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Bacon Cheeseburger and Fries: Try This Lightened Up Version

Nutritional Info

45 grams
9 grams
39 grams
29 grams

Note: These values represent one serving of four.

It’s tempting to spring for takeout when you crave a good burger, but making it at home is so much healthier for you. You can control the ingredients and portion size, saving yourself loads of calories, fat, and sodium, while also knowing that you’re eating real food.

A juicy burger is one of Coach Joe Rodonis’ favorite comfort food meals, and this recipe, featuring lean ground beef and turkey bacon, is inspired by a version he makes at home.

“Ground beef contains all nine essential amino acids needed for muscle growth and maintenance of bodily functions,” says Jacob Rauch, CSCS, PhD candidate, and performance manager of applied training science at Tonal. “This meal has 39 grams of protein which contains enough leucine to stimulate muscle protein synthesis to help you recover from your workouts and can help you reach your protein goals for the day.” 

The meat also contains abundant levels of creatine, Rauch says. “Creatine is often taken as a supplement as it has been shown to help individuals train at higher intensities and improve muscle growth and strength.”

While you can certainly spring for pork bacon, turkey bacon has fewer calories and much less fat, helping keep this meal on the lighter side.

And what’s a burger without fries? In this recipe, an air fryer helps get your potatoes crispy without the mess and health consequences of deep frying. 

“Air frying is a great alternative to deep frying,” Rauch adds. “Deep fried foods tend to be higher in calories, seed oils, and trans fats, which may increase the risk of heart disease.”

Be sure to pre-heat the air fryer to get maximum crispiness on your “fries.” 

In the time that it takes to get burger and fries delivered to your door (with them both inevitably being cold and soggy), you can make this version to enjoy fresh and hot.

Burger night just got a whole lot better for you!

Turkey Bacon Cheeseburger with Air Fryer ‘Fries’

Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
30 min





Make the fries:

Scrub the potatoes under running water and pat dry. With a mandoline slicer or with a knife, slice into fries about 1/2-inch thick and 4 to 6 inches long.

Place in a large bowl and cover with cold water. Let soak for 10 minutes, then drain and transfer to a clean cotton (non-terrycloth) towel.

Whisk the salt, black pepper, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper together in a small bowl.

Gently roll the towel and squeeze to dry the fries.

Preheat an air fryer to 400 degrees F.

In a separate large, dry bowl, spritz the fries with olive oil spray, tossing to coat. Add the spice blend and toss again until the potatoes are evenly coated.

Air fry, in batches if necessary, until browned and crisp — about 15 minutes, though times will vary based on your air fryer model. Toss every 5 minutes or so to cook the fries evenly.

If needed, reserve cooked fries in a 200-degree oven to keep warm, or reheat all at once in the air fryer for 1-2 minutes just before serving.

Make the burgers:

With your hands, gently mix the beef with the salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Shape into 4 thin patties about 5 inches in diameter.

Heat a large (12-inch) cast iron skillet over medium heat.

Lightly toast the burger buns, in batches if necessary, in the skillet. Set aside on 4 plates.

Spritz some olive oil in the pan. Add the turkey bacon slices and cook for 7-10 minutes, flipping them with tongs regularly, until they are browned and crispy on both sides. Set aside.

Add the burger patties to the skillet and cook for about 3 minutes. Then flip, smashing the patties lightly against the pan with a metal spatula.

Add the cheese and cover with a large lid. Cook for about 2 minutes more or until the cheese is melted.

Place a burger on each bun, then top each burger with a slice of turkey bacon, a slice of tomato, and a lettuce leaf.

Lightly spread a thin layer of Japanese mayo on the top of each bun before placing it on the burger.

Serve immediately with the warmed fries.

Note: You can make a big batch of the burger patties and freeze them, to make future burger nights a breeze. Just cook them through and pop them in a vacuum sealed bag once they are cooled. Thaw them out before you’re ready to eat and just pop them in the oven or skillet to reheat.