Ina Garten’s Secret Ingredient for Her Classic Cheeseburger Is So Barefoot Contessa

Barefoot Contessa star Ina Garten is famous for saying “store-bought is fine.” But, not just any ingredients at the store will do. Garten loves “good” ingredients that can also be quite pricey.

For example, the secret ingredient for her classic cheeseburger is something many of us can’t find at our local grocery store. Plus, what other tricks does Garten have for her other signature burgers?

Ina Garten smiles as she stands in front of the counter inside the "barn" on her property in East Hampton, New York.
Ina Garten | Mike Smith/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank

Ina Garten introduced her Smashed Burgers recipe in ‘Modern Comfort Food’

The Barefoot Contessa star actually has a few different cheeseburger recipes based on taste and budget. In her latest cookbook Modern Comfort Food, Garten highlighted classic dishes with a new twist.

One of the recipes she introduced to fans was Smashed Burgers with Caramelized Onions.

“I think what makes comfort food is a remembered flavor, and then I update it by adding more intense flavors,” she told People magazine. “During times of stress, there’s just something about a hamburger and a Coke that makes us feel better.”

Smashed Burgers with Caramelized Onions feature a handful of ingredients

For Garten’s Smashed Burgers with Caramelized Onions, you’ll only need a handful of ingredients. The recipe calls for canola oil, sliced red onions, granulated sugar, good red wine vinegar, dry mustard powder, kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper, ground beef with 20 percent fat, shredded Gruyère cheese, sandwich potato rolls, and ketchup.

The kitchen tools required include a large 12-inch skillet, a small bowl, a medium bowl, a plate, a large cast iron skillet, and a metal spatula. Follow the directions exactly, and you’ll have delicious burgers in under 30 minutes.

Ina Garten’s recipe for Blue Cheese Burgers includes ground sirloin and ground chuck

For blue cheese lovers, Garten has a recipe for Blue Cheese Burgers on her Barefoot Contessa website that’s perfect for grilling. Instead of calling for ground beef with 20 percent fat, this recipe requires ground chuck and ground sirloin.

RELATED: ‘Barefoot Contessa’ Ina Garten Always Keeps These 6 Condiments on Hand

You’ll also need steak sauce, egg yolks, kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper, cold unsalted butter, blue cheese (Garten suggests Danish Blue), hamburger buns, arugula, and sliced tomatoes.

Her secret ingredient for classic cheeseburgers is so ‘Barefoot Contessa’

Yes, Garten loves “good” ingredients that can be quite pricey. For her classic cheeseburgers, the Barefoot Contessa swears by Niman Ranch Beef. In fact, the name she gives this recipe is “Niman Ranch Burgers.”

Niman Ranch Beef isn’t something that most of us will find in our local grocery store. However, it is easy to buy online. Just be prepared to pay as much as $15 per pound plus shipping.

What makes it so special? Niman Ranch Beef is grown all-naturally without antibiotics and is primarily grass-fed.

The other ingredients required to make Garten’s classic cheeseburgers are: good Dijon mustard, good olive oil, kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper, sandwiched-sized English muffins, and good mayonnaise.

Ina Garten’s Niman Ranch Burgers are a ‘masterpiece’

For Garten’s Niman Ranch Burgers, the good ingredients are key. Follow this recipe to the letter, and you’ll get burgers that are “out of this world.” One reviewer even called this burger a “masterpiece.”

The recipe is actually quite simple. Just remember to avoid compressing the ingredients and mix gently instead. You’ll also want to be careful not to pack the beef when making the patties because this will result in dry burgers.

If you want to add caramelized onions to your Niman Ranch Burger, Garten’s got you covered. All you’ll need is good olive oil, unsalted butter, yellow onions, fresh thyme leaves, sherry wine vinegar, kosher salt, and freshly ground black pepper. They’ll take about 30-40 minutes to make, and should be highly seasoned for best results.

The Barefoot Contessa airs Saturdays on The Food Network.