Ultimate Butter Burger (Culver’s Copycat)

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A Butter Burger from Culver’s is always a treat, and now you can recreate one at home with this butter burger recipe! Juicy beef patties are smothered in cheese and stacked with crispy bacon and red onion slices, all on a buttered, toasted bun. Add more of your favorite toppings and spreads and enjoy custom deluxe butter burgers of your own making!

titled: Ultimate Butter Burger Culver's


Founded in Sauk City, Wisconsin in 1984, Culver’s® quickly became famous for their Butterburger™ and Frozen Custard.

Now you can enjoy their signature menu item from the comfort of your home using fresh, whole food ingredients — just like the founders intended.

ingredients to make butter burgers

Butter Burger

Stacked high and oozing with flavor, this homemade Culver’s Butter Burger tastes just like the original!

Pair this Wisconsin butter burger recipe with a variety of sides to create your own takeout combo at home.

Whether it’s crinkle fries and onion rings in the air fryer, soft pretzel bites with cheese sauce, or a simple side of coleslaw — there’s no limit to what tastes great with these butter burgers.

two beef patties topped with cheese in skillet

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions

  • Ground beef – We mimic the flavor of Culver’s specialty ground beef by choosing a fattier blend of 80% lean. Feel free to use a leaner blend if you prefer.
  • Butter – Soften salted butter so it’s easy to spread onto the buns. We also like to toss a pat or two in with the beef, and it melts faster when softened.
  • Cheese – American cheese melts down quickly and easily, so no wonder it’s a classic choice for fast food burgers!

    Prepare Culvers burgers with your favorite slices — Tillamook medium cheddar, Pepper Jack, or even blue cheese would be delicious.
  • Hamburger buns – Brioche gets nice and crispy when toasted and only adds to that delicious buttery flavor.
  • Condiments – Use your favorite combination of mayonnaise, ketchup, and mustard.
  • Toppings – We like our Culvers burgers fully loaded with red onion, crispy strips of bacon, juicy tomato slices, and green leaf lettuce.

    You can even add some dill pickle chips for extra tang and crunch!
toasting hamburger buns in cast iron skillet

Kitchen Tools You Will Need

  • Large Skillet or Griddle – We recommend using cast iron for this recipe! Just allow enough time for it to heat completely before adding the meat.
  • Heat-safe spatula for pressing and flipping the beef patties.
hamburger buns with ketchup, mustard, and burger toppings

Butter Burger Recipe FAQ

Why does Culver’s call it a butter burger?

According to their website, there isn’t even any butter used when cooking the patty!

Instead, the buns are brushed with pure Wisconsin butter from a family-owned creamery near the location of the original restaurant.

Should you put butter on a burger before grilling?

We like to add butter to the pan when searing the beef patties to give the meat some extra flavor. However, you can limit the butter to the buns if you prefer.

If you would rather grill the patties, slather the softened butter on the insides of the buns and toast them on the grill or in a skillet.

What makes a Culver’s Butter Burger?

Each sandwich starts with a fresh beef patty made from sirloin, chuck, and plate cuts that sits atop a buttered and toasted bun.

The original comes with ketchup, mustard, red onion, and pickles, but you can customize yours however you’d like! Cheese, lettuce, tomato, bacon, and even mushrooms — choose from any or all for your butter burger.

burger patty with cheese on bacon strips with top bun smeared in ketchup

Prep Ahead Instructions for Butter Burgers

Getting ready for a cookout? Divide the ground beef into 8 equal patties, but wait to add the salt and pepper. 

Lay the patties on a foil-lined platter and cover tightly with foil, then refrigerate until it’s time to cook!

You can also slice up the veggies and chill those for one less thing to do later.

We usually cook our bacon in the oven as well, which can be done ahead of time or while you prep and cook the beef patties.

overhead: homemade butter burger

Storing a Culver’s Butter Burger

Once your Culvers burgers are fully assembled, you’ll need to enjoy them right away. You can, however, refrigerate the cooked patties for 2 to 3 days in an airtight container.

Cooked patties can also be frozen for up to 1 month without the cheese. Wrap individually in plastic wrap and store in a freezer-safe storage bag.

