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Cheeseburger Salad

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This cheeseburger salad has everything I love about a burger, sans the bun served over lettuce, tomatoes, avocado, pickles and cheese drizzled with a seriously delicious dressing.

This salad has everything I love about a cheeseburger, sans the bun. Chopped romaine, tomatoes, avocado, pickles, shredded cheese topped with grilled burgers, red onions and drizzled with a seriously delicious dressing.Cheeseburger Salad

This Cheeseburger Salad is a fun spin on an American classic. It’s so good and easy to prepare – make the dressing, grill the burgers and onions, and chop the veggies. If my family wants a bun, I can easily make everyone happy in my house. Of course, if you prefer to make this with ground turkey or even veggie burgers, that would work too! If you need more healthy ground beef recipes, I have you covered! Some of my favorite hamburgers are these Grilled Hawaiian Teriyaki Burgers, Burger Bites, and Salsa Verde Burgers.

This salad has everything I love about a cheeseburger, sans the bun. Chopped romaine, tomatoes, avocado, pickles, shredded cheese topped with grilled burgers, red onions and drizzled with a seriously delicious dressing.

This salad has everything I love about a cheeseburger, sans the bun. Chopped romaine, tomatoes, avocado, pickles, shredded cheese topped with grilled burgers, red onions and drizzled with a seriously delicious dressing.

Hi! I’m Heather K. Jones. I’m a registered dietitian, a weight loss coach, a nutrition consultant for Skinnytaste, and the founder of Feel Better Eat Better, a group coaching program for women who struggle with emotional eating, overeating, or body image issues.

When my sister Lori (she’s the best cook in my family) insisted I try her new cheeseburger salad, I wasn’t convinced I was going to like it. A cheeseburger salad, really? But whoa, one bite of this dish and I was hooked!

It’s a super easy one-bowl meal, it’s kitchen-free (everything is cooked on the grill), and it’s very filling thanks to the fiber-rich veggies. Enjoy!

Cheeseburger Salad Ingredients

  • Hamburger Patties: 93% lean ground beef, salt, pepper
  • Vegetables: Chopped romaine lettuce, red onion, avocado, cherry tomatoes
  • Pickles: Chop four dill pickle spears, but if you don’t like dill, use bread and butter pickles.
  • Cheese: I used reduced-fat shredded cheddar, but Monterey Jack or white cheddar would also be good.
  • Cheeseburger Salad Dressing: Light mayonnaise, mustard, dill pickle juice, ketchup, onion and garlic powder, paprika

How To Make a Cheeseburger Salad

  1. Ground Beef: Sprinkle the beef with salt and pepper and gently form it into four patties.
  2. Dressing: Whisk the dressing ingredients together. It will last three to four days refrigerated.
  3. Grill the meat for four to five minutes on each side. Add the onion rings to the grill after flipping the patties and cook for the remaining five minutes, flipping halfway. Let the patties rest, and then cut them into 16 bite-size pieces.
  4. Assemble: Add the lettuce, pickles, onion, avocado, and tomato to the bowl and divide among four plates. Top with the grilled onion, cheese, and chopped hamburger, and drizzle with the dressing.


  • Protein: Swap ground beef for ground turkey or veggie burgers. Grilled portobellos would be another good vegetarian option. And if you don’t want to grill burgers, feel free to brown the meat on the stove.
  • Bacon Cheeseburger Salad: Top your salad with crumbled bacon.
  • Dressing Swaps: Dijon or yellow mustard will work, and if you don’t like mayo, substitute Greek yogurt.

special sauce

This salad has everything I love about a cheeseburger, sans the bun. Chopped romaine, tomatoes, avocado, pickles, shredded cheese topped with grilled burgers, red onions and drizzled with a seriously delicious dressing.

More Salad Recipes:

Cheeseburger Salad

4.99 from 52 votes
This Cheeseburger Salad has everything I love about a cheeseburger, sans the bun. Chopped romaine, tomatoes, avocado, pickles, shredded cheese topped with grilled burgers, red onions and drizzled with a seriously delicious dressing.
Course: Dinner, Salad
Cuisine: American
Cheeseburger Salad
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Total: 20 minutes
Yield: 4 Servings
Serving Size: 1 salad


For the Salad:

  • 1 pound 93% lean ground beef
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 4 cups chopped romaine lettuce
  • 4 dill pickle spears, chopped
  • 1/2 small red onion, sliced into rings
  • 4 ounce avocado, cubed (from 1 small haas)
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 cup reduced-fat shredded cheddar cheese

For the Dressing:

  • 1/4 cup light mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon dill pickle juice
  • 4 teaspoons ketchup, sugar free for Keto
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika


  • In a large bowl, combine beef, salt and pepper. With wet hand, gently form into 4 equal patties. Set aside.
  • In another large bowl, whisk together dressing ingredients. Set aside.
  • Cook hamburger patties on a grill to medium doneness, around 4-5 minutes per side. After flipping the patties, add the onion rings to the grill. Cook onion for the remaining 4-5 minutes, flipping halfway through. Allow patties to rest for 5-10 minutes then cut each patty into 16 bite-size pieces.
  • Add the lettuce, pickles, onion, avocado and tomato to the bowl. Divide the salad among 4 plates, top each with grilled onions, cheese, and 1 chopped patty. Drizzle with ¼ of the dressing.

Last Step:

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Serving: 1 salad, Calories: 311 kcal, Carbohydrates: 11.5 g, Protein: 28 g, Fat: 17 g, Saturated Fat: 5 g, Cholesterol: 79 mg, Sodium: 417 mg, Fiber: 4 g, Sugar: 4.5 g


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127 comments on “Cheeseburger Salad”

  1. Avatar photo
    Wayne McGowan

    I really tasty alternative to cheeseburger on national cheeseburger day. The dressing was actually really fun with fun. A kind of zesty thousand island.

  2. Avatar photo
    Amber Serrano

    This is a weekly go to recipe for Hubs and I. It makes 4. Two for dinner and two for lunch the next day. Hamburger taste, less guilt!! Yummy!!! 🤤 😋

  3. Hey there, Gina – just prepping my ingredients now to try this for dinner tonight! I can’t wait – especially after reading all the glowing reviews! I clicked your blue “WW Points” button under the recipe heading to pull it up in my WW tracker, and after reading through the ingredients list, I noticed that the 1/4c of reduced-fat cheese listed in the your recipe ingredients doesn’t pull over into the recipe ingredient list in the WW tracker. Just thought I’d give you a heads up, as I’m assuming it would probably add an additional point to the recipe in the WW tracker?

  4. I grill extra burgers to make this salad. One of the best. I use Claussen pickles and cheddar cubes.

  5. Avatar photo
    Brandy Burns

    One of my favorites. My kids love it too and don’t complain that there isn’t a bun 😀

  6. Love this. Doubled the recipe for the dressing but substituted half of the mayonnaise for Greek yogurt. Turned out amazing.

  7. This is delicious! I have made it a few times already. Everything I want on a burger, cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickles, red onion, and all the condiments in dressing form. I didn’t grill the onions because I just made your pickled red onion recipe so I topped it with them, which by the way are delicious also! Thank you Gina for another awesome recipe!

  8. Just made this tonight and my whole family loved it! My two boys, 10 and 12, said it tasted exactly like a cheese burger and they really loved the dressing! Thanks for another fantastic family recipe!!

  9. When you’re jonesing for a cheeseburger, this salad has what it takes to satisfy the urge. The ingredients are spot on and the dressing is phenomenal. It’s like eating a burger—sans bun. I’m keeping this one in rotation.

  10. Avatar photo
    Kaye Clinard

    I had a grilled burger Patty left over from a gathering last night . Today it became this delicious salad. It’s just me, so I only used half of the patty; now I get to have it again tomorrow—can’t wait!!

  11. I didn’t have high hopes for this recipe, but I made it because I had all the ingredients on hand. Pickles on a salad was kind of a turnoff. But WOW, this salad was delicious! It tasted just like a cheeseburger! I will definitely make this again.

  12. This was so tasty and really satisfied my cravings without waking me feel weighed down. The sauce was delicious; I only had horseradish mustard on hand and it added a nice kick. I also caramelized the onions. Super delicious and will be making this again.

  13. I almost never rate a recipe and I often don’t agree with others’ rating but I LOVE THIS DISH SO MUCH!! I had it for dinner tonight and I think I’ll have for breakfast tomorrow. Yummy! 

