Apple Cheddar Burgers with Caramelized Onions

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Shredded apples, caramelized onions, and sharp Vermont Cheddar, these fall-inspired hamburgers are a perfect way to capture the taste of a New England autumn.

Michael holding a hamburger and a blue plate

A new take on classic BBQ fare, these hamburgers bring together variety of complimentary fall flavors into a simple camp-friendly meal. First, the onions are caramelized using a small saute pan. Next, peel the skin off of an apple and grate it. The shredded apple is then mixed together with the hamburger meat. Not only does this help keep the burger moist throughout, but it also ensures that the apple flavor is in each and every bite.

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Why it Works for Camping

‣  What’s great about this recipe is how with just a few ingredients, you can elevate your standard summer BBQ hamburger into a seasonal speciality.

Mastering the Techniques

‣  Keep the heat low while caramelizing the onions, and don’t rush them. The savory and slightly sweet flavor as a result of the slow caramelization of their sugars are a killer accompaniment to the sharp cheddar.

‣  Salt your burger patties only after they’ve been formed. Keeping the salt on the outside adds flavor without altering the composition of the meat’s proteins. If you mix the salt with the meat while making the patties, the burgers will have a tougher, denser texture.

Ingredient Notes

‣  We used ground beef with a 85% lean to 15% fat ratio. You don’t want to go much leaner than this or your burgers will start to lose their structure and they will be drier.

Megan cooking over a campfire with fall foliage in the background Megan cooking over a campfire

Michael sitting next to a campfire eating a hamburger

Michael holding a hamburger and a blue plate

Apple Cheddar Burgers with Caramelized Onions

5 from 14 ratings
Pin Rate
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
6 burgers



  • 2 lbs ground beef, 85% lean
  • 1 large apple
  • 1 teaspoon salt


  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon salt


  • 6 hamburger buns
  • 6 oz. sharp Vermont cheddar
  • other condiments of choice


  • CARAMELIZE THE ONIONS: Add the onions, olive oil, and salt to a small skillet and place over the fire at medium-low heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft and beginning to caramelize, about 20-25 minutes.
  • FORM THE BURGER PATTIES: Meanwhile, peel & grate the apple on the large holes of a cheese grater. Mix with the ground beef and salt, then form into six patties.
  • GRILL THE BURGERS: Cook the patties over medium-high heat, about 3-4 minutes on each side. Toast the buns, then build the burgers, topping each with the cheddar, caramelized onions, and any other condiments you wish.


Form the patties at home, omitting the salt. Prepare the caramelized onions at home on your stovetop. Stove the patties and the onions in separate airtight containers in your cooler until ready to cook. Salt the patties right before grilling at your campsite and reheat the onions in a small skillet until warmed through.
Sharp knife
Cutting board
Vegetable peeler
Cheese grater
Small skillet
Grill/campfire or a camp stove/grill pan

Nutrition (Per Serving)

Calories: 573kcal

*Nutrition is an estimate based on information provided by a third-party nutrition calculator

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Michael holding a hamburger and a blue plate

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  1. This looks so delicious. We’re in New England right now so of course we’re loving all things apple + cheddar. (I’d recommend Cabot!)5 stars

    1. Fresh Off the Grid says:

      We love Cabot, too! It’s actually what we used in this recipe. Gotta love that Vermont cheddar.

  2. Diego Lopes says:

    I love simple recipes like this one, just a few ingredients and nearly zero margin for error (which is entirely possible given my limited cooking skills).5 stars

  3. I just bought the ingredients and am getting ready to fire up the grill! Great sounding recipe!5 stars

  4. Eleutheros says:

    The mix of apples and beef sounded delicious, and it was!
    I made these as stuffed burgers using Gouda cheese and bacon bits as the stuffing. Gouda, apple and bacon… just think about it.
    The caramelized onions were the perfect compliment, except I didn’t make enough of them. Next time, I’ll use twice the onion because they were just to good by themselves while the burgers cooked.
    And yes, don’t ever use anything leaner than 80/20 to make burgers. 85/15 is the best.5 stars

    1. Fresh Off the Grid says:

      I LOVE the idea of stuffing the patties with gouda!!! Apples and gouda are such a perfect match. Thanks Eleutheros!

    2. I bet this would be excellent with ground chicken!5 stars

  5. Andrea Fletcher says:

    Do you think I could prep these at home and freeze so we wouldn’t have to eat them on our first camp night?

    1. Fresh Off the Grid says:

      I bet that would work fine!

  6. It looks great . I will try to do it the I can for tonight’s dinner !

  7. best burgers ever! we prepped before the trip over your recs, and everything was perfect! served on grilled brioche with just a bit of ketchup and it was perfection!5 stars

  8. Judith Bondar says:

    Tried this tonight with a minor addition. I caramelized the onion with some sage, 2-3 pinches of dry, then added apple to the onion the last couple of minutes. I also added a couple of pinches of sage with the apple mixed in the meat, (Bison). I also used only a half a pound of meat for 2 servings. Served with sharp cheddar, sliced fresh apple, and the onion-apple mix on a crostini roll. It was very good and the sage added a touch of fall.5 stars

    1. Fresh Off The Grid says:

      Thanks for sharing your modifications, Judith! Those all sound so tasty!

      1. Judith Bondar says:

        Your welcome. Made it again tonight.