Learn to make awesome air fryer burgers that are stuffed with delicious, melty cheese! You’ll wonder why you haven’t tried air frying hamburgers before when you see how easy this recipe is. All you need is ground beef, steak seasoning, and your favorite cheese to make the best Juicy Lucy cheeseburgers ever! Forget the grill this season, air fry is where it is at!
Who doesn’t love a good air fryer recipe? This air fried burger recipe is a main course that’s full of flavor.
Mind you, these aren’t any old burgers, we can’t have that. Instead, I’ve decided to stuff the burgers with cheese. The cheese melts while the burgers cook, leaving you with a delicious cheeseburger, minus the mess.
I’ve heard horror stories of people trying to make cheeseburgers in air fryers. Apparently, when you use shredded cheese, there’s a risk that it will blow all over the fryer.
Cleaning up melted cheese that is stuck all over the inside of an air fryer does not sound like a fun time. Here, I’ve sidestepped that potential disaster entirely by putting the cheese in the burger. No wasted cheese, and no mess!
(Note: If you forget to stuff your air fryer burgers but decide you want cheese, put the cheese on right after cooking. The warmth of the burger should be just enough to melt the cheese a bit.)
One of the things that I dislike about beef burgers is how much they shrink with cooking. Not only that, but they also tend to bulge in the middle. This creates a situation where the toppings can fall off. Grrr!
Luckily, I’m going to give you plenty of tips to make inside out cheeseburgers that turn out perfect every time. Let’s do this!
- 😋 What is a Juicy Lucy?
- 📋 Calories, Net Carbs, Protein
- 🍔 Making an Air Fryer Burger That Holds Its Shape While Cooking
- ⭐ Benefits
- 🥘 Ingredients
- 🍽 Equipment
- 🔪 How to Make
- ️⏲ Cooking Time and Temperature
- ️🌡️ Leftovers
- 🥗 Side Dishes
- 💭 Expert Tips from a Dietitian
- 👩🏻🍳 Other Air Fryer Ground Beef Recipes
- The Disclaimer…
- 📖 Recipe
- 💬 Comments
😋 What is a Juicy Lucy?
The Juicy Lucy is a stuffed cheeseburger where melty cheese is inside the burger instead of on top. (Hello, yum!) Think of it like an inside out burger.
There’s a debate over who invented the stuffed cheeseburger. Matt’s Bar (home of the “Jucy Lucy”) and the 5-8 Club (home of the “Juicy Lucy”), both located in Minneapolis, Minnesota, each say they have the original. If you’re ever in the Twin Cities area, it might be worth trying both burgers so you can decide which is your favorite.
📋 Calories, Net Carbs, Protein
One serving of Air Fryer Stuffed Burgers has 363 calories, 1.3 grams net carbs, and 34.3 grams protein. This nutritional information is for the burger only, with no bun or toppings.
🍔 Making an Air Fryer Burger That Holds Its Shape While Cooking
There are some excellent tips around if you want a beef burger that doesn’t bulge up in the middle. If you’re making big burgers (>6 ounces/170 grams), shape each patty to be flatter and wider than you want it to be. And to help prevent bulging, put a small indentation (a “dimple”) in the center of each patty.
These cheese-stuffed hamburgers in the air fryer really didn’t shrink much at all. I think the cheese worked in place of the “dimple” to weigh the center of the burger down. If anything, the burger became flatter as it cooked and the cheese melted.
Basically, this air fryer recipe for burgers is super if you want a big burger that will fill your hamburger bun. You can also load these hamburgers up with toppings without worrying that they will slide off.
Beef is a wonderful source of highly bioavailable heme iron, as well as high-quality protein, zinc, and vitamin B12. I consider it an excellent food choice, particularly for premenopausal women who have high iron needs (and may struggle with low iron). Personally, I’ve found that I no longer need to supplement with iron after adding beef to my diet.
Though plant foods have many positive attributes, the iron and zinc they contain are not as available to the body. Additionally, plant foods naturally provide no vitamin B12 (though this essential nutrient may be added to fortified foods). If you are trying to meet your nutrient needs with whole foods rather than supplements and fortified foods, beef can help get you there.
These air fryer burgers cook fast and make getting a high-protein meal simple. With air frying, some of the oil drips off the burger while it cooks, so you get a lower calorie burger too. Best of all, they are delicious!
