Grilled Lamb Burgers with Harissa Aioli, melty cheese, arugula and pickled onions served on a toasted Brioche Bun. Bacon optional.;) 
Grilled Lamb Burgers with Harissa Aioli, melty cheese, arugula and pickled onions served on a toasted Brioche Bun. Bacon optional.;) #lambburger #grilledlamb #harissa #harissaburger #bestburger
It’s not often that I’ll reach for a burger, but when I do, I want it to be goooooooood! Most often it will be made of grilled lamb, with earthy savory spices. To me, this incredibly flavorful lamb burger, is the perfect combination of flavors and totally satisfies all my cravings.
The lamb burger is seasoned with Moroccan spices and grilled and topped with melty cheese, then placed on a toasty brioche bun, slathered with a North-African-inspired, smoky, spicy Harissa Aioli then topped with pickled red onions and a mound of arugula.
To me, burgers just don’t get better than this!

Ingredients in a Lamb Burger:

Use high-quality, organic lamb (or beef, or a blend) onions ( or scallions) fresh garlic, spices, salt and pepper.
You want to use good quality meat, in order to enjoy eating this burger cooked to medium. This will ensure the proper amount of juiciness.
ground lamb with spices and onions in a bowl

Expert Tips:

  • One pound of meat will yield 3 burger patties, so plan, or double accordingly.
  • Use 3/4 teaspoon salt per pound of ground meat. The KEY to a good burger, is salt so be sure to measure.
  • Use damp hands to form patties, and then indent the middles slightly so the middle of the patty is slightly thinner than the edges.

formed lamb burger patties on a plate

Make the Harissa Aioli:

To make the Harissa Aioli, simply mix a tablespoon of harissa paste  (homemade or store-bought) into ½ cup mayo.
Cheats Version: If you are fresh out of harissa paste, see the recipe card for a quick alternative– whisk in dry spices into mayosmoked paprika, cumin, chili powder – for an easy quick alternative.
harissa aioli ingredients in a bowl
harissa aioli in a bowl with a mini whisk

But if you have the time, I highly encourage you to make a batch of homemade harissa paste, a wonderful and incredibly versatile North African condiment, that can be used in a myriad of ways, in the kitchen. The base of the paste is made with dried chilies. Below is my favorite recipe.

Harissa paste will keep for months in the fridge if covered with a layer of oil. The oil acts as a barrier keeping it fresh, and as the harissa paste ages, it tastes better and better, flavors melding, harmonizing and becoming more complex. So give it a whirl sometime!  It’s something I always try to have on hand, because with it, I can do so many things, easily and quickly.

You can use harissa paste to rub on meats and poultry before grilling, make a vinaigrette out of it, serve it with eggs, stir it into soups or sauces for added depth, or even in yogurt, sour cream, or hummus for a flavorful dip.

homemade Harissa paste in a jar

How to use leftover Harissa Aioli:

Harissa aioli is great with crab cakes, seared scallops or with sweet potato fries. Use it any way you would hot sauce, imparting a deep flavorful smokey heat to anything you are cooking. The best thing about it is –it keeps for weeks in the fridge!

Make the Pickled Red Onions:

I always like something pickled on a burger- whether it is jarred cucumber pickles or these pickled onions– both will do the trick for cutting the richness of the burger.

These Quick Pickled Red Onions, can be made in literally 5 minutes- put them in the fridge to cool while preparing the rest. You’ll find many uses for them during the week, I promise!

pickled red onions in a pot

Prep the lamb burger fixings:

Slice the melty cheese. In this recipe, I used Mahon, a semi-soft melty cheese, which can easily be substituted with cheddar, provolone, or jack.

Slice tomatoes if you liked them, prep lettuce or anything else you like on a lamb burger.

slