We are absolutely giddy to share this updated guide to the best burgers in Austin. In short, Austin is a sea of great restaurants, *several* of which have fantastic burgers. After several years of writing in Austin, we’ve gathered a collection of literally dozens of burgers in town and began to divide and conquer. We have been overwhelmingly impressed by the talent, creativity, and quality of so many restaurants in town striving to give their best stab at, what many consider to be, one of the most iconic American foods.
The Very Best Burgers in Austin
It’s important to note that this guide is not a list of the most popular burgers in Austin, nor is it a compilation of the most iconic or classic Austin burger spots either (not going to mention names, but we didn’t like most of these burgers, sadly). It certainly isn’t a collection of the cheapest burgers in town either. But rest assured that this is an honest guide to the best burgers in Austin from a team who has tried them all, from gourmet burgers to mom and pop spots.
What Constitutes a Great Burger?
We could spend hours debating what makes a great burger but as we went about trying different places here are the things that guaranteed a spot on our guide to the best burgers in Austin:
- The patty absolutely must be the star of the show and the meat itself should be show-stopping on its own. It should be juicy, flavorful, never dry or overcooked, and something that really catches your attention. We tested a bite of the burger patty alone at every single place. It’s the right thing to do.
- The bun completes the burger. Period. There’s nothing more disappointing than an incredible burger patty encased in a mediocre bun. Or, on the flip side, some immaculate house-made bun with a wimpy burger inside.
- Everything else is just gravy. Meaning, grilled onions, some secret millennial-old sauce recipe, a fried egg, bacon, or extra sharp cheddar are all a bonus. They’re all extras, they make the burger better (and perhaps more unique), but it isn’t the core.
- Fries influenced our decision somewhat. If you’re going to serve a burger you better have some great fries to go with it. Delicious french fries are not hard to make.
We Made Some of Our Own Rules
We wanted to make sure there was a little structure to the madness, so here are a few rules we set in place from the get go to keep things feasible:
- Any potential restaurant on this guide must already be “proven out”. There are a lot of great new restaurants popping up in Austin every single day, but we wanted to create a solid guide with recommendations that we knew could hold out for a while. Most of these spots have been open for a year at least.
- We tried fries with everything.
- Upon ordering, if there were multiple burger options we asked for the most signature or popular menu item. When it came to burger temperature we always asked them to prepare at the chef’s recommendation (which was oftentimes medium-rare or medium).
25. Plow Burger
Though technically not a traditional beef burger like all other burgers on guide to the best burgers in Austin, we absolutely wanted to give a nod to food truck Plow Burger. With several burgers on the menu, all featuring Beyond Meat patties, we recommend the Plow Burger: a classic diner-style burger with plenty of oozy American cheese, a buttery griddled bun, LTO, and secret sauce. The Beyond Meat patty is surprisingly delicious (even among a sea of MANY amazing beef patties in town) and still captures the umami essence a good griddled beef burger is known for. No, it isn’t beef, but you won’t miss it here. Plow Burger is a delicious vegetarian option we 100% recommend.
24. Pool Burger
Pool Burger serves a delicious no-frills burger in ATX. Their wagyu beef burgers are perfectly seared, giving them a delightful flavor and slightly crisp texture. They have all sorts of menu options but we’re fans of their classic Pool Cheeseburger– a 1/4 pound patty served with American cheese, iceberg lettuce, tomato, chopped onion, mayo, and mustard. Also, we absolutely love the tiki bar vibes here– it doesn’t get more Austin than a day of paddleboarding on Lady Bird Lake followed up with a burger from Pool Burger.
23. Luke’s Inside Out
Luke’s Inside Out, a food truck situated on South Lamar, is one of the most underrated spots for a great burger in town. Their burger is an 8 oz. sirloin patty served with bacon, cheddar, tomato, spinach, red onion, and lots of love. The patty is so flavorful and juicy– everything comes together so perfectly. Without a doubt one of the best burgers in Austin!
22. Josephine House
Josephine House is one of our top picks for dining in town, so it’s no surprise that they also serve one of the best burgers in Austin as well (served on their brunch and dinner menus). The taste of their half-aged meat and half beef chuck patty is rich in flavor and pairs perfectly with the Grafton cheddar, harissa aioli, and grilled red onions. The house-made bun is perfection.
21. Casino El Camino
Casino El Camino dishes out exactly what you’d expect from a bar on East 6th Street: a really solid burger with a nice thick patty (¾ lb) grilled to perfection. Grilled burgers aren’t always the norm in ATX, and we love the extra level of flavor found in every bite of both the patty and grilled bun. We recommend ordering their Amarillo burger: roasted serrano chiles, jalapeno jack cheese, and an out-of-this-world cilantro mayo (like, can we get a side of that mayo for our fries, please?). A top-notch rendition of a backyard-style burger!