  14. Avatar photo
    Dolores Othman


  15. Love this recipe soo much. Now keep tomato, onion and pickles ready (don’t like avacado). Have the dressing made. Just change up protein to chicken or fish
    Question: would you be so kind as to post
    The calories on just the dressing ie per say
    2 tablespoons. Thank you so much.

  16. My husband and I loved this recipe, especially the sauce – delicious!!! And I have two patties for left-over lunches this week!!! Yum!!

  17. This was sooo good! I didn’t have any red onions, and often skip onions anyway, but followed the rest as written. I will be making this again, so will try it with them next time. The dressing tops everything off perfectly!

  18. This is one of the best meals on this website (and that’s saying a lot, as I love 99% of the recipes!) The sauce makes it! You will not miss the bun whatsoever.  Very filling and satisfying and such an easy clean up to boot. I will be making this regularly!! 

  19. This recipe was Sooooo AMAZING as with every recipe I’ve tried of hers! I’ve tried other Cheeseburger salad recipes, but the sauce on this one is delicious. 
    I made turkey burgers yesterday for dinner and used a leftover patty. I substituted spinach for the romaine because that’s all I had. Additionally, I added a couple crumbles of  uncured turkey bacon!  Delicious! 

  20. My family loves this. I tend to get pre-washed Romaine so I can make this more quickly on a working day. I also use regular mayonnaise as the lite ones tend to sub carbs for fat., I also double the special sauce because my son absolutely loves it. Sometimes I add bacon, as I’m cooking keto — again, in my diet fat is okay. Also, I crumble the beef instead of making patties and cutting them — all the better to get it on the table quickly. Instead of salt and pepper, I season with a steak seasoning blend (I use the Mitchell Street from Penzey’s). My sauce-loving son dislikes raw tomatoes, so when I make it up, I don’t put any in his bowl.

  21. My family loved this salad!  Did not miss the bun…east tasty and will become a staple in my kitchen!🥳😋😋

  22. Wow!!!! This was sooooooo good! I’d seen a lot of raves about this in the SkinnyTaste Facebook group so decided to give it a try and it did not disappoint! I left out the pickles and added a bit of liquid from a can of diced tomatoes to make up for the loss of liquid from omitting the pickle juice, but this was incredible. Cannot wait for leftovers!

  23. Thank you, Heather! Best salad ever!!! The salad dressing was the best…it could be sold to In and Out! Made this the other day and regular hamburgers for the rest of the family. Didn’t miss the bun at all. I used spicy flavored pickles to give it a kick. The dressing was a perfect thickness for a spread so to thin it out I added a TBSP of avocado oil (adds 1 Freestyle point), 2 tbsp of water, and extra pickle juice and it did not take away from the flavor at all. This will be on the regular rotation schedule!

  24. Avatar photo
    Terry Kocivar

    Delicious. Browned the meat with Worcestershire sauce and garlic powder instead of making a burger. But followed the rest of the steps. We eat this once a week. 

  25. I made this with ground turkey & sautéed it with the onions instead of making burger patties. Delicious without the dressing, I’m definitely saving this recipe. 

  26. As with all of your recipes that I’ve tried, this was delicious. I would recommend for lunch rather than dinner; I didn’t find that it was very filling.

  27. Hi Gina, HUGE FAN of all of your recipes! I was just wondering if you used turkey instead how many WW freestyle points is this? Keep doing what you’re doing you make dinner so much easier thank you!!! 

    1. When you want to make substitutions to a recipe builder on the WW App. Just put in the servings and all the ingredients in and it will determine the points value for you. However there won’t be much of a points difference unless you are using Extra Lean 96% fat free turkey which tends to dry up on the grill unless it is mixed with shredded zucchini.

  28. Love this. Thanks for the idea. I make it a lot. I just take the hamburger meat and put it in the pan and just break it up in clumps. I use lettuce, onions, tomatoes, chopped dill pickles, cheese (whatever in the mood for, Blu cheese is great in it) sometimes bacon bits, avocados pieces. What ever you like on a burger put it in.. I love a southwest dressing on it ex: hidden Valley southwest one. Not plugging them just for example. I got my son in law hooked on this salad. Thanks again.

