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Luther Burger: The Classic Doughnut Burger

Featuring crispy and savory bites with this Luther Burger, a classic doughnut burger.

Splurge with this sweet and savory Luther Burger, a classic doughnut burger with melty cheese, crispy bacon, and topped with spicy jalapenos. It’s strangely delicious and highly customizable, a perfect template for a fun cheat meal.

The Luther Burger is layered with melty cheese, jalapenos, and crispy bacon.

Yes, donuts for buns. This is what we’ve come to, and it’s freaking delicious.

This is a donut burger, and the specific combination of cheese, bacon, and donut buns is the original recipe for what’s called the Luther Burger.

Need more burgers? We’ve got them here.

Who invented the Luther Burger? There’s no confident answer. The Luther Burger is named after R&B singer Luther Vandross, however, there’s no real proof as to whether or not there’s a real connection between the donut burger and the singer. Many classic recipes will use entire Krispy Kreme donuts for the buns.

Can you eat more than one doughnut cheeseburger?

Why This Recipe Works

This recipe is pretty much spot on to the classic Luther Burger, but a couple of changes are based on testing to maximize flavor and texture. Sliced jalapenos are a given, you’re at Chiles and Smoke for a reason.

  • Crispy buns. Slicing and toasting firm glazed donuts creates a nice crispy texture for the outside bun, while not completely overwhelming your stomach. The other option is to stay classic and use an entire donut for each bun… if you dare.
  • Balancing flavors with chiles. Adding sliced jalapenos really does make a huge difference with each bite. The sweet and crispy donut pairs with the smoky, savory bacon and spicy jalapenos.
  • Not too much donut. That’s right, I’m holding back. One large glazed donut with crispy edges is a perfect balance, without going overboard on bread.
These are the main ingredients for our Luther burger recipe.

Ingredients and Variations

The key ingredients are very very simple: Glazed donuts, ground beef, bacon, and American cheese.

Don’t let that stop you from experimenting. We’ve got some helpful ideas!

  • Try making smashburgers instead of regular burgers for more layers of cheese and crispy edges.
  • Use different donuts and get experimental with the flavor combinations. The original Luther Burger uses whole donuts for each bun!
  • Cheddar cheese, pepper jack, and Gouda also work really well with this donut burger recipe.
  • Sear the sliced jalapenos on the griddle for extra heat. Try other chiles out as well, such as Hatch chiles or poblanos.
Folding the bacon into triangles is an optimal shape for bacon with every bite.

How to Cook the Luther Burger

This recipe is written using a gas griddle, but you can adapt and use cast iron skillets or the grill as needed. Whatever it takes to make donut burgers!

  1. Start cooking the bacon. Fold the bacon into triangles (my secret for the optimal shape with burgers) and flip as needed. If the bacon starts to curl, you can use a burger press to keep them flat.
  2. Sear the burgers. Season with salt and pepper, and place the burgers onto the griddle. I prefer to flip the burgers every minute, which speeds up the overall cooking process while controlling the momentum of heat. Don’t worry, you’ll still have an epic crust on the outside.
Don't forget to add the cheese to the burgers before they are overcooked.
  1. Add the cheese. Don’t forget to add the cheese before the burgers are completely cooked, otherwise, you’ll have overcooked burgers. Typically I’ll turn the burner off right after the cheese is added.
  2. Sear the sliced donuts. Do this at the very end, trust me, so you’re able to stay focused. It only takes an extra 30 seconds for the donuts to burn because of the sugars, so stay close.
Sear the donut buns at the end and be careful that they don't burn.

Important Tips

  • Don’t walk away when the donuts are toasting! The sugars burn quickly, and they only take a minute or two before they are toasted.
  • Softer donuts that collapse when you bite don’t work as well for buns unless you use the entire donut (such as a Krispy Kreme). Most donut shops will have firm glazed donuts that make the perfect donut burger buns!
  • You can make this recipe inside using cast iron instead of a griddle. Opt to cook the bacon at 400°F in the oven for around 20 minutes, flipping halfway through. Toast the donut burger buns in the skillet first, and then prepare the burger using the recipe.
  • Flipping the burger during the cooking process is similar to cooking a steak over an open flame: It helps speed up the cooking process and build a crust without overcooking the center too quickly.
Crispy bacon is key to making the best donut burger.

More Donut Burger Recipes

You better believe we’ll be sharing more fun creations inspired by this classic, the OG Luther Burger. Stay tuned!

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Featuring crispy and savory bites with this Luther Burger, a classic doughnut burger.

Luther Burger: The Classic Doughnut Burger

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Splurge with this sweet and savory Luther Burger, a classic doughnut burger with melty cheese, crispy bacon, and topped with spicy jalapenos. It’s strangely delicious and highly customizable, a perfect template for a fun cheat meal.

  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 2 Donut burgers 1x

Ingredients

Scale

 

  • 4 slices bacon
  • 2 (6-ounce) burger patties, (80/20 recommended)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 slices American cheese
  • 2 glazed donuts (sliced in half lengthwise)
  • Jalapeno, sliced thin (optional)

Instructions

 

Notes

  • Don’t walk away when the donuts are toasting! The sugars burn quickly, and they only take a minute or two before they are toasted.
  • Author: Brad Prose
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Category: Burgers & Sandwiches
  • Method: Griddle
  • Cuisine: Burger
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