Pairing Guide: Best Drinks and Sides to Serve with Burgers


Indulging in a perfectly grilled burger is a culinary experience cherished by many. However, elevating this classic comfort food to new heights involves more than just the patty itself. The art of pairing beverages and sides with burgers can transform a simple meal into a symphony of flavors and textures. From refreshing beverages that complement the richness of the meat to delectable sides that add depth to each bite, the possibilities are as diverse as they are enticing.

In this pairing guide, we delve into the realm of culinary harmony, exploring the best drinks and sides to serve with burgers. Whether you’re hosting a backyard barbecue, enjoying a casual meal with friends, or seeking inspiration for your next dining adventure, this guide aims to tantalize your taste buds and inspire your culinary creativity. So, grab your favorite burger recipe, prepare to fire up the grill, and let’s embark on a flavorful journey through the world of burger pairings.


Beverage Pairings

When it comes to pairing beverages with burgers, the goal is to find the perfect balance of flavors that enhance the overall dining experience. From classic choices to more adventurous options, here are some beverage pairings that will take your burger feast to the next level:

  1. Craft Beer: With its wide range of flavors and styles, craft beer is a versatile companion to burgers. Opt for a hoppy IPA to cut through the richness of a juicy beef burger, or choose a malty porter or stout to complement the smoky flavors of grilled meats. For those who prefer lighter fare, a crisp pilsner or wheat beer pairs beautifully with chicken or veggie burgers.
  2. Wine: Don’t overlook the potential of wine as a burger pairing. A juicy red wine, such as a cabernet sauvignon or merlot, can stand up to the bold flavors of a beef burger, while a fruity pinot noir or zinfandel complements the sweetness of a turkey or lamb burger. If you’re serving seafood or veggie burgers, consider a crisp white wine like sauvignon blanc or chardonnay.
  3. Craft Cocktails: Get creative with craft cocktails that echo the flavors of your burger toppings. A spicy margarita pairs well with a Mexican-inspired burger topped with jalapenos and guacamole, while a bourbon-based cocktail complements the smoky notes of a barbecue burger. For a refreshing option, try a gin and tonic with a burger topped with fresh, zesty ingredients like arugula and tomato.
  4. Soda and Soft Drinks: For a non-alcoholic option, consider pairing your burger with a classic soda or soft drink. A cold, fizzy cola enhances the savory flavors of a beef burger, while a tangy ginger ale or lemon-lime soda provides a refreshing contrast to spicy or tangy toppings. Alternatively, try a homemade fruit punch or iced tea for a flavorful, thirst-quenching accompaniment.
  5. Water and Sparkling Water: Sometimes, simplicity is key. A glass of ice-cold water or sparkling water can cleanse the palate between bites, allowing you to fully savor the flavors of your burger. Add a slice of lemon or lime for a hint of freshness, or infuse your water with herbs and fruits for a more elevated experience.

Remember, the key to a successful beverage pairing is experimentation and personal preference. Feel free to mix and match different options until you find the perfect combination that suits your tastes. Cheers to delicious burgers and delightful pairings!

Beverage Best Burger Pairings
Craft Beer IPA with beef burgers, Wheat beer with chicken or veggie burgers
Wine Cabernet Sauvignon with beef burgers, Pinot Noir with turkey or lamb burgers
Craft Cocktails Spicy margarita with Mexican-inspired burgers, Bourbon-based cocktails with barbecue burgers
Soda and Soft Drinks Cola with beef burgers, Ginger ale with spicy toppings, Homemade fruit punch or iced tea with any burger
Water and Sparkling Water Plain or infused with lemon/lime for palate cleansing


Side Dish Recommendations

No burger feast is complete without a tantalizing array of side dishes to accompany the main attraction. From crispy fries to fresh salads, the right side dish can elevate your burger experience to new heights. Here are some side dish recommendations that will complement your burgers and satisfy every craving:

