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For other uses, see Cheeseburger (disambiguation).
Course Main course
Place of origin United States
Serving temperature Hot
Main ingredients Ground beef patty, cheese and bread buns
Food energy
(per serving)
600-1500 kcal (-5680 kJ)
Cookbook:Cheeseburger  Cheeseburger

A cheeseburger is a hamburger topped with cheese. Traditionally, the slice of cheese is placed on top of the meat patty, but the burger can include many variations in structure, ingredients, and composition. The term itself is a portmanteau of the words "cheese" and "hamburger." The cheese is usually added to the cooking hamburger patty shortly before the patty is completely cooked which allows the cheese to melt. Cheeseburgers are often served with lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles, mustard, mayonnaise, ketchup, and occasionally bacon.

In fast food restaurants, the cheese used is typically processed cheese, but there are variations, such as cheddar, Swiss cheese, mozzarella cheese, blue cheese and pepper jack. When cheese is added to a burger the nutritional value of the burger can be changed substantially. For example, a slice of Cheddar cheese can add 113[1] calories and 4.5 grams of saturated fat to a burger.[2] Other types and amounts of cheese would have varying effects, depending on their nutritional content.


Adding cheese to hamburgers became popular in the late-1920s to mid-1930s, and there are several competing claims as to who created the first cheeseburger. Lionel Sternberger is reputed to have invented the cheeseburger in 1926 at the age of 16 when he was working as a fry cook at his father's Pasadena, California sandwich shop, "The Rite Spot," and "experimentally dropped a slab of American cheese on a sizzling hamburger."[3][4][5][6][7]

An early example of the cheeseburger appearing on a menu is a 1928 menu for the Los Angeles restaurant O'Dell's which listed a cheeseburger smothered with chili for 25 cents.[8][9] According to a report published by the independent public television station KCET, a person would have had the additional option to added spaghetti as an additional topping to their chili smothered cheeseburger for a total cost of 40 cents at this same eatery.[10][9]

Other restaurants say they invented the cheeseburger. For example, Kaelin's Restaurant in Louisville, Kentucky, said it invented the cheeseburger in 1934.[11] One year later, a trademark for the name "cheeseburger" was awarded to Louis Ballast of the Humpty Dumpty Drive-In in Denver, Colorado.[12] According to Steak 'n Shake archives, the restaurant's founder, Gus Belt, applied for a trademark on the word in the 1930s.[13][14][15]


A cheeseburger with mushroom sauce and fries
A Burger King "Quad Stacker" cheeseburger, containing four patties and bacon.


The ingredients used to create cheeseburgers follow similar patterns found in the regional variations of hamburgers. Popular regional toppings include bacon, avocado or guacamole, sliced sautéed mushrooms or onions, cheese sauce and/or chili. Less common ingredients include egg, feta cheese, salsa, jalapeños and other kinds of chili peppers, anchovies, slices of ham, mustard, gyros meat, or bologna, horseradish, sauerkraut, pastrami or teriyaki-seasoned beef, tartar sauce, french fries, onion rings, potato chips, a pat of butter, pineapple and tofu.

A cheeseburger may have more than one hamburger patty and more than one slice of cheese. A stack of two patties is called a double cheeseburger; a triple cheeseburger has three, and a quadruple has four.[16][17]


Traditionally, the cheeseburger is not kosher as it combines ground beef and cheese. Mixtures of milk and meat (Hebrew: בשר בחלב‎, basar bechalav, literally "meat in milk") are prohibited according to Jewish law - Halakha (Hebrew: הלכה‎). This dietary law, basic to kashrut (Hebrew: כַּשְׁרוּת‎), is based on a verse in the Book of Exodus which forbids "boiling a (kid) goat in its mother's milk".[18][19] This prohibition appears again in Deuteronomy.[20] This dietary law sparked controversy in Jerusalem when McDonald's began opening franchises there that sold cheeseburgers.[21] Since that time, McDonald's has opened both kosher and non-kosher restaurants in Israel.[22]

