Italian Garlic Butter Burger

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Be sure to bring your appetite — these are perfectly grilled and juicy! This garlic butter burger is topped with warm marinara, melted mozzarella cheese, and fresh basil leaves. Pile it all on a toasted bun and enjoy!

One thing I love about this recipe is that it’s really simple to make. When you think about gourmet burgers, you may assume that means lots of ingredients and special sauces to prepare.

Not with this yummy Italian burger! The patties are literally made with a pound each of ground chuck and ground Italian sausage, plus seasoned breadcrumbs. You don’t even need to add salt and pepper.

Add some sliced mozzarella, your favorite jarred marinara, and fresh basil leaves to toasted buns with roasted garlic butter. Pretty simple, right?

For more unique flavors, try my Greek Turkey Burgers. Seasoned with Feta cheese and Greek spices, you’ll forget that they’re healthy too!

Or, how about Blueberry Blue Cheese Bacon Burgers? Basil aioli, arugula, blueberry BBQ sauce, bacon, and blue cheese crumbles are just the right combination of sweet and savory.

Italian Burgers with Fresh Basil & Roasted Garlic Butter

Key ingredients & substitutions for a garlic butter burger

  • Meat patties — Create an even blend of ground chuck and ground Italian sausage, either sweet or hot depending on your preference. The extra fat makes these especially juicy, but not overly greasy, and the texture is tender like a restaurant-quality meatball.
  • Breadcrumbs — Be sure to grab an Italian seasoned variety. If the store is out, create your own by combining ⅓ cup plain crumbs with 1 teaspoon seasoning.
  • Garlic butter — Find tips for roasting your own garlic below, then whip up this spread in minutes.
  • Cheese — You can’t have an Italian cheeseburger without mozzarella! I chose to use slices, but you can also use fresh mozzarella that you slice yourself.
  • Buns — Choose a larger sized bun so everything doesn’t spill out the sides. Plain works great since there’s plenty of flavor in the spread, but brioche ones will taste extra buttery.

How to make an Italian cheeseburger?

garlic butter for Italian burgers in a white bowl

STEP 1 | Mix up the garlic butter

Mash up the cloves with a fork, then stir into the rest of the ingredients until creamy. Spread on the inside of all of the buns.

STEP 2 | Form the patties

Combine the meat and breadcrumbs with your hands until incorporated. Use a gentle touch, since the patties will turn out tough and dry if the mixture is overworked. Separate into 8 equal portions and flatten into patties.

STEP 3 | Grill

Cook for 6 minutes on one side, then flip. Add cheese slices after about 2 minutes and close the lid until they have melted. When you flip the patties, place the buttered buns on the grill to toast.

STEP 4 | Assemble

Place a patty on each bottom bun and spoon marinara over the top. Add a couple of basil leaves to each Italian burger before topping with the remaining bun.


  • Need to soften butter quickly? Stand a stick on its end and fill a tall glass with hot water. Empty the glass, then place it upside down over the stick. After a few minutes, you’ll have perfectly softened and spreadable butter!
  • Before they go on the grill, lightly press your thumb into the center of each patty to form an indent. This helps ensure that they are more level instead of rounded when fully cooked.

Italian Burgers with Fresh Basil & Roasted Garlic Butter on a blue plate with french fries

Frequently asked questions

How long do you cook burgers on a gas grill?

The length of time depends on the grill’s temperature and the thickness of the patty. We like to cook ours at a higher temperature (about 450 degrees) to quickly get nice grill marks and seal in the juices.

Cook this Italian burger for about 6 minutes on the first side, then flip and cook another 4 minutes on the other side.

How do you know when a burger is done?

Beef and pork burgers should be cooked until they reach an internal temperature of 160 degrees for safety. To be absolutely sure, insert an instant-read thermometer into the thickest part of the patty to test for doneness.

How long does homemade garlic butter last in the refrigerator?

When stored in an airtight container, it should be good for up to 2 weeks. 

Serving suggestions

Add a side of fries to your garlic butter burger and call it a day! Don’t forget extra marinara for dipping.