  1. French Fries: A classic choice that never disappoints, French fries are the quintessential side dish for burgers. Whether you prefer them thin and crispy or thick and fluffy, there’s no denying the irresistible appeal of perfectly cooked fries. Serve them alongside your favorite burger for a satisfyingly indulgent meal.
  2. Onion Rings: For a crunchy and flavorful alternative to fries, consider serving onion rings as a side dish. These crispy golden rings of battered and fried onions add a delightful contrast of textures to your burger experience. Dip them in your favorite sauce or enjoy them on their own for a tasty accompaniment.
  3. Sweet Potato Fries: Looking for a healthier twist on classic fries? Sweet potato fries are the perfect solution. These oven-baked or fried delights offer a satisfying crunch and a hint of sweetness that pairs beautifully with savory burgers. Sprinkle them with a dash of sea salt or cinnamon for extra flavor.
  4. Side Salad: Balance out the richness of your burger with a fresh and vibrant side salad. Choose crisp lettuce, ripe tomatoes, crunchy cucumbers, and your favorite toppings to create a colorful medley of flavors and textures. Dress it with a tangy vinaigrette or creamy dressing for a refreshing accompaniment to your meal.
  5. Coleslaw: Creamy coleslaw is a classic side dish that complements burgers perfectly. The crisp cabbage and carrots tossed in a creamy dressing provide a cool and refreshing contrast to the hearty flavors of the burger. Add a sprinkle of fresh herbs or a dash of vinegar for extra zing.
  6. Potato Salad: Another beloved picnic staple, potato salad is a delicious side dish that pairs well with burgers. Creamy potatoes, crunchy celery, and tangy mayonnaise create a satisfyingly creamy and flavorful combination. Customize it with your favorite seasonings and add-ins for a personalized touch.
  7. Chips and Dip: For a fun and casual side dish option, serve a platter of crispy chips with an assortment of dips. Choose from classic options like salsa, guacamole, or sour cream and onion dip, or get creative with homemade varieties. This interactive side dish is sure to be a hit with guests of all ages.
Side Dish Description
French Fries Classic, crispy, and satisfying
Onion Rings Crunchy and flavorful
Sweet Potato Fries Healthier twist with a hint of sweetness
Side Salad Fresh and vibrant with a variety of toppings
Coleslaw Creamy and refreshing, perfect contrast to burgers
Potato Salad Creamy and flavorful, customizable with add-ins
Chips and Dip Fun and interactive, with a variety of dip options


Burger and Beverage Pairing Tips

Pairing the right beverage with your burger can enhance the flavors of both the drink and the food, resulting in a more enjoyable dining experience. Here are some tips to help you create harmonious burger and beverage pairings:

  1. Consider Flavor Profiles: When selecting a beverage to pair with your burger, consider the flavor profile of both the drink and the food. For example, if you’re serving a burger with bold, spicy flavors, opt for a beverage with complementary or contrasting flavors that won’t be overpowered by the burger.
  2. Match Intensity: Match the intensity of your beverage with the intensity of your burger. A robust red wine or hoppy beer can stand up to the bold flavors of a hearty beef burger, while a lighter wine or beer may be better suited to a milder chicken or veggie burger.
  3. Contrast Textures: Consider how the texture of your beverage complements the texture of your burger. A crisp, effervescent drink can cleanse the palate between bites of a rich, greasy burger, while a creamy cocktail or smooth wine may enhance the mouthfeel of a juicy burger.
  4. Think Regionally: Pairing beverages with burgers from the same region can create a cohesive dining experience. For example, serve a local craft beer with a burger featuring regional ingredients or flavors for a true taste of the area.
  5. Experiment with Pairings: Don’t be afraid to experiment with different beverage and burger pairings to find what works best for your palate. Try pairing your burger with a variety of drinks, including beer, wine, cocktails, and non-alcoholic options, to discover new flavor combinations and preferences.
  6. Consider Seasonality: Take advantage of seasonal ingredients and flavors when planning your burger and beverage pairings. For example, serve a refreshing summer shandy with a burger topped with fresh tomatoes and basil in the warmer months, or pair a hearty stout with a winter-inspired burger featuring roasted root vegetables and rich sauces.
  7. Ask for Recommendations: If you’re unsure about which beverage to pair with your burger, don’t hesitate to ask for recommendations from knowledgeable staff at your local brewery, winery, or restaurant. They can offer insights and suggestions based on their expertise and experience.

Remember, the goal of burger and beverage pairing is to enhance the overall dining experience and create memorable flavor combinations. With these tips in mind, you can confidently select the perfect beverage to complement your favorite burger.

Tip Description
Consider Flavor Profiles Match the flavors of the beverage with the burger
Match Intensity Pair the intensity of the beverage with the burger
Contrast Textures Consider how the texture of the beverage complements the burger
Think Regionally Pair beverages with burgers from the same region
Experiment with Pairings Try different combinations to find what works best
Consider Seasonality Take advantage of seasonal ingredients and flavors
Ask for Recommendations Seek advice from knowledgeable staff or experts


Creative Burger and Side Pairings

While classic burger and side pairings are always satisfying, thinking outside the box can lead to unexpected flavor combinations and culinary delights. Here are some creative burger and side pairings to inspire your next meal:

  1. Sriracha Burger with Asian Slaw: Spice up your burger game with a Sriracha-infused patty topped with melted pepper jack cheese and a tangy Asian slaw. The crunchy cabbage, carrots, and green onions tossed in a sesame ginger dressing provide a refreshing contrast to the heat of the burger. Serve with a side of crispy wonton chips for added crunch.
  2. Mushroom Swiss Burger with Truffle Fries: Elevate the classic mushroom Swiss burger by serving it alongside indulgent truffle fries. The earthy flavors of the mushrooms and melted Swiss cheese pair beautifully with the rich, umami notes of truffle oil. Garnish the fries with grated Parmesan cheese and chopped parsley for an extra touch of elegance.
  3. BBQ Bacon Burger with Loaded Potato Skins: Take your taste buds on a flavor adventure with a BBQ bacon burger paired with loaded potato skins. The smoky barbecue sauce, crispy bacon, and melted cheddar cheese on the burger are perfectly complemented by the cheesy, bacon-studded potato skins. Top the potato skins with sour cream, green onions, and crispy bacon bits for a decadent side dish.
  4. Caprese Burger with Balsamic Glazed Brussels Sprouts: For a lighter option that doesn’t skimp on flavor, try a Caprese burger paired with balsamic glazed Brussels sprouts. The juicy tomato, fresh basil, and creamy mozzarella on the burger echo the classic flavors of a Caprese salad, while the sweet and tangy balsamic glaze adds depth to the roasted Brussels sprouts. Sprinkle the Brussels sprouts with toasted pine nuts for added crunch.
  5. Teriyaki Pineapple Burger with Coconut Rice: Transport your taste buds to the tropics with a teriyaki pineapple burger served alongside fragrant coconut rice. The sweet and savory flavors of the teriyaki-glazed burger and grilled pineapple are perfectly balanced by the creamy coconut rice. Garnish the rice with chopped cilantro and toasted coconut flakes for a burst of freshness.
  6. Buffalo Chicken Burger with Ranch Slaw: Give your burger a kick of heat with a buffalo chicken patty topped with creamy ranch slaw. The tangy buffalo sauce and cool ranch dressing create a flavor explosion in every bite, while the crunchy slaw adds a refreshing contrast. Serve with a side of celery sticks and blue cheese dip for a classic buffalo chicken experience.
  7. Portobello Burger with Quinoa Salad: For a vegetarian option that’s both hearty and nutritious, try a portobello mushroom burger paired with a refreshing quinoa salad. The meaty texture of the grilled portobello mushroom is complemented by the nutty quinoa and crisp vegetables in the salad. Drizzle the salad with a lemon vinaigrette and sprinkle with feta cheese for added flavor.
Burger and Side Pairing Description
Sriracha Burger with Asian Slaw Spicy burger paired with tangy, crunchy slaw
Mushroom Swiss Burger with Truffle Fries Earthy burger paired with rich, indulgent fries
BBQ Bacon Burger with Loaded Potato Skins Smoky burger paired with cheesy, bacon-studded potato skins
Caprese Burger with Balsamic Glazed Brussels Sprouts Light burger paired with sweet and tangy Brussels sprouts
Teriyaki Pineapple Burger with Coconut Rice Tropical burger paired with fragrant coconut rice
Buffalo Chicken Burger with Ranch Slaw Spicy burger paired with cool, creamy slaw
Portobello Burger with Quinoa Salad Vegetarian burger paired with refreshing quinoa salad



In the realm of culinary delights, the burger stands as a timeless icon of comfort and satisfaction. Yet, as we’ve explored in this pairing guide, the journey to burger perfection extends beyond the mere assembly of ingredients. Through thoughtful consideration of beverage and side dish pairings, we unlock a world of flavor possibilities, transforming a simple meal into a culinary masterpiece.

From the robust depths of craft beer to the delicate nuances of wine, the right beverage can elevate the flavors of a burger, enhancing every savory bite. Similarly, the choice of side dish can add texture, contrast, and balance to the meal, turning a burger feast into a symphony of tastes and sensations.

As we bid farewell to this exploration of burger pairings, let us carry forward the spirit of culinary adventure and creativity. Whether grilling up burgers for a backyard barbecue or enjoying a casual meal with loved ones, let us savor each bite, delighting in the harmonious interplay of flavors and the joy of shared moments around the table.

So, the next time you find yourself craving the comforting embrace of a juicy burger, remember the lessons learned here. With a discerning palate and a dash of creativity, you can transform an ordinary meal into an extraordinary culinary experience. Cheers to the timeless allure of the burger, and may your future dining adventures be filled with delicious discoveries and memorable pairings.

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