Customizable food is one of the best and easiest things when entertaining guests! I’m not kidding! The absolute best compliments I’ve received in all my years of entertaining family and friends in our home have all come from meals the guests have put together (or cooked) themselves! I’m talking charcuterie trays, make-you-own kebobs, make-your-own-pizza, sandwich bars, and the Burger Bar!
Here’s the scoop:
THE FANCIER YOU MAKE THE FOOD LOOK WITH A BEAUTIFULLY ARRANGED SPREAD, THE MORE COMPLIMENTS YOU’LL RECEIVE ON YOUR MEAL AND THE MORE SPECIAL YOUR GUESTS WILL FEEL!
It is seriously that easy! So today, I’m going to walk you through how to make a boss Burger Bar that will have your guests walking away feeling like they’ve been wined-and-dined!
I know, I know… it sounds really basic. And your guests probably “decorate” their own burger anyways, right? But let me give you a couple benefits as to why Burger Bar (or any make-your-own food bar works) so amazingly:
- You can make condiments and sandwich toppings “look” fancy with a nice layout with very minimal work!
- You don’t have to be super cautious on food allergies. Of course, be smart what you lay next to each other and always include an ingredient list for items that aren’t straight from the produce section. But people with food allergies will appreciate the options and you’ll appreciate not trying to cook to satisfy everyone’s dietary needs.
- Everyone walks away happy! Having guests customize their own food allows those who like to keep it simple happy, yet allows foodies to get creative!
Adding a few more burger topping options can add a lot more fun and flavor to a plain old burger. And adding a few “extra” ingredients most people don’t have (or think to get out at home), makes them feel special. And that’s the whole goal of entertaining with a meal… to make your guests feel loved on and special (even at something as casual as a backyard BBQ)!
Ready to get started?
Burger Bar ingredient ideas:
Burger. Yup, I really included this. Remember the old Wendy’s commercial that asked “Where’s the beef?” Well, now there are other meaty options to consider:
- Black Bean Burgers
- Chicken Burgers
- Ground Beef Burgers
- Pork Burgers
- Tofu Burgers (check to see if there are any Vegans on your guest list)
- Turkey Burgers (check out The Best Turkey Burgers for a delicious and healthy option)
- Portobello Burgers
Buns. To eat a bun or leave the buns behind? That is the question. With the gourmet burgers you are offering, you may want to skip the carbs and go for more toppings. A good bun can often make or break a burger. Don’t just go for the cheapest buns in the bread aisle. Try heading to the deli for a delicious buffet of buns:
- Honey buns
- Onion buns
- Pretzel buns
- Slimwich buns
- Whole Wheat buns
- Ciabatta rolls
Cheese. Get cheezy and have some fun! I’m not saying youda gotta serve Gouda, but having a variety of cheese is often nice.
- Blue Cheese
- Colby Jack
- Pepper Jack
Condiments. Don’t skimp out here. There’s more than just ketchup and mustard to bring to the table. Check out these crazy condiment ideas:
- BBQ Sauce
- Chipotle mayo
- Steak sauce
- Worchestershire Sauce
- Buffalo sauce
- Teriyaki sauce
- Caribbean Jerk sauce
Veggies. Eating some veggies on your burger is a delicious and sneaky way to get another serving of vegetables in your diet!
- Lettuce leaves
- Onions – sweet and/or red
- Bell peppers
- Sauteed mushrooms
- Grilled onions
- Fresh jalapeños
- Alfalfa sprouts
- Pickled red onions
Bacon. It’s a category on it’s own! Oh how I love bacon! Microwave a platter of bacon or cook it in the oven (so you don’t have to worry about cleaning up bacon splatter), break it in half, and serve. It’s okay if it’s not piping hot. It’ll be added to a hot sandwich and with the cold condiments, no one will even notice.
Extras. Oh, yah… there’s more! Think about your absolute fav things you could put on a burger! Makes your guests feel special! Bring in all. the. goods!
- Crunchy onion strings or onion rings
- Grilled pineapple
- Macaroni & cheese
If you want to provide a sample “menu”, here are some burger ideas to give your guests:
- The Texan – Cheddar cheese, BBQ sauce, onion strings, and bacon
- Mac & Cheeseburger – Macaroni & cheese, BBQ sauce, and onion
- Southwestern Burger – Provolone cheese, guacamole, tomato, and bacon
- The Spicy Southwesterner – Pepper Jack cheese, chipotle mayo, jalapeño slices, lettuce, red onion, and bacon
- Red, White & Blue Burger – Blue cheese, steak sauce, red onion, and bacon
- All American Burger – American cheese, ketchup, mustard, lettuce, pickle, onion (white), and bacon (optional)
- Build-a-BURGER – Go crazy and create your own!
While the burger bar should be the highlight of your food spread, coordinating side dishes, desserts, drinks, and adult beverages will round out your dinner nicely. And your burger bar will make for an awesome backyard BBQ that everyone will love!