Chicken Burgers with Crispy Cheddar Cheese

Instead of melting the cheddar on the burger, chef Edward Lee, of Louisville’s Whiskey Dry, likes to crisp the cheese slices in a skillet. “The best part of the burger is always that bit of cheese that melts down the side and crisps on the grate of the grill,” he says. “This way you get crunchy texture and savory caramelization in every bite.”Slideshow: More Burger Recipes

Chicken Burgers with Crispy Cheddar Cheese
Photo: © John Kernick
Active Time:
25 mins
Total Time:
40 mins


  • 1 1/2 pounds ground chicken, preferably a blend of white and dark meat

  • Kosher salt 

  • Pepper

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise

  • 1/2 teaspoon Asian fish sauce

  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

  • 1 tablespoon Old Bay Seasoning

  • 1 tablespooon plus 2 teaspoons canola oil

  • Four 1/2-inch-thick slices of sharp white cheddar

  • 4 potato rolls, split and toasted

  • Boston lettuce leaves, sliced pickled jalapeños and hot pepper jelly, for serving


  1. Form the chicken into four 3/4-inch-thick patties and season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a plate and refrigerate until firm, 30 minutes.

  2. In a small bowl, whisk the mayonnaise with the fish sauce and lemon juice until smooth.

  3. Sprinkle both sides of the patties with the Old Bay. In a large cast-iron skillet set on the grate of a preheated grill or on the stovetop, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil. Cook the burgers, covered, over moderate heat, flipping once, until browned and just cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a work surface and let rest for 5 minutes.

  4. In a large nonstick skillet, heat the remaining 2 teaspoons of oil. Arrange the cheese slices 2 inches apart in the skillet and cook over moderate heat until melted in the middle and browned and crisp at the edges, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and let the cheese rest in the skillet for 1 minute. Transfer to a paper towel–lined plate to drain.

  5. Spread some of the mayo on each roll bottom and place a burger on top. Layer with a slice of crispy cheese and some lettuce and pickled jalapeños. Spread the pepper jelly on the roll tops, close the burgers and serve.

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