In an attempt to provide a "kosher cheeseburger", a kosher restaurant in New York City created a controversial cheeseburger variation which replaces cheese with soy cheese.[23]

See also

Famous specialty hamburgers that regularly come with cheese:


  1. ^ "Calorie count". Retrieved 11 November 2012. 
  2. ^ "Nutrition Information for: Cheeseburger". FitDay. Retrieved 2010-02-11. 
  3. ^ "Lionel Clark Sternberg obituary". Time. 1964-02-07. Retrieved 2007-05-18. (subscription required (help)). …at the hungry age of 16, [Sternberger] experimentally dropped a slice of American cheese on a sizzling hamburger while helping out at his father's sandwich shop in Pasadena, thereby inventing the cheeseburger… 
  4. ^ Harvey, Steve (1991-03-27). "Only in L.A.". Los Angeles Times. p. B2. Cooking at his father's short-order joint in Pasadena in the early 1920s, [Sternberger] experimentally tossed a slice (variety unknown) on a hamburger... 
  5. ^ Perry, Charles (2004-06-09). "It's an L.A. Thing; Our burgers are the best with good reason: We made them here first". Los Angeles Times. p. F1. 
  6. ^ Piasecki, Joe (2012-01-13). "Yes, it was invented in Pasadena! Probably. Tracing the cheeseburger from inception to Bob's Big Boy". Pasadena Sun. Retrieved 2012-05-13. 
  7. ^ Henerson, Evan (1999-06-23). "The Tale of the Cheeseburger". San Gabriel Valley Tribune. Retrieved 2012-05-13. 
  8. ^ Grace, Roger M. (2004-01-15). "Old Menus Tell the History of Hamburgers in L.A.". Metropolitan News-Enterprise. Retrieved 2012-05-13. 
  9. ^ a b "O'Dell's Menu". Los Angeles Public Library. 1928. Retrieved 2014-12-08. 
  10. ^ Spiers, Katherine (September 18, 2013). "Were Cheeseburgers Invented in Pasadena?". KCET. Retrieved 2014-12-08. 
  11. ^ "Louisville Facts & Firsts -". City of Louisville, Kentucky. Archived from the original on 2014-10-06. Retrieved 2006-07-29. 
  12. ^ "History of the Cheeseburger". Retrieved 2 October 2008. 
  13. ^ Flick, Bill. "Flick Fact 2/20/2012 Monday". Bloomington Pantagraph. Retrieved 21 February 2012. 
  14. ^ "Our 'Top 5 List' of little-known facts about Bloomington-Normal". Archived from the original on 2011-12-02. Retrieved 21 February 2012. 
  15. ^ Perry, Catherine D. (July 7, 2004). "Steak 'n Shake vs Burger King, Memorandum and Order". United Stated District Court Eastern District Missouri Eastern Division. Retrieved 21 February 2012.  (July 7, 2004) 323 F. Supp.2d 983 (E.D. Mo. 2004)
  16. ^ Tice, Carol (2002-01-28). "In-N-Out Burgers: With an emphasis on quality, this fast feeder shows its rare appeal. (Regional Powerhouse Chains)". Nation's Restaurant News – via Highbeam Research. (subscription required (help)). 
  17. ^ Hall, David (2006-10-24). "Society's fast food intake reeks". Daily Skiff. Retrieved 2010-02-13. [dead link]
  18. ^ Exodus 34:26
  19. ^ Exodus 23:19
  20. ^ Deuteronomy 14:21
  21. ^ Bronner, Ethan (1995-09-03). "Big Mac under attack in Jerusalem As McDonald's rings up sales of nonkosher burgers, outcry on 'cultural identity' heard". Boston Globe ( Retrieved 2010-08-21 – via ProQuest. (subscription required (help)). 
  22. ^ "Will residents of Jerusalem get to bite a kosher Big Mac?". J. the Jewish News Weekly of Northern California Magazine. 2001-12-21. Retrieved 2010-08-21. 
  23. ^ Montefinise, Angela (2008-03-02). "Jews Have A 'Beef'". New York Post ( Retrieved 2014-05-30. 

External links