In-n-Out Burger with fries in the background

How to Make In-N-Out Style Cheeseburgers—Cheaper, Better, Faster!

It happens all the time. Someone asks me if I miss living in California, a question I find truly appropriate. After all, I did live there for most of my life and in some ways, we are still adjusting to a much different life in more rural northern Colorado.

My inquirers assume my list of missed things will start with the weather, followed closely by the beach and Disneyland. But honestly, those are not on my short list of just three things: Our older son, our friends, and In-N-Out.

in-n-out burger with fries in the background

Photo: Business Insider

We take care of the first two things with regular trips back to our old digs to catch up with family and friends and take care of business. Here’s the funny thing: We hardly ever hit an In-N-Out burger joint. That’s because I’ve figured out how to make those burgers myself, hot and fresh, at home in Colorado.

As arrogant as that may come across to folks who are unashamedly part of the INO burger cult following, I’m serious. In fact—and I make no apologies for this—I believe mine is even better! There. I said it. And now, I’m here to teach you how to do it, too. 

But first, and in that In-N-Out Burgers are a California thing with some expansion now into Texas, Arizona, Nevada, Oregon, and Utah and Colorado (yes!), a huge number of my readers are likely to have never experienced this wonderful burger. Allow me to describe:

An In-N-Out Burger is always made to order. The ingredients are never frozen and of the highest quality and freshness. An In-N-Out Burger is saucy, even drippy. It’s juicy and slightly crunchy. The bun is soft and warm, but also toasted. The pickles are the perfect level of sour and they snap when you first bite into the burger. The lettuce is unashamedly iceberg, the cheese American, and the tomatoes hot-house ripened. Customers get their choice of a raw onion slice or “grilled” onions, which are well caramelized so they’re sweet and slightly syrupy.

 

An In-N-Out Burger has several variations starting at the simplest with a “Single” with or without cheese all the way to “Double-Double Animal-Style.”

And now for your at-home dining pleasure, I present recipe and instructions for how to make an In-N-Out Style Double In-N-Out Cheeseburger (complete printable recipe card below.)

Ingredients

  • Ground beef, 4 ounces (1/4 pound) pre-cooked weight, per patty
  • Buns, large and soft (Arnold is the brand closest to INO)
  • Dill pickle chips
  • Real American cheese, thickly sliced from the deli
  • Black pepper, freshly ground
  • Kosher salt
  • Iceberg lettuce leaves torn to bun size
  • Tomato, sliced 1/4-inch thick
  • Sweet onion slice or caramelized onions (prepared as below)
  • Yellow mustard
  • Spread, homemade (see below)
    • Mayonnaise
    • Ketchup
    • Sweet pickle relish

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 400F.

2. Arrange and assemble all of the ingredients.

3. Make the spread. Mix together in a small bowl: 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon ketchup and 2 teaspoons sweet pickle relish. Yield: About 4 tablespoons. You will need 2 tablespoons spread per burger.

4. Form two beef patties, pressing 2 ounces of beef flat to 4-inches in diameter. Sprinkle both sides with salt and freshly ground pepper. This is the only place you will be using salt and pepper, so let your personal taste be your guide. I use a lot.

5. Heat griddle or heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add 2 teaspoons olive oil. Sear patties on one side. Squirt some mustard on them as they cook. After just 2 or so minutes, flip the patties over so the mustard cooks into the second side (yes, you are frying the mustard). Cover each beef patty with a slice of cheese. After a couple of minutes or when internal temperature as reached 145 F on an instant-read thermometer, remove to a plate and cover loosely with foil.

6. While patties are frying, place closed bun in the hot oven for exactly 2 minutes.

7. To caramelize the onion, chop finely and then allow to cook in the meat juices that have formed. Turn onion often so it becomes brown and caramelized, but not burned.

8. Open the bun and place it on griddle or skillet so it “toasts” in some of the meat juices. Watch carefully so it gets nice and brown, but does not burn.

9. Spread 2 tablespoons of the spread on the bottom, toasted bun. Top with four dill pickle slices. Next, comes a slice of tomato and lettuce. Lay one of the cheesed-up and mustard-fried beef patties on top of the lettuce followed by the raw onion slice or grilled onions, the second cheesy beef patty and then the top bun. By now you are noticing a lot of moisture aka sauce and drippings, which explains why INO wraps each burger in parchment paper. That’s it! A Double-Double Cheeseburger, INO style.

To make a Single Cheeseburger, use only one beef patty and one slice of cheese.

Enjoy!

