Grill 'em all! The Juicy Lucy Hamburger Recipe

Grill ’em all! The Juicy Lucy Hamburger Recipe

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Celebrate memorial Day with this classic Minnesota burger

Image: The Juicy Lucy from the originators, the 5-8 Club in Minneapolis

There are few things in life more beautiful then a perfect summer day. And the best part of a summer day, is grilling; hot dogs, steaks, chicken, asparagus, sweet corn, and potatoes make a frequent appearance. But the shining star, the food we demand for a Saturday afternoon or a celebratory weekend like Memorial Day is the Juicy Lucy.

A traditional Juicy Lucy (or Jucy Lucy) is a basic burger, with the cheese on the inside. It’s a simple thing, but oh so delicious. And in Minnesota, the Juicy Lucy is a big deal.

The beauty of the Lucy is that it’s fun and easy to make, and there are endless variations. Here are the basic instructions for a tasty, traditional Juicy Lucy, as well as some ideas to add a twist to this classic recipe.


2 pounds ground beef or pre-made patties
(lean is ok, but extra lean will not have enough fat for the burgers to stay together)
Sliced cheddar or American cheese
(pre-sliced is easier to portion, but I’ve used anything I happened to have in the fridge)
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
salt and pepper to taste

1. Start by seasoning the ground beef in a large bowl, mixing everything by hand. Keep in mind you need meat that is really moist so it all sticks together. Feel free to add your favorite spices, I like using Worcestershire sauce because it’s what my mom used when I was a kid.

2. Using about 2/5 of the meat make small, flat patties. I line them up on a tin foil lined cookie sheet.

3. On to the cheese! When I use pre-sliced cheese I break one slice in half, then half again, so I have a small square of cheese. I put two of these small squares in the center of each patty. (If you put too much cheese in them it find its way out through leaks, and you could risk losing all your cheese. This is definitely a case of less is more.)

4. Using the rest of the ground meat make larger patties and set them on top of the cheese, pick each one up and press well to make sure the edges are sealed. If you are using premade patties, just put the cheese between two and press the edges together very well to seal them.

5. Carefully set them on the grill, and let them cook until the bottom comes away easily from the grill. Flip and cook the rest of the way. They should be a little softer then a regular done burger, so that the cheese is perfectly gooey inside.

6. Wait about 10 minutes until you take your first bite! Around here we having a saying, “Beware the Cheese” – its super hot. Now enjoy this Minnesota classic!

Juicy Lucy Variations:

The breakfast Lucy – add chopped bacon to the cheese in the middle, and top the burger with a fried egg. You can even serve it on Texas toast. This is my personal favorite.

The Greek Lucy – instead of cheddar use feta and sun dried tomatoes, you can put pesto on the bun too.

Pizza Lucy – fill with grated cheese and chopped pepperoni. Throw a little marinara sauce on top.

we heartsters – what would you stuff in these burgers to make your own customized Juicy Lucy?

7 thoughts on “Grill ’em all! The Juicy Lucy Hamburger Recipe”

  1. OH MAN OH MAN!! That is some burger! I never tried to put cheese inside of my burgers. Plently on top! @Stef has stuffed her burgers before, now I want to try my hand at is cause of the love affair I have with my cheeses..but have been afraid of the mess it would make.. but as you say.. less is more in this case.. thanks for the lesson and helpful hint which will help make it happen now!

    1. There’s no reason you can’t try a bean burger or sticking two veggie burgers together with cheese (unless you’re vegan, then you can experiment with soy cheese or whatever). That’s the great thing about Juicy Lucys, any combination of meat, cheese, and whatever else you wish to put inside or on top will work great!

  2. Oh man, the cheese oozing out of that burger makes me want to go and fire up the grill this very instant! I too have seen @stef make a few stuffed burgers and she inspired me to try my hand at a veggie version. It’s a little tricky – the TVP crumbles don’t have the stickiness of real meat, but if you add some bread crumbs and an egg to the mixture you can totally do it.

    Has anyone been to the 5-8 Club for the original? I bet it’s one of those burgers you always remember!

  3. I think I literally salivated a bit when I saw that picture! It looks and sounds so good right about now. And seriously, I think you have to eat a burger on Memorial day – it’s like a law or something.

    And I can attest, stuffing burgers is where it’s at!

  4. I’m a Minnesota girl, and this is just a classic diner offering for me! I think the best use for a Juicy Lucy is to put a crumbly cheese, like blue cheese or feta in the middle. Other cheeses keep their shape, but this is a really easy way to get a burger with cheese that wouldn’t normally work.

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