Old Bay Burgers are a hearty twist on the classic burger, made Maryland-style featuring our favorite spice, Old Bay seasoning. The burger has classic toppings and an Old Bay flavored sauce for some extra kick.
Update: This recipe was originally published in August 2013 and reposted in September 2020. The recipe and photos have been improved for quality and taste.
Maryland is known for our blue crabs that we liberally season with Old Bay and steam up throughout the summer months. There's a running joke here that we like to put Old Bay on everything, and this Old Bay burger recipe is proof of that.
I happened to have some Old Bay sitting out on the counter when I was portioning out a family pack of ground beef I had purchased and this recipe idea came to me. Crab cake sandwiches are super popular here, but we don't really have a burger we're known for.
So, what if I took some of the ingredients for a crab cake and mixed it into a burger? But that didn't seem enough, so I got the idea to create a burger sauce that also featured Old Bay seasoning. You know that "when in Rome" saying? Well, when in Maryland.
What is Old Bay?
Old Bay is a herb and spice blend created by McCormick & Company, which is located in Baltimore, Maryland. There's supposedly up to 18 different herbs and spices in the mixture, but the ones we know for sure are paprika, celery salt, crushed red pepper flakes and pepper.
It is a great seasoning for seafood. We steam our crabs in it and mix it into just about any crab or shrimp dip. But it also works on chicken, pork, popcorn, vegetables and more. So I figured, why not with beef in a burger?
What is an Old Bay Burger?
Well, it's a Cookaholic Wife creation. Crab cakes are traditionally made with mayonnaise, egg, mustard, Old Bay, parsley, and a binder like torn pieces of bread or bread crumbs. My crab cake recipe uses Panko bread crumbs because it holds the cake together without creating a lot of filler.
My crab dip recipe includes the ingredients of a crab cake (sans Panko) and adds in onion, hot sauce and worcestershire sauce. Cheddar cheese is mixed in and put on top for that crunchy cheese coating.
So, this burger is a combination of both of those recipes and then is served with a burger (or fry) sauce that also includes Old Bay for a little kick.
Ingredients for an Old Bay Burger
For the Meat:
- ground beef - 80/20 is my favorite mixture for a burger
- onion - yellow, white or red, whatever you have on hand
- Panko bread crumbs - Panko is my prefered bread crumb choice, but a substitution would be a slice of bread broken up into tiny pieces
- egg - large in size, lightly beaten
- Old Bay seasoning - the seasoning Maryland is known for! Find it in your spice aisle or order it online
- hot sauce - I used the Old Bay hot sauce for this recipe because, why not? But feel free to use whatever kind you have hanging around
- worcestershire sauce - the sauce no one can pronounce!
- mustard - standard, yellow mustard is what is used in this recipe
- parsley - fresh chopped is best, but dried also works
For the Sauce:
- Old Bay seasoning
For the Burger:
- cheese slices (American or cheddar)
- tomato slices
- Martin's Potato Rolls - who doesn't love a potato roll? These are hearty enough to hold up to the weight of the burger while still being light and fluffy.
How to make this burger
- Prepare the patties: In a large bowl, combine ground beef, onion, Panko, egg, Old Bay, hot sauce, worcestershire, mustard and parsley. Mix until combined, but do not overwork the meat. Form into 5 evenly sized patties.
- Cook the burgers: heat a grill to medium high heat and cook the burgers for 3-4 minutes on each side, or until they reach the level of doneness you prefer. Add cheese and cook until melted.
- Whisk up the sauce: In a small bowl, combine mayonnaise, ketchup, mustard and Old Bay.
- Assemble the burger: lightly toast the potato rolls, then spread a heaping tablespoon of the burger sauce on both sides of bun. Layer lettuce and tomato on the bottom bun, then add the burger and put the top of the bun on.
Featured On! This recipe is featured on Martin's Potato Rolls website! Check out their take on my creation.
Tips and Serving Suggestions
- Press your thumb into the center of the burger patty before cooking it to keep it from puffing up while cooking
- Mix the Panko and wet ingredients of the burger together before adding the Old Bay on top and then working it through for even disbursement
- Spring mix or green leaf lettuce is great on a burger but for a little more texture and crunch, use iceberg or romaine
- Great side dishes for this burger include: Heirloom Tomato Salad, Cherry Chipotle Bourbon Baked Beans, Parmesan Parsley Roasted Potatoes or fries!
- To Freeze: form burger patties and place between sheets of wax paper. Freeze for an hour or until frozen through, then wrap up and transfer to a ziplock bag or airtight container
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Old Bay Burgers
For the Patties
- 1 lb ground beef
- ¼ cup onion minced
- ¼ cup Panko
- 1 large egg lightly beaten
- 2 tablespoon Old Bay seasoning
- 1 teaspoon hot sauce
- 1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon yellow mustard
- 1 ½ tablespoon parsley fresh chopped
For the Sauce:
- 3 tablespoon mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon ketchup
- 1 teaspoon yellow mustard
- 1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
For the Burger
- 5 slices american cheese
- 5 slices tomato
- ½ cup lettuce
- 5 potato rolls
For the Burgers
- Combine the ground beef, onion, Panko, egg, Old Bay, hot sauce, worcestershire sauce, mustard and parsley in a large bowl. Mix until combined, but do not overwork the meat or it will get tough.
- Form into 5 evenly sized patties.
- Grill over medium high heat for 3-4 minutes on each side, or until it reaches your prefered cooking doneness. Add cheese on top and cook until melted.
Assemble the Burger
- While the burgers are cooking, lightly toast or broil the burger buns.
- Whisk together the sauce ingredients - mayonnaise, ketchup, mustard and Old Bay. Spread a heaping tablespoon onto the burger buns.
- Add lettuce and tomato to the burger bun, followed by the burger. Place the top of the burger bun over the burger to form a sandwich.
- Press your thumb in the center of the patty before cooking to ensure it doesn't puff up while cooking.
- Double the sauce recipe to dip fries in as well!
- Panko can be replaced with a slice of bread torn into tiny pieces.
- To freeze: form patties and layer between sheets of wax paper. Freeze in single layers for at least an hour, and once fully frozen, wrap up and transfer to a ziplock bag or airtight container.
Recipes on Cookaholic Wife are for information purposes only. Nutritional Data provided has not been evaluated by a nutritionist.