Through some difficult research, many stains, and a few arguments over the ideal sauce to bun-size ratio, we did it - we created our guide to the best burgers in Austin. You’ll find everything from the nice restaurant burger to the lunch counter burger all the way to the drive-thru window burger. You may want ketchup on top or vehemently deny mayo and aioli are the same thing, but what we can all agree on is that you’ll want to know what every single burger on this list tastes like.
All restaurants featured on The Infatuation are selected by our editorial team. The 19 Best Burgers In Austin is sponsored by Pepsi.
It feels like Odd Duck plays hard to get by only serving their burger during the week at lunch, but it’s working. We’ll lie about an emergency root canal and drive from the northernmost point in Austin to South Lamar mid-workday for their burger topped with beer cheese and fried onion on an extra-toasted potato bun. When you do manage to try this elusive burger, do not share, do not put it down, and do beg your server or bartender to add it to the menu for all meals.
Sandy’s has a drive-thru and a walk-up window in their original location on Barton Springs that’s perfectly located between downtown, Zilker Park, and South Congress. But despite their prime spot, the prices seem to have stayed mostly the same over the decades and it’s hard to spend more than $10 here. The burger itself is small, so we’d recommend ordering two or getting a double. Leaving Sandy’s with a greasy brown bag, driving towards the Austin skyline, and shoving your burger into your face with your free hand is about as classic an Austin experience as you can get.
Most of the people at Tiny Boxwoods are ordering something light, like a salad or avocado toast. So when we tried the burger at this Rosedale spot, it felt like getting a really firm handshake from a toddler - an unexpected but welcome surprise. The bun is solid, not surprising considering how great all their other baked goods are, and it holds a huge patty topped with American cheese and super salty pickles. This burger is big enough to split in case you want to show a little bit of self-control in front of your friends - or, more likely, save room for one of their cookies.
Rivaling Sandy’s as the oldest burger spot in Austin, Dirty Martin’s has been primely located on campus for more than 90 years. Part bar, part diner, Dirty’s serves a burger with thin patties cooked on a flat top - so we usually opt for the large (a double) instead of the small. The menu keeps it pretty simple with the options, but we like the O.T. Special with bacon, cheese, lettuce, tomato, and mayo. This place is exactly what you picture when you think of a classic diner and you might accidentally yell “I’ll have the usual, Faye!” even though you’re not a regular and you don’t know who Faye is.
It’s not entirely surprising that a burger from a butcher shop-meets-restaurant is great. But the burger at Dai Due exceeds even those expectations. It’s made with two dry-aged wagyu beef patties, topped with a caffeinated version of special sauce - it’s a combination of mayo, mustard, and coffee - and served on a house-made bun.
We’ve never paid much attention to the lettuce on a burger except to sometimes take it off, throw it to the side, and wonder why lettuce even exists. But Better Half found a way to make that thin piece of green leaf important. They put the lettuce underneath the burger, which means the bottom bun doesn’t get too soggy and holds up the whole time you’re eating. The patty itself is moderately sized with raw onions, dijon, mayo, and melted American cheese on top, and some crunchy pickles on the side. It doesn’t come with fries, but the burger’s only $5 during Happy Hour (3-6pm and 9pm to close) and $10 regularly, so you won’t feel bad adding on a side of fries or cauliflower tots.
The thick, medium-rare Angus patty in the burger at Clark’s is incredibly juicy and topped with melted gruyere and a special sauce made with Worcestershire. It’s served on a brioche bun that manages to stay intact the entire time you’re eating it and comes with a mountain of shoestring fries that will inevitably be shared with whoever wasn’t smart enough to order the burger. For the best deal, come during Happy Hour for half-off the burger, which will leave you some extra cash for a cocktail or maybe some oysters.
Carpenter’s Hall looks sort of like a glamping tent that happens to be indoors and have walls. But instead of getting a burger made by that friend who swears they know how to use a grill as long as someone else turns it on, you’ll get one of our favorites in the city. The patties are cooked on the griddle so they’re a little greasy and on the thinner side, which makes the first bite taste reminiscent of McDonald’s in the best way possible. The melty cheese mixed with chopped onions and special sauce on top makes it a bit messy (also in the best way), but the real star is the milk-toast bun. It has a creamy, challah-like consistency that makes you want to ask for one on the side to just enjoy by itself. It’s not served at dinner, but you can get it during lunch, brunch, Happy Hour (Monday-Friday 3-5:30pm), or late-night (daily 10pm-12am).
Despite the fact that it’s painted bright blue, it would be easy to loop Casino El Camino in with all the restaurants around it on Dirty 6th and think it’s just another dive bar. But inside you’ll find one of Austin’s best kept burger secrets. Order the Amarillo with roasted serranos on top and just cut it in half to begin with before you hurt your jaw trying to take a bite of the super thick patty. After you’re done, be sure to only share your experience here with the people who can appreciate the fine art of a burger in a dive bar.
Odds are, in the early days of Hopdoddy, you waited in their long line in the sun hoping that the burger on the other end would be worth it. And it definitely was. These days, the lines are shorter, but the quality is exactly the same. They have classic options, as well as combinations like the El Diablo with pepper jack cheese, roasted peppers and onions, salsa, and chipotle aioli (our personal favorite). From the fresh-baked buns to the crunchy lettuce, you get a high level of quality here for a pretty reasonable price.
Billy’s on Burnet has some pretty dedicated regulars. Some are there for the drinks and others for the constant sports on TV, but the most loyal group is the one coming for the burger. These are the people who have been coming here for years for lunch, dinner, or a midday burger break and might not even notice if they stopped serving beer. The Cobra burger (our favorite) with cheddar cheese, bacon, grilled jalapenos, and chipotle mayo might be a little more expensive at $12 than you’d expect for a bar burger, but it’s always worth it.
Being able to distinguish the cuts of meat in a burger patty is like being able to tell the difference between seasons of Law & Order - it takes a true level of expertise and too many hours to count sinking into your couch. One bite into the burger at Loro though, and you’ll be able to tell that it’s something different. The patty, made up of brisket and smoked bavette, tastes like something people would wait in line at Franklin for, except it’s only offered at Loro during Happy Hour (weekdays 2-5pm). The bun is light and fluffy and the red onion-brisket jam, crunchy pickles, and butter lettuce on top add a little extra crunch.
We can get behind paying $10 or even $15 for a burger at a nice restaurant, but $18 starts to make you wonder if you should just go for the steak instead. As much as we hate to say it, though, the burger at Foreign and Domestic is worth every dollar. The fact that it’s served on the rarer-side makes the cheeseburger really juicy and while they go a little heavy on the green tomato jam, it mostly soaks into a brioche bun and the whole thing is messy enough that you won’t notice. And since you’re already spending more money than you’d like, you might as well add that egg or bacon on top for $2 extra.
You might get weird looks if you say you go to barbecue places for the pickles or to gas stations for the hot dogs. But even though Crown and Anchor is known mainly for its hundreds of beer options, we go for the burgers. The double cheeseburger comes with American cheese, lettuce, pickle, raw onion, and mustard, and while it’s a fairly salty burger overall, that’s what all the beer is there for.
With live bands playing in the background and big leather booths, Lambert’s is a perfect place to eat a lot of meat and drink some sort of dark liquor. You can only order the burger off the bar menu, and odds are you’ll be finished with it before your brain even registers that it arrived, because once you take your first bite you won’t put it down. Add some of their house-made mustard to the sesame bun, which goes great with the grilled onions, bacon, and mayo already on there, but make sure to save some to dip your waffle fries in.
For the downtown working crowd, there’s no better feeling than scoring a seat at the counter at Counter Cafe on a Friday when you’re in need of a long lunch away from your open-plan office. You’ll get quick service, a great view of the kitchen, and the chance to enjoy a burger without having to politely ask your office neighbor to stop having 15-minute phone calls with their mother-in-law. Their burger comes on a sourdough bun with a thin patty and melted cheddar cheese and, since they know eggs here just as well as they know burgers, add a perfectly-runny fried egg on top.
You usually find cheddar or American cheese on a burger because they’re crowd pleasers and can satisfy everyone from burger purists to your six-year-old nephew who won’t eat anything green or mushy. But when you want something different, get the burger at Hopfields. It’s topped with super ripe, somewhat smelly - but truly delicious - Camembert cheese. And the cheese situation goes great with the other toppings of grilled onions, a fried egg, and ground mustard.
Late-night burgers usually mean making a stop at Whataburger, which means waking up in the morning regretting more than oversharing with the bartender about your daily disputes with your neighbor over their parking habits. Luckily, you can get a great burger at Justine’s until 2am every night (except Tuesdays) and it will likely be too loud for the bartender to hear more of your story than the words “passive aggressive post-it note.” Served on a chewy ciabatta bun, the burger is topped with melty gruyere and crisp butter lettuce.
Eating at the bar requires you do a few things: don’t say anything to disturb the person staring at their drink like its a crystal ball and don’t bother the bartender more than once for more napkins. At the Tavern, you’re definitely not going to be able to pull off that second one. Their delicious mess of a burger is meant to be eaten while watching jai alai, Greyhound racing, or whatever other obscure sport is on TV. They offer a few topping combinations, but we opt to build our own starting with the Regular Ole Burger. The patty itself is juicy even if someone orders it medium and we like to top it with cheddar cheese and grilled peppers and onions. Just do your best to keep the clean up to three to five napkins so you’re still welcome back.