This Retro Recipe for 'Surprise Burgers' Is Going Viral on Reddit: Here’s How to Make Them

A Food Network recipe developer offers tips on how to make the burgers tastier.

August 20, 2021

Photo by: @_crystalferrbakes/Instagram


We all know that TikTok has emerged as one of the most prolific places for new, trendy recipes, but let’s not forget about Reddit. Though users are perhaps more likely to jump on Reddit to discuss their weird food quirks or tricks for how to freeze guacamole, there are a fair number of recipes shared on the platform as well.

Case in point: Last month a Redditor who goes by the name Zroskyline posted a recipe for something called “Surprise Hamburgers,” which were apparently served occasionally at this person’s high school. The recipe, which was shared on the Old_Recipes subreddit, has been gaining traction among other Redditors. This isn’t exactly surprising since the dish is basically homemade dough filled with “surprise” hamburger meat.

Still, others were moved by the retro nature of the recipe, and many were reminded of similar dishes they ate (or helped prepare) as children. “This reminds me of making bao when I was a kid. Thanks for sharing,” one Redditor wrote. Another added: “In Kansas they are generally called Bierochs or Bierochs. In Colorado I usually see them as kraut burgers. Either way I want one now.”

But what exactly is it about Surprise Burgers that makes them trigger all of those nostalgic feelings? “The fact that this recipe provides a hearty and comforting meal with mostly pantry ingredients makes this recipe ‘retro,’” explains Food Network recipe developer Amanda Neal. “Recipes like this were created to feed a large family for a small amount of money. All of these factors make recipes like these popular, even with families today!”

Though the original recipe calls for ground meat simply seasoned with Lawry’s season salt, an onion, garlic, salt and some grated cheese, Neal notes you can get a bit more creative and current with the filling if you’d like. “You can add cooked bacon, diced red onion, sliced jalapenos, pickle chips and any kind of grated cheese,” she says. “Just be sure not to overfill the dough or you run the chance of it busting open.”

She continues: “Lawry's Season Salt is a great all-purpose seasoning, but you can really use a variety of seasonings to tailor this recipe to your taste. You can add a few shakes of Worcestershire sauce for a touch of umami, or a big pinch of cayenne for some heat.”

As far as the dough is concerned, Neal points out that what’s written in the recipe is spot on. “I would stick to a yeasted dough for this recipe, as you want it to be fluffy and light like a hamburger bun,” she explains. “Anything more flakey, like a biscuit dough, will be more challenging to assemble and eat.”

If you simply don’t feel like making your own dough from scratch and would prefer something store-bought, Neal says “refrigerated pizza dough, crescent dough or frozen and thawed bread dough” will do the trick.

For those of you feeling ambitious enough to make your own dough, however, Neal has some important tips. “Don't overfill the pastry!” she warns. “I know it's tempting to load it up with extra cheese and filling, but you run the chance of it popping open while baking.”

She adds: “Once the dough has been filled, make sure to pinch the edges closed, then place the ‘burgers’ seam-side-down. This will also help to keep them intact.”

And though it might be tempting to douse your meat in ketchup, mustard or other toppings, Neal advises that the condiments remain on the outside for dipping. “Too much moisture inside will prevent the dough from cooking properly,” she says.

Will you be whipping up some Surprise Burgers tonight?

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