If you’ve got guests, have some antipasto or bruschetta on the table while they wait.

process steps for roasting garlic; place in muffin cup; drizzle with olive oil; invert another muffin tin on top; roast in oven.

How to roast garlic {kitchen hack}

There are several ways to do this, like wrapped in aluminum foil or in a special baking dish, but I like this kitchen hack using muffin pans. Most people already have them on hand — plus, you can roast just one head or a dozen at the same time!

  • Peel the thin outer skins away from the head of garlic, then slice off the top leaving the bulbs exposed.
  • Place one whole head — cut side up — per each cup of a muffin tin. Drizzle each with 2 teaspoons of extra-virgin olive oil to cover the exposed bulbs
  • Flip a second muffin tin upside down over the top to create a lid.
  • Roast in a 400 degree oven for 40 minutes, until soft.
  • Cool completely, then gently squeeze each clove from the casing.

Recipe inspiration

This garlic butter burger recipe comes from Michaela over at An Affair From The Heart. She’s got so many different gourmet burgers to choose from, but there’s a secret ingredient that makes this one special — the buns are toasted with a smear of her homemade roasted garlic butter.

You’ll have leftovers of this spread, so try it on baked potatoes, corn on the cob, or even steamed broccoli.

To make garlic bread, slice a French or Italian loaf in half horizontally, then add the spread to each side and sprinkle with shredded mozzarella cheese. Place on a baking sheet and toast in a 400 degree oven until the cheese is melted. Delicious!

Freaky Friday blog hop

Today is FREAKY FRIDAY! That may not mean a thing to you, but it’s pretty exciting for me. Freaky Friday is a fun blog project (the brainchild of Michaela from An Affair From the Heart) where a group of food bloggers secretly cook or bake a recipe from another blog they were assigned and then reveal the recipes at the same time on one Freaky Friday morning — that’s TODAY!

This go-around I was assigned Michaela’s blog and had so much fun poking around her site. It’s filled with tons of fabulous recipes and party tips from folding bunny napkins to creating a country chic centerpiece or a festive tablescape!

I can’t wait to try her Fried Ice Cream Pie, Strawberry Cheesecake Ice Cream Torte, and Old-Fashioned Strawberry Ice Box Cake — YUM!

Take a look at all of our 2020 Freaky Friday Spring Edition Recipes:

  1. An Affair from the Heart – Brown Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies
  2. Aunt Bee’s Recipes – Homemade Loaded Queso
  3. Bowl Me Over – Crispy Smashed Potatoes
  4. Hostess at Heart – Chocolate Coffee Cake
  5. House of Nash Eats – Asian Lettuce Wraps
  6. Lemoine Family Kitchen – Easy Homemade Flour Tortillas
  7. Life, Love & Good Food – Italian Grilled Burgers
  8. Lisa’s Dinnertime Dish – Lemon Garlic Brussels Sprout Linguine 
  9. Or Whatever You Do – Air Fryer Shrimp
  10. Take Two Tapas –  Fried Mac and Cheese Balls
  11. The Foodie Affair – Strawberry Bread
  12. The Speckled Palate – Chicken Pesto Pasta
  13. West Via Midwest – Loaded Baked Potato Skins – Air Fryer Recipes
A sandwich on a plate, with French fries and Italian Burger

Italian Garlic Butter Burger

These perfectly grilled and juicy Italian-inspired burgers are topped with warm marinara, melted mozzarella cheese, and fresh basil leaves. All on a grilled garlic butter bun, no less!
5 from 12 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Italian
Servings 8 servings
Calories 697 kcal


  • 1 pound ground Italian sausage
  • 1 pound ground chuck
  • cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
  • ½ cup marinara sauce slightly warmed (plus more for dipping, if desired)
  • 8 slices mozzarella cheese or 1/4 pound fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced
  • fresh basil leaves
  • 8 hamburger buns

Roasted Garlic Butter

  • 1 whole head garlic roasted
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter softened
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons fresh Italian parsley minced


