Juicy Lucy Recipe - Pinch of Yum
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Juicy Lucy

18 reviews / 5 average

A delicious hamburger stuffed with molten, bubbly, waterfalling cheese, all piled on a buttery toasted bun with all the fixings. The BEST.

Summer isn’t summer without a good burger.

Er, scratch that. Summer isn’t summer without a good Juicy Lucy.


In This Post: Everything You Need For Juicy Lucys


What Is a Juicy Lucy?

A Juicy Lucy is a delicious cheeseburger stuffed with molten, bubbly, waterfalling cheese.

That’s it. A burger stuffed with cheese.

Origins Of The Classic Juicy Lucy

The Juicy Lucy is the creation of South Minneapolis in Minnesota, though it’s HIGHLY contested who did it first: Matt’s Bar or the 5-8 Club, both oddly on the same street (Cedar Avenue).

The story told about how it first came to be is said to be a little bit of a happy accident, but it depends on who you ask, so in reality, it’s all a little murky. If you’ve ever wanted to know more about the heated history of a single humble (but delicious) cheeseburger than you ever thought, there is a major deep dive ready for your burger-loving consumption.

And if you are Minnesotan born and raised, you FOR SURE have eaten enough classic Juicy Lucys to have an opinion on all fronts: what kind of cheese should be used, should they be grilled or pan-fried, and which dive bar does it best.

I am, conveniently, from Minnesota! And I have opinions:

What’s the Best Kind of Cheese?

Straight-up American. YOU NEED A SMOOTH MELT. Yes, you can use sliced cheddar or pepperjack in a pinch (or throw some jalapeños in with your American for a hybrid). A lot of people also like to use blue cheese, which makes it a Blucy. But the essence of a Juicy Lucy, in my opinion, is a creamy, smooth-melt, almost-liquid-like center of cheese. This isn’t the time for Mozzarella cheese pulls, okay?

Grilled or Pan-Fried?

We do both in our house. Just depends on the day. A cast-iron skillet or flat-top pan is my choice for pan-frying.

Which Minneapolis Dive Bar Does It Best?

I vote for The Nook, actually. It’s in our little neighborhood corner of St. Paul and the dingy ambiance is everything a good dive bar should be. Plus, bowling alley in the basement. Seriously.

Juicy Lucy Ingredients

Beef, spices, American cheese. And some good brioche buns.

ALDI ingredients for Juicy Lucy.

How Do You Stuff It With Cheese?

It’s zero percent hard.

Make one smallerish patty, and one largerish patty.

Put the little hunks of cheese on the largerish one.

Adding cheese to two burger patties.

Put the smallerish one on top, and pinch up the edges.

Burger patties with cheese before grilling.

Yadidit.

How To Cook a Juicy Lucy

Your meat is mixed, your cheese is stuffed, and it’s time to make molten magic happen.

To cook this up, you can use a traditional grill, a flat-top grill, or do it on your stovetop in a skillet (preferably cast-iron). I actually prefer the stovetop method!

I prefer to cook mine on medium heat vs. the traditional medium-high, and here’s why:

I find it very difficult if not impossible to go for a medium-done Juicy Lucy because if you limit the cook time on the burger, it’s hard to get the cheese hot enough to melt. Plus you don’t want to be sticking a meat thermometer into these because you’ll lose your delicious melty cheese.

We usually just go for a more well-done burger by cooking it over medium heat for a little longer than you usually would (the patties on either side are thin so this happens relatively quickly) since we are chasing that delicious melty cheese center. 

What To Put On A Juicy Lucy

Whatever the heck you want!

I prefer a simple burger:

  • bun
  • burger
  • pickled jalapeño
  • sometimes tomato
  • always ketchup
  • maybe mayo
  • and often ranch because, yes, I really am that Minnesotan.
Juicy Lucy cut in half.

Happy summer BBQ-ing!

Juicy Lucy: Frequently Asked Questions

What kind of cheese do you recommend in a Juicy Lucy?

Hands down, classic American Cheese. It works well for a Juicy Lucy because it’s perfectly melty, gooey, not stringy, and has that classic cheesy flavor.

What heat temperature do you recommend?

Classically, a Juicy Lucy is cooked to medium doneness. BUT I find it nearly impossible to accomplish this (kudos to you, dive bars!) because the cheese is never melty enough when it reaches that level of doneness. So instead, I cook it over medium heat (instead of medium-high) so that the cheese is melted perfectly but the meat isn’t overdone. This does mean that the burger itself is more medium-well in doneness.

Should I cook these on the grill or do pan-fried?

Either works and both are delicious! Traditionally, Juicy Lucys are made on a flat-top grill, which we also have at home and loveeeee, or you could get a flat-top griddle for the stove. (affiliate links)

Is it spelled “Jucy Lucy” or “Juicy Lucy”?

Depends on where you eat it / where you pay homage to it! At Matt’s Bar it’s spelled “Jucy Lucy” and at the 5-8 Club it’s spelled “Juicy Lucy.” Not confusing at all, right? I love this weird little burger.

Print
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Juicy Lucy style burger on a plate.

Juicy Lucy


  • Author: Lindsay
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 6 burgers 1x

Description

JUICY LUCY! A delicious hamburger stuffed with molten, bubbly, waterfalling cheese, all piled on a buttery toasted bun with all the fixings. The BEST.


Ingredients

Units Scale

Juicy Lucy Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs. ground beef
  • 2 tablespoons burger seasoning
  • 612 slices American cheese

Juicy Lucy Extras:

  • 6 brioche buns
  • Toppings: Lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles
  • Sauces: Ketchup, mustard, mayo

Instructions

  1. Mix the spices into the ground beef (I just mix by hand). Divide the beef into 6 even sections.
  2. Form each section into two thin patties (a smaller top patty, and a larger bottom patty). Place 1-2 folded pieces of cheese on the bottom patty, and place the smaller top patty over it, pinching up the edges to seal.
  3. Grill or pan fry for about 5 minutes on medium heat, or until cooked to your desired doneness and cheese is melted. We usually sacrifice one Juicy Lucy and cut into it to test the doneness of both the beef and cheese.
  4. Let the Juicy Lucys rest for a minute or two. This is essential, otherwise the cheese will be so hot that it will literally come exploding out all over the place. I’m very serious.
  5. Serve on buns with your favorite toppings! 

Notes

I find it very difficult if not impossible to go for a medium-done Juicy Lucy because if you limit the cook time on the burger, it’s hard to get the cheese hot enough to melt. Plus you don’t want to be sticking a meat thermometer into these because you’ll lose your delicious melty cheese. We usually just go for a more well-done burger (the patties on either side are thin so this happens relatively quickly) since we are chasing that delicious melty cheese center. 

Definitely recommend toasting the buns! Just spread them with a little butter and either pop in the oven for a few minutes at 350, or place on the upper rack of a grill while the burgers finish.

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Grill
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: juicy lucy, burger stuffed with cheese, minnesota juicy lucy

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One More Thing!

This recipe is part of our easy summer dinners page. Check it out!

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Recipe rating

72 Comments

  1. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Love the new Instacart feature! So cool! Is it wrong to want a Juicy Lucy for breakfast?Because it’s 7:30 in the morning and now I do!

  2. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Another vote for the Nook!! My standard order is Juicy Nookie with fried onions and special sauce on the side. The best. I’ve had homemade lucys and had a particularly bad one when I was pregnant (patties way too thick, didn’t get done at all so was less than rare in the middle…. BAD) so I stick to the restaurants now 🙂

  3. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Julie

    This looks amazing! My son would like it exactly as you have it in the pic. Would you mind telling me the layers? Is that shredded lettuce on the bottom with mayo?

  4. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Carrie

    YESSS!!! I love the Nook, closely followed by Blue Door Pub’s Blucy and tots. I attempted to make Juicy Lucy burgers a few weeks back and my hubs didn’t realize they were filled and *gasp* PRESSED ON THE PATTIES. It was a cheese explosion on the grill. So sad. I very nearly cried.

  5. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Sue

    Aaahhh, the Jucy Lucy dive bar debate! I live right by the Nook so always vote for them out of ‘hood loyalty…but it’s a close race! Thanks for the easy recipe–I should try to make my own.

  6. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Julie

    How convenient that I didn’t have a meal plan made for this week.
    This is absolutely happening SOON.
    Love this twist on a good old cheeseburger 😀
    I will have to remember to stop for a Juicy Lucy next time I cross over to Minnesota.

  7. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Anna

    YASSS GUURRRL. As a fellow Minnesotan, I too have a love for a Juicy Lucy (and ranch). I can’t wait to try this recipe!

    I second others who say that the Nook is on my list to try!

  8. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Hannah

    1. Love The Nook recommendation.
    2. This looks delish and I’m making it this weekend.
    3. I’ve recently started shopping at Aldi, because budget, and this helps with meal plan inspiration.
    Thanks!

  9. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Glennae

    I’ve only eaten them at Matt’s… 😉

    Thank you for this! I have tried to make them at home and struggle with getting them cooked properly. I’ve had better luck picking up pre-made patties from a local shop. I will try it again this way – I’m feeling good about it!

  10. Pinch of Yum Logo

    I. Love. This Post! I’m not from MN, my body unfortunately isn’t thrilled if I eat much beef, but your down to earth enthusiasm, great sense of humor, and gorgeous pics kept me reading and smiling! You guys really deserve the success your blog has. Keep it all up!

  11. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Christin

    We had this exact burger for dinner tonight, only we used Aldi smoked gouda, BEFORE I saw your post! My husband thought the taste was amazing, and we are Iowans so we know our beef! No instacart for me though – I like going thru the aisles and checking out new their new products!






  12. Pinch of Yum Logo
    HWS

    What is the fat content (percent) of the ground beef you use? Not the nutritioinal info, but the percent on the package. I don’t have an ALDI market so I can’t check it out myself. Thanks.

  13. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Caitlin

    Central New Yorker here who has never even heard of a juicy Lucy! I made your recipe tonight and wow it was SO delicious! Will make them again!






  14. Pinch of Yum Logo

    I was exploring my Instagram feed and I saw your amazing food Image. So, now I am here reading your mindblowing recipes. You make so delicious food. Will try your recipes when I’ll get time on this Sunday.

    Thanks






  15. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Karen Carman

    Would these freeze well? I only need three but thought about making extra to pull out for another night.

  16. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Chris

    I used to live around the corner from Matt’s Bar and it was a constant tempatation to go there for a Jucy Lucy at every meal. Now that I don’t live in Minneapolis any more I haven’t had a Jucy Lucy in ages. I can’t wait to try this recipe!