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The Easiest Ways to Melt Cheese on a Burger

The only thing that’s better than cheese is melted cheese. We give you our best tips for getting there with your burgers.

Whether it’s juicy beef or crispy chicken, most of us eat our burgers topped with cheese. But not just any cheese, oh no! We want gooey, stretchy cheese that stays on the patty and melts in the mouth.

Melted cheese in a burger: The match made in heaven seems simple enough, and yet there is a trick or two to the trade. If you’re on the hunt for the easiest ways to achieve it, we have them lined up for you—along with a round-up of the best cheese to top your next burger with.

The 3 Easy Ways to Melt Cheese on a Burger

One of the best things about burgers is that they are versatile. From the cooktop to the grill to the oven, you can cook up some mean patties, though melting the cheese takes some skill.

Below, we’ve got three of the easiest ways, no matter what style of burger you prefer or recipe you’re eager to try out.

1. Simply Add Water

When cooking on a stovetop, melting cheese can become a bit of a challenge. Cheese takes time to melt, but you don’t want to overcook your burger in the process. All the reasons why you should try the tactic below to melt cheese.

It’s quick, fool-proof, and easy to repeat for a whole batch of burgers. Best of all, it will help you make sure that none of your burgers doesn’t overcook.

What to do:

Grab your cheese, a lid, and a tablespoon to start. Then, add a tablespoon of water to the pan. It’ll sizzle, which is what you want, meaning it’s time to top your patty with cheese.

Once topped, close the lid and let the heat of the steam melt the cheese. It will be moist, cheesy, and irresistible when done.

2. Use the Heat of the Patty

When you’re cooking up a fresh burger, the patties are hot and steamy. Instead of using any fancier method, you could just let the heat from the patty work to make the cheese melt.

With this one, timing is everything. So be sure to keep an eye on your burgers and place the cheese on at the perfect time for the best results.

What to do:

For this method of melting cheese, you will need to keep a close eye on your patty. You want it to be done—but not overly done—allowing it to cook a bit more as the cheese melts.

All you have to do for this one is add the cheese on the stovetop or the grill and let it sit as the burger finishes cooking. Then, serve it up with your favorite toppings before devouring.

3. Heat the Bun

We can all agree that diner burgers have to be some of the best on the planet. Why not take a tip from the pros of the juiciest and cheesiest burgers, executing the bun trick?

This one is easy to execute and guarantees good results, which is why you have to give it a try.

What to do:

You can do this on the grill or the stovetop, just making sure you do one thing first: toast your buns.

As soon as the burgers are done, set the heat to medium, add butter to the pan, wait for it to melt, then lay the patties on the cooking surface. When the patties are toasty and golden-brown, remove them from the heat and build the burger.

The heat will give your cheese the perfect melt and your burger an all-around delicious taste.

The 5 Best Cheeses for Melty Burgers

If you’ve only had the most traditional cheese on your burger, you’re in for a treat. There are several kinds of cheese that complement burgers, some of the matches that are sure to become your new addiction.

Without further ado, here is the ultimate list of best cheese for melty burgers.

1. American Cheese, the Classic Burger Topper

If there is one cheese that stands out above all the rest, it’s American cheese. Known for its yellow color and creamy saltiness, this cheese pairs beautifully with a burger and melts like a charm.

You can pair it with a number of toppings and build up your burger any way you prefer with this universal cheese.

2. Swiss Cheese, the Game Changer

If you’ve never had a burger with Swiss cheese, you’re totally missing out. It’s white, melty, creamy, and buttery, bringing your burger to a whole new level. Pop this on top of your next burger and watch as it starts to melt instantly.

3. Gouda Cheese, the Bold Burger Topper

You can find Gouda cheese in regular and smoked, so choose wisely depending on the type of burger you’re going for. Whichever you choose, the melty mixture paired with a fresh-cooked hamburger patty is sure to become your new addiction, we just know it!

4. Blue Cheese, the Decadent Burger Topper

Blue cheese is a love or hate thing. However, it’s more of an acquired taste, becoming savory and more irresistible over time. It has a unique creaminess and sharp saltiness that is the perfect match for meat, cutting through the meatiness and creating a delightful explosion with each bite.

If you’re ready for something delicate yet bold, this could be the combo for you.

5. Goat Cheese, the Wild Card

Just like blue cheese, not everyone is on board when it comes to goat cheese. It’s got a slightly different flavor from those that come from cows, typically lighter and silkier. It’s these exact things that make goat cheese the perfect topping for a burger, especially if you pair that with caramelized onions or arugula.

Because it’s light, it works well with bolder flavors, making it a cheese that you should give a shot if you’re looking for something different, tasty, and daring. 

Final Thoughts

Burgers are a staple in every household. Not only are they simple to prepare but they are also very affordable and versatile. If you’re looking for a way to up your burger game, try changing out the cheese. There are a ton of cheeses that melt perfectly on top of a freshly cooked patty.

Before you set off and plan your next burger night, take a look at the perfect cheese pairing and the best ways to melt them. Melty cheese on top of a savory burger is sure to be a big hit, one that you’ll put on repeat for several dinners to come.

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Written by

Jim is the former editor of Home Cook World. He is a career food writer who's been cooking and baking at home ever since he could see over the counter and put a chair by the stove.