  29. This was delicious! I am so happy that I had leftover hamburgers in the fridge and that I stumbled on this recipe today! Thank you!

  30. Delicious!
    My only problem is my WW app tells me it is worth 11 Freestyle points per serving, not 7… any idea why? Does the Canadian app calculate differently from the American app?

    1. Hi Isabelle! The only accurate way to determine any recipe’s SmartPoints® value is to plug the ingredients into the recipe builder on the Weight Watchers website (Click on “My Foods,” select “Recipe,” and click “Create a recipe.”) which does not count fruits and vegetables in recipes in the calculations as they are now 0 points.

      The SmartPoints® calculator isn’t meant for recipes and will often give you the wrong points (usually higher) because it’s counting the fruits and vegetables. So if you see a recipe with a SmartPoints® value that’s different from what the calculator tells you, now you know why.

  31. Big Mac Delicious!! I wish I had known about this salad this summer., will definitely be making again and again. I will double the dressing next time 🙂 

  32. Serious YUM!! My husband and I loved this salad! It was more amazing than just a grilled cheeseburger on a bun. Lots of flavor!

  33. This is soooo good. I even forgot the cheese and didn’t realize until after I finished the salad haha. Love the dressing!! It’s the perfect recipe for someone on Weight Watchers to make for their family, as non-lettuce lovers can just use a bun and it’s a burger. My husband though had seconds on the salad and I can tell didn’t miss the bun. Thank you for this!

  34. This will be my new go to! Why oh why have I not thought of this years ago! The only thing I added was bacon bits!!! 

  35. I was skeptical at first, but OMG! I love burgers but don’t love the calories and general lack of nutrition., so this salad is a lifesaver! It’s incredibly filling and tastes super indulgent, I didn’t miss the bun at all! That dressing is just phenomenal! 

  36. I was skeptical, but this was really really good.  I left out the onion but otherwise followed the recipe exactly.  Very filling.

  37. Gina- any idea how long the dressing would last in the fridge? Hoping to make a batch for lunches all week.

  38. Making this for dinner, I don’t have an avocado what will the point’s be? Thank you for saving us life time people from boredom!

  39. Avatar photo
    Martie Livingston

    I have wanted to try this but I don’t like dill at all, I can see leaving the dill pickle out but what about the juice in the dressing? Has anybody tried it without or substituted something else for it?

    1. Avatar photo
      Elizabeth Jenkins

      I made this for the people I work for and they don’t like dill pickle and I use sweet pickle and they loved it.

  40. Made this for dinner tonight and loved it! I didn’t have regular paprika but have smoked paprika so used that and it gave the sauce – which is SO good – a bit of a smokey edge to it which was very yummy. Will for sure make this recipe again! 

  41. Avatar photo
    Gina Berrafati

    This was unbelievably good.  My husband (not a “salad is dinner” guy) is still talking about it 2 hours later.  A keeper for sure.  I did use turkey, but would make this with whatever is on hand.  Thanks again Gina

  42. Any idea what the ww points are for the dressing?  The whole thing sounds good but I’d like to use that dressing on other meals too!

  43. This was unbelievably good! Wow! My husband said this tasted like eating a Big Mac, but way better! Thanks for another great receipe!

  44. I Just made this salad tonight for me and my hubby! I let  the cheese melted on the burger while cooking the meat…soooooo tasty an simple!! We both agree to make this recipe every week 😉

  45. Amazing salad! My husband loves hamburgers but we have gone low-carb. This is a great way to get all the flavors. Sometimes I use a homemade ketchup other times hines. I have melted cheese onto the burgers and just added some to the salad. We are onion lovers here and feel grilled onions is a must. Flavors are excellent. It’s become a weekly dish. Our 2 boys, 7 and 8 are happy with the options too, 8 year old eats as is, 7 year old wants his burger with “salad on the side” but easy dish to accommodate our family. Thank you Gina!!

  46. My husband loves this salad!! I don’t like ground meat so I substituted a portobello mushroom cap and it was delicious!! Love not having to make 2 meals when I’m the picky one!

  47. Avatar photo
    Molly Johnson

    I had been skeptical about this salad, but finally gave in and made it. So glad I did!!! It’s delicious!! I would highly recommend trying it!!!

