It’s burger season! Time to break out the grill or cast iron pan, if that’s what you make your burgers in, and get your burger on. If you’re doing burgers I hope you get a chance to make a Juicy Lucy.

I first heard about the infamous Juicy Lucy a couple of years ago. I was headed to Minneapolis for a quick trip and before I flew out, Mike did a quick search on what kind of foods Minneapolis is known for. The thing that came up again and again was a Juicy Lucy.

According to lore, Juicy Lucys (Lucies?) were invented in the city in the 50s in two different bars independently of each other. I think there’s some sort of Juicy Lucy rivalry going on between the two, but regardless, they both make a burger where the cheese is inside the patty instead of on top. The cheese makes everything extra juicy, thus Juicy Lucy.

Of course, after Mike discovered Juicy Lucys, I got really excited. I mean, a burger with the cheese inside the patty? I could just imagine how gooey and melty and cheese pull friendly it was going to be. We watched a bunch of YouTube videos on them – the most notably weird one being of Richard Blais making a Juicy Lucy where the cheese wasn’t even melted. That led us down a Richard Blais YouTube hole. Did you know he calls his fans “Blaisians?!” Shudder.

Anyway, the most important part of a Juicy Lucy is the molten cheese core. To get that you have to cook your burger on the stove to get that nice seared crust, then finish it in the oven so that the cheese gets extra melty. I think I put a bit too much cheese in mine though because the cheese started to ooze out a bit. I’m not complaining though because the patty ended up with a cheese crust and crusty, crispy cheese is always a good thing.

Happy burger-ing! Hope you get some Juicy Lucys soon.

PS – I never did get a chance to try a Juicy Lucy in Minneapolis. Have you ever had one? We’ll have to go back one day!

jucy lucy |

What is a Juicy Lucy?

A Juicy Lucy is a cheeseburger where the cheese is inside the patty instead of melted on top! Juicy Lucys have a melted oozy core of cheese. They were invented in Minneapolis, but it’s debatable who invented them first. There are two dive bars that claim to be the original inventor of Juicy Lucys: Matt’s Bar and 5-8 Club. Juicy Lucys are delicious, especially if you love melted cheese.

Juicy Lucy ingredients

  • Ground beef. Use a nice ground beef – go for grass fed, organic if you can. The better the quality of beef the better your burger will taste
  • Cheese. You can use any melty cheese you want. I went with cheddar because I love the flavor, but traditionally it’s made with American cheese for a creamy, super smooth, liquid molten melt.
  • Seasonings. I kept it simple with salt and freshly ground pepper but you can also season your burger patty with garlic powder, onion powder, a bit of paprika, and a pinch of cayenne.
  • Burger buns. I love super squishy burger buns and I love them toasted with butter. If I’m buying buns, we’ll go for a brioche-type bun or a potato bun. Of course you can go all out and make your own buns too.
  • Burger sauce. Again, we kept it simple with the classics: mayo, ketchup, and mustard. You can also go for a jalapeño burger sauce or a copycat Shake Shack sauce or copycat In-N-Out spread
  • Burger toppings. These are entirely up to you! I never say no to lettuce or tomato on a burger and Mike loves a good pickle. You could also do some onions, either raw or caramelized. Sky’s the limit.

What kind of cheese should I use for a Juicy Lucy?

You should use the cheese you love! If you want to do as the Minnesotans do, use American cheese – it’s the meatiest of the melty cheese. You can also use cheddar, pepper jack, blue cheese, mozzarella, fontina, gruyere, provolone, or even a mini brie!

Grilled or pan-fried Juicy Lucy?

You can either grill or pan-fry your Juicy Lucy. We’ve done both and usually I prefer pan-fried because I love the crust it gets.

how to make a juicy lucy |

How to make a Juicy Lucy

  1. Make the patties. Stuff your burger patties with ALL the cheese.
  2. Cook the patties. Cook up your burgers anyway you like, we prefer pan fried but you can grill them too. Let the patties rest while you toast the buns.
  3. Toast the buns. Toasted buttered buns are essential to a good burger.
  4. Assemble. Spread on your condiments of choice, place the Juicy Lucy patty on then top with burger toppings of your choice and the top of the burger. Enjoy but be careful, the cheese is hot!

How to put the cheese in the center of a Juicy Lucy

The molten core might seem like a mystery, but it’s really easy to put cheese inside the middle of a burger patty.

  1. Form. Take a portion of ground beef and then divide it into 2 patties, one a bit smaller than the other. Form them, one slightly bigger than the other, with a little indent in the middle.
  2. Fill. Put a bunch of cheese in the middle of the indent of the slightly larger patty then top it off with the slightly smaller patty.
  3. Seal. Pinch the patties shut, sealing in the cheese. Done!

cheese inside a juicy lucy |


Juicy Lucy |

Juicy Lucy

Meet the Juicy Lucy, the ultimate cheeseburger with the cheese inside the patty.
Serves 1 burger
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes


  • 1/4 lb ground beef chuck preferred
  • 1/4 cup shredded cheese cheddar preferred
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 burger bun see notes
  • 1 leaf green leaf lettuce torn
  • 1 slice tomato
  • pickles if desired
  • condiments if desired


  • Divide the beef into roughly 1/3 and 2/3 portions. Shape the 2/3 portion into a burger shape with an indent in the middle. Try to make the burger slightly bigger than your bun as it will shrink while cooking. Put the cheese in the center of the larger patty.
    cheese inside a juicy lucy |
  • Top with the remaining beef and shape compactly into a burger patty. Season both sides with salt and pepper.
    juicy lucy recipe |
  • Heat a cast iron pan over medium-high. Butter and toast your buns, then set aside.
    toasting burger buns |
  • Add the burger, and fry for 3-4 minutes on each side, until charred and a crust starts to form.
    how to make a juicy lucy |
  • Spread ketchup, mayo, and mustard, to taste, on the bottom bun. Top with the burger, lettuce, tomato, and the top bun. Enjoy immediately!
    Juicy Lucy |


Burger buns are one of the most important and overlooked component of any burger. We prefer Martin's potato rolls, every time.

Estimated Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
Juicy Lucy
Amount Per Serving
Calories 582 Calories from Fat 236
% Daily Value*
Fat 26.2g40%
Saturated Fat 9.5g59%
Cholesterol 135mg45%
Sodium 703mg31%
Potassium 662mg19%
Carbohydrates 36.3g12%
Fiber 3.9g16%
Sugar 10.7g12%
Protein 51.8g104%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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  1. Oh! That looks so so delicious. The patty looks so juicy… DREAMY!

  2. Love the juicy lucy! I have had a few growing up near Minneapolis. From the looks of this burger, I’d say you’re pretty close to the real thing ;) xo

  3. WK says:

    Matt’s Bar has the best Juicy Lucy. I’ve had both “originals”. The other bar that shall remain nameless serves them too dry.

  4. Amanda says:

    Totally agree with WK above. Matt’s Jucy Lucy (yep no i in their spelling!) is the best. It is more of a smash burger though. American in between with thin burgers – not smashed so the cheese doesn’t get out but not a thick burger. They say Fear the Cheese and its true! Hot molten cheese can come spraying out. Treat it like a soup dumpling. Have a little nibble and let the steam out!

  5. Sandy says:

    Matt’s Jucy Lucy is the original and best. If you visit Minneapolis you just have to go to Matt’s for a Jucy Lucy and Grain Belt Premium (exquisite Minnesota lager).

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Thanks for reading as always!
-Steph & Mike