This unforgettably compelling chili-Cheddar burger is what it is. Messy and indulgent and intensely satisfying. That said, if manners are at all a concern for you, you may wish to wrap half the burger in wax paper. More than just pretense, it actually minimizes the messiness. But then, perhaps that’s not even a concern…–Renee Schettler Rossi

A chili cheddar burger on a bun half with cheese sauce being poured over it.

Chili-Cheddar Burger

5 from 1 vote
This chili-Cheddar burger is the ultimate comfort food mash-up — a sirloin patty topped with thick chili and creamy cheese sauce.
David Leite
Servings6 burgers
Calories1149 kcal
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time10 minutes
Total Time25 minutes


  • 30 ounces ground sirloin
  • 6 potato buns, halved
  • Canola oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 recipe Easy Chili
  • 1 recipe Cheddar Cheese Sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups sour cream
  • 1 1/2 cups sliced scallions


  • To make the patties, divide the sirloin into six 5-ounce sirloin balls and form each ball into a patty. Arrange on a tray, cover, and refrigerate.
  • Toast the buns and set aside.
  • Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add just enough oil to cover the entire bottom of the skillet. When the oil begins to smoke, reduce the heat to medium and place half of the patties in the skillet. Season the patties with salt and pepper and cook for 3 minutes.
  • Flip, and cook on the other side for 3 minutes more for medium-rare doneness. Do it again with the remaining patties.
  • To assemble the burgers, place 1 patty on 1 toasted bun bottom. Top the patty with some chili-Cheddar sauce, 1/4 cup of the sour cream, and 1/4 cup of the scallions. Cover with the top of the bun. Repeat with the remaining ingredients. Wrap half the burger in wax paper. Let rest for 2 to 3 minutes and serve.
Good Stuff Cookbook

Adapted From

The Good Stuff Cookbook

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Serving: 1 burgerCalories: 1149 kcalCarbohydrates: 69 gProtein: 56 gFat: 76 gSaturated Fat: 27 gMonounsaturated Fat: 18 gTrans Fat: 1 gCholesterol: 184 mgSodium: 2954 mgFiber: 13 gSugar: 17 g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2010 Spike Mendelsohn. Photo © 2010 Joe Shymanski. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

The chili cheese burger is a hit, but only when served together. The chili recipe seems to be written as a standalone chili, with the burger and the cheese sauce as supporting components. I thought the chili might be too spicy, but when you add the cheese sauce and sour cream, it’s all just perfect. The first couple of bites were a complete mess, but after that, I just embraced the mess and enjoyed the burger.

It’s actually not that time-consuming of a recipe, aside from waiting for the chili to thicken. The cheese sauce can be made during that time (it makes an awesome nacho cheese dip, too) and the burgers grill up pretty quickly. It’s not really a company meal and it might be a bit too messy for a standing bbq, but it works for a fun supper. Plus, one burger will fill you up completely!

After all that work, when you finally put the elements together just as the recipe directs, you end up with a sandwich that’s worth writing home about. I’ll definitely make this again and again and again. Every one of my tasters gave it a thumbs up, and wanted seconds.

No one really needs a lesson in Burger 101, but I think the use of 5 ounces makes the patty fit into those potato rolls perfectly. Though the recipe may be a lot of trouble just for a good burger, the chili is good and I’ll make it again. That said, I’m making those Garlic Fries tonight and pouring chili and cheese sauce over them!

About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    OMG, these look so good my mouth is watering. I will be making these sometime this week. Thanks for the recipe, I will let you guys know how I did.

  2. While I appreciate the tips above, and do usually try to be a neat eater, when I make these I’m just going to get messy! I only need to read a recipe to be able to taste it, and I can tell these are definitely worth the mess! A great fan of gracious dining, I will forego the cloth napkins for this meal!

    1. Jean, I’m with you. With something like this, if it’s not smeared all over my hands and face by the end of the meal, well, it somehow just doesn’t seem as good, does it?

      1. Jean, David: something like this really brings out the inner child, doesn’t it? Put the wet wipes on the table and have at it. Eating devoid of all self-consciousness and pretense—I love it when a recipe inspires that.