Summer is the perfect time for a DIY burger bar! It’s also the perfect way to add interest and creativity to any casual cookout buffet. Guests will love to create their own unique and gourmet combinations, and it’s a fun way to get everyone to mix and mingle.
Here are 10 of our favorite burger topping ideas for a summertime “Build Your Own Burger” bar. Remember to label each topping with cute paper flag picks or chalkboard signs. The only rule is to be creative!
- Cheeses: Put out an entire cheese board filled with choices for any taste, such as pepper jack, cheddar, american, swiss, bleu, brie, fresh mozzarella, and even goat cheese.
- Fresh Vegetables: For your fresh veggies, include classics like lettuce and tomato, but offer up more unusual fare such as freshly sliced avocado, jalapeño peppers, or homemade slaw. We also love pea shoots or watercress as gourmet green alternatives.
- Grilled Vegetables & Fruits: There’s nothing like juicy, grilled veggies or fruits on top of a burger. Cook up a batch of caramelized onions, grilled portobello mushrooms, bell peppers, or slices of pineapple and peach.
- Pickled Veggies: Start with some classic pickles in every variety (sweet, dill, and sour are all fantastic choices), but don’t stop there. Pickled jalapeño peppers, roasted red peppers, sundried tomatoes, and even sauerkraut make for a fantastic burger.
- Bacon: Need we say more? Make sure it’s just crispy enough to stand up to a topping-loaded burger, but try not to overcook.
- Cold Cuts: When you’re stocking up on cheeses, grab some classic cold cuts like cappicola and genoa salami.
- Homemade chili: Go all out with a batch of delicious chili! You won’t know what you’re missing until you top your burger with chili and cheese.
- Sauces: Set up a whole sauce station, with something for everyone. Include different types such as barbecue, dijon mustard, ranch dressing, hot sauce, mayo, yellow mustard, and ketchup. You can also offer sweet options such as fig preserves, or cranberry sauce, and adventurous choices such as teriyaki, sriracha, or even peanut butter!
- Fried Egg: It may sound crazy, but a fried egg on top of a burger is heaven on a bun. Cook up a half dozen right before serving.
- Bun Alternatives: To take your gourmet burger bar to the next level, offer some alternatives to the classic white bun. Our favorite ideas include pretzel buns, ciabatta, and buttermilk waffles (cut in half).
Hungry yet? Host your own summer cookout with all the fixings! Get started with these free online invitations: