The Luther Burger: A Doughnut Bacon Cheeseburger

Luther Burger on a plate

The Spruce Eats/Diana Chistruga

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 12 mins
Total: 22 mins
Serving: 1 serving
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
1431 Calories
86g Fat
94g Carbs
67g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 1
Amount per serving
Calories 1431
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 86g 110%
Saturated Fat 36g 178%
Cholesterol 244mg 81%
Sodium 1895mg 82%
Total Carbohydrate 94g 34%
Dietary Fiber 4g 14%
Total Sugars 45g
Protein 67g
Vitamin C 2mg 11%
Calcium 779mg 60%
Iron 9mg 51%
Potassium 990mg 21%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

The Luther burger, also known as a doughnut bacon cheeseburger, is no joke. It may sound strange and totally unhealthy—and it is—but this unexpected flavor combo is perfect for special occasion splurges and cheat day eats.

The Luther burger is reportedly named after R&B singer Luther Vandross, and the first mention of it was in a 2006 episode of "The Boondocks." Since then, it has become a popular food at various ballparks, state fairs, and county fairs, as well as over-the-top restaurant menus.

You will use the smash method for cooking the beef patty. This method caramelizes the meat juices, providing a greater depth of flavor.

This recipe is for a single burger. You can scale it up as needed, but your cardiologist would probably not recommend you have more than one. To make it slightly healthier, use organic grass-fed beef.

“This is a decadent, messy, and delicious smash burger made famous with the help of Luther Vandross, some bacon and a Krispy Kreme donut. It’s a calorie bomb but well worth trying at least once.” —Joan Velush

The Luther Burger/Tester Image
A Note From Our Recipe Tester


  • 2 slices bacon

  • 1 glazed doughnut, such as Krispy Kreme

  • 1/3 pound ground beef, preferably organic grass-fed

  • 1/8 teaspoon salt, more to taste

  • Pinch freshly ground black pepper, more to taste

  • 2 slices American cheese

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    ingredients to make a Luther burger

    The Spruce Eats/Diana Chistruga

  2. In a large cast-iron skillet on medium heat. Fry the bacon until crispy.

    bacon cooking in a skillet

    The Spruce Eats/Diana Chistruga

  3. Remove the bacon and drain on a paper towel. Remove and reserve some of the bacon grease from the skillet.

    cooked bacon draining on paper towel

    The Spruce Eats/Diana Chistruga

  4. Slice the doughnut in half crosswise, being careful not to crush or remove any of the exterior glaze.

    glazed donut sliced in half on cutting board

    The Spruce Eats/Diana Chistruga

  5. Add the sliced doughnut halves, cut side down, to the skillet and toast until golden brown. Remove them from heat and set them aside.

    sliced glazed donut halves toasting in a skillet

    The Spruce Eats/Diana Chistruga

  6. Meanwhile, shape the beef into a ball and sprinke the outside with salt and pepper.

    seasoned ground beef shaped into a ball on a plate

    The Spruce Eats/Diana Chistruga

  7. Return the reserved bacon grease to the skillet and heat to medium-high. Add the seasoned ball of beef to the skillet. Let the beef ball cook until crispy and golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes.

    burger paddy cooking in a skillet

    The Spruce Eats/Diana Chistruga

  8. Flip the ball and smash slowly so the burger stays together.

    pressing down on burger paddy with spatula

    The Spruce Eats/Diana Chistruga

  9. Let the burger cook for a few more minutes until the desired doneness is reached, about 5 to 10 minutes.

    burger paddy cooking in a skillet

    The Spruce Eats/Diana Chistruga

  10. Flip the burger one more time, add the cheese, and then remove it from the heat.

    burger paddy in a skillet with a slice of cheese on top

    The Spruce Eats/Diana Chistruga

  11. Cover the skillet until the cheese has melted, about 2 minutes.

    burger paddy in skillet with melted cheese on top

    The Spruce Eats/Diana Chistruga

  12. Add the cheeseburger patty to the cut side of one of the doughnut halves. Top the burger with the bacon, then close the sandwich with the remaining doughnut half. Serve immediately.

    Luther burger on a plate

    The Spruce Eats/Diana Chistruga


  • The Luther burger will be messy, so make sure you have napkins handy and a sink to wash the sugary glaze off your fingers after eating.

Recipe Variations

  • You can add other condiments to the Luther burger to your taste. For example, include lettuce, tomato, thinly sliced onions, mustard, ketchup, mayonnaise, barbecue sauce, dill pickle slices, or relish. You can get even more creative with different types of cheese or substitute with vegan bacon, turkey bacon, or even a vegetarian patty.
  • The Krispy Kreme glazed doughnut is just the right size for this burger, but you can substitute with a glazed doughnut of your choice.