Burger Bowls

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Healthy Burger Bowls come together in less than 15 minutes with perfectly seasoned ground beef, lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, cheese, and the best homemade special sauce.

332 CAL 18g CARBS 13g FAT 37g PROTEIN 9
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It’s hard to beat a delicious classic burger, but if you want something lighter, these Burger Bowls hit the spot with all the classic flavors just served as a bowl without the bun! They are perfect for a quick 15-minute dinner or prep them for lunches. 

These easy burger bowls take all the classic burger flavors and toppings, just without the bun! They start with seasoned ground beef served over a bed of lettuce, tomatoes, onions, pickles, and cheese. Then everything is topped with the most delicious homemade burger sauce.

You can even add some baked french fries, veggie fries, or potato wedges for a full burger experience in a bowl.

Also for people who love volume, these bowls seem so much more substantial than lettuce wrap burgers in my opinion.  If you love big portions, you'll also love this Cheeseburger Salad.

Why You’ll Love These Healthy Burger Bowls

  • Lighter way to enjoy burgers: If you love burgers, this is a great way to eat
  • Packed with protein and veggies: With 37 grams of protein and tons of veggies, these bowls are a nutritious and filling meal.
  • Great for meal prep: These are such a great option for meal prep and can be served as written as a burger bowl or salad. Or switch things up and serve burger bowls in a wrap, rice bowl, or quinoa bowl.

Looking for more tasty and healthy bowls? Try these Korean Beef Bowls, Chicken Taco Bowls, or Teriyaki Chicken Bowls.

Ingredients for burger bowls including ground beef, cheese, lettuce, seasoning, pickles, tomatoes, and red onion.

Ingredients and Substitutions

Here is everything you need to make these delicious low-carb burger bowls.

  • Ground beef: To keep things light and healthy, use 95% lean ground beef. Or swap in lean ground turkey, ground chicken, or vegetarian crumbles.
  • Burger seasoning: To season the ground beef, add garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and pepper. Or use your favorite store-bought or homemade burger seasoning.
  • Lettuce: The main ingredient in these bowls is chopped lettuce. Butter lettuce, Romaine lettuce, or iceberg lettuce are the most common for burgers, but any greens will work.
  • Tomatoes: Use any type of tomatoes for these bowls, cherry or grape tomatoes are our favorite since they taste great all year long and are easy to prep. If meal prepping, leave the tomatoes whole.
  • Pickles: Crispy and crunchy dill pickles are a must for any burger bowl! Use any type of pickle you like but look for something with lots of crunch. Bread and butter pickles are also delicious.
  • Onions: Normally, I like to use raw red onions or green onions but grilled onions are also a great option, especially if want a milder onion flavor.
  • Cheese: Use any type of shredded or cubed cheese that you would eat on a burger - cheddar, pepper jack, gouda, Swiss., or American are all good options. Or leave it off for a dairy-free option.
  • Special sauce: Every good burger needs special sauce and this one is made with light mayonnaise, Greek yogurt, ketchup, mustard, relish, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper. Or use this skinny ranch, thousand Island, or blue cheese dressing.
  • Baked french fries: One of my favorite things to add to these burger bowls is baked french fries. Use these baked skinny fries, sweet potato fries, or carrot fries.

Burger seasoned ground beef in a skillet with burger toppings on the size.

How to Make Burger Bowls

These burgers come together in less than 15 minutes!

1. Brown the ground beef

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the ground beef (or turkey), garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, Worcestershire sauce, kosher salt, and pepper. Cook, breaking it up with a wooden spoon as it cooks until it is cooked through and no longer red.

Note: If you prefer a burger patty instead of ground beef, simply form them into small patties and cook for 3-5 minutes per side depending on the size and thickness of the burger patties.

2. Prep the burger toppings

Get all your burger bowl ingredients prepped including chopping the lettuce, tomatoes, onions, and pickles.

If you plan on making the special sauce (recipe below) and/or baked french fries to add to your bowls, get those prepped as well.

For quick and easy fries, cook frozen fries (regular, veggie, or sweet potato) in the air fryer or oven. Or make homemade fries like these baked fries, butternut squash fries, baked parsnip fries, or crispy baked potato wedges. Or add some baked onion rings to your bowls.

3. Assemble Burger Bowls

Now it’s time to build your bowls! Start by layering in the lettuce, tomatoes, onions, and pickles. Sprinkle shredded cheese on top and add the seasoned burger meat. Then add the special sauce and baked fries if you are using them.

Note if you are meal prepping these bowls, we recommend packing the burger meat on and special sauce on the bottom (or separately) so the lettuce and veggies don’t get soggy.

How to Make Special Sauce

What’s a good burger without some delicious special sauce? There are lots of versions of special sauce (sometimes called Big Mac sauce) out there but most include mayo or sour cream mixed with ketchup, mustard, relish, spices, and sometimes sugar. It’s kind of like Thousand Island but usually has a stronger flavor.

For a lightened up burger sauce, combine:

  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise (light or regular)
  • 2 tbsp Greek yogurt
  • 2 tbsp ketchup (regular or low sugar)
  • 1 tbsp mustard (yellow mustard or Dijon mustard)
  • 1 tbsp sweet relish
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp onion powder
  • Kosher salt and pepper as needed
  • Directions: Mix until smooth and creamy. If possible, make it at least an hour before serving burger bowls and store it in the fridge.

Healthy burger bowls with ground beef, special sauce, french fries, lettuce, tomatoes, and pickles.

Burger Bowl Toppings

Think about all the different ways you can top a burger, well the same goes for burger bowls! Here are some of our favorites:

Recipe Ideas and Variations

There are so many ways to customize this burger bowl recipe with different proteins, bowl ingredients, and toppings.

  • Change the protein: The quickest way to change these burgers is with a different protein like ground turkey, ground chicken, ground pork, or vegetarian crumbles.
  • Use leftovers burgers: These bowls are a great way to use leftover burgers or cheeseburgers. Simply let the burgers cool and then assemble the bowls. This works with homemade burgers and store-bought burgers, including veggie burgers and bean burgers.
  • Add whole grains: To make this bowl more filling, add cooked white rice, brown rice, quinoa, or toasted whole grain bread or burger buns.
  • Add beans: Add some canned black beans, pinto beans, or even chili to these bowls.

Can these be made with different burgers?

These bowls come out great with any type of cooked and seasoned ground beef or burger patties. Try making them with these burger recipes:

Meal Prep Burger Bowls

These bowls are a great high protein option for meal prep. It’s important to store them correctly in airtight containers to make sure they taste great after a couple of days in the fridge.

  1. Cold Burger Bowls: If you plan on eating your burger bowls cold, you can prep the entire bowls in advance. Use a large mason jar or bowl. Start by layering in ground beef. Then add a layer of special sauce or dressing. Next add the pickles, cheese, onions, cherry tomatoes, and lettuce in that order. Layering from the heaviest ingredient to the lightest ensures the lettuce and veggies stay crunchy.
  2. Warm Burger Bowls: If you prefer warm burger meat in your bowls, then pack the burger patty separately. Warm that in the microwave or a skillet and then add the remaining ingredients and sauce to serve.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are the most common questions about these burger bowls.

Burger bowls made with lean ground beef, turkey, or chicken are a great alternative to classic burgers since they use leaner meat and eliminate the bun! Serve them on a bed of lettuce, tomatoes, and pickles with all your favorite burger toppings and a light sauce.

These burger bowls come out great with ground turkey. You can also make them with store-bought turkey burgers for a quicker, easier option.convert

Easy burger bowls with special sauce, lettuce, tomato, red onion, pickles, and french fries in a white bowl.
The Recipe
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Burger Bowls

332 CAL 18g CARBS 13g FAT 37g PROTEIN 9
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  • 1 lb 95% lean ground beef
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder (special sauce)
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder (special sauce)
  • 1/2 tsp paprika (special sauce)
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 8 cups Romaine lettuce, chopped
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup pickles
  • 1 cup reduced fat shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup light mayonnaise (special sauce)
  • 2 tbsp nonfat plain Greek yogurt (special sauce)
  • 2 tbsp ketchup (special sauce)
  • 1 tbsp mustard (special sauce)
  • 1 tbsp relish (special sauce)

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Heat a skillet over medium high heat. Add the ground beef, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and pepper. Cook for 6-8 minutes, breaking it up as it cooks, until fully cooked.


Make the special sauce by combining the mayo, yogurt, ketchup, mustard, relish, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper. Taste and adjust the seasonings as needed. We add a touch of hot sauce to ours.


Assemble the burger bowls with chopped lettuce, ground beef, tomatoes, pickled, cheese, red onion, and baked fries if you are using them. Drizzle with sauce.


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Nutritional Facts
Serving Size: 1 bowl
Amount Per Serving
Calories 332
Calories from Fat 68
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 13g
Saturated Fat 5g
Monounsaturated Fat 2g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Cholesterol 77mg
Sodium 920mg
Total Carbohydrate 18g
Dietary Fiber 4g
Sugars 8g
Protein 37g

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.


Homemade baked fries: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Slice a potato into thin fries and toss with 1-2 tbsp of olive oil, salt, and pepper. Lay flat on a baking sheet covered in parchment paper in a single layer. Bake for 20 minutes, then carefully flip over and bake for an additional 8-10 minutes. The exact cooking time will depend on thickness.

For a lighter burger bowl, swap in 99% lean ground turkey or ground chicken for the ground beef.

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About the author Meet Kristen McCaffrey
Hi, I’m the cookbook author, recipe developer, and food enthusiast behind Slender Kitchen. I am obsessed with making healthy food that is easy to prepare and absolutely delicious. Meal planning is my secret weapon and I hope I can make meal time easier for you with our tried and tested recipes and foolproof meal plans. Learn More
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