Burgers, Cheeseburgers and stuff… Yes a website about Burgers.

What’s Your Top Topping?

By • Jun 5th, 2009 • Category: Burger Toppings

Thanks to society’s infatuation with all things extreme, you can now get a cheeseburger loaded with just about anything you can imagine.  The more bizarre, the better.  A burger sandwiched between two donuts? It’s out there. Hell, I’m guilty of contributing to the madness myself; my B.C.O.M.L. has two fried eggs and grilled cheese sandwiches on it!

But it got me thinking: if I could have just one topping on every cheeseburger I would ever eat from now on, what would I pick?  It’s like picking your “Desert Island” movie list, or deciding between Ginger and Mary-Ann.  What’s my Top Topping?

A few ground rules.  The “cheese” and the “burger” in “cheeseburger” are givens.  Let’s assume a regular bun, too.  Leave the Krispy Kremes for another chat.  And sort of like the Genie told Aladdin, you can’t wish for more wishes.  So no topping your cheeseburger with another cheeseburger.  ‘Cos that would obviously be the perfect topping, end of story.

I have also ruled out some of the more exotic choices.  Chili, jalapeños, BBQ sauce, guac, ham… I’ve tried them all.  But c’mon, I can’t pick one of them as the last topping I’ll ever have.  Gotta stick with the classics here.

I now present my Elite 8 burger toppings, counting down to Numero Uno.

8. Pickles – I like cucumbers.  I like vinegar.  Put them together, though, and the result is simply vile.  This is the very first thing I pick off any fully-loaded burger that’s put in front of me.


7. Tomato – Ever notice how on menus, that tomato slice peeking out is always big, bright, and firm… with a smattering of water droplets misted across the edge to show you how impossibly fresh it is?  Ever actually have one like that show up on a burger?  Me neither.  They’re usually warm and limp, trailing that pulpy, jellylike goo all over everything.  No thanks.


6. Ketchup – I’m sensing a great uprising even as I type this.  But despite the torches and pitchforks some of you are reaching for, I just don’t like ketchup.  Never have.  Any burger of mine that comes with ketchup already on it also comes with a hearty side order of napkins so I can disassemble the burger and try to mop this stuff off.

5. Mustard – More napkins over here, please.  Mustard is a fine addition to a chili cheese dog at places that do them well.  But toppings #5-8, to me, just distract from the taste of the cheese and the burger.

4. Lettuce – I dated this girl when I was a freshman in college.  She was older.  She was a model.  I thought dating her would be good for me, maybe make me feel a little bit more sophisticated, a little more grown-up.  But it was just so-so.  Didn’t add that much.  When we broke up, I realized I didn’t even really miss her.  That’s lettuce on a cheeseburger for me.  You might as well just call it Cindy.


3. Onions – Now we’re getting somewhere.  A nice bit of crunch is always welcome (I’m talking to you, Pickles and Lettuce), but at least bring a flavor that actually complements the burger.  Personally, I love that slight tang and the way it stays in your mouth long after.  My wife?  Not so much.  If I ever want to get lucky again, I simply can’t make onions my Top Topping.  A third-place finish is respectable.

2. Mushrooms – Yes, please.  The earthy mushiness of sautéed mushrooms really works nicely with the texture of the cheeseburger.  Nothing wrong with a little mushroom gravy dripping down your chin, either.  A solid runner-up.


1. Bacon – Seriously, was there ever really any doubt about who would win this thing?  I mean, bacon on a cheeseburger is so good, it’s its own sandwich!  No one ever orders a Tomato Cheeseburger.  You can’t go anywhere that I know of and find a Mustard Cheeseburger on the menu.  The Bacon Cheeseburger is its own entity, and rightfully so.  Salty, fatty, crispy-yet-chewy meat… on top of more meat?  I’m so in.  Bacon improves anything you put it on.  ANYTHING.  You can’t say that about a pickle.