Here’s what you need to make air fryer hamburgers stuffed with cheese:
- Lean ground beef (I used 90/10 ground beef)
- Steak seasoning
- Sliced cheese
- Cooking oil spray
American cheese is a classic choice for these burgers, because it melts so well. Cheddar cheese is a good option for those who want a less processed cheese, and Muenster is another. Blue cheese, pepper jack, Monterey jack, and provolone cheese slices also work well.
If you don’t like cheese, there are other things to put in stuffed burgers. Sauteed mushrooms and caramelized onions would probably be quite tasty as fillings, but I haven’t tested these out.
I always make 3 giant Juicy Lucys when I make this recipe. Go big or go home is what I’m all about with this burger.
Unless you’re making a burger bowl, you’ll also want to have toasted hamburger buns and burger toppings. Here’s how to top a Juicy Lucy burger:
- Green leaf lettuce
- Sliced tomato
- Sliced red onion
- Pickled jalapenos
You could also add more cheese, pickles, relish, mustard, salsa, or whatever floats your boat. A runny fried egg is another really good topping for a burger.
To make stuffed burgers in the air fryer, you’ll need an air fryer. I used the top tray of my 10-Quart Kalorik Digital Air Fryer Oven. You can use an air fryer basket as well.
Keep in mind that if you use a Ninja Foodi, Cosori, Pampered Chef Air Fryer, Actifry, Nuwave, Instant Vortex, Cuisinart, Philips, Power Air Fryer, or another air fryer, you may need to adjust the cooking times slightly. You could also make Juicy Lucy burgers with an Instant Pot air fryer lid.
🔪 How to Make
Let's talk about how to cook stuffed burgers in an air fryer! Start by thoroughly mixing the ground meat and seasoning together with clean hands. Divide the meat mixture into six equal pieces.
Make three of the pieces into large, flat patties with a 4-inch (10 cm) diameter. Try to make sure there’s no holes in the patties, so the cheese doesn’t ooze out. Roll the other three pieces of meat into balls.
Grab three slices of cheese, and cut each into four pieces. Put a stack of four cut pieces of cheese (equal to one slice) on top of each flat patty.
Take the burger pieces that you’ve rolled into balls and flatten each into a patty. (Again, try to make sure the patties have no holes.) Use these to completely cover the cheese on the other patties.
Seal the edges of your burgers. You want the cheese to be completely encased in the meat.
Mist an air fryer rack with the cooking spray. Your burgers should all fit on one rack in a single-layer (if you have a large air fryer oven). Put the tray in the top rack position of your air fryer oven.
️⏲ Cooking Time and Temperature
How long does it take to cook a hamburger in an air fryer? Stuffed hamburgers air fry for a total 10 minutes at 375 degrees Fahrenheit (190C). Flip them halfway through cooking time (i.e., after 5 minutes).
The minimum safe internal temp for ground beef is 160F (71C). I prefer my beef burgers medium or medium-rare, but I’m sharing this information so you can make your own decision. You’ll likely need to add to the air frying time if you want the burgers to reach this temperature.
After letting the burgers rest for a few minutes, you can top them and enjoy. Be careful when you take a bite- the cheese can be very hot!
Stovetop directions: You can also cook Juicy Lucys on the stovetop in a skillet. Heat the skillet to medium heat, and cook the stuffed cheeseburgers for 5-6 minutes per side (or longer, if you prefer well done).
How to store leftover stuffed burgers? Keep your leftover burgers (without toppings) in a covered container in the refrigerator. They will last for 3-4 days, and are an easy way to add more protein to meals.
Reheat stuffed burgers for a few minutes on the stovetop or in the microwave. (You can use the air fryer too, of course. 😊 )
🥗 Side Dishes
What are the best sides for stuffed burgers? Here are some of my favorite foods to serve with burgers with cheese in the middle:
- Air Fryer Frozen French Fries
- Frozen Veggies in the Air Fryer
- Air Fryer Jicama Fries
- Garden Salads
- Air Fryer Carrots
- Air Fryer Butternut Squash
💭 Expert Tips from a Dietitian
This is a level 2 recipe (transition or weight maintenance). The overall energy balance of this meal will ultimately depend on what you serve it with. If you wanted to lighten up the burger specifically, I’d skip the cheese and use extra lean (96/4) beef.
