The secret to a phenomenal burger isn’t just the meat, bun, or cheese – it’s this secret burger sauce. Five (5!!) simple ingredients are all you need!

Secret Burger Sauce

If you’re anything like me, you like your burgers grilled to medium-rare, covered in melted cheese (American, blue, cheddar, gouda – or others!), and loaded with toppings. Give me all the bacon, tomatoes, onions (raw! grilled! caramelized!), avocado, etc.

Or maybe you like your burger smothered in bacon onion balsamic jam? After all, we’re friends for a reason, aren’t we?

And until recently, I was always a ketchup – always and ONLY on the bottom bun – and mayo – only on the top bun ONLY if there were lettuce and tomatoes atop the burger – kind of girl. Call me fussy. Whatever.

Secret Burger Sauce

I do branch out a bit, though, if the burgers are of the “special” variety.

For instance, I love a really nice herbed or garlic aioli like what Annie put on these provençal burgers. And that sauce on fake Shake Shack burgers? YES!

This secret burger sauce recipe is actually similar to that one…in that it’s an incredible addition to a burger, there’s no one way to make it, and every burger place has one that everyone that nobody can figure out how to exactly make.

This version is incredibly simple. And you’ll want to douse your burger in it. I promise, it’s that good!

The only ingredients you need for this burger sauce are: mayo, ketchup, pickle relish, sugar, vinegar, pepper. Mix them all up and you’re ready for burger heaven.

Yes! That’s all this burger sauce is made of! So easy, right??

Secret Burger Sauce

I haven’t had a Big Mac since probably 1991 but this burger sauce immediately swept me back to that burger with its “special sauce” and all the hub-bub around people trying to figure out what was in it. Then I started humming the 1980s burger anthem to myself.

Also, have you seen this one from the 70s? Too funny! Well my friends, put your hands together.

The search is over for that the secret burger sauce – this is the only one you’ll ever need.

Secret Burger Sauce

Need more Memorial Day recipe inspiration?

Secret Burger Sauce Recipe

Secret Burger Sauce Recipe

Yield: About ¼ cup - enough for up to 4 burgers
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

Secret burger sauce is the "secret weapon" to jazz up a plain burger. It's not the meat, cheese, or bun that makes a burger phenomenal, its the secret sauce. Let's make some, shall we?


  • 2 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp ketchup
  • ½ tsp sweet pickle relish
  • ½ tsp granulated sugar
  • ½ tsp white vinegar
  • ¼ tsp ground black pepper


  1. Whisk all of the ingredients together in a small bowl. Use right away or refrigerate, covered, for up to 2 weeks.


This recipe will make enough sauce for up to 4 burgers but it easily doubles (or triples!) for when you're feeding a crowd.

adapted from Cook's Ilustrated

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  • David
    February 3, 2018 at 5:20 PM

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    • Tara
      February 4, 2018 at 8:17 AM