You can put a lot of things on a cheeseburger, and a lot of them are great.  You can take most of them away, and it’s still great.  But you can have the bacon from my cheeseburger when you pry it from my cholesterol-hardened hand. 

So let the debate begin.  What’s your Top Burger Topping?

9 Responses to “What’s Your Top Topping?”

  1. 1
    Dude Says:

    Pickles ketchup mustard onions lettuce and bacon… But not ur ugly dirty stinking mushrooms they smell like ur moms ass..

    Quarter pounder rules!!!

  2. 2
    Elizabeth Says:

    If this poll was conducted in Australia among the non-McDonalds fraternity, I can tell you that BEETROOT would be at or near the top. An Aussie hamburger is NEVER complete without a large slice of beetroot – YUMMY, I could eat one right now, and it’s breakfast time!!

  3. 3
    SouthernBurgerSlammer Says:

    It all sounds good, but the Onions have got to be carmelized!!!!!!!!!

  4. 4
    SouthernBurgerSlammer Says:

    So….. I have a question for you, if you have the time. I’m a big fan of the site and applaud you for all you’ve done in the name of the mighty CHEESEBURGER. So, I looked maybe I missed it, If you could eat only one more burger, made @ home or bought somewhere, what would it be? If made @ home (tell me how to make it!!!).

  5. 5
    Raiders757 Says:

    Lettuce, diced onions, cheese, and ketchup mixed with Texas Pete is my main go-to for burgers. Then again there are times when I only want just the meat and cheese. I do love me some bacon as well, but only if it’s a decent amount. I can’t stand it when bacon cheeseburgers come with only two strips of bacon in an “x” pattern. You end up with four areas not covered in tasty bacon, and I sometimes feel cheated by this trend.

  6. 6
    Aaron G Says:

    My fav burger toppings are grilled thin sliced proscuitto ham, argula, sliced tomato, red onions and either a roasted red pepper mayo or my horseradish mayo. It’s great on an Italian style crusty style bun, give it a try

  7. 7
    Burger Lover Says:

    I’m confused – why are pickles in your top 8 toppings but then you pick them off? And what about sweet pickles? I personally find dill pickles to be vile as well but juicy sweet pickles are quite delicious on a hamburger. Of course, I’m also picky about my sweet pickles – they have to be a specific brand since I don’t dare try to make my own and I also have to be in the right mood for even sweet pickles.

    I don’t care for onions unless they are cooked. But cooked/carmelized onions on a hamburger are delicious. Get that going with some of those shroom’s you were talking about and…yum!

    Ketchup has to be done right or it is gross. Ketchup is kind of in the same realm as BBQ sauce. Mustard is just nasty – people who eat it clearly have no taste buds for what good food is. Wilted lettuce and tomato is nasty too – BUT when I make my own burgers at home, the lettuce and tomato are always fresh and delicious because I can guarantee such quality!

    And I knew bacon had to be #1. Gotta love the bacon. There are so many varieties of bacon too that you could pretty much just put a different variety of bacon on each cheeseburger every day for the rest of your life and never reach the end of available varieties.

  8. 8
    klaus Says:

    The deutsche burger. Beef patty covered with dry fried sauerkraut, slice of farmers’ cheese melted onto the kraut, topped with Bacon and a smidgeon of ketchup.

  9. 9
    Obbop Says:

    Agree with bacon atop a burger but sometimes prefer a bacon-less burger.

    Raw onions are good and prefer then chopped into small square segments OR, at times, large slices… just depends.

    Lettuce now and then.

    Forgo mayo nowadays to minimize calories.

    No pickles or mustard or ketchup but, at times, will opt for the “secret sauce” applied very sparingly (mayo and other stuff).

    When the coleslaw is of the “right” type (drier side chopped finely) it can be a fine topping.

    Increasingly, for various reasons/rationale, I choose cheese burger, plain. No extras. Bun, meat, cheese.

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