Really though, the added starches (bun, fries, etc.) are the factors that tend to bump the calories in burger meals without an equally large bump in feelings of fullness. If you get your burger from a fast food place, sugary soda is often included as well.
I tend to photograph my burgers with big, fluffy white buns for aesthetic purposes on the website. For an everyday meal that isn’t photographed, I’m far more likely to make a burger bowl or serve the burger in a lettuce wrap.
To make a burger bowl, take your favorite raw leafy greens and top them with chopped burger. Add lots of other non-starchy veggies (caramelized onion, pickled jalapeno, and tomato are nice). Finish with a little drizzle of ketchup, BBQ sauce, or your favorite burger sauce and you’ll have a low-calorie meal.
If you’re after a high-energy meal and you want to keep the bun, I highly recommend toasting it. The Juicy Lucy will make your burger bun soggy quickly if it is not toasted. (It is “juicy,” after all.)
Toast buns cut-side up in an air fryer preheated to 400F (200C) for 2 minutes. (Feel free to add another minute or two to the air fry time if they aren’t toasted to your liking.)
You don’t need to add anything to these burger patties to keep them from falling apart. The most important thing is to ensure the cheese is completely sealed within the meat prior to cooking. Large diameter burgers offer more surface area for covering the cheese.
Yes, you should flip the burgers halfway through cooking time to help ensure even cooking. This is true whether you make stuffed burgers in an air fryer or in the oven.
Yes, you can bake burgers with cheese in the middle in the oven too! Preheat the oven to 400F (200C) and bake the burgers in a single layer in a baking dish for 20-30 minutes. (The exact baking time depends on the size of the burgers.)
Yes, you can substitute ground turkey for the beef in this recipe. I recommend ground turkey thighs because the higher fat content will help keep the burger from drying out too much. Poultry should be cooked to a safe internal temperature of 165F (74C). Turkey burger may need more air frying time than beef.
These are gluten free stuffed burger patties as long as the steak seasoning you use is gluten free. You’ll also want to use gluten free hamburger buns and gluten free condiments on the burger.
Wondering how to make stuffed burgers keto? Simply skip the bun or use a low carb bun. These stuffed hamburger patties are naturally very low in carbs.
👩🏻🍳 Other Air Fryer Ground Beef Recipes
Want more ideas for cooking ground beef in the air fryer? I’ve got you! Check these out:
All recipes on this website may or may not be appropriate for you, depending on your medical needs and personal preferences. Consult with a registered dietitian or your physician if you need help determining the dietary pattern that may be best for you.
The nutrition information is an estimate provided as a courtesy. It will differ depending on the specific brands and ingredients that you use. Calorie information on food labels may be wildly inaccurate, so please don't sweat the numbers too much.
For more information on how the three recipe levels may help with a weight management goal, refer to my overnight oats no sugar post. Let's get cooking!
Air Fryer Burgers Stuffed with Cheese (Juicy Lucy)
- With clean hands, thoroughly mix the seasoning and ground beef together.
- Divide the beef mixture into 6 equal pieces. Make 3 of the pieces into very flat and large (4-inch/10 cm diameter) patties with no holes. Make the other 3 pieces into balls.
- Cut each slice of the cheese into four pieces. Stack four pieces (one slice) of cheese atop each of the flattened patties.
- Take the burger pieces that you formed into balls. Flatten each one out and use them to completely cover the cheese on the patties. Seal the edges of each burger. The cheese should now be completely encased within each patty.
- Mist an air fryer rack with the cooking spray. Your burgers should all fit on one rack in a single-layer (if you have a large air fryer oven).
- Put the rack with the burgers in the top position in the oven. Bake at 375°F (190°C) for 5 minutes. Then carefully flip the burgers and replace the rack in the top position in the oven. Bake for an additional 5 minutes at 375°F (190°C).
- This recipe makes burgers that are cooked to medium doneness. Minimum safe internal temperature for ground beef is 160°F (71°C), which is well done. Feel free to adjust the cooking times to match your preferences.
- Let the burgers rest for a few minutes before topping as desired. Enjoy!
This recipe has been updated from 2020 to include new photos, a new recipe video, and more nutrition information. Enjoy!