This hearty Western Bacon Cheeseburger is stacked high with crispy onion rings, grilled patties, melted American cheese, smoked bacon, and tangy barbecue sauce! It's one of the most-loved burgers from Carl's Jr or Hardee's and once you try it you'll understand exactly why!!
We love next-level burgers, and this Carl's Jr (or Hardee's) Western Bacon Cheeseburger is no exception!
Americans love their burgers, and my western bacon cheeseburger is not just all-American…it’s out of this world! The juiciness of the patties, the melted cheese, crispy onion rings, bacon, and zesty BBQ sauce make this burger one-of-a-kind!
Fans of fast food may not mind a soggy bun but homemade burgers are far superior to whatever you can grab at a drive-thru. This copycat burger is no exception!
When I make western bacon cheeseburgers for the family, everyone is thrilled. They’re nothing fancy, but they always hit the spot!
If you’ve grown used to a plain hamburger with ketchup, one bite of this western bacon cheeseburger will have your taste buds singing. The combination of flavors is fantastic, and the addition of onion rings is a unique touch you don’t normally see on a burger.
Get your cast-iron skillet or frying pan ready for some sizzling burger action. You’ll need some coconut oil, or another cooking oil with a high smoke point, to coat the skillet/pan. You can also cook your burger patties right on the grill.
Gather the ingredients below, which will make 2 hearty burgers, and it’s showtime!
- Onion Rings – The frozen kind are quick and delicious, and they're part of what makes this burger so good!
- Hamburger Buns – I go for the sesame seed variety (sesame seed buns are what Carl's Jr. or Hardee's uses) but use plain burger buns if that’s your preference.
- Ground Beef or Beef Patties – Use frozen pre-formed patties or form your ground beef into patties. I like to use an 80/20 ground beef for burgers, and am partial to ground chuck!
- Salt & Pepper – Some light seasonings to bring out the best of this burger.
- American Cheese – Optional if you’re not a cheese eater. For everyone else, I consider this classic melting cheese a must!
- Bacon – Salty and savory, bacon is amazing in burgers! The crisped bacon goes hand-in-hand with rich, tangy barbecue sauce and onion rings!
- BBQ Sauce – Choose your favorite store-bought barbecue sauce brand or whip up your own homemade BBQ sauce recipe.
If you want to make more burgers, adjust the ingredient amounts accordingly. I tend to make at least 4 at a time.
💭 Tips & Recipe Notes
If you want to experiment with a different kind of cheese, go for it!
This burger would taste great with slices of Swiss or cheddar. Place your cheese out on the kitchen counter at room temperature before cooking so it will melt easier.
If you have packaged ground beef and not pre-formed patties, divide the beef into 4 equal portions. This will yield four ¼ pound burgers.
Alternatively, you can divide your beef patties into three ⅓ pound patties, or two ½ pound patties. Whatever number of burgers you decide on, flatten the patties out to roughly ¾-inch to 1-inch in thickness. *Use your thumb to make an imprint or divet in the top of each formed patty.
This is the perfect burger size in my opinion. Plus, if you make 4 portions, you can make these double western bacon cheeseburgers!
🔪 Step-by-Step Instructions
Whether pan-frying or grilling, your tasty Western bacon cheeseburgers come together quickly! Let's get started.
- Cook the onion rings. Bake 4 onion rings in the oven (or cook them in your air fryer). Follow the instructions on the packaging or use my air fryer instructions.
- Preheat your grill or skillet. Heat your grill, cast-iron skillet, or frying pan to medium-high heat. *I tend to lean towards the higher end, almost reaching high heat.
- Toast the buns. Grill or pan fry the insides of the tops and bottoms of your 2 burger buns, set aside.
- Crisp the bacon. Cook 4 slices of bacon in a frying pan or cast-iron skillet until it reaches the crispiness level you love. Set the slices aside on a paper towel.
- Season and cook. Grill or pan fry your burger patties seasoned side down (with a pinch of salt and pepper) for about 4 minutes.
- Flip and cook. Season the other side, flip your burger patties, and continue cooking for 3-4 minutes.
- Add cheese. Once the burgers have reached your desired doneness, add the American cheese slices to each patty. Remove the burgers from heat.
- Assemble the burgers. Place 2 onion rings on top of each bottom half of the hamburger buns, then the cheese-covered patties, followed by 2 strips of bacon per patty, and 2 tablespoons of BBQ sauce for each burger, and top with the other half of the bun. You can use more BBQ sauce if desired.
I like to serve my western bacon cheeseburgers with a side of my air fryer frozen french fries or more onion rings. Stick with more BBQ dipping sauce instead of ketchup and enjoy!
Most definitely! Follow cooking instructions and your western bacon turkey burger will be spot-on. Meat-free alternatives like impossible burgers and beyond meat also work quite well for a western bacon burger.
No, but I find that toasted buns hold up to hearty burgers much better than when they’re not toasted.
Western Bacon Cheeseburger
- 4 onion rings (frozen)
- 2 hamburger buns (sesame seed buns)
- 2 slices bacon
- ½ lb frozen beef patties (or hamburger formed into patties - use 4 patties for double burgers)
- 1 pinch each, salt & pepper (to taste)
- 2 slices American cheese (optional)
- ¼ cup BBQ sauce (more if desired)
- Bake your onion rings in the oven per directions on the packet.4 onion rings
- Heat your grill, cast-iron skillet, or frying pan to medium-high heat (the higher end, almost to high heat).
- Grill or pan fry the tops and bottoms of your burger buns, set aside.2 hamburger buns
- Cook your bacon in a frying pan or cast iron till crispy, set aside.2 slices bacon
- Season the first side of your patties, then grill or pan fry your burger patties with the seasoned side down for about 4 minutes. Season the second side.
- Flip and continue cooking for another 3-4 minutes or until cooked to desired temperature.
- Add a slice of American cheese to each cooked patty. Remove from heat.
Assemble Western Bacon Cheeseburgers
- Start with bottom bun and add 2 onion rings, next add each cheese covered beef patty, add 2 strips of bacon, on top of that pour in 2 tbsp of BBQ sauce (or more if desired), finally put on the top bun.½ lb frozen beef patties
Stove top: Use a small amount of coconut oil or another cooking oil with a high smoke point to very lightly coat your skillet or frying pan. Place cheese out at room temperature before cooking so it will melt easier.
Angela is an at home chef that developed a passion for all things cooking and baking at a young age in her Grandma's kitchen. After many years in the food service industry, she now enjoys sharing all of her family favorite recipes and creating tasty dinner and amazing dessert recipes here at Bake It With Love!