A cheeseburger is a hamburger accompanied with melted cheese. The term itself is a portmanteau of the words "cheese" and "hamburger." The cheese is usually sliced, then added a short time before the hamburger finishes cooking to allow it to melt. In the United States, the cheese that is added to a cheeseburger is typically American cheese, but there are many other variations. Mozzarella, blue cheese, pepper jack, and cheddar are also popular choices.

The cheese in a cheeseburger substantially changes its nutritional value. For example, in comparison to their standard hamburger, which only differs by the slice of cheese, a McDonald's cheeseburger has 20% more calories, 33% more fat and 25% more protein. Other types of cheese would have varying effects, depending on their nutritional content.


Between 1924 and 1926, Lionel Sternberger grilled the first cheeseburger in Pasadena, California. The name of the restaurant and the precise year has been debated by cheeseburger enthusiasts. When Sternberger died in 1964, Time magazine noted in its February 7 issue that:

…at the hungry age of 16, [Sternberger] experimentally dropped a slab of American cheese on a sizzling hamburger while helping out at his father's sandwich shop in Pasadena, thereby inventing the cheeseburger…

Cheeseburgers appear to have been invented independently in different regions. For example, Kaelin's Restaurant in Louisville, Kentucky claims to have invented the cheeseburger in 1934. One year later, a trademark for the name "cheeseburger" was awarded to Louis Ballast of the Humpty Dumpty Drive-In in Denver, Colorado.


A cheeseburger can be served with a variety of toppings such as pickles, tomatoes, lettuce, onions, fried egg, mushrooms, or bacon slices. Typical condiments used include mustard, ketchup, mayonnaise, barbecue sauce, relish, and thousand island dressing.

A Jucy Lucy is a type of cheeseburger, developed and popularized in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where the cheese is placed inside the raw meat and then cooked until it melts.

There are also multi-patty cheeseburgers, with the name changing in correspondence to the number of patties used. For example, a double cheesburger has two patties, and a triple cheesburger has three. Multiples beyond three are rare and generally not available in restaurants.

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