In-N-Out Burger Copycat Recipe

This In-n-Out Burger copycat version may just be better than the real thing!In-N-Out BUrgerI grew up with a mother who was born and bred in California and thus a huge fan of In-N-Out Burgers.  I on the other hand was born in California but raised in Wisconsin, a state with no In-N-Out within a 1,000 miles or more.  It wasn’t actually until I was an adult myself and on a trip to California that I experienced my first In-N-Out burger.  If my mother ever took me as a child I don’t remember.  From that time forward anytime I am in a state with an In-N-Out (California,Nevada, Utah and Texas) my internal hamburger radar manages to find one and I partake.

Several years ago I was in California with a friend from back East who had never experienced In-N-Out so I was able to introduce her and share her first In-N-Out experience with her – we are now bonded for life.

Given the fact that I live in Oregon and the closest In-N-Out is in another state I was pretty excited when I ran across a copycat recipe for an In-n-Out burger in the Food Network Magazine.

Now, I know there are those of you out there that don’t think In-N- Out is so great and I respect that but for you fellow In-N-Out fans, today’s post is for you!

I have no idea if this is how they really make their burgers but it is a good burger.  In fact, my husband thought it was better than In-N-Out.

You start with the secret sauce – a combination of mayo, ketchup, pickle relish and a little white vinegar.

In n Out Burger
You must have the sauce. I use to order my burger without the sauce because I can be a bit of a plain jane. For years I ordered my burgers “dry” – that means only meat and the bun. Yes, I know, boring. But once I tried the sauce, I have never gone back!

In n Out Burger

Next I made the caramelized onions that go on top – unfortunately my photos for that got deleted – oops!  Finely chop your onion and then cook them in vegetable oil.  Cover them and allow them to cook slow for about 30 minutes until they are golden and soft.  Watch your heat and don’t let them burn.  Uncover them once they h ave started to brown and caramelize and cook for about 5 more minutes.  Add in 1/2 C water and simmer until the water evaporates.  These can be made ahead of time and set aside.

Next you will want to toast your buns.  This is one of the things I love about an In-N- Out Burger – the buns are toasted.  Heat up your electric griddle and brush it lightly with some vegetable oil.  Place your buns split side down on the griddle
In n Out Burger

and toast until golden brown.

 In n Out BurgerThen spread a tablespoon of the special sauce on the bottom bun.
In n Out Burger
Set these aside and it’s time to cook the burgers.  The recipe calls for ground beef chuck (at least 60% lean)  This is different than regular ground beef.
In n Out Burger
I made my patties thicker than In-N-Out does so if you want a more authentic experience, make then thinner.
Add a sprinkle of salt and pepper to both sides.
In n Out Burger
Place your patties on your hot griddle (these hamburgers are not put on a BBQ grill) Cook for 3-5 minutes, depending on the thickness of your patty and your desired doneness. Spread the patty with 1 1/2 tsp of mustard on the uncooked side and then flip.
In n Out Burger
Top the cooked side with a slice of cheese. In-N-Out uses American cheese and I just couldn’t bring myself to do that so I used Tillamook Cheddar Cheese. You decide how authentic you want to be.
In n Out Burger
Cook to your desired doneness.
Top the buns you have set aside with lettuce and tomato. Add the hamburger patty and top that with your caramelized onions.
In n Out Burger
Total Goodness!
In n Out Burger
For a more complete experience you can even put it into a little paper container and pretend you are in California eating the real thing.
In n Out Burger

Yea, I’m a happy camper!  In-N-Out whenever I want. Maybe you could even eat it sitting in your car.

In-N-Out Burger Copycat Recipe
  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil and more for brushing griddle
  • 2 large onions, finely chopped
  • salt
  • ¼ C mayo
  • 2 Tbsp ketchup
  • 1 Tbsp sweet pickle relish
  • ½ tsp white vinegar
  • 2 lbs. ground chuck (60%)
  • 4 hamburger buns
  • pickles ( I left off)
  • 1 C shredded iceberg lettuce
  • 4-8 slices of tomato
  • pepper
  • 8 slices of American cheese (I used cheddar)
  1. Heat oil in pan and add onions.
  2. Cook onions covered, over medium heat for 30 minutes or until onions begin to turn golden brown and caramelize. Watch them so they don't burn.
  3. Remove lid and cook for 5 more minutes and then add ½ C water. Allow water to evaporate.
  4. Set aside, onions can be made several days ahead of time and refrigerated.
  5. Mix together the mayo, ketchup, relish and vinegar in a bowl and set aside.
  6. Form meat into 8 patties about 4 inches wide and ½ inch thick.
  7. Heat griddle and lightly brush with vegetable oil.
  8. Toast the buns on the griddle, split side down.
  9. After they are toasted golden brown spread the bottom bun with 1 Tbsp of the mayo mixture.
  10. Top with tomato and lettuce.
  11. Salt and pepper both sides of hamburger patties and cook on the griddle for 3-5 minutes.
  12. Spread top of patty with 1½ tsps mustard and flip.
  13. Top patty with cheese and allow to cook until desired doneness.
  14. Add hamburger to bun and top with caramelized onion.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 8 burgers or 4 double burgers
Copycat In-n-Out Burger is so easy to make at home and we think they are better than the real thing!
Leigh Anne
Hi – I’m Leigh Anne! I have been a homebased mom for 30 years since my first baby boy was born! I love working with women and helping to inspire them to achieve their goals and dreams while still maintaining motherhood and family as their number one priority. I blog about everything I enjoy – creating treats and meals in my kitchen, spending time in my garden, entertaining and party planning, reading, self improvement and tips and ideas on style and fashion.
Leigh Anne
Leigh Anne

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  1. MelanieL says

    Yummy! Looks delicious even at 9:45 am! I see a cheeseburger on the menu for lunch but, I’m in Indiana so I’ll have to settle for Culver’s:)

  2. says

    I hear you I live in Minnesota & you hear people talking about these burgers all the time. I’ve never even seen one! Im making this tonight, thank you !

  3. Julie Spady says

    Had this for dinner tonight….they are SO yummy. The onions…….mmmmmmm!!! I had mine with a turkey burger and it was delicious!! Thanks!!

  4. says

    I live in Utah and have never actually had an In-and-Out burger. Shameful, I know. But your version looks so yummy I’ll probably be trying it out first. :)

  5. Kathie says

    That looks delicious. There is nothing like a good burger. I must say, that special sauce is exactly what Utah fry sauce is. :)
    I have followed your blog foe quite a while, but have never commented. I just wanted to let you know I think your family is adorable and seems to have the relationships I hope my children grow up to have. You are a good mom.

  6. bev says

    Made these……. we loved them,used 85/15 ground round and no cheese . Put them on focaccia bread. Delish !!!!!!

  7. Tam says

    I can’t wait to try this recipe out!! I am a huge In N Out lover. I was raised on them when growing up in California and am now lucky to have an In N Out within 1 mile of my home in Texas!!! Matter of fact I ate there yesterday. : )

  8. k says

    We just finished eating and mmmmmm! I usually can’t stand homemade indoor burgers but we don’t have a grill and we have a cow in the freezer. :) These definitely rival In-N-Out! They were the best burgers I have ever made and were among the best I’ve ever had…ever!! That includes eating out or homemade grilled. Thanks so much! My husband thanks you too. 😀

  9. PBSwine says

    I never could understand the fascination with In-N-Out. Their burgers always seemed pretty routine tasting to me. To me, the most important part of a good burger is the taste of the meat. If I don’t enjoy the taste of a plain burger, meat and bun only, I’m probably not going to enjoy it with condiments either. Your burger does look great though, and I’ll give it a try! Heck, I might even give In-N-Out another try!! :)

  10. katbrat says

    You are a goddess. I’m probably going to move out of California soon. I will definitely miss In n Out. I gotta try this recipe. Thanks so much!

  11. Jen says

    I can’t wait to try this recipe. I lived in California for about 4 years and my husband and I were devoted In & Out fans. YUM.

    Thanks for the post.

  12. Bobi Pixley says

    We just had In-N-Out tonight. I don’t know about the other ingredients in your version of the spread but I can tell you with certainty that the pickle relish, used in the sauce, is dill pickle – not sweet pickle.

