Low carb hamburgers give you all the meaty goodness you love in a burger minus the bun and carbs that can drive up your blood sugar. See how tasty a bunless burger can be.Jump to Recipe
Why go low carb?
Did you know that inflammation–the root of so many wellness struggles we face as Americans–has a huge root in blood sugar balance?
The more your blood glucose numbers swing in a day (even if you don’t have diabetes), the more stress hormones are secreted by the body.
This stress triggers inflammation.
Maintaining healthy blood sugar levels can help keep cortisol production in check, thereby reducing inflammation and disease. No need to go completely carb free, but consider being conscious of your intake.
Steer clear especially of concentrated carbs such as wheat based burger buns! If you have an autoimmune disease, know that staying away from gluten all together can be beneficial.
It might be tempting to reach for gluten free swaps (gluten free bread, etc.), but these products are often full of starch and provide little more than empty calories that spike blood sugar.
Shop carefully and aim for products that list whole foods, such as almond flour as a main ingredient.
Choosing the right kind of beef
These low carb hamburgers are all about the beef, so make sure to pick a quality product. As a life long beef farmer, read my guide to grain fed or grass fed beef.
There’s been a ton of hype around grass fed beef over the years, with many touting that grass fed is the only way to go. Grass fed beef is great, but don’t stress it too much…unless you are eating pounds of it a week.
I’m always in favor of buying local beef from cows who were healthy at slaughter, raised on green pastures with fresh water and yes–probably some grain in their diet.
Optional wraps if you’re skipping the bun
If a beef patty with nothing but a knife and fork might sound a little boring to you, try it! You might surprise yourself.
Still craving a vehicle to carry your burger?
There are some great low carb options out there. Some of my favorite options are:
- iceberg or romaine lettuce
- almond flour tortillas
- egg wraps
These patties will also shine as an added protein in a salad!
If you really feel like you can’t live without a bun
I get it. Sometimes you need a bun. There are a couple of keto options featuring almond flour that are pretty delightful.
If you are looking for a quick, ready-to-plate fix, try the Golden Buns from GluteNull.
You can also use portobello mushrooms to sandwich your patty!
I recommend staying away from many of the gluten free buns on the market.
They tend to be all starch and no nutrition (plus they drive up blood sugar!).
Low carb hamburger topping ideas
Toppings! Perhaps one of the best parts of a burger. Some awesome low carb options include:
- cheddar cheese
- blue cheese
- caramelized onions
- fried eggs
Check out Keto and Co. for more inspiration.
Sauces and condiments to try
Some of my favorites include classic ketchup (low in sugar or homemade) and mustard, BBQ sauce, garlic aioli, mayo (or flavored mayos, such as chipotle!), ranch dressing, guacamole, and even tzatziki!
To fry or not to fry?
Burgers and fries are a classic combo. It’s ok to indulge in some fries, even if you are aiming to lower blood sugar. There are wiser ways than others to do it, though.
Sweet potato fries are a great alternative to regular fries. Keep in mind that just-cooked sweet potatoes will spike blood sugar more than cooled, cooked sweet potatoes that are then reheated.
Consider using frozen, pre-cooked sweet potatoes when making fries as long as they don’t contain added sugars or inflammatory vegetable/canola/sunflower oils. Try throwing them in your air fryer!
And depending on your goals, it may be ok to have a few regular fries here IF you are skipping the bun. Just make sure they aren’t coated in canola oil as fast food and frozen options often are. If you are making them yourself, my baked fries or this air fryer fry recipe are both great places to start. Feeling adventurous? Try one of these:
- Bacon cheese Fries with Ranch
- Loaded Greek Fries
- Loaded kimchi and Chorizo Fries
- Air Fryer Tater Tots
- Keto Zucchini Fries
How to store and reheat low carb hamburgers
Consider making a few extra hamburger patties for later. They are easy to reheat using a skillet or the oven.
Cool any burgers to room temperature and seal them in an air tight container. I like glass containers but if you’re using plastic, just don’t heat the burgers in it in the microwave.
Leftovers will last up to three days in the fridge.
How to reheat burger patties
Choose a heavy skillet and heat it to medium high.
Add 2-3 tablespoons of water and then your hamburger and warm your patties for 1 minute, covered. The water will help lock in moisture.
If you are using the oven, preheat to 400 degrees F and place the patties on a rimmed baking tray. Heat the patties for 3 minutes on one side before flipping and heating for an additional 2 minutes.
Looking for more ways to use beef? Try these recipes
Side Dish Recipes
Low Carb Hamburgers
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- iceberg lettuce
- red onion slices
- 4 slices cheddar cheese
- mayonnaise, mustard to taste
- Add the ground beef to a medium bowl and add the salt. Gently mix the salt in with your hands. Don't over mix to avoid making the beef tough.
- Divide the beef into four equal patties about 4 inches wide and an inch thick. Set aside.
- Heat a 10 or 12 inch heavy bottomed skillet over medium high heat 3 to 4 minutes.
- Add the patties and leave them to cook without moving them until a crust forms on the bottom; about 4 to 5 minutes.
- Flip the patties, reduce the heat to medium, and cook to your desired level of doneness; well done will take another 5 minutes.
- Serve warm with your favorite toppings wrapped in iceberg lettuce.