Juicy Lucy Burger Lettuce Wraps
Juicy Lucy is a legendary cheese-stuffed burger from Minnesota. It features a core of molten cheese stuffed inside the beef. This version is served on crisp lettuce with tasty burger toppings.
A Juicy Cheese Stuffed Burger
One of my favorite things about spring, summer, and fall is the amount of use our grill gets. We LOVE to grill, and use it nearly every single day!
And what better reason than a thick, juicy burger with a luxuriously melty center of cheese? That’s exactly what this Juicy Lucy Burger is – so if you’re a fan of cheeseburgers, you’re going to want to make this recipe!
My version tosses out the carb-loaded bun and features a fresh, crispy lettuce wrap, with a big fat slice of sweet summer tomato, my favorite pickled red onions, and a creamy burger sauce. This is going to become one of your all-time favorite burgers. I’m sure of it!
(And if you’re a burger purist who can’t fathom eating a burger on a lettuce wrap – no judgment! Just add your favorite burger bun!)
What Is A Juicy Lucy Burger?
A Juicy Lucy (sometimes spelled Jucy Lucy) is one of Minnesota’s biggest contributions to the culinary world. (Or at least Minnesotans like to think so!) Instead of topping a burger with cheese, the cheese is stuffed inside the patty. This results in a beautiful melty center of cheese that oozes out with the first bite.
Where is the Juicy Lucy from?
Well, Minnesota for sure. But there’s been a longtime rivalry about exactly where in Minnesota. Some say Matt’s Bar. Others say the 5-8 Club. When Time magazine named the cheeseburger one of The 17 Most Influential Burgers of All Time, this only added more fun and exposure to the friendly fire.
Beyond those two locations, there are many places to find a great version of the Juicy Lucy here in the state. Our family has also thoroughly enjoyed the ones served at The Nook. I also think that the Jucy Blucy, with a blue cheese center, at The Blue Door Pub is pretty amazing!
What You’ll Need
There are just a handful of ingredients required to make these juicy stuffed burgers.
- Ground chuck – Use good quality beef. And please, skip the ultra lean stuff. To enjoy a truly juicy burger, you just have to have a certain amount of fat mixed in. I use ground chuck with an 80/20 fat ratio, from our local butcher.
- Seasonings – I grew up on Mom’s burgers with Lawry’s, and just can’t stray from tradition. I also add in some salt and pepper.
- Cheese – I’m a fan of Tillamook Farmstyle Thick Cut Medium Cheddar Cheese Slices but any thick slices of quality cheese will work. (And for a truly authentic Juicy Lucy experience, you might want use American cheese instead!)
- For serving – I serve these burgers on lettuce leaves for wraps, topped with a slice of ripe tomato, pickled red onions, and creamy burger sauce.
How to Make a Juicy Lucy burger
Making these cheese stuffed burgers is quite easy – just form two thin patties instead of one, add some cheese in the center, and pinch the patties together. Easy peasy!
- Season the burger. Sprinkle the beef with the seasoning and mix until just incorporated. Divide into 4 equal portions.
- Form the patties. Form each portion into two thin burger patties, about 5″ in diameter. Cut each slice of cheddar into 4 pieces. Stack the cheese in the center of 4 burger patties. Top with a second burger patty and pinch the edges to tightly seal. Press on the top to flatten slightly and compress everything together. Sprinkle with additional seasonings.
- Grill. Preheat your grill on high heat, clean and oil the grill grates. Grill the burgers for about 5 minutes on each side. This gets you medium-rare, so adjust to your desired doneness.
- Let rest. Remove the burgers from the grill and allow to rest on a plate for a few minutes.
- Serve. Serve each burger on one or two large lettuce leaves. Top with tomatoes, pickled onions, and burger sauce – or whatever toppings you desire!
Tips for Success
Here are a few tips for the best stuffed burgers!
- Work with cold meat. It’s important to keep the beef well chilled in the fridge until forming the patties. It makes it much easier to work with and you want to make sure the fat melts on the grill, not on your hands!
- Seal the edges well. Make sure to pinch tightly around the edges to seal them after you add the second patty on top. If they’re not sealed well, the cheese can run out.
- Try to avoid touching the burgers on the grill. Do not press on burgers because you’ll lose juices and have flare-ups, as well as cause the cheese to burst out from the centers.
- Can I make this on the stovetop? Sure. We love to grill during the warmer months but these can easily be pan-fried as well. A large cast iron skillet would work great!
- Can I use different cheese? American cheese slices are a great alternative to cheddar as they’re super melty and give that classic cheeseburger flavor – plus, that’s the cheese you’ll normally find in the Juicy Lucy burgers on menus in Minnesota,
Most importantly. Don’t dive in too fast!
A good Minnesota server will always warn you about the explosively hot center of cheese when they hand you a Juicy Lucy. Be careful. That first bite is always an extra hot one!
I eat the majority of my burgers on a bed of lettuce, sans bun. But I’m always sure to have some soft buns on hand for the traditional hand-held burger. Options, people! I like to lightly butter and then grill the buns to add even more texture and flavor.
Then it’s time to get all the cheeseburger goodies in order. Pickled red onions are a staple in our fridge; they’re a must when serving burgers. A big fat slice of tomato, especially during the summer when they’re outrageously sweet and juicy, is always welcome. And a creamy burger sauce adds some tasty, messy fun.
Of course, all of this can – and should – be tailored to your liking. Eat your Juicy Lucy with ketchup, mustard, mayo, some homemade pickles, fried onions, etc.
As far as sides, how about a cool, crisp cucumber salad? Do you prefer a creamy cucumber salad or a cucumber salad with vinegar dressing? Or how about creamy coleslaw or my mom’s sweet onion & vinegar coleslaw? They’re ALL great options with a grilled cheeseburger!
