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Lamb Burgers with Quick Skillet Ketchup 

Photo: Daniel Agee; Food Styling: Mark Driskill; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis

Active time 35 mins
Total time 35 mins

Serves 4 (serving size: 1 burger)

Look, we know, ground lamb is on the pricier side of the ground meat case. That said, even though lamb is going to be slightly more expensive than comparable options, like ground beef or turkey, it remains one of the most budget-friendly (and least intimidating ways) to satisfy a craving for lamb’s distinctly delicious flavor. That’s why we love it as an occasional upgrade to make standby dishes feel a little extra-special. This lamb burger is a prime example… meaning, this is the burger you make when you’re in the mood to treat yourself to something exceptionally awesome. A skillet burger such as this is a most beautiful thing—and after you’ve cooked your lamb patties, you’ll use the same skillet to whip up a quick, garlicky “ketchup” using fresh cherry tomatoes. Cook the tomatoes down with a bit of sugar to make an easy, vibrant condiment that’s so far beyond anything from a bottle. Match that with some speedy, umami-bomb pickled mushrooms and rich blue cheese, and you’ve got a sandwich that’s legitimately worthy of a special occasion. 


  • 1/2 cup Champagne vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar, divided
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1/2 tsp. kosher salt, divided
  • 3 ounces shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 20 ounces ground lamb
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper, divided
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 4 hamburger buns
  • 4 ounces blue cheese, crumbled (about 1 cup)
  • 1 cup packed watercress

How to Make It

  1. Preheat broiler with oven rack 6 to 8 inches from heat. Combine Champagne vinegar, water, 1 tablespoon of the sugar, and 1 teaspoon of the salt in a microwavable bowl; microwave on HIGH 1 minute and 30 seconds. Add mushrooms; chill, uncovered, 10 minutes.

    How to Shape a Burger
  2. Heat oil in a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high. Shape lamb into 4 (1/4-inch-thick) patties. Sprinkle evenly 1 teaspoon each of the salt and pepper. Cook patties until browned and done, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels.

  3. Add tomatoes and garlic to skillet; cook, stirring often, until garlic begins to brown, about 2 minutes. Add white vinegar and remaining 3 tablespoons sugar, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper; cook, stirring occasionally, until tomatoes begin to burst, about 10 minutes. Using a large spoon, press tomatoes, and cook, pressing occasionally, until almost all of the liquid is evaporated, about 10 minutes. Transfer tomato mixture to a bowl; cool 5 minutes.

  4. Place 1 patty on each bottom hamburger bun. Top each patty with 1/4 cup cheese. Broil in preheated oven 2 minutes. Top patties evenly with tomato mixture, mushrooms, and watercress. Cover with top buns.