enough to hold sauces and toppings without becoming soggy, yet are still soft and delicious. Per 85g, there are 15g of fat, 5.2g of net carbs, 12.2g of fibre and 10g of protein.
Dream Hamburger Buns can hold a hamburger together and has the texture of a freshly baked bun. They contain no preservatives and taste like the best buns at your favourite bakery. Per 56g, there are 3.5g of fat, 1g of net carbs, 17g of fibre and 14g of protein.
No matter what burger bun you choose, one tip to make a good burger in to a great burger is to toast the bun. It helps give the bun a different texture and a subtle ‘crunch’ that adds a gourmet flair without much effort. This is easy, and can be done in a couple of different ways. For the fastest and easiest way to toast a bun, simply throw both halves inner-side down on the top rack of your BBQ for a few seconds before the patties are cooked to warm the buns all the way through and give them a light toasting.
However, for the best toasted burger bun just add a light layer of butter on the inside of each half, and place them butter-side up on a baking sheet in your oven with the broiler on high (or the grill works good too – on high heat). Watch them closely to ensure they don’t burn, and in just a few minutes, they will become crispy and golden-brown. The butter helps give them an amazing flavour that will really enhance the taste of your burger. Trust us on this one, it makes a huge difference.
Here are two low carb burger recipes that we think you’ll love. Please note that we have made some adjustments to either minimize the carb count or to provide an alternative ingredient that can make it even better without impacting nutrition.
Keto Sheet Pan Burgers with Bacon and Jalapeno
This recipe makes tender burgers that are packed with flavour and topped with delectable ingredients.
For the burger patties, you will need 24 oz. of ground beef (a ratio of 80/20 chuck is recommended), 1 tsp. of kosher salt, ¼ tsp. of ground black pepper and ½ tsp. of garlic powder.
For the toppings, you will need six bacon slices, four onion slices, two jalapenos seeded and cut into thick rings and four slices of pepper jack cheese.
To make a creamy sauce with wonderful depth of flavour, you will need ¼ cup of Walden Farms Amazin Mayo, 1 tbsp. of Sriracha hot sauce, ½ tsp. of Worcestershire sauce and 1 tsp. of granulated erythritol sweetener.
Preheat your oven to 425F. In a bowl, hand mix the ground beef, garlic powder, salt and pepper. The next step is to make four patties of equal size and to place them on a baking sheet with ample space between them. Fill these spaces with the bacon, onion rings and jalapenos and bake for 18 minutes.
Make the sauce by mixing Walden Farms Amazin Mayo, Sriracha, Worcestershire sauce and the sweetener until it’s a smooth consistency. Then, refrigerate until it is needed.
Once the burgers are cooked, place a slice of cheese on each patty and turn the oven to broil. Broil for two minutes until the cheese is melted. Now, remove from the oven and start building the burgers. Place some bacon, a slice of onion and the number of jalapenos you want on each patty.
This recipe calls for the patty to be wrapped in lettuce but we have a better idea. True burger fans need a bun, so try one from Unbun. It’s the perfect thickness to hold everything in place without breaking apart.
Healthy Chicken Burgers
For those who aren’t the biggest fans of beef, here is a chicken burger recipe that is tasty, low carb and easy to make.
All you need is 1 lb. of ground chicken, ½ cup of finely diced onion, two garlic cloves minced, ¾ tsp. of sea salt, ¼ tsp. of smoked paprika and freshly ground pepper to taste.
Start by mixing together the chicken, onion, garlic, paprika, salt and pepper. Separate the mixture into four equal sections. Then wet your hands so that mixture doesn’t stick to them and form each section into a roughly 1” thick burger patty.
Grease a 12” skillet with olive oil and heat it up on medium-high. Place all four patties in the skillet and cook them for 5 minutes. Flip them over and cook for an additional 5 minutes until the patties reach an internal temperature of 165F. If you don’t have a thermometer, you can slice one patty open to make sure the middle isn’t pink.
Enjoy Burgers Tonight!
With the right knowledge and ingredients, you can treat yourself to a mighty low carb burger topped with the best toppings and condiments and served on a bun.
Don’t forget to shop for all the other low carb products you need to ensure you maintain your diet and enjoy memorable meals.
We also have a few other BBQ related posts you might want to peruse – including the propane vs charcoal BBQ debate, BBQ tools and gadget worth considering, how to clean your BBQ, keto friendly BBQ side dishes and more.