How to Store Leftovers
Cooked Juicy Lucy burgers can be stored for up to 4 days in the fridge. You can reheat them quickly in the microwave or on the stovetop. They’ll end up a little more done than the first time you made them and may not be as juicy, but they’ll still be incredible!
More Grilling Recipes:
- Easy Beer Can Chicken
- Margarita Grilled Shrimp Skewers
- Goat Cheese Stuffed Turkey Burgers
- Grilled Chicken Skewers
Like this cheese stuffed burger? Save it to Pinterest!
- 1-½ lbs. good quality 80/20 ground chuck, chilled
- 2 tsp. Lawry’s seasoning salt, divided - plus a bit more for sprinkling over prepared patties
- 1 tsp. ground black pepper - plus a bit more for sprinkling over prepared patties
- 4 slices Tillamook Farmstyle Thick Cut Medium Cheddar Cheese Slices
- ½ tsp. kosher salt, plus a bit more for sprinkling over prepared patties
- 4 slices large ripe tomato
- 4 to 8 large lettuce leaves
- pickled red onions
- your favorite creamy burger sauce
- Add ground beef to a large bowl and sprinkle with 1-½ teaspoons of the Lawry’s salt and the black pepper. Mix by hand until just incorporated. Divide beef evenly into four sections.
- Form each section into two thin burger patties, to equal eight burger patties total. They should be about 5” in diameter each. Cut each cheddar slice into four pieces, and then place four of the smaller pieces (1 whole cheddar slice) in the center of each of four burger patties, fanning the pieces out a bit. Place another burger patty over each patty with cheese. Pinch edges of patties tightly to seal each burger, then cup each burger with your hands to round out the edges. Press on the top center to flatten slightly into a single thickened burger patty. Each burger should be about 4” in diameter. Sprinkle both sides of each burger lightly with additional Lawry's, black pepper, and kosher salt.
- Heat grill to high heat. Once hot, clean the grates really well. Then generously oil the grill grates using a long tongs and a folded paper towel soaked with vegetable oil. Decrease heat to medium. Place burgers on grill grates and let cook for 5 to 6 minutes on the first side. I try to keep the burgers just on the edge of the grill’s hot spots, to cook a bit indirectly. Then carefully flip the burgers over and grill for about 5 minutes longer for medium-well burgers. Do not press on burgers because you’ll lose juices and have flare-ups, as well as cause the cheese to burst out from the centers. Adjust cook time for desired doneness. The goal is melty cheese inside, with burgers cooked to your liking.
- Remove burgers from grill and let rest for a couple minutes. This is an important step, as the cheese inside is incredibly hot and tends to explode out with your first bite. Be careful!
- Serve on top of one to two large lettuce leaves. Use a sturdier lettuce to eat like a wrap. A more tender lettuce, or one with smaller leaves, can be used to eat the burger like a salad, with a fork and knife. Add a tomato slice, pickled onions, and your favorite burger sauce. Of course there’s a ton of other options; use what you like. Ketchup, mustard, mayo, pickles. You get the idea...
from a farmgirl's dabbles
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 150Total Fat: 10gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 34mgSodium: 1054mgCarbohydrates: 6gFiber: 3gSugar: 3gProtein: 11g
Nutrition information is automatically calculated by Nutritionix. I am not a nutritionist and cannot guarantee accuracy. If your health depends on nutrition information, please calculate again with your own favorite calculator.
Minnesota food and drink
When you think about Minnesota, what foods and drinks come to mind? Besides the Juicy Lucy, of course!
For me, Minnesota means tater tot hotdish (I sprinkle mine with shredded sharp cheddar!), fresh-caught walleye, creamy chicken wild rice soup, Swedish meatballs, lefse, lutefisk, SPAM, Honeycrisp apples (as well as many other famous apple varieties bred at the University of Minnesota), pans of bars, Pearson’s Nut Goodies, and all the delicious fun found at the Minnesota State Fair.
I could also throw in a staggering number of excellent newer-to-the-scene craft beers, as well as longtime beer icons such as Grain Belt. Minnesota makes some beautiful wines and ciders. And have you ever had 1919 Rootbeer?
Melty Fest with Tillamook – a celebration of the Minnesota Juicy Lucy
Tillamook and Bauhaus Brew Labs hosted a Melty Fest event here in the Twin Cities earlier this week. And it was a blast – with crazy good Juicy Lucys and great craft beer.
I hadn’t been to Bauhaus before, had only seen pictures that made me add it to my “craft brewery must-visit” list. This once-booming iron foundry has a great history, and it makes me happy to see this abandoned space rescued and filled with new life. Bauhaus and its large covered patio, plus a perfectly perfect Minnesota evening, provided for an awesome Melty Fest setting.
Five local chefs cooked up their version of a Juicy Lucy for Melty Fest. Pictured above is a slider from Burger Dive (Nick O’Leary and Josh Thoma), with a soft-boiled egg in the middle plus pepper jack melted seductively over the top.
Justin Sutherland from Handsome Hog was serving up his Pimento Cheese Juicy Lucy. If you aren’t from Minnesota, maybe you know this chef from watching him on Iron Chef or Top Chef? Here’s a fun interview to learn more about him.
Justin’s pimento cheese-stuffed burger rocked. I ate the whole dang thing, and would have gladly welcomed another couple bites!
Tillamook is a farmer-owned cooperative in Oregon. They’ve been making naturally aged cheddars with no artificial ingredients for over 100 years. Minnesota is so happy to have them here!
Thank you to Tillamook for sponsoring this post!
* This is a sponsored post, created in partnership with Tillamook.