  48. Avatar photo
    Caitlin Roberts

    WOW. tastes just like a cheeseburger and I couldn’t ask for anything better. this salad is so good. I highly recommend. Make enough for leftovers! it’s worth it

  49. Made this a few weeks ago and again tonite using ground turkey instead of  ground beef…it will be in my recipe rotation…

  50. This was so good…it makes you feel like you aren’t eating healthy! I would definitely make this again!

  51. I made this salad for a group of 40 at a health/restoration retreat this past weekend! It got RAVE reviews! Everyone LOVED it. It was really easy to modify for more people, The dressing is KEY along with the dill pickle in the salad. This was such a FUN dinner!

  52. Made this last night, and it was a huge it with my husband! I loved it too! I’m new to your site and am finding the recipies easy to follow, and full of flavor. Started with a lot of zoodles recipes and have expended from there. I really like the meal plans, and find the shopping lists to be a tremendous time saver. I usually wind up doing my grocery shopping on Sunday, so if the meal plan comes out on Sunday or Monday, I’ll save it and use it for grocery shopping the following Sunday. Thanks for the great content!

  53. Love this! I actually made regular cheeseburgers for my family. Used lean meat and seasoned with salt, pepper, onion powder and garlic powder. Cooked the patties and melted American cheese on top, since that’s what my family likes. Then I cubed one of the burgers for me and combined the salad ingredients. Love the pickles and wonderful dressing!  This way I got to eat more healthy and the picky people in the family enjoyed their regular burgers. And I didn’t have to cook 2 completely different meals – so easy!

  54. I literally ate lunch at 10:30 am today because I was so excited about eating these leftovers. This salad is delicious. I doubled the pickles and onions (adds 0 WW points). I also doubled the dressing (adds 1 WW sp) and thinned it out a little with some water/extra pickle juice like some others recommended. I will be making this often!

  55. Great recipe! My husband loved it.

    Next time I would probably add a little Montreal steak seasoning or garlic and onion powder to the burgers because they seemed a little bland on their own. Also, the dressing does not make enough for 4 salads…that is just a little over a TBS per salad and its very thick so you can’t drizzle it. I would think either adding a little plain yogurt or even thinning it with a bit of water would help.

  56. Avatar photo
    Summer L. (@summerswwjourney)

    I’ve made this (or something similar) many times before and I LOVE it! So glad you thought of sharing this. It’s so good.

  57. This was absolutely amazing. Made it tonight!!! Can’t wait to have it as leftovers for lunch tomorrow 

  58. Such a great recipe. I especially loved the idea of cooking the red onions instead of just adding them raw. I didn’t have light mayo so the dressing was a little too thick, but I just added some water. Thanks for posting this!!

  59. Made this tonight.  Super easy and what a fun concept! Hubby and kids both loved so definitely a keeper. 

  60. Made this tonight…so easy! And after my first bite, I thought, “This tastes just like a Burger King Whopper!” But I know it was much healthier. Thanks for another great recipe!

  61. Avatar photo
    Angelina Davis

    Gonna be real honest here- this sounded kind of yucky to me..and I like a good bun free burger…but I am yet to make something from this site that isn’t good so I went for it!
    I made this today for lunch- only thing I changed was I used chopped up homemade meatballs instead of the grilled meat…and oh my goodness, soooo good! that dressing is fabulous! my husband was dipping some chicken in it while I was making my salad ^_^

  62. This was absolutely delicious! My husband and I both loved it and will definitely be making it again.

  63. Avatar photo
    Frances Locati

    This was wonderful. Captured all the flavor with healthy ingredients. My husband wants me to make it again right away. Thank you!

  64. Yum.  This was my dinner tonight and its delicious!  Usually I worry I won’t get enough protein from a salad and don’t find them too filling but I couldn’t even eat my serving.  The dressing is amazing!!  

  65. Wow, how timely! I just made a gyro salad using ground bison seasoned with oregano on top of romaine, cucumbers, tomatoes, feta cheese, and onions. I didn’t have any olives but that would have been great. I opted out of dressing since I didn’t have any however the moisture from the tomatoes kept it from being dry. I will try your cheeseburger recipe next! Thank you!