I adore a grilled burger topped with mayo, lettuce, and a garden fresh tomato slice. Dubbed California Burgers, the fresh toppings over charcoal-seared hamburgers create a summer’s delight for the palate.

California Burgers on a white plate

Why You Must Make this Burger Recipe

  • The simple toppings are fresh and delicious!
  • Just a few simple additions to the ground beef add loads of flavor and umami.
  • It’s a perfect way to shake up your grilling routine.

I must make this disclaimer: I grew up in Iowa. So what my mom called  California Burgers is probably not the same as what those on the west coast would envision. As far as I recall, any burger with lettuce, tomato and mayo was differentiated from the traditional ketchup and mustard version and dubbed a California burger.

Those are still my preferred toppings, though I will add a wee bit of ketchup and mustard to my mayo…and maybe some avocado slices. The rest of the family seems to put equal parts Heinz ketchup to burger. Yeah, I hang out with a sophisticated crowd.

California Burgers on a plate on a red and white checked napkin

Fire Up the Grill!

We grill all year round. And it has to be with a charcoal grill. We love that extra dose of carcinogens smoky flavor. Bill has been known to scrape the snow off  our Weber kettle mid-January just to sear a juicy burger. Of course, none are better than mid-summer burgers with ripe garden tomatoes…and it is our 4th of July tradition to fire up the grill. Most times, I liberally season our burgers with salt and pepper, but a Cook’s Country recipe for Grilled Steak Burgers inspired me. I added some minced garlic, onion powder, and soy sauce to melted butter which was then mixed with the ground beef. I loved the subtle garlic and onion undertones. These California burgers were such a delicious change from our typical fare.

4th of July Recipes

I’m joining the Holiday Blog Party for the 4th of July. My friends and I are sharing Summer, American or Red, White and Blue recipes…perfect for Independence Day or any summer gathering. Please check out their amazing recipes:
1. Berry Cheesecake Crumb Tart from Hungry Couple NYC
2. California Burgers from That Skinny Chick Can Bake
3. Patriotic Brownie Cookies from That Skinny Chick Can Bake
4. Red, White & Blueberry Parfaits from Cravings of a Lunatic
5. Red, White & Blue Deviled Eggs from Created by Diane
6. Summer Berry Pizza from Magnolia Days
7. Sparkling Pineapple Cake Martini from The Messy Baker
8. Red, White & Bleu Mac ‘N Cheese from Juanita’s Cocina
9. Red, White & Blue Vanilla Bean Spritzers from Pineapple and Coconut
10. Red, White & Blue S’mores Pies from Big Bears Wife
11. Lemon Raspberry Sugarless Cookies from What Smells so Good
12. Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecake Squares from Chocolate Moosey
13. Berry Trifle from Jen’s Favorite Cookies
14. Watermelon Mojito Ice Pops from Girl in the Little Red Kitchen

4th of July recipe photo collage
California burger on a white plate over a checked napkin

California Burgers

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 8 minutes
Total Time 13 minutes
Yield 4 servings

Dubbed a California Burger, the fresh toppings over charcoal seared hamburger create a summer's delight for the palate.


  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef (85-90% fat)
  • Hamburger buns
  • Sliced tomatoes
  • Lettuce
  • Sliced avocados
  • Mayonnaise, ketchup, mustard
  • 4 hamburger buns


  1. Melt the butter in a microwave safe bowl, then add garlic, onion powder, salt, pepper and soy sauce. Microwave about 15 more seconds to infuse flavors into butter (watch carefully so butter doesn't boil out of container). Gently mix into ground beef. Form into 4 hamburger patties.
  2. Grill to desired doneness.
  3. Serve with condiments of your choice.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:

1 burger

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 763Total Fat: 44gSaturated Fat: 17gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 22gCholesterol: 183mgSodium: 980mgCarbohydrates: 36gFiber: 5gSugar: 5gProtein: 56g


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