This California Burger recipe is the PERFECT burger for a warm summer evening. That’s because this delicious burger is packed with the perfect combination of refreshing veggies and tasty sauces. Each mouthwatering bite has a juicy burger, with the crunch of onion and the flavor blast from guacamole and chipotle sauce.
The ingredients in a California burger are up for debate depending on what part of the U.S. you’re in. From San Diego to San Francisco, Chicago to New York - a California burger can vary quite a bit!
I grew up in California - and the main ingredient we think of on a California burger is avocado. Tomatoes, onion, and a spicy sauce are other ingredients on a California burger that come to mind for a West Coast native. Dan is from the Midwest and has a different idea of what a California Burger is. In the Midwest and East Coast, a California Burger typically has cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, onion, mayo, and ketchup.
For this recipe, we decided to go with a native Californian’s take on a California Burger! That’s why this burger has smooth and creamy guacamole and a spicy Chipotle southwest sauce!
- ⅓ lb beef burger patty
- 1 sesame bun
- 1 slice tomato
- ⅛ cup white onion
- 2 leaves lettuce
- 2 tablespoon guacamole
- 1 tablespoon chipotle mayo
- Chop your veggies - cut your onions and tomatoes in circles and break apart your lettuce to fit on the buns.
- Toast your buns if desired - and spread the chipotle southwest sauce on one half of the bun.
- Assemble your burger! We start with the lettuce, followed with the guacamole on top, then the burger, tomato, onion and top bun.
Ingredients and Substitutions
All substitutions are a 1:1 substitute unless otherwise noted
Beef Burger Patty: We use frozen ⅓ lb Angus beef patties for our burgers. Frozen patties aren’t as good as fresh ground beef - but they’re a whole lot more convenient! Check out our guides on how to cook frozen burgers on the grill and in the oven.
Substitutions: You can really use any type of patty as a substitution. Some ideas include a turkey burger, veggie burger, chicken patty or chicken breast, or even a portobello mushroom.
Pepper Jack Cheese: California burgers are better with a little kick. That’s why we use pepper jack cheese for this recipe. It just adds a little extra spice to even out the fresh veggies!
Substitutions: Cheddar cheese and American cheese are good replacements for pepper jack.
Sesame Buns: We used wheat buns in our recipe photos, but we prefer sesame buns. This is because they add a little crunch to every bite!
Substitutions: Wheat, white, and brioche buns are all good substitutes. You can even use English muffins if desired. Also, you can also use a gluten-free bun to make these incredible burgers gluten-free!
Guacamole: The avocados in guacamole add great creaminess to this burger. We just purchased guacamole at the grocery store, but you can certainly make your own if you’d like.
Substitutions: Slices from a fresh ripe avocado can be substituted for guacamole. Need to save half of an avocado? Try this food hugger!
Lettuce: Lettuce adds some freshness to the recipe. It’s also great to put on the bottom bun and set the guacamole on top of it so the bun doesn’t get soggy.
Substitutions: We use butter lettuce, but you can use romaine or iceberg.
Tomato: Not only do tomatoes add a great bright red color, but they also add some moisture and freshness as well!
Substitutions: No substitute for this, but you can leave it off if desired.
White Onion: A nice crunch in every bite is added with the white onions. They’re the most mildly flavored onion, so they don’t overpower the other flavors in the burger too much.
Substitutions: Yellow and red onions can be used in place of white onions.
Chipotle Southwest Sauce: This is my favorite ingredient in this burger! It’s got the perfect kick and adds the extra moisture to create the perfect medley of flavor and texture in your mouth. Check out our Chipotle Southwest Sauce recipe here! Otherwise, grab some in your local grocery store or online here!
Substitutions: Mayo and ketchup can be substituted for this sauce if you are not a fan of spice.
How to Make a California Burger
Step two: Chop your veggies - cut your onions and tomatoes in circles and break apart your lettuce to fit on the buns.
Step three: Toast your buns if desired - and spread the chipotle southwest sauce on one half of the bun.
Step four: Assemble your burger! We start with the lettuce, followed by the guacamole on top, then the burger, tomato, onion, and top bun.
No one likes a soggy bun. If you put a fresh tomato slice or guacamole right on your bun it can cause them to get soggy. Luckily, lettuce is here to keep your buns dry! Place lettuce against your bun to keep the bun fresh and intact.
Facts and Common Questions
What does a California Burger have on it?
California burgers are different depending on what part of the country you’re in. On the West Coast, the first thing that comes to mind as a topping for a California Burger is avocado. They also typically have lettuce, tomatoes, onions, avocado, and a tangy or spicy sauce. In the Midwest and East coast, California burgers typically have lettuce, tomatoes, onions, mayo, and ketchup.
Do California Burgers have cheese?
Yes, California avocado burgers have cheese on them no matter what part of the county you’re in. They typically have either American, cheddar, or pepper jack cheese.
What should be served with a California Avocado Burger?
This burger is topped with plenty of fresh vegetables, so a salty and savory side is a great option. Some ideas to serve on the side include French fries, onion rings, tater tots, or a fresh salad! We also recommend a shake, malt, or ice cream after to finish your meal off right!
What’s on an In-n-Out burger?
In-n-Out Burger is one of the most popular burger joints in California. Anywhere you go in California you’ll find a long line at the In-n-Out burger because they have some of the best burgers around. Their most popular menu item is the double-double burger, which has two beef patties with American cheese, onion, lettuce, tomato, and a tangy sauce.
Want to Save it for Later? Here’s how!
To save this for later: It’s best to store the burger patties and veggies separately, if possible. Store either together or separately in an airtight container in the fridge. You can store the burger patties in the freezer, but it’s not recommended to store the veggies in the freezer because they won’t be as fresh when they’re thawed.
To reheat the burger from the fridge: Just microwave your burger patty for 1 minute in the microwave or in the oven at 350 degrees for 8 minutes. Then, assemble the veggies and burger patty on your bun!
To reheat from frozen: The best way to reheat from frozen is to thaw the burger patty the night before you want to eat it, and then reheat it as described above. If reheating from frozen, microwave patty for approximately 2 and ½ minutes, or bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.