20. ATX Sliders
Food truck ATX Sliders is new to the scene in Austin, but serving sliders like this, we won’t be surprised if they stick around for years to come. Featuring traditional beef and crispy chicken sliders, ATX Sliders’ focus is absolutely on quality: hello homemade tomato jam with brie, or baby arugula with gorgonzola sauce, and anything with goat cheese and hot honey we are soooo into right now. But beyond the “extras”, ATX Sliders serves a really nice patty that somehow manages to get a pink center, crispy edges, and be slider-size all at once, which is near impossible. You’ll need a few of these little guys to get full, but you will not be disappointed!
This old gas station/laundromat now converted into one of Austin’s most gorgeous and chic restaurants serves great food and one of the best burgers in Austin. Although small in size (don’t let this picture fool you) the flavor of their Plancha Burger is to die for, topped with American cheese, special sauce, and pickles, all served on a challah bun. Don’t forget to enjoy with their made-in-house pickles served alongside. Unreal!
18. Valentina’s Tex Mex BBQ
The Thursday-only burger from Valentina’s Tex Mex unquestionably deserves a spot on our guide to the best burgers in Austin. The details change week-to-week based on the pitmaster’s whim but always include a chopped smoked brisket patty that’s stuffed with cheddar cheese (or queso!). Add on some smoked tomatoes that are as good as they sound, some smokehouse sauce, and literally the most perfect bacon, and we can’t stay away.
17. Colleen’s Kitchen
Colleen’s Kitchen is a southern-inspired restaurant featuring a menu of classics: pimento cheese, biscuits, pot pie, shrimp and grits, and of course, a diner-style cheeseburger. Colleen’s aims to keep their menu simple but well-executed, and they’ve done this perfectly with their diner cheeseburger. It’s made of two super flavorful juicy patties layered with oozy cheddar, LTO, and special sauce. It doesn’t get more classic, and every little detail is done right at Colleen’s. Crinkle-cut fries can sometimes disappoint, but not at Colleen’s– these fries are some of our favorites. They’re cut in-house, perfectly crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside, and seasoned to perfection.
16. Tiny Boxwoods
We’ve told you about Tiny Boxwoods before (see our guides to the best restaurants in Austin and best desserts in Austin), and their delectable smash burger, AKA the Lucky Burger, is one of the best burgers in Austin. The Lucky Sauce sets this burger apart from the rest– it’s got a kick to it that really rounds out the flavor profile for a complete salty spicy rich slightly-sweet savory experience. Tiny Boxwoods does not skimp on their super tasty fries making this burger + fries combo shareable for a perfect light lunch on their beyond-charming patio.
15. Sour Duck Market
Sour Duck Market is a neighborhood bakery and cafe that provides baked items to its more upscale sister restaurant, Odd Duck. And, like Odd Duck, the menu at Sour Duck also changes with the seasons, but the double cheeseburger is a constant. This is a smash burger in its purest form, with crispy salty edges and melty American cheese. Served with a little mayo and a house pickle for balance on THE best homemade challah bun, and this burger is a total home run.
14. Foreign and Domestic
Simply put, the burger at Foreign and Domestic is TDF. The patty has an almost “fall apart” consistency. It’s very juicy and there’s an addicting smoky paprika flavor throughout the burger and in the accompanying sauce and fries (also top notch). With cheddar, rouille, green tomato jam, and pickled red onion to complete the picture, this is 100% one of the best burgers in Austin.
13. Counter Cafe
We just love the cheeseburger from Counter Cafe, and it’s easily one of the best burgers in Austin. It’s a very simple burger but once you take a bite there is no going back. The Counter Burger has a super flavorful, thick burger patty with a generous helping of sharp cheddar cheese which really compliments the rich flavor of the burger. It’s all served on a sweet sourdough bun (big fans) and comes with a side of classic homemade french fries. You can enjoy this burger at their original location on North Lamar or for an even bigger location with the same great food visit their 6th street location.
12. Odd Duck
You won’t find more inventive or picturesque burgers than those served at Odd Duck in Austin. They regularly change their burger composition, but you can always count on something flavorful, delicious, and infused with an innovative flair- all sourced with local ingredients. Their current burger is a dry-aged wagyu patty with pimento, house-made bbq sauce, and a thick-cut onion ring to round out this over-the-top deliciously rich burger. Odd Duck’s burger isn’t exactly cheap but is 100% shareable, and you’ll absolutely want to make room for other items on their inventive menu.
11. Dai Due
A guide for the best burgers in Austin wouldn’t be complete without the delectable Dry-Aged Wagyu Cheeseburger at Dai Due. Picture two thin, dry-aged wagyu patties, both coated with cheese, and topped with sauce especial, dill pickles, and onions, all situated on a homemade bun that dreams are made of. The flavor of this burger is impeccable and we are also really into the fries and beet ketchup served on the side.
10. Better Half Coffee and Cocktails
Better Half Coffee and Cocktails serves up another classic diner-style burger that we cannot get enough of. Every burger starts with a grass-fed beef patty griddled to literal perfection. It’s thicker than a smash burger and maintains an incredible amount of juiciness, but still manages to get a nice crispy salty edge– talk about a win-win! It’s topped with a quintessential square of melty American cheese all on a soft, yeasty, slightly sweet challah bun. Better Half has this burger down to a science and we love it. Pro tip: skip the fries– the cauliflower tots with beet ketchup are pure magic.
If you’ve been to Contigo then you know how amazing the food is, and if you haven’t had their burger then you’re completely missing out! There isn’t anything crazy or over the top about the burger and fries at Contigo but everything is done with high-quality ingredients (you’ll agree once you taste the patty) and prepared to perfection. This classic burger is served with lettuce, onion, tomato, pickles, and aioli on a housemade challah bun, and it’s simply so, so good.
The burger from Jacoby’s is timeless and classic. Their dry-aged beef patty is the absolute star of the show with unbeatable flavor and juiciness. When you order a burger at Jacoby’s you have the option of adding avocado, bacon, mushrooms, or fried egg, but this burger can 100% stand on its own. Order your burger medium-rare and save room for their delectable hand-cut fries. Their patty is one of the best in town so make reservations!
7. Leroy and Lewis Barbecue
Leroy & Lewis is one of our most recommended restaurants in Austin, so it’s no surprise that their burger is one of the very best in town. This burger is 100% all about the smoked akaushi brisket patty that’s coated in the same cracked black pepper crust that’s traditionally found on brisket. The end result is a smoky, rich, juicy patty that’s so incredibly packed full of flavor, you’ll (almost) forget about the rest of the burger (cheese, grilled onion, and a killer sauce). In traditional barbecue food truck fashion, this burger can sell out quickly on weekends and busy days, but we promise it’s absolutely worth the extra effort to score one.
6. Clark’s Oyster Bar
If you spend any time talking to foodies in Austin or a few days perusing Austin food pics on Instagram, you’ll notice that everyone is talking about the Pan Roasted Black Angus Burger from Clark’s Oyster Bar. We’re usually pretty leery of food that looks this beautiful but trust us when we say that this burger is every bit as delicious as it looks! Served with a sauce gribiche and Clark’s rosemary fries, you have no choice but to swoon at first bite. It completely lives up to the hype and is no doubt one of the best burgers in Austin. This burger is half-off every Monday through Friday during happy hour– #chaching!
Simply walking into Kalimotxo will instantly give you a good idea of what to expect from their burger: an elevated, chef-crafted experience all based on open-hearth cooking. Kalimotxo is a small plate Spanish-influenced cocktail bar that shares a kitchen with famed Hestia, which showcases its massive 20-foot open hearth throughout its menu. The Kali Burger features a wagyu patty, caramelized onions, mushroom aioli, and Mahon cheese– a very melty, buttery cow’s milk cheese from Spain that suits this burger perfectly. The Kali Burger will floor you. The wagyu melts in your mouth (think the best steak you’ve ever had but even more tender and utterly delicious), and being cooked over the hearth it takes on a wood-fired taste without any hint of smoke. It’s truly an incredible burger.
4. 40 North
Typically known for its pizza, 40 North is a great neighborhood spot that also happens to have one of the best burgers in Austin. The menu features two burgers– the classic diner-style burger (also amazing), but the ‘Shroom Burger is 100% where it’s at. This burger is so loaded with umami it’s ridiculous. From the salty in-house dry-aged beef patty to the black garlic aioli and the griddled cremini mushrooms and onions, this burger is simple but executed perfectly. 40 North doesn’t do fries, but we didn’t even miss them.
3. Carpenters Hall
Carpenters Hall is home to another Austin burger with a lot of hype, and this one shatters every single expectation. The Griddled Burger is for sure griddled and cooked to a perfect medium– the juicy somewhat thicker patties (yes there are two!) with the crusty crisp edges are magic. Pair them with a soft almost flaky bun for more magic. Yeah, it has some kind of special sauce, maybe some onions and a pickle, but it doesn’t even matter, because this patty and bun combo is phenomenal. We love everything about Carpenters Hall: the restaurant aesthetic, the updated old-school menu, the cute patio, and mostly this burger.
2. Spread & Co.
Our guide to the best burgers in Austin is full of classic, All-American style cheeseburgers, and they are truly all so, so good, but the burger from Spread & Co is not one of those classic burgers. The double smash beef patties have incredibly crispy edges and are topped with raclette cheese, pickled mustard seed, house pickles, and caramelized onions all on a brioche bun baked in-house. This burger is a little bit funky, rich and strong, and so, so savory. And we have to give the fries a shout out here since they’re our absolute favorite: thin-cut in-house, addictively crunchy, and tossed in freshly cracked black pepper and flaky salt. They are as amazing as they sound, and we tried a lot (understatement) of fries for this guide.
1. Salt and Time
It’s hard to pick a “favorite” burger for a guide of the best burgers in Austin, but this Butcher’s Burger from Salt & Time truly takes the cake. It’s a 1/2 pound beef patty made of daily steak trimmings including ribeye and other high-quality cuts, served with aioli, sour pickles, and beef fat french fries. The juiciness and flavor in every bite is simply delectable– you won’t ever want this burger to end! And a “best burger” in our book is always paired with the perfect french fries, which these (plus the homemade ketchup) absolutely are.