Grilled Italian-Style Burgers

  • Lightly oil the grates of a gas grill and preheat to 450 degrees.
  • Add the ground Italian sausage, ground chuck, and Italian seasoned bread crumbs to a large bowl. Using your hands, gently combine the mixture just until the bread crumbs are incorporated. Form the meat mixture into 8 equal patties, being careful not to overly pack the meat together.
  • Spread both sides of the buns with the prepared roasted garlic butter.
  • Cook burgers over direct heat for 6 minutes, watching carefully for any flare ups (since there is more fat in the burger mixture).
  • Flip the burgers and cook for 2 more minutes on the other side. Add a slice of mozzarella cheese to each burger and cook with the lid closed for a couple more minutes, or until the cheese is melted.
  • When you flip the burgers, place the buttered buns on the grill and cook until toasted.
  • Remove the buns to a plate and place a burger on the bottom bun. Spoon warm marinara over the cheese and top with fresh basil leaves and the top bun. Serve with more warmed marinara sauce for dipping, if desired.

Roasted Garlic Butter

  • In a small bowl, use a fork to mash the roasted garlic.
  • Add the softened butter, paprika, salt, and parsley and stir together until creamy.
  • Spread roasted garlic butter on hamburger buns or use to make garlic bread.
  • Store leftovers in the refrigerator. Soften before using.


Original Italian burger recipe and roasted garlic butter recipe by An Affair From the Heart .

How to roast garlic:

Use two muffin tins to create a baker to roast garlic — roast just one head or a dozen at the same time!
Peel the outer skin from the head of garlic and slice the top off, leaving the bulbs exposed.
Place a garlic head in a muffin tin, cut side up, and drizzle with 2 teaspoons olive oil to cover the exposed bulbs. Top with the second muffin tin, inverted, to create a lid.
Roast the garlic in a 400 degree oven for 40 minutes, until soft. Cool, then gently squeeze each clove from the casing.


Serving: 1gCalories: 697kcalCarbohydrates: 32gProtein: 38gFat: 46gSaturated Fat: 21gPolyunsaturated Fat: 24gCholesterol: 136mgSodium: 1085mgFiber: 2gSugar: 6g

Life Love and Good Food does not claim to be a registered dietician or nutritionist. Nutritional information shared on this site is only an estimate. We recommend running the ingredients through an online nutritional calculator if you need to verify any information.

Keyword burgers, easy recipe, grilling, grilling recipe
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was.
Sheila Thigpen, blogger

About Sheila Thigpen

Recipe Developer, Food Photographer, Food Writer

Sheila Thigpen is the publisher of Life, Love, and Good Food — a Southern food blog — and the author of Easy Chicken Cookbook and The 5-Ingredient Fresh and Easy Cookbook. After 20+ years in the publishing industry, she retired in 2018 to focus on her own creative endeavors full time. She and her husband live near the beautiful Smoky Mountains and have a precious little granddaughter who has stolen their hearts. As an influencer, Sheila has collaborated with brands like Creamette, Kroger, HERSHEY’S, Hamilton Beach, Garafalo Pasta, OXO, Smithfield, Valley Fig Growers, and more.

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  1. This is my kind of burger! I love a good gourmet burger with big, unexpected flavors and this totally checks all the boxes for me. The roasted garlic is the best part!

  2. I love everything Italian, I am not sure why I haven’t been making these Italian burgers sooner!! But I can’t stop eating them!

  3. I am a sucker for a good meatball marinara, and even a meatball sub, but I’ve never even THOUGHT to try a meatball burger! That’s genius!

  4. I am so happy that you loved these Italian burgers!! They are one of our favorites for sure! Happy to have you in our little blog hop group, Sheila!

  5. I love all things Italian AND I absolutely love burgers, so this burger is so perfect for me! It looks absolutley scrumptious! It sounds like it has incredible flavor and I can’t wait to give it a try!

  6. Oh my goodness.This is one incredible burger with layer upon layer of delicious flavors! I am really looking forward to grilling this up!

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