A skillet cheeseburger with arugula and a pile of fries on a white plate.

This burger has made us who we are, in a sense–it’s a great marriage of complementary flavors, with the saltiness of blue cheese, the bitterness of arugula, the sweetness of Bacon Jam, and the solid foundation of the bun. It’s consistently been the most ordered item on the menu at Skillet, both at the food truck and the diner. It’s also been featured on magazine covers and TV. It’s basically our opus.–Josh Henderson

What you need to know about this recipe…

There’s no scarcity of curiosity-arousing ingredients and techniques in this simple burger recipe. Easily the most ostentatious is the Bacon Jam. (Yes, Bacon Jam. One taste and you’ll understand.) A close second is the cambozola, a Brie-style cow’s milk cheese with the merest hint of blue veining. (Think if a triple cream cheese and an Italian Gorganzola had a love child. Try it. You’ll like it.) And a distant third? Toasting the buns before you grill the burgers. (Call us crazy, but we’re accustomed to toasting the buns at the last minute, while the burgers are resting. Now that we think about it, though, if the buns have a chance to cool prior to being burdened with the weight of a burger, the bottom bun may be less prone to turning soggy.)

A skillet cheeseburger with arugula and a pile of fries on a white plate.

The Skillet Cheeseburger

5 from 1 vote
The skillet cheeseburger, from Seattle’s Skillet Street diner, is made with a grilled beef patty, cambozola cheese, peppery arugula, and bacon jam.
David Leite
Servings4 burgers
Calories764 kcal
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time10 minutes
Total Time20 minutes


  • 4 (6-ounce) patties ground beef, preferably grass-fed (mind you, don’t pack the patties too tightly)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 4 hamburger buns, preferably brioche, split
  • 4 (1-ounce) slices cambozola cheese
  • 8 tablespoons Bacon Jam, or substitute several strips cooked bacon
  • 2 cups loosely packed arugula


  • Preheat an outdoor gas grill or a stovetop grill pan or cast-iron skillet on medium.
  • Season the patties well with salt and pepper to taste while you toast the buns. Let the buns cool slightly. 
  • Cook the patties for about 3 minutes on one side. Flip the patties, place the cheese on top, and cook until the desired doneness, about 3 minutes on the second side for medium-rare, depending on the thickness of the patties.
  • Remove the patties from the heat and let them rest for at least 3 minutes. Spread the cut sides of each bun with a tablespoon Bacon Jam, pile some arugula on the bottom buns, plop the patties on the arugula, and sandwich with the top buns. We think you can take it from here.
The Skillet Cookbook

Adapted From

The Skillet Cookbook

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Serving: 1 burgerCalories: 764 kcalCarbohydrates: 23 gProtein: 41 gFat: 55 gSaturated Fat: 22 gPolyunsaturated Fat: 5 gMonounsaturated Fat: 22 gTrans Fat: 0.1 gCholesterol: 147 mgSodium: 820 mgPotassium: 654 mgFiber: 1 gSugar: 3 gVitamin A: 535 IUVitamin C: 2 mgCalcium: 289 mgIron: 5 mg

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

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2012 Josh Henderson. Photo © 2012 Sarah Jurado. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

I love EVERYTHING about these burgers, although I must admit that the actual burgers are nothing more than a vehicle to convey the BRILLIANT Bacon Jam and the WONDERFUL Cambozola cheese, which Wikipedia says is a combination of French ripened triple cream cheese and Italian Gorganzola. I used the Beautiful Burger Buns recipe from this site and I must say this is the finest burger that I’ve ever made.

Salty, sweet, peppery, smoky—this burger is a nice package of great flavors that work wonderfully together. (If you love Cuban sandwiches and muffaletta, you know what I’m talking about.) Beef and blue-y cheese is a known combination, but when you add a wad of arugula and some Bacon Jam (DO make it), WOW!

I made one substitution: I used challah buns, which seemed to have replaced all the brioche buns in town the week of Rosh Hashanah. Although not as buttery as brioche, challah worked well as it’s also sturdy and eggy, like brioche.

We enjoyed this burger very much. I used cambozola cheese and fresh arugula from my garden. The Bacon Jam was a big hit, and we really loved the flavor combination of the garnishes.

We grilled our burgers for a total of 6 minutes, as the recipe indicated, and they came a perfect medium-rare. Even my cousin’s 5-year-old son liked this burger, although he requested Swiss instead of blue cheese, which worked just as well.

Two words: Bacon Jam. Oh my goodness gracious, is this stuff good. A pound-and-a-half of bacon (about 15 slices) may seem like a lot, but don’t fret. The jam lasts up to 4 weeks, which is about 3 weeks longer than you’ll need. Combine the jam with arugula and creamy cheese, and you have a mighty fine burger.

For those who prefer a burger a bit more on the medium-side, leave the burger on the grill longer than 3 minutes or raise the grill temperature to medium-high.

OMG, this burger is a great combination of flavors! Meaty, salty, creamy, not to mention the slightly sweet Bacon Jam.

The Bacon Jam makes everything taste great, including this burger. I’ve used the jam in a grilled cheese sandwich, on crackers, on toast. It would be perfect for an appetizer on toasted baguette slices or roasted potato slices with the blue cheese and arugula. I’d recommend serving it at room temperature rather than right out of the fridge.

About David Leite

David Leite has received three James Beard Awards for his writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. His work has 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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  1. David, my friend who works with you (hi, Julie!) introduced me to your website years ago, and I’ve been following you ever since. After reading today’s post, I did some research and decided to take a field trip with my husband down to the Skillet Diner to try the original bacon jam on that burger. We were served mason jars for our drinks, a dishtowel for our napkin, and mismatched silverware for our utensils. This place is so cool (does anyone still use that word?). Our burgers came as promised, mine with those cheesy-herby poutine fries. I took a look at the beautiful Kale Caesar salad being served to someone at the bar and, being a self proclaimed kale hater, decided I needed a sample. The waiter graciously gave me a sample and, OMG, those beautiful, buttery croutons transformed that salad into a must-have. Needless to say, I bought a large jar of the bacon jam and will start to slather it onto everything we eat. Thanks for the blog…such a fun day. P.S. the people-watching at this restaurant is second only to the food!

    1. Hi Jane, I have been wanting to go to the Skillet Diner for ages and you beat me to it. I think we need to take a field trip with our book club buddies some day. When you run out of Bacon Jam you need to try the homemade version.