  13. Cidalia says

    I live in Virginia and have always heard the hype of In-N-Out burger! I’ve always wanted to try one and now I can thanks to your recipe! I’m making them tomorrow for my family and I’m super excited!

  14. Jen says

    I am an American currently living in Germany. One of the things I miss about the U.S. is the delicious burgers! Sure, we have McDonalds and Burger King here, but I’m talking about really good, American-style burgers. I lived in Arizona for a few months and got hooked on In-N-Out. It’s been a while, so I can’t say for sure how this rivals In-N-Out for taste, but I do know that I ate a delicious burger tonight! They were a big hit with the neighbors as well, who also used to live in Arizona and miss good burgers. Thanks for sharing this recipe!

  15. says

    I’ve been making similar burgers for quite sometime. I don’t use the vinegar for the sauce and I use really lean ground sirloin. The sauce is delicious for dipping fries too.

  16. says

    I’m from Southern California (living in Colorado now) and I miss In-n-Out so much! We always look forward to our road trips ‘back home’ so we can hit the very first In-n-Out we come to in Utah. I’m totally going to try this recipe, thanks so much for sharing this!


  17. Debbie Caraballo says

    I’ve heard of these, but have never been to an In n out…They look delicious! I love grilled onions on a burger, and the cooked mustard sounds very interesting. Definitely pinning this recipe. I would definitely use American cheese – it’s my favorite, and I’ll own up to it! LOL Thanks for a great recipe.

  18. says

    This looks absolutely delicious. I am a long-time central PA resident, but I did get the opportunity to try In and Out Burger on a short Las Vegas getaway my husband and I took. It was our first meal after a long flight and it was divine! I’m looking forward to trying out the recipe. Thanks!

  19. Chris says

    I have little red plastic baskets with the white and red checked paper to put inside. They came with the baskets. I am wondering where to buy refills. Thanks

  20. Jack says

    I have not eaten In N Out in at least 20 years, but I do remember the divine aroma. I hope I can duplicate it with this. Those are some of the best burgers I ever had, and look forward to trying this recipe. I tried duplicating it before, but it seemed like there was always something missing. Hopefully. this will solve it. Thanks!

  21. Bea says

    I know you wrote this post a while ago but I had to comment. I made these last night and they are!! I’ve never had anything like it. I ate both of my burgers – greedy! My husband agreed that they were awesome.

    I’ve visited the West Coast but never had the opportunity to experience In-N-Out but if the original is better than what I had last night, I can’t wait!

    Thanks for sharing this recipe.

    • says

      Bea, thanks so much for your comment. I love that you loved them so much. I’ve had many an In and Out burger and they are good but this homemade version is better!!

  22. Liz says

    I am excited to try this recipe. I grew up in SoCal, but when I was 11 when we moved to Oregon and been here ever since. I remember eating them often and anytime we visit family in California its the go to place… always ordering fries and a chocolate milkshake. Dipping fries in the milkshake is a must. For those that have never been to an In-N-Out, the burgers do not come with caramelized onions unless you order it “animal style” and you can also order fries this way– delicious. Anyways, this excites me. And, I want to let all you Oregonians know that Medford should be getting an In-N-Out very soon. Thanks for posting this. Blessings from this at home mom to you. :)

  23. Tanya says

    These are amazing! Used turkey jack burgers and cooked in a cast iron pan on the stove. They really are better than the chain

  24. Valerie says

    Oh my goodness! These were amazingly good! Even my picky 4, 6 & 9 olds ate them exactly like the recipe described!! My husband & I devoured them! We live in NM, one state over from the nearest -In n Out ! I know this is years from your original post but, thank you for still having it available! Super Yum!

  25. kathy wayne says

    You are pretty close, my Dad worked at the first In-N-Out in CA in the late 50s. We also live in Oregon, Medford though. Anyway any chance he got Dad would make up a batch of the special sauce for various establishments he frequented. No vinegar, sweet pickle relish, mustard, ketchup, and mayonnaise. He used no water to carmalize the onions, just low and slow and some oil. He even bought himself a real restaurant grill to practice his 2nd love on.


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