21 Inspired Burger Bar Ideas

Buns, Condiments, and Toppings

Butter Burgers, butter on the bun

The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

Although the standard ground beef patty, tomato, lettuce, and ketchup burger is a classic for a reason, there are plenty more ways to build a burger. In fact, its mixable, matchable nature makes it the perfect choice for a DIY burger bar, where you and your guests can have a smörgåsbord of buns, condiments, and toppings. Getting hungry yet? Start by browsing the recipes below for some inspiration.

  • 01 of 21

    Versatile Sandwich Buns

    Homemade sandwich rolls for barbecue or burgers.
    Diana Rattray

    While you do need to allow some time for the dough to set and rise, these sandwich buns are easy to throw together. Because this recipe is so versatile, it’s a great option for cookouts that include not just burgers, but an array of sandwich meats and fillings.

  • 02 of 21

    Buttery Brioche Hamburger Buns

    Rich homemade brioche buns

    The Spruce / Teena Agnel

    If you want a gourmet style burger, brioche buns are a great bet. The extra butter and egg in the dough sets it apart, resulting in a rich flavor and tender crumb.

  • 03 of 21

    Homemade Potato Buns

    Potato buns on a platter

    The Spruce/Christine Ma

    Homemade potato buns are so much better than store bought, so whipping up your own is well worth it. What’s more, potato buns typically keep longer than regular buns, so you can take advantage and make extra to save or freeze for later. 

  • 04 of 21

    American Style Doughnuts

    Homemade Fried Doughnuts

    Nataliia Sirobaba/Getty Images

    If you like to combine the sweet and savory, try using a doughnut as a bun for your burger. This recipe for an American style doughnut will yield a flavorful, but not overly dense, doughnut.

    Continue to 5 of 21 below.
  • 05 of 21

    Southern Pimento Cheese

    Southern Pimento Cheese Spread

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

    Few foods invoke the American South more than pimento cheese. Made from cheese, mayo, hot sauce, and jarred pimento peppers, pimento cheese is traditionally spread on crackers or used as a dip, but why not top your burger with it, too?

  • 06 of 21

    Quick Fresh Tomato Chutney

    Fresh tomato chutney

    The Spruce Eats / Preethi Venkatram

    For something new and different, try spreading tomato chutney on your burger instead of ketchup. This recipe combines sweet, sour, and spicy for a perfectly balanced, yet complex, flavor.

  • 07 of 21

    Sweet and Savory Bacon Jam

    Sweet and savory bacon jam recipe

    The Spruce / Cara Cormack

    Meat lovers know that burgers and bacon are thick as thieves, which makes this sweet and savory bacon jam a perfect condiment to top your burger. Since bacon is the backbone of this recipe don’t skimp and choose good quality bacon.

  • 08 of 21

    Shortcut Garlic Aioli

    shortcut aioli in a bowl

    The Spruce/Bahareh Niati

    If you like the traditional burger fixings and don’t want to mess too much with a good thing, try whipping up a little aioli to spread on your burger. Essentially just mayo and garlic, aioli is a great way to keep things simple, yet tasty.

    Continue to 9 of 21 below.
  • 09 of 21

    Homemade Harissa

    Homemade Harissa Recipe

    The Spruce / Sonia Bozzo

    Harissa is a red chili paste commonly used in North African cuisine. Apart from chilies, it contains olive oil, garlic, and a blend of spices like caraway and cumin. It’s a great condiment for burgers, blending savory and spicy flavors.

  • 10 of 21

    Best Guacamole

    Simple guacamole recipe

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

    Adding a scoop of guacamole is a popular twist on the classic burger, and it’s a great choice for those who don’t tolerate cheese very well. If you don't want to go to the trouble of making guacamole, you can just set out some avocado slices sprinkled with lime juice to prevent browning.  

  • 11 of 21


    Tzatziki: Cucumber Yogurt Dip

    The Spruce / Julia Estrada

    Typically used as a dipping sauce for meats, tzatziki makes perfect sense to pair with your burger. Tzatziki is easy to throw together, but you will want to give the sauce some time to sit so that all the flavors can mature.  

  • 12 of 21

    Malaysian Sambal Sauce

    Malaysian Sambal Sauce

    The Spruce / Stephanie Goldfinger

    There are many types of sambal sauce, but this recipe for Malaysian sambal is spicy, sweet, and has an aromatic kick from galangal and turmeric. Spooning a little bit of this onto your burger just may be the move.

    Continue to 13 of 21 below.
  • 13 of 21

    Hoisin Sauce

    Hoisin Dipping Sauce

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

    Sweet, spicy, and toasty from sesame oil, you can bet this hoisin dipping sauce is good on a burger. Make sure you use dark soy sauce for this recipe, which has less of a salty bite than light soy sauce.

  • 14 of 21

    Homemade Banana Ketchup

    Homemade banana ketchup recipe

    ​The Spruce / Cara Cormack

    Banana ketchup has been a staple in the Philippines since World War II. It’s similar enough to tomato ketchup to feel right at home on a burger, but it does have a kick of banana flavor to set it apart.  

  • 15 of 21

    Quick Pickled Onions

    Easy quick pickled onions recipe

    The Spruce / Ahlam Raffii

    Quick pickling takes plain ingredients and ratchets up their flavor in minutes. This recipe for quick pickled onions will give you that savory, pungent bite you’re looking for to complete your burger.

  • 16 of 21

    Sandwich Slaw

    Sandwich Slaw

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

    Sandwich slaw is an underrated crunchy topper for a burger. This is a basic recipe, so it gives you room to get creative and add other shredded veggies or even swap some of the mayo for blue cheese if you want.

    Continue to 17 of 21 below.
  • 17 of 21

    Sauteed Steakhouse Mushrooms

    Steakhouse sauteed mushrooms recipe

    The Spruce / Chosen Posture

    The rich flavor of red meat pairs perfectly with the earthiness of sauteed mushrooms. If you want to go full-on gourmet, opt for a medley of wild mushrooms, like oysters, maitakes, and chanterelles.

  • 18 of 21

    Crockpot Caramelized Onions

    Caramelized Onions
    Chris Ted/Photodisc/Getty Images

    If you’re looking for a burger topping you can “set and forget”, these crockpot caramelized onions are for you. That said, if you don’t have a crockpot but still want the caramelized onions, we have a recipe for that too.   

  • 19 of 21

    Fried Onions Rings

    Fried onion rings recipe

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

    If you’re going to eat a burger, why not really go for it? Whip up these fried onion rings plain and simple or throw some Cajun seasoning into the flour for an extra kick.

  • 20 of 21

    Pickled Jalapeños

    Pickled Jalapeños in jars

    The Spruce Eats / Maxwell Cozzi

    If you like sweet and spicy, pickled jalapeños might be your new obsession. Toss them onto burgers, nachos, or tacos with equal success and if you need to sweat a little bit, add a habanero or two into the mix.   

    Continue to 21 of 21 below.
  • 21 of 21

    Crockpot Baked Beans

    Crockpot vegetarian baked beans

    The Spruce Eats / Anastasiia Tretiak

    Baked beans are a common side to burgers, though it’s rare to see them as a topping. But if you’re not afraid of making a delicious mess, putting baked beans on your burger is highly recommended.

Creative Burger Recipes

Got all your bun, condiment, and topping ideas but feel lost on how to put them together? For further creative inspiration, check out these anything-but-basic burger recipes: