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Steakhouse burger at Holsteins Shakes and Buns in Las Vegas
Photograph: Holsteins Shakes and Buns

The best burgers in America for every state

From cheeseburgers to patties piled skyhigh, we eat through the best burgers in America and pick the top one in each state

Scott Snowden
Edited by
Scott Snowden
Written by
Lauren Rothman
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If you’re a diehard burger lover, chances are you’ve already crisscrossed the country digging your teeth into the best burgers in NYCthe best burgers in Los Angeles and the best burgers in Austin. But the beauty of this burger-lovin’ nation is that there’s an excellent patty just waiting for you in each and every state of the union. So get in your car or book a plane ticket and dig into the best burgers in America for every state. 

Best burgers in America

This unassuming 'van'—actually a bare-bones cafe—serves the best burgers in ‘bama. Open only for weekday lunch, Vicki’s welcomes locals taking a break from the office with hot patties griddled on a flat top until they’re crust outside and juicy within. Available in 8, 6 or 4oz sizes and topped simply with mayo, ketchup, mustard, pickles, lettuce, tomato and onions, all burgers come with a melty cap of good ol’ American cheese.

This dependable food truck serves a loaded burger that consistently ranks among Juneau’s best: the Husky Dawson is husky indeed, featuring a griddled beef patty slathered with mayo-based secret sauce and topped with lettuce, tomato, melty cheese, a stack of crunchy beer-battered onion rings and some crisp slices of bacon.

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Scottsdale residents and visitors going through burger withdrawal find relief in the loaded specimens served at this playful spot. Rehab offers a full 20 types of burgers, gussied up with creative toppings including mac ‘n’ cheese, jalapeño poppers and even sautéed ribeye steak. We like the aptly named Hangover, immensely craveable after a night of one too many brews: a 10oz beef patty layered with Colby jack, local Hatch green chiles and a fried egg. Try the restaurant’s addictive sweet potato tots on the side.

Burgers are the stars of the menu at this hoppin’-all-day spot. Elevated with thoughtful add-ons such as pickled green tomatoes and house-made pimento cheese, these whopping ‘wiches are super satisfying alongside a pile of Big Orange’s salty, thick-cut fries. We’re partial to the Farmer’s burger, smeared with creamy aioli, stacked with lettuce, tomato and red onion, and capped with local bacon, melty Havarti cheese and a farm egg.

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If you're not already a believer that your surroundings can affect the taste and end enjoyment of your meal, then a visit to Hinano Cafe, on Washington Blvd in Venice, California will almost certainly change your mind. Set just a stone's throw from Venice Pier and with plenty of outdoor dining, the clear, blue sunny sky is complemented by the hustle and bustle that only Venice offers. Served with lettuce, tomato, onion, mayo, mustard and relish on bakery-fresh sesame seed/egg bun and with a choice of cheddar or Swiss cheese or bacon, this is called the classic, because it is a classic. 

The world is divided between people who eat burgers in white-tablecloth restaurants...and fools who do not. Denver diners in the former category sing the praises of the Colorado lamb burger at this elegant Larimer Square spot from James Beard Award winner Jennifer Jasinski. Tender local lamb is topped with peppery arugula, spicy aioli and creamy house-made mozzarella, bringing Rocky Mountain swagger to Jasinski’s thoughtfully sourced, Mediterranean-leaning menu.

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A craft burger spot masquerading as a fast food joint, this unassuming spot shapes burgers out of high-quality, locally sourced meat and piles them with winning toppings such as creamy nacho cheese and puckery pickles. The eponymous burger is a home run: two juicy patties smothered in melty cheese and proprietary GoldBurger sauce, plus lettuce, onion and pickle.

This casual tavern run by father-daughter team Dennis Forbes and Desiree DiAntonio is a Dover favorite for dependably well executed soups, salads and pastas. Most diners head straight for the burger section of the menu, loaded with creative options like the Willie Nelson (BBQ sauce, smoked gouda) and the black and bleu (Cajun spices, gorgonzola). We love the NFB—Not For Breakfast—burger: a chuck-pork sausage patty flavored with sage and topped with American cheese, bacon and a fried egg.

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Matthew Kuscher's neighborhood burger joint is popular with people and canines alike (yep, they’ve got a special dog menu, too). Its selection of grass-fed beef burgers runs the gamut from traditional to only-in-Miami, like the famous Cuban frita burger topped with matchstick potatoes. Our choice is Juan’s Fidy-Fidy, a decadent patty shaped from 50 percent Florida beef and 50 percent Florida bacon, then topped with more bacon, mayo, sweet onion marmalade and melty Monterey Jack.

In the words of their website, 'The Vortex is simply a cool, casual bar with a unique atmosphere.' The selection of both drinks and food are extensive, plus the special's board changes almost every day, offering new, exciting and never-before-thought-of combinations that will only be available for a short time. However, our favorite item from the set menu, without any doubt, is the Hell's Fury Burger; made up of pepper jack cheese, Atomic Death Sauce, habanero relish, and a roasted jalapeño. Plus of course lettuce, tomato, onion, pickle. As the menu says, it's 'not for sissies.'

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This might not be for everyone, but for those who have the taste for it...well, your mouth will love you for the rest of your life. The kitchen at this bustling burger spot in paradisiacal Honolulu turns out creative patties accented with tempting ingredients such as house-made teriyaki and a savory, beefy jus. Its Un-Foie-Gettable burger is the definition of luxury: local grass fed Kauai beef braised in a foie gras demi glace, topped with bacon-apple-maple jam and smeared with unctuous truffle mayo.

This dependable Idaho Falls spot serves reliable comfort food dishes such as sirloin sandwiches and layered nacho dip. The heart of the menu is made of massive burgers, half-pound patties topped with cheese or more creative items such as asparagus spears. We go straight for the bourbon BBQ option, smothered with mushrooms and bacon and topped with oozy cheddar.

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This diner-style burger, which often requires you to wait long hours to get your hands on it, is a master class in textures and proportions. The 'single' actually has two thin patties on a soft bun (the 'double' is a three-patty behemoth), with gooey melted cheese, zippy pickles and creamy Dijonnaise balancing it out. You can add a quivering egg or thick-cut bacon strip on top, but they’re both totally unnecessary.

This historic burger joint has been slinging patties in Highland, Indiana since 1932. The house burger, also just called the Miner-Dunn Burger is a simple fast food-style sandwich featuring a single quarter-pound patty topped with ketchup, mustard, relish and chopped onion, the burgers are made to order and all too easy to scarf down by the handful.

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A roadside institution perfumed with American history and fried onions, this diminutive 1922 diner is the independently minded consumer’s answer to White Castle. Nickel-sized beef sliders are topped with pickles, the aforementioned onions, mustard and ketchup, and sold by the sack. A half-dozen with a bag of chips is a popular order for solo diners at the six counter stools and costs less than $10. 

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This casual Lexington pub is beloved for its signature burger, available in a number of sizes from single quarter-pounder to a towering Mega-Ho stacked with three of the patties. The juicy, well-seasoned burger is anointed with proprietary Ho sauce, plus ketchup, mustard, lettuce and onions—all piled onto a squishy sesame seed bun. This is a quality burger.

In a city packed with superior food, it can be hard to decide where to eat. But when it comes to burgers, in-the-know diners head to Fharmacy, located outside NOLA’s touristy French Quarter but well worth the trip. The beer bar’s casual decor belies its expertly crafted menu of towering sandwiches and crispy fried wings. We’re all about the burgers, specifically the house special. Inspired by the city’s famous muffaletta sandwich, the 8oz patty is topped with puckery giardiniera, sticky bacon jam, gooey provolone and creamy aioli.

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While a mayo-loaded lobster roll is always a tempting option when visiting seaside Portland, Maine, it’s hard to resist the siren call of the excellent burgers plated at Tap House. This handsome bar and restaurant offers a focused menu of craveable fare, from a braised beef-topped poutine to a killer sourdough grilled cheese. We only have eyes, though, for Tap House’s signature burger, local beef ground in-house and served on a grilled bun with aioli, greens, pickled onion and sweet tomato tapenade. It’s straightforward and delicious.

This cozy beer bar is known for its frothy pints of excellent European and European-style craft beers, from Hoegaarden to Duvel. Those pints are the perfect accompaniment to Abbey's tremendous burgers, towering specimens gussied up with the likes of applewood bacon, kimchi and even peanut butter. Our fave is the surf-and-turf Baltimore Burger, featuring a juicy Angus beef patty smothered in creamy crab dip, crowned with the aforementioned bacon and capped with cheddar on a classic, squishy hamburger bun.

