The Ultimate ‘Sweet Laurel’ Burger with Sweet Potato Fries

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We’ve eaten burgers made from black beans, lentils and even cauliflower, but sometimes the real deal is what you need. Lauren Gallucci and Claire Thomas—owners of L.A. bakery Sweet Laurel and authors of Sweet Laurel Savory—know what we mean, so we’re making their recipe for the ultimate Sweet Laurel burger with sweet potato fries.

“Los Angeles is a burger town,” they write. “You can hardly go a few blocks without bumping into a classic burger spot. Our favorite is the one served at the Apple Pan, a diner where they haven’t changed any recipes since 1949. The classic ‘L.A. burger’ is a crispy-edged masterpiece with rich, savory flavors, which is exactly what inspired this version.”

You can make these burgers with almost any ground meat, but go for something fatty instead of lean. It’ll ensure a juicy result and add tons of flavor.

Reprinted with permission from Sweet Laurel Savory. Copyright © 2021 by Laurel Gallucci and Claire Thomas. Photographs copyright © 2021 by Claire Thomas. Published by Clarkson Potter Publishers, an imprint of Penguin Random House.

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Sweet Potato Fries

4 pounds sweet potatoes, halved and cut into ¼-inch-thick strips

¼ cup coconut oil, melted (or avocado oil)

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

1 to 2 tablespoons Italian seasoning

1 to 2 teaspoons garlic powder

1 tablespoon Himalayan pink salt

¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper


1 pound ground beef chuck, bison, beef, turkey, lamb or chicken (or a mix)

1 tablespoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon ground cumin

¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

Avocado oil, for greasing

4 slices dairy-free cheddar cheese, homemade or store-bought (optional)

4 hamburger buns

Ketchup, for serving

4 slices tomato (optional)

4 butter lettuce leaves (optional)


1. Make the fries: Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. In a large bowl, combine the potatoes, coconut oil, vinegar, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, salt and cayenne and toss to coat. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet and arrange in an even layer. Bake, flipping the fries once halfway through, until golden brown, 35 to 40 minutes.

3. Make the burgers: Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the ground meat, garlic powder, salt, black pepper, cumin and cayenne and mix with your hands until just combined. Form the mixture into 4 patties, using about ¼ cup of the mixture for each, and press them to about 4 inches wide. (Ragged edges are your friend!)

4. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat until very hot. Coat the pan lightly with avocado oil. Add the patties and cook, pressing down on them with a metal spatula a few times to get a nice sear, for about 3 minutes per side for medium. If you’re making cheeseburgers, add the cheese after you flip the patties so the cheese melts as the patty cooks.

5. Place each patty on a bun and top with ketchup, a tomato slice and lettuce, if desired, and close the buns. Serve with the sweet potato fries alongside.

Note: If you’re using ground bison, turkey or chicken, add 2 tablespoons avocado oil to the ground meat mixture before forming the patties.

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