In-n-Out Burger with fries in the background

In-N-Out Style Single Cheeseburger

Perhaps you've never actually discovered the joy and deliciousness of an In-N-Out Burger. It's that good! And now you can make it yourself at home—cheaper and I'm convinced, even better!
5 from 5 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Entree
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 1 burger
Calories: 567kcal
Cost: varies

Ingredients

Cheeseburger

  • 1/4 pound ground beef (1/4 pound) pre-cooked weight, per patty 1/4 lb. For a "Single" cheeseburger 1/2 lb. for a "Double" cheeseburger, see NOTE 1
  • 2 tspn olive oil
  • 2 tspn yellow mustard more or less to taste
  • 1 large, soft hamburger bun see NOTE 2
  • 4 dill pickle chips
  • 1 slices American cheese or one slice if making a Single cheeseburger
  • Black pepper, freshly ground
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 leaves iceburg lettuce torn to bun-size
  • 1 slice tomato
  • 1 slice sweet onion or caramelized, see NOTE 3
  • 1 tspn yellow prepared mustard or to taste

Spread (See NOTE 4)

  • 2 tbsp + 2 tspn mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp ketchup
  • 2 tspn sweet pickle relish

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400F.
  • Arrange and assemble all of the ingredients.
  • Make the spread. Mix spread ingredients together in a small bowl. Set aside.
  • Form beef patty(s), pressing 4 ounces of beef flat to 4-inches in diameter for a single patty. Sprinkle both sides with salt and freshly ground pepper. This is the only place you will be using salt and pepper, so let your personal taste be your guide.
  • Heat griddle or heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add 2 teaspoons olive oil. Sear patties on one side. Squirt some mustard on them as they cook. After just 2 or so minutes, flip the patties over so the mustard cooks into the second side (yes, you are frying the mustard). Cover each beef patty with a slice of cheese. After a couple of minutes or when internal temperature as reached 145 F on an instant-read thermometer, remove to a plate and cover loosely with foil.
  • While patties are frying, place closed bun in the hot oven for exactly 2 minutes.
  • To caramelize the onion (if you choose, rather than placing raw onion on your cheeseburger), chop finely and then allow to cook in the meat juices that have formed. Turn onion often so it becomes brown and caramelized, but not burned.
  • Open the bun and place it on griddle or skillet so it “toasts” in some of the meat juices. Watch carefully so it gets nice and brown, but does not burn.
  • Spread 2 tablespoons of the spread on the bottom, toasted bun. Top with four dill pickle slices. Next, comes a slice of tomato and lettuce. Lay one of the cheesed-up and mustard-fried beef patties on top of the lettuce followed by the raw onion slice or grilled onions, the second cheesy beef patty, and then the top bun. By now you are noticing a lot of moisture aka sauce and drippings, which explains why INO wraps each burger in parchment paper. That's it! A Double-Double Cheeseburger, INO style.
  • To make a Single Cheeseburger, use only one beef patty and one slice of cheese.

Notes

  1. One-quarter pound pre-cooked weight, per patty. Use 2 patties (1/2 lb) for a Double, or 1 patty per burger for a Single. 80-20 ground beef for best flavor.
  2. Arnold is the brand closest to INO.
  3. To caramelize the onion, chop finely and then allow to cook in the meat juices that have formed. Turn onion often so it becomes brown and caramelized, but not burned.
  4. Yield: About 4 tablespoons. You will need 2 tablespoons spread per burger. If you're making only one burger, you can halve the spread.
  5. To make a Single Cheeseburger, use only one beef patty and one slice of cheese.
  6. Nutrition values are for one Single Cheeseburger

Nutrition

Serving: 1single cheeseburger | Calories: 567kcal | Carbohydrates: 30g | Protein: 29g | Fat: 36g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 14g | Trans Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 103mg | Sodium: 1103mg | Potassium: 570mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 662IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 339mg | Iron: 4mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @EverydayCheapskate or tag #EverydayCheapskate!

Updated 8-20-21 to correct recipe and clarify measurements.

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12 replies
  1. Joni Kelly says:

    5 stars
    Just reading this recipe make me understand why my California friends always brag about INO burgers. The location we have here in Texas is ok, but I don’t go out of my way to eat there. I’ll have to make your recipe to really enjoy the taste! I think I’ll try air fried French fries.

    Reply
  2. Kathryn says:

    5 stars
    Thanks for the recipe! I recently moved from California to Pennsylvania and haven’t found anything similar to In-n-Out yet. The thing about them I miss the most, tho, is the fries. Any tips on making French fries like they do? Honestly, that was always my favorite part of the meal. 🙂

    Reply
  3. Becky says:

    Sounds really good and juicy. I’m in Texas and went to I&O after they had been open for a month or so and was disappointed. It wasn’t juicy at all. Sounds like I need to try again. Or make my own with your recipe! Thanks!

    Reply
    • Matt says:

      Being a little picky here but it is InNOut (INO) I believe you have it as
      In And Out ( I & O ) . Like I said probably being a little picky , sorry .

      Reply
  4. Robyn S Jensen says:

    I’m confused on the mayonnaise amounts. On your printable recipe, it gives 2 tbsp + 2 tsp. However that amount is not 5 teaspoons, it is 8.

    Reply
  5. Katie French says:

    5 stars
    Thanks a lot Mary! We moved from Pasadena 13 years ago and you just made my mouth water. Now that we have the secret, we’re making INO tonight! (I always got both kinds of onion.)

    Reply

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