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In 1960, Joe and Joan Bartley took over a small convenience store facing Harvard Yard. The plan was simple: perfect the hamburger. For years, a small grill accompanied greeting cards and paper goods. As word travelled, the menu took off, and Mr. and Mrs. Bartley's Burger Cottage became the Harvard Square institution of today. A recent addition to the specials menu is the North End: A breaded chicken Parmesan sandwich, topped with homemade marinara sauce, mozzarella and fresh Parmesan. Perfect if you're feeling a little beefed out. 

This Detroit institution has been slinging sliders since 1929, delighting the palates of generations of Detroiters ever since. Motz’s fresh, never-frozen sliders are the classic fast food style, diminutive and served on a squishy bun. We like to add a slice of bright yellow American cheese; the kitchen adds the standard ketchup, mustard, pickles slices and, best of all, a heap of sweet, griddled onions.

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The Twin Cities' answer to Philly cheesesteaks are Juicy Lucys, or beef patties injected with melted cheese. Blue Door Pub, a burger-centric bistro with locations in Minneapolis and St. Paul, has 10 Lucys on offer, ranging from a loaded baked potato version (Jack cheese, green onions) to the Islander, served with pineapple-mango salsa. The local favorite is the appropriately monikered Blucy: An Angus patty injected with garlicky blue cheese and served alongside fries, tater tots or beer-battered green beans. Midwestern ingenuity at its finest.

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This welcoming luncheonette is a favorite among Kansas City dwellers, offering fresh, hot and reasonably priced burgers, fries and dogs. The ground beef is local, the buns are made fresh daily and the fries are hand-cut in-house. A double burger is the way to go: two griddled patties that come standard with melty cheese, lettuce, tomato and briny pickles. The perfectly crisp, skin-on fries are not to be missed, either.

University of Montana students—and just about everyone else in town—flock to this bare-bones bar for frothy beers and beefy burgers. The kitchen holds just a flat top grill, a coffee maker and a milkshake machine, but it's enough to turn out superior patties that are griddled to a crusty brown on the outside but moist and fatty within. We go college-style here: a double bacon cheeseburger crisscrossed with porky strips and oozing with melty cheese (try the peppery horseradish option).

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The full name of this downtown Lincoln burger spot is 'Honest Abe’s Burgers and Freedom,' and you’ve gotta love a restaurant that promises so much. Even if Abe’s weren’t offering freedom, we’d sit down to any of its excellent burgers, 6oz of prime ground beef gussied up with fun add-ons such as cumin-lime mayo, cucumber-feta yogurt and pickled apples. We go straight for the good stuff in the Greatest Burger Ever: choose one or stack two patties, crowned with chopped bacon, sweet griddled onions, American cheese and creamy housemade Awesome Sauce.

A trip to the Heart Attack Grill on Fremont Street in downtown Las Vegas—often referred to as Old Town—is a memorable event, to be sure. Upon entering, you must don a hospital gown, before being seated. Only then is the full extent of what you've let yourself in for apparent. The menu here is unlike any other you've seen before, with burgers stacked so high there should be snow on the top. Pictured is the Triple Bypass Burger (three, inch-thick patties) but the menu goes up an Octuple Bypass Burger.

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With locations around New Hampshire, Lexie’s Joint is a down-to-earth chain owned and operated by husband-and-wife team KC Cargill and Alexis Wile (aka Lexie). Its colorful, homey restaurants welcome eaters with loaded burgers and house-cut fries. The cheekily named ‘wiches (Burning Down the House, Urban Cowboy) boast tasty additions like bright chimichurri and creamy avocado. The Put a Ring On It is certainly worthy of long-term commitment (or at least the ten minutes it’ll take to devour it): it’s stacked with American cheese, bacon, BBQ sauce, chipotle aioli and crispy onions, all crowned with a sunny fried egg.

Funnily enough, New Jersey is home to two nearly identically named diners: the White Mana in Jersey City and the White Manna in Hackensack. Our vote goes to the latter, a cheery little burger stand established in 1946 that beckons travelers on the I-80 with its bright red sign lettered in white neon. Serving plump slider-sized patties griddled on a flat top, the burgers are heaped with oozy rings of onion and sandwiched inside a fluffy potato roll along with crunchy slices of pickle. Add a slice of melty American for the perfect trifecta.

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In New Mexican cuisine, Hatch chiles are king: the fleshy, spicy peppers grown in the southwest part of the state find their way into everything from morning eggs to dessert-hour ice cream. Of all the Hatch-infused and -topped state specialties, perhaps none is more revered than the green chile cheeseburger: there's something about the trifecta of juicy meat, melty cheese and piquant pepper that’s perfection. We love the loaded version served right at the source, at this kitschy diner. The burger is accompanied by a drink and a side of your choice: try the unusual pineapple coleslaw.

It’s hard to believe there was ever a time when burgers weren’t on the menu at Minetta Tavern. They were introduced to the nearly eight-decades-old dining room during the Keith McNally-led reboot in 2009 and have been synonymous with the joint ever since. Fittingly, Minetta’s take is an exercise in Old World simplicity—there isn’t even cheese on the burgers. Instead, expect a hefty nine-ounce puck of mineral-funked beefiness, bathed in clarified butter and seared like a steak for less than five minutes. Only a swath of silky caramelized onions joins the patty on the custom Balthazar seeded bun. 

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A beloved burger chain with locations throughout the south and west, Farm Burger sources grass-fed, antibiotic-free beef to craft its juicy patties. Each restaurant location features local ingredients and the Asheville restaurant is no exception; find Sea Island red peas in the vegan burger and pimento cheese crowning the pork burger. Our pick is the standard Farm Burger, capped with white Vermont cheddar, caramelized onions and special sauce.

There aren’t too many options for eats in sleepy Bismarck, so it’s easy to settle on JL Beers for all your suds and burger needs. The elevated sports bar pours some killer brews (Ballast Point, Bell’s) and matches them with craveable burgers that run the gamut from a gyro variant topped with feta to a Rajun Cajun seasoned with blackening spice. Locals love the eponymous JL Burger, a classic fast food-style affair with two patties, American cheese, special sauce and grilled onions.

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We love a venue that advertises itself, on its website, as 'a place where you can drink at 5:30am and not be judged.' That’s the Rowley Inn in a nutshell, a Cleveland favorite that has been welcoming drinkers and diners of all stripes since 1906. The handsome dive offers more than a graveyard shift whiskey, with killer burgers stacked high on perfectly toasted buns. The Clevelander—natch—is the way to go: An unreal stack of juicy, half-pound beef burger, griddled kielbasa, tangy sauerkraut, melty beer cheese and a whole potato pierogi all held tenuously together with a long toothpick. Be ready to get messy.

This little diner is perpetually crowded with hungry OKC eaters looking for one thing and one thing only: Nic's famous burger (actually, that's all the kitchen offers in addition to a steak sandwich and a chicken-fried steak). Juicy and griddled to medium-rare on an old-fashioned flat-top, the patties are best ordered with everything: cheese, mustard, mayo, shredded iceberg, tomato, pickle and sticky grilled onions. The umami-bomb is served alongside a pile of impeccable shoestring french fries.

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Portland is awash in fantastic food and it’s no challenge to find an excellent burger in any number of restaurants across the city. Locals and visitors alike, however, consistently choose Burger Stevens as a favored spot for excellent patties, accompanied by crispy fries and killer homemade soft serve. The double cheeseburger, built on a toasted bun from local bakery Franz, features two impossibly juicy patties oozing with American cheese and layered with crispy pickles, raw onion, ketchup and mustard.

This humble hamburger-serving eatery started off as a mobile food truck serving the Drexel University area. Since those days, they have since expanded to a brick & mortar site where they specialize in gourmet hand-crafted burgers. A wide variety of toppings are available, from bacon, cheddar, pickles, coleslaw and spot sauce, to American cheese, bacon, grilled onion, jalapeño, ranch and BBQ, to aged Swiss, ripe tomato, red onion, Russian dressing and horseradish...and a lot more besides. All are available as either beef, chicken or veggie. Pictured is our favorite, the Ponderosa.

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This no-frills bar is a favorite among Providence college students and, well, most other city dwellers. The burger menu is extensive, with each variation based on a freshly ground Hereford beef patty that’s pressed on the griddle with onions and served with special sauce inside a classic Martin’s potato roll. The slider-sized burgers are served two per order and our pick is the Mother of All Burgers, an umami-bomb layered with cheese, hickory smoked bacon, portobello mushrooms and fried onion rings.

Ultra-seasonal menus at Husk, Sean Brock’s award-winning ode to Southern cuisine, change frequently, but his elevated take on the classic cheeseburger is a fixture on the proudly seasonal menus. Brock blends hickory-smoked Benton’s bacon with 100 percent sustainably raised beef chuck, and griddles each patty for a diner-style crust. Each burger consists of two patties sandwiching gooey American cheese (prized for both meltability and nostalgia factor), plus house-made condiments including Brock’s bread-and-butter pickles, and a baked-on-site buttermilk bun.

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TapHouse is a Sioux Falls favorite for its cozy atmosphere, extensive list of tap beers (and top-tier bourbons) and killer burger menu featuring stacked-high specimens loaded with butter-roasted mushrooms, haystack onions, smashed avocado and more. We love the overstuffed PBR burger: the juicy, impeccably seasoned Angus beef patty is slathered in roasted garlic mayo and melty beer cheese, layered with veggies and, impossibly, showered with duck fat fries before being precariously perched upon its toasted roll.

This German-inflected beer garden is a Nashville favorite, with an expansive back patio, killer brews including hard-to-find European imports like Wittekerke and Leipziger, and a kitchen that turns out kraut-garnished wurst platters and excellent, meaty burgers. The Pharmacy’s cheeseburger goes a step above plain old American, layering cheddar, Swiss and Muenster cheeses and adding tomato and a swipe of roasted garlic aioli, all on a fluffy bun.

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This charcuterie spot and cocktail bar offers an impressive menu of elegant small plates, from zaatar-roasted cauliflower to bison tartare. These pretty plates pair well with balanced cocktails like the San Antone, with aged tequila, and the Papa Doble, with white rum and grapefruit. For a more down-and-dirty meal, Blue Ribbon offers its eponymous burger at lunch: a juicy bacon-and-beef patty (or two or three patties, depending on how hungry you are) oozing with American cheese and sweet, sticky onion jam. Served with excellent skin-in fries, it’s a must-order.

This unassuming, 21-or-over restaurant and bar won first place for burgers in the World Food Championships in 2020 and thankfully, survived the pandemic. The award winning meal was the Spicy Candied Cajun Burger, but if that doesn't whet your appetite then there is a wide variety of other equally-edible options, from the foot-tall Big Benny Burger with its 28oz of ground beef, to the Ring of Fire that's topped with jalapeños and habaneros. Pictured is our favorite, the Smoked Pastrami & Swiss, that comes with hickory smoked pastrami and melted Swiss cheese.

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For a small city, Burlington is surprisingly packed with excellent bars, cafes and restaurants, among which the Farm House is a perennial favorite among residents and visitors alike. Its robust beer and cider list offers pours from local breweries and its food menu is supplied by local farms such as Pitchfork and Adams. Its delicious burgers are no exception, using fresh ground meats from area producers. We love the big, beefy specimen sourced from LaPlatte River Angus Farm in nearby Shelburne: capped with cheddar and laced with bacon, it’s enlivened by bright arugula and pickled red onions.

This handsome Richmond gastropub mixes excellent cocktails and plates inventive dishes that incorporate local, seasonal ingredients. The creative menu offers big flavors, from zaatar to charred pineapple. Its house burger is more gussied up than the average patty, boasting a melty cap of smoked American cheese, a slick of ranch dressing folded with ramps, pickle slices and soft Bibb lettuce. Go ahead and gild the lily with the optional bacon.

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This fun Seattle bar-lounge features plenty of quirky touches, including a back deck that’s home to an entire vintage Airstream trailer. The mixed drinks are strong, the beers are plentiful and the food is surprisingly good. The Tavern burger is a model of the form: made fast food-style with a thin, expertly griddled patty (or, as we prefer, two) swimming in melted American and sandwiched with pickle slices, crispy raw onion and special sauce.

Located in the Elk City District of Charleston’s West Side, Gonzoburger is a custom burger and craft beer joint that offers more than 10 different burger creations, each made with 100 percent certified Angus beef and fresh toppings, as well as other sandwiches, salads and starters. Our favorite, the Desperado is made up of appetizing applewood smoked bacon, enticing onion rings, scrumptious sliced jalapenos, the best BBQ sauce known to man and palatable pepper Jack.

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This storied Milwaukee mini-chain, founded in 1950, is a favorite among kids and adults alike. Its smooth, creamy frozen custard is a summer staple in Brew City, and the ideal way to enjoy it is preceded by one of Kopp’s excellent burgers. Griddled fast food numbers are garnished with your choice of relish, fried or raw onions, ketchup, mustard, mayo, lettuce and pickles. We like to pile on the patties stacked two deep and add some gooey American cheese to it all.

This modern and environmentally conscious burger chain is family-owned and Texas-grown. While they don't pretend to have reinvented the burger, what they do is offer a phenomenal range of amazing and original variations. That said, we are rather partial to the classic—the house burger, if you will, the aptly named Liberty Burger. It's simple but oh-so-effective.

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