Dan Lepard's hamburger with the lot

Dan Lepard's burger toppers

Mix and match at your next burger party with these fritter ideas from beer-battered onion rings to pineapple-sweetcorn patties.

Back in the day when Bernard King was our king of TV chefs, hamburgers were less about the provenance of the beef and more about making everyday mince taste a lot better. I still make my hamburgers this way today. With this sort of recipe you can cook them well-done and still have a great juicy burger at the end.

Learn how to cook a well-done burger that's still juicy at the end.

Learn how to cook a well-done burger that's still juicy at the end. Photo: William Meppem

Classic '70s-style hamburger

300g onion, peeled and chopped

1 clove garlic, peeled and chopped

200g water

1 tsp salt

50g oil

1 x 60g egg

1 tsp each soy sauce, Tabasco and Worcestershire sauce


1kg steak mince, 5-12 per cent fat

50g white breadcrumbs, dried

1. Put the onion, garlic, water, salt and oil in a saucepan, stick on the lid and boil it fiercely for 6-8 minutes. Then remove the lid and continue to cook on a high heat until the water has completely evaporated and the onions are sizzling, very soft and starting to turn golden.

2. Remove from the heat, spoon them into a mixing bowl and leave to cool. Add the egg, and a teaspoon each of soy sauce, Tabasco and Worcestershire sauce.

3. Add the mince and breadcrumbs then work everything together evenly with your hands. Divide into six x 220g portions, shape into burgers then refrigerate for a few hours before using if you have time. Either grill or fry as you prefer.

Makes 6 large burgers

Fiery prawn fritters

Add these prawn fritters to a burger for the ultimate surf 'n' turf burger, or serve instead of meat patties inside a soft bun.

1 x 60g egg

2 tsp chipotle paste (or hot sauce to taste)

30g tomato sauce (ketchup)

40g plain flour

½ tsp bicarbonate of soda

150-250g cooked peeled prawns, whole or roughly chopped

2 spring onions, peeled and finely sliced

handful of chopped parsley

2-3 tbsp vegetable oil for frying

1. Beat the egg, chipotle paste and tomato sauce in a medium bowl until smooth then beat in the flour and bicarb evenly, adding a dash of water if needed so it's almost pourable.

2. Stir in the prawns, shallot and parsley until everything is coated evenly.

3. Heat the oil in a frying pan until hot, then fry spoonfuls of batter, a few at a time, until it has set on the base, about two minutes. Flip them and fry on the other side until firm. 

4. Serve hot with, or instead of, a burger.

Makes Enough for 6 burgers

Golden rings of onion goodness.

Golden rings of onion goodness. Photo: William Meppem

Beer-battered onion rings

Twice-cooking these onion rings makes it quicker to fry in batches, as you bake them to golden in the oven – much less hassle if you have a crowd to feed, and they freeze perfectly if you want to fry them ahead of time. I use half the batter for onion rings and the rest for pumpkin and onion seed scallops (see separate recipe).

2 large onions, cut into 1cm rounds and separated into rings

vegetable oil for frying

For the batter

100g rice flour

100g bread flour

30g fine cornmeal

½ tsp bicarbonate of soda

½ tsp salt

250g beer (lager works well)

1 x 60g egg, whisked until smooth

1. Sift the rice flour, bread flour, cornmeal, bicarb and salt together into a large bowl and make a well in the centre.

2. Add the beer and egg all at once and whisk until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for half an hour.

3. Add enough vegetable oil to a deep saucepan to reach a depth of three centimetres and heat to 190C.

4. When the oil reaches temperature, dip rings into batter one at a time to coat. Drain off excess. Shallow fry a few at a time for 10 seconds or until they're pale golden and batter has just set. 

5. Drain on kitchen paper,  bring to room temperature then refrigerate or freeze them until you need them.

6. Bake at 230C for 10 minutes, or until golden brown. Note: If you need to serve them straight away just continue frying until a deep golden brown.

Makes Enough for 6 burgers

Pakora-style pumpkin scallops.

Pakora-style pumpkin scallops. Photo: William Meppem

Pumpkin and onion seed scallops

Those chip-shop potato scallops get a pakora-style makeover, here with pumpkin, but any cooked veg is good.

½ batch of beer batter (see recipe)

2-3 tsp onion seeds

2 tsp ground turmeric

6 thin slices pumpkin, cooked but still firm 

1. Add the onion seeds and turmeric to the beer batter and stir to combine.

2. Dip the pumpkin slices in batter two at a time then fry and store as  for the onion rings (see separate recipe), or cook until a rich reddish brown to serve right away. 

Makes Enough for 6 burgers

Sweetcorn coriander topper

I'm a late convert to sweetcorn on a burger, but if you like corn, this is magic . For a pineapple version, press drained chunks into the batter as it cooks. Swap coriander for parsley or basil if preferred. 

1 x 60g egg

40g plain flour

½ tsp bicarbonate of soda

1 tsp ground cumin

150g canned sweetcorn kernels, drained

small bunch coriander, finely chopped

salt to taste

1 tbsp vegetable oil for frying

1. Beat the egg with a pinch of salt in a medium bowl then stir in the flour, bicarbonate of soda and cumin to mix evenly. Add the corn, then stir in the coriander.

2. Fry as for the fiery prawn fritters.

Makes Enough for 6 burgers