From toppings to sides, Americans reveal what it takes to put together the perfect burger

New research conducted by OnePoll on behalf of National Cattlemen’s Beef Association reveals what the most important burger toppings are (Photo by Ilya Mashkov on Unsplash).

American cheese, bacon and lettuce — America’s “perfect burger” includes all the above, according to new research.

The survey of 5,000 Americans (with 100 per state) pinpointed what toppings would be included on the perfect burger, with raw onion and tomato rounding out the top five.

Results revealed those would sit on top of a beef patty with a sesame seed bun.

Sometimes, simple is best: ketchup (46%) and mayo (43%) were the top choices for condiments when building a “perfect burger.”

But simple doesn’t mean unimportant, as 78% said toppings could be a make-or-break, and 33% agreed they were the most important piece of the burger.

And what’s a burger without sides? Seventy percent said french fries are a necessary side when eating a burger, with potato wedges found to be the favorite cut (14%).

Commissioned by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, a contractor to the Beef Checkoff, and conducted by OnePoll, the survey also delved into the state-by-state differences when it comes to the “perfect burger.”

Those in Alaska (83%) were most likely to say their state is known for their burgers — followed by those in Illinois (80%) and New York (76%).

Rounding out the top five states known for their burgers were Texas (74%) and Georgia (69%).

“From Alaska to Georgia, people all over feel their states are known for burgers,” said Bridget Wasser, Senior Executive Director of Product Quality and Education. “That’s the beauty of real beef — its versatility means there are endless topping options for burger fans across the country.”

When it comes to the state that eats the most burgers, Nebraska hopped into first, with the average Nebraskan eating about 59 burgers per year.

This compares to about 45 burgers per year for the average respondent, regardless of state.

Respondents are more likely to eat burgers during the summer (39%) than during the other seasons — with the average respondent saying their family is planning to grill about eight times per month this upcoming summer.

A third (35%) said they’re “very confident” in their ability to cook a good burger — with another 35% feeling “somewhat confident” in their skills.

“Practice makes perfect — and when it comes to the perfect burger has all of the tips and hundreds of recipes.” said Wasser. “Whether you’re grilling outside, using a pan on the stove or cooking on a flat top, the beef experts are here to help make sure it’s a perfect burger every time no matter the toppings.”

For more state-specific info, visit

  • Protein: beef patty, preferably thick
  • Bun: sesame seed bun (24%)
  • Toppings: cheese (48%), preferably American (34%), bacon (36%) and lettuce (34%)
  • Condiments: ketchup (46%) and mayo (43%)
  • Sides: fries (70%), cut into potato wedges (14%)
  • Alaska 83%
  • Illinois 80%
  • New York 76%
  • Texas 74%
  • Georgia 69%
  • Florida 69%
  • Connecticut 66%
  • Oklahoma 65%
  • California 65%
  • Virginia 64%

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SWNS is a UK and US-based news and media content agency with a proud 40-year history.