I decided to write a guide to the best burgers in Austin, and I dove in wholeheartedly. For the past few months, I’ve been eating burger after burger after burger (oh, and some really good fries, too!) in order to compile the most complete list of the best burgers in Austin that you’ve ever seen. You guys told me that it’s important to have burgers in various price points, and you want to know if fries are included or not, because that obviously affects the price.
And so…here it is. The most EPIC guide to the best burgers in Austin! (Hope you’ve got your stretchy pants on, because after reading this you’ll want to eat nothing but burgers and fries.)
Here’s how I researched:
- I compiled a HUGE list of burgers to try by asking you for your recommendations, searching every single list that’s already out there, reaching out to restaurants and PR firms, and simply driving/living around Austin and keeping my eyes open.
- I researched: what qualifies as a “good” burger? I read and ate and read and ate (articles here, here, and here were all helpful in describing the perfect burger) and found a few important things to look for in a burger: I always tasted a bite of the meat by itself (that fat ratio is important), considered the bun (because whether it’s a soft Martin’s potato roll or a heftier bun to hold up a more robust patty, the bun needs to be sturdy enough to not turn to mush in seconds), and the toppings (not as important as meat + bun, but bad pickles and cheese can definitely ruin a burger.)
- I tried burgers in every price point. Sometimes a $5 burger hits the spot, and other times you want to splurge on a $20 wagyu burger.
- Was it eat-able? Some burgers are just so hard to eat…I’d take a bite out of one side, and all the toppings would slide out the opposite side and I’d end up using 8 napkins just to take a bit. A burger should be eaten with hands, not a fork and knife.
- This blog post is about beef burgers. I didn’t factor in veggie burgers, black bean burgers, lamb burgers, chicken burgers..it’s all about beef!
And here are my results. There are 3 categories in this guide: burgers that are $5 and under, burgers that are $6-13, and “splurge-worthy” burgers that are $14 +. There were SO many I wanted to share, but I want this to be helpful and not overwhelming, so I’m going to share a bunch of extra ideas at the bottom of the post for those of you who want more ideas.
$5 and under
Better Half Cheeseburger (Happy Hour Only T-F 3-6), no fries: It’s $10 normally, but I had to add this in my $5 and under category because you can get this delicious burger for a discount during happy hour, and it’s by far the best quality I’ve found in the $5 and under category! The meat is from local 44 Farms beef, and the bun is homemade and sooo good.
Double Bacon Cheeseburger at P. Terry’s, $4.90, no fries: You have to search high and low to find someone who’s not obsessed with this Austin burger chain. The 100% Angus beef is freshly ground, the cheese is soft and melty, and you can’t beat the convenience factor of drive-thru locations all over the city.
Kumbak Burger at Dirty Martin’s, $4.95, no fries: They’ve been serving the same burger for nearly 100 years in Austin, and if it ain’t broke, you know? These burgers are hefty and high-quality. The fries and onion rings aren’t included, but they’re hand-cut every day and worth adding to your order.
Cheeseburger at Sandy’s Hamburgers, $4.39, no fries: This place is another Austin institution (since 1946) and the charbroiled burgers are a mighty tasty fast food option. The meat itself isn’t incredibly impressive, but when you put it together with the toppings of crunchy lettuce and onion, a couple slices of tomatoes, pickles, and mustard on the bun, it’s a tasty meal. Try this one if you’re in the mood for a fast food-quality burger.
1/4 Pound Cheeseburger at Dan’s, $3.95, no fries: As far as under $5 burgers go, this one is a decent option. Yeah, it’s fast food, but they use certified Angus ground beef, and the lettuce, onion, and tomatoes are in-house prepared, not pre-packaged. Oh, and try some of those hand-breaded onion rings, too.
Medium Range: $6-13
The JewBoy Burger at JewBoy Burgers, $8.50, no fries: Hot dang. I’ve yet to find another burger this good under $10. Mo (the owner) says his philosophy on burgers is high-quality meat and buns, cheap pickles and mustard, and it’s obviously working because these burgers will knock your socks off. 1/3 lb freshly ground beef with onion grilled into the patty, melted cheddar, lettuce pickles and mustard on a Martins Potato Roll. Oh, and def pay extra to get the latkes. SO darn good.
Counter Burger at Counter Cafe, $13, with fries: Texas Monthly has called it the second best burger in the entire state of Texas, and I’m definitely adding it to my best burgers in Austin list, too. The soft sourdough bun is what really makes it fantastic! The grass-fed burger and sharp cheddar cheese don’t hurt, either.
The Frito Pie Burger at Lebowski’s Grill, $8.50, with fries or tots: Although it looks like a burger that I would just order to post on instagram, I actually at the entire thing…and then wanted another one. It tastes exactly like Frito pie, but in a sandwich form. It comes with fries or tots; get the tots. The fries aren’t very good. Lebowski’s Grill is located inside Highland Lanes bowling alley.
The Burger at Luke’s Inside Out, $11.25, with chips ($1.50 extra to sub fries): This is tied with JewBoy burgers for best food truck burger in Austin. It’s an 8 oz sirloin burger that’s juuust drippy enough. It comes with chips, but sub for crinkle cut fries if you can.
photo from soursop
The Waterburger at Soursop, $8.99, no fries: I’ve called this pan-asian food truck the best food truck in Austin many times, and the burger is a truly unique one that everyone needs to try: it’s a beef patty with melted cheese, thai basil ranch, waterfall slaw, served on a Martin’s potato roll. This food truck is parked outside St. Elmo brewery.
