Craving burgers but avoiding bread? A burger bowl is a fresh take on a hamburger and completely customizable based on what you have on hand. Create a flavorful burger bowl for dinner tonight in about 20 minutes!

Burger bowls! Dinner in about 20 minutes. Completely customizable.

One of the smartest ways to save money on food is to use up ingredients you already have on hand – instead of making another trip to the grocery store.

That’s why I love recipes like this 20-minute burger bowl, which can be customized in many different ways: A loaded burger bowl with seasoned ground beef, lots of toppings and a special sauce to pull it all together.

(These bowls really do take about 20 minutes to make: 5 minutes to cook the meat, 10 minutes to chop the veggies, 5 minutes to make the sauce – that’s it!)

Shop Your Fridge, Freezer & Pantry

Money-saving tip: Check your fridge, freezer and pantry to find ingredients to top your burger bowls:

  • A half onion in your crisper drawer;
  • A small block of cheese that can be shredded and used as a topping;
  • The near end of a jar of pickles;
  • A handful of green olives;
  • A couple of green onions ready to be chopped up and used as a topping.

Burger bowls: Like a burger, in bowl form without the bread. 20-minute meal!

The Use-What-You-Have Deconstructed Burger Bowl

There’s one thing you need to know about this recipe: You can customize pretty much every part of these burger bowls.

The traditional burger bowl will look something like this: Shredded lettuce, flavorful ground beef, classic burger toppings, and a Big Mac sauce.

However, you can build your bowls around any of the following:

  • Lettuce: Use shredded iceberg lettuce or chopped Romaine lettuce as the base of your bowl. 
  • Seasoned meat: You can stick with the classic: A juicy ground beef seasoned simply with salt and pepper. For best results (aka not dry results), choose 80% or 85% lean ground beef. Or you can use ground turkey instead. For a hearty bowl, plan on about 1/2 pound of ground meat per person.
  • Fresh veggies: Consider your favorite burger toppings and pile them on your bowl: Chopped tomatoes, sliced avocado, guacamole, red onion, cucumbers, jalapeno peppers, bell peppers.
  • Pickles: Sliced dill pickles or sweet pickles.
  • Shredded cheese: Choose your favorite cheese to top these bowls: Cheddar, pepper jack, mozzarella, Monterrey jack, etc. 
  • Other toppings: Get creative! Top your bowl with potato chips, French fries on the side, sweet potato fries on the side, steak fries, pepperoncini peppers, sesame seeds on top.
  • Sauce: Use ranch dressing, sriracha mayo, your favorite burger sauce – or consider making your own out of mayo, ketchup, lemon juice, garlic, and sugar. Scroll down for full recipe.

More Meat Options For 20-Minute Burger Bowls

These burger bowls are made in about 20 minutes, which includes the time it takes to scramble the hamburger. However, another option would be to grill or fry burger patties and place them on top of the loaded bowl.

20 minute burger bowls: Make a homemade, healthy dinner in about 20 minutes!

Ground Beef Bowls For The Win

I always have a package or two of frozen ground beef on hand to make all sorts of simple, homemade meals. 

I love getting creative with ground beef bowls. My go-to is a base of white rice, a seasoned ground beef on top, some fresh veggies, and a flavorful sauce. Here are a few options to try:

Gochujang ground beef bowls

Korean ground beef bowls

Mexican ground beef skillet

Is This Recipe Paleo, Whole30, And Gluten-Free?

Get your burger fix without the carbs! These 20-minute burger bowls are naturally gluten free and can easily be prepared as Whole30 or Paleo friendly. Just omit the cheese and potato chips, and choose a paleo-friendly burger sauce – like this recipe.

Burger bowls: A deconstructed burger - healthy dinner - in about 20 minutes.

Burger bowls! Dinner in about 20 minutes. Completely customizable.

Burger Bowls

Yield: 2 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

Plan on between 1/3 pound and 1/2 pound of ground beef per person. Since these "burgers" are bunless, it might take a little more meat to satisfy.


  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 medium yelllow onion, chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

To assemble bowls

  • 2 cups shredded iceberg lettuce
  • 1 Roma tomato, chopped
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup dill pickle slices
  • 1/2 avocado, sliced
  • Handful of potato chips

Simple burger sauce

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • Juice from 1/2 lemon
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper


  1. Cook ground beef: In a large frying pan, heat oil over medium heat. Cook onions for 2 to 3 minutes to soften. Add ground beef and spices and continue to cook, breaking up meat, until browned. Set aside.
  2. Make sauce: Whisk all sauce ingredients together in a small mixing bowl. Set aside.
  3. Assemble bowls: Use shredded lettuce as the base of your bowls. Add seasoned ground beef, shredded cheese, tomatoes, avocado, pickles, chips, and other desired toppings. Drizzle with sauce and serve.

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