When you’re ready to reheat, warm each patty in a pan on the stove. Add a splash of water and cover with a lid so it warms all the way through.

closeup: burger with two cheesy patties and bacon strips

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homemade culver's butter burger with all the toppings

close up: butter burger on brioche bun with pickles, red onion, lettuce and bacon

Ultimate Butter Burger (Culver’s)

Donna Elick
Make our copycat recipe for a juicy, cheesy butter burger piled high with cheese, bacon, and your favorite toppings — just like at Culver's!
5 stars from 2 reviews
Tried this recipe?Please comment and review!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 16 minutes
Total Time 26 minutes
Course Main
Cuisine American
Method Stovetop
Servings 4 double patty burgers



  • 2 pounds lean ground beef, or 8 quarter pound burger patties (See Notes)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper, or to taste
  • 1/2 cup salted butter, softened (See Notes)
  • 8 slices American cheese, (See Notes)
  • 4 brioche hamburger buns
  • 4 slices red onion
  • 8 slices cooked bacon

Optional Toppings

  • tomato slices
  • romaine or green leaf lettuce
  • mayonnaise
  • ketchup
  • mustard
  • dill pickle chips


  • Divide ground beef into 8 sections and form into patties, or use ready-to-cook patties. Sprinkle salt and pepper over hamburger patties.
  • Heat a skillet or griddle to medium high heat. If using cast iron, be sure to allow enough time for the skillet to heat completely. Place two generous pats of butter into the pan (they should melt almost immediately) and place two beef patties on top of the butter. You can add extra butter to the pan – we will use the butter and grease in the pan to toast up the buns later.
  • Sear hamburger patties, pressing down on them with a spatula to reduce the amount of shrinking that naturally occurs while cooking. When the burgers are browned on one side, flip them over.
  • Place a slice of American cheese on each burger to melt while the second side is cooking. Burgers are done when both sides are browned (about 2 minutes on each side.)
  • Add additional pats of butter to the pan and continue cooking all of the burgers.
  • To toast the buns, melt some additional butter in the pan and place buns in the pan to toast. This takes only a minute.
  • To assemble, top each toasted bun with condiments of your choice: mayonnaise, mustard, and/or ketchup. Place pickles, red onion slice, lettuce, and tomato slice on the bottom bun. Stack two cooked burger patties with two slices of bacon between them, and place on the prepared hamburger bun. Add top of toasted bun and serve.

Donna’s Notes

  • American cheese melts easily and is a classic fast food choice for burgers. Use your favorite type of cheese – we love Tillamook medium cheddar, pepper jack, or even blue cheese.
  • Culver’s uses a combination of cuts to make a fresh, specialty ground beef. We mimic that flavor by using a fattier ground beef (80% lean). You can use a leaner ground beef if you prefer.
  • We add the butter to the pan to give the meat some extra flavor, also, but you can limit the butter to the buns if you prefer.
  • Store plain burger patties in an airtight container for 2-3 days, or freeze for up to 1 month.
To Grill Burgers:
If you’d prefer to grill your burgers, slather the softened butter on the insides of the buns and then toast them either on the grill or in a skillet.
Nutrition shown is for a two patties on a brioche bun with 2 slices each of cheese and bacon.


Serving: 1 burger | Calories: 917cal | Carbohydrates: 42g | Protein: 57g | Fat: 58g | Saturated Fat: 31g | Cholesterol: 330mg | Sodium: 1842mg | Sugar: 2g | Fiber: 1g | Calcium: 511mg | Iron: 5mg

All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe’s nutritional value will vary depending on the ingredients used, measuring methods, and portion sizes.

Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
titled image (and shown): butter burger recipe

Originally published May 2022, updated and republished October 2023

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  1. made this burger tonight, and it was AMAZING! So easy to put together, and it tasted just like the ones at Culver’s. Donna and Chad from The Slow Roasted Italian really nailed it with this recipe!

  2. 5 stars
    I’m not a pro chef, but I managed to make this burger, and it turned out to be restaurant-quality! Kudos to Donna and Chad for sharing this fantastic recipe.

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