Pure Single With Cheese at Wholly Cow, $8, no fries: If there was ever an authentically Austin burger joint, this is it: no frills, a little dated looking on the outside, and serving organic, grass-fed burgers before it was even cool, Wholly Cow’s burgers are a MUST for my list of best burgers in Austin.
Cheeseburger at Billy’s On Burnet, $11, with fries: This is just a good, all-around, classic cheeseburger. No frills, just really good. It’s a 1/3 pound patty on a Kaiser roll, comes with fries, it’s in a fun, old-school Austin dive, and they have a good beer list so you can get a pint of something tasty to go with it.
Splurge-worthy ($14 +)
Dry-Aged Wagyu Double Cheeseburger at Dai Due, $20, with fries: I mean, I devoted an entire blog post to it. The quality of the meat is SO good, the bun is perfection, the fries are my whole world. This is one of those burgers that is so so good you’ll be telling all your friends about it.
L&L Burger at LeRoy and Lewis, $14, no fries: It’s the perfect combo of BBQ + burger: a smoked and seared akaushi brisket patty, American cheese, pickles, grilled onions, and special sauce on a Martin’s potato roll. This burger is hefty and smoky and only available at dinner at the LeRoy and Lewis food truck.
Cheeseburger and Fries at Jacoby’s, $17, includes fries: Jacoby’s is a “ranch-to-table” restaurant, so all the meat on the menu comes from their own family ranch. It’s about as fresh as it comes! It’s a bit pricey, but it’s fully worth it for the quality of the beef and the amazing fries. Seriously…I could eat buckets of them.
Butcher’s Burger at Salt & Time, $14, with fries: Salt & Time is a full-service butcher shop and restaurant, so you know you can expect some dang good meat here. It’s a no-frills burger so you can really taste the meat. This bad boy is made with 1/2 lb beef patty (oof!) of daily steak trimming, mayo, and sour pickles on brioche bun. Oh, and those beef fat French fries might be my favorite part.
Pascal Burger at Hopfields, $15, includes fries: This is unique one with French flair! Camembert, cornichon, whole grain mustard, and caramelized onions on a brioche bun. Ooh, and those pommes frites and housemate aioli? Oui oui!
Josephine House Burger at Josephine House, $18, includes fries, 50% during happy hour: I honestly could have included many of the burgers from McGuire Moorman Hospitality restaurants (Jeffrey’s, Clark’s, June’s, Joann’s, and Perla’s have great ones) but at the risk of this becoming an MMH roundup, I included my favorite: the burger at Josephine House is perfectly pink and topped with melted grafton cheddar, harissa aïoli, and grilled red onion on a housemade bun…but the real kicker? Those amazing frites! Plus this one is 1/2 off during happy hour. A bargain!
One of the hardest parts of writing this is keeping the list short enough to not be overwhelming. The following burgers probably could have been included, but the list would have gotten too long. So I’m including them below in case you’re the type of person of always wants more options. Here are a few other great burgers in Austin:
Cheeseburger at Loro: OH my soul…this one is outstanding! It’s made of Franklin BBQ smoked brisket and bavette, topped with red onion jam and butter lettuce and homemade pickles, and I’m absolutely amazed that it’s only $8.75. I’m including down here at the bottom, instead of at the top, because it’s only available from 2-5 pm during happy hour. Kind of a bummer that you can’t get this one during lunch or dinner, because it’s fantastic.
Burger at 40 North Pizza: Many of my food blogger friends call this one their favorite in town; I’m not adding it to my list because, although the burger is scrumptious (and it’s totally rad that a great burger is sold at a pizza place!), the bun just was’t sturdy enough to hold up to the burger’s fabulous-ness and it got soggy too quickly.
Griddle Burger at Carpenter Hall, $10 single/$16 double, with fries: this burger is a favorite in town; it’s quite expensive (I ordered the single and was still hungry…I’ll get the double next time) and a little bit too drippy/messy and so I didn’t put it at the top of my list, but it’s a fantastic burger nonetheless.
Any Burger at Hopdoddy, about $10, no fries: Alright, someone will get mad at me if I don’t put Hopdoddy on the list. It’s usually one of the first restaurants someone visits upon visiting Austin. It originated in Austin, but it’s more a “Texas” thing now. Pretty much all of their burgers are fantastic, and the restaurant is always crowded.
Amarillo Burger at Casino El Camino, $10.50, no fries: Casino’s burgers are OG and long-time Austinites call them the best. I, personally, think that some better ones have graced the scene in the past decade, but this one is still solid. For starters, it’s 3/4 pound (GASP!) and charbroiled over a well-loved grill, and topped with roasted serrano chiles, jalapeño jack cheese, and cilantro mayo. They’re cooked a little bit too well done (they won’t ask how you want it, so speak up) but as far as bang for your buck goes, this is it.
Rotating Burger at Odd Duck, $19, no fries (only at lunch): It’s a reeeaally tasty burger, but it’s also very expensive, doesn’t come with fries, and it’s so massive it’s kinda impossible to eat, haha! Last I checked they were constantly rotating the menu by switching out the toppings on this one.
Dean’s Signature Burger at Dean’s One Trick Pony, $7, no fries: This one is fantastic! Creekstone farms beef, queso, charred onion mayo, fry sauce, tomato, and pickle on a soft and sweet Hawaiian bun. My big complaint with this one is that it’s so small…almost the size of a slider. For a $7 burger (plus tax and tip), I need more bang for my buck.
Looking for more of my epic food guides to Austin? Click here to see my book, Austin Food Crawls, a neighborhood food guide to Austin. And click below to read other popular blog posts!