One of my very favorite meals to serve at a casual get together are burgers, but serving them can be a bit of a logistical mess. Putting together a build a burger dinner is an easy way to allow guests to serve themselves easily and customize their meal!

Prepare Ahead of Time

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Make a list of all the toppings and condiments you plan to offer on your build-a-burger bar. Include standard options like cheese, tomato, and additions. Here are a few ideas:

  • Bacon
  • Avocado slices
  • Sauteed peppers and onions
  • Chili
  • Onion rings
  • Feta
  • Salsa
  • Pesto
  • Pickles
  • Herbed mayonnaise
  • Monterey jack…

If possible, slice veggies and prepare the toppings ahead of time.

Set up the Bar

Once you know what you’ll be serving ensure that you have serving dishes for all of your burger toppings. Position dishes ahead of time for easier setup. Set up your burger bar in an area with easy access and good traffic flow so guests can maneuver with their plates. Order the bar logically-plates and buns first, followed by burgers, then toppings, etc. Be sure to provide napkins and serving utensils such as spoons and knives.

Choose Side Dishes

Because the actual grilling of the burgers and setting up the toppings is somewhat time consuming, consider choosing make-ahead side dishes like salad, pasta salad, or chips to serve along with your burgers. Homemade french fries or sweet potato fries baked in the oven are another easy option.

Build Your Burgers!

Now comes the fun part-grill burgers, being sure to cook thoroughly. You may want to offer guests a choice between medium and well done burgers-if so mark them clearly on the burger bar. Invite guests to help themselves-it’s fun to see the various combinations people choose to top their burgers with! Some of my favorite combinations are bacon and avocado or mayo and sauteed peppers!

What are your favorite burger toppings? Have you ever set up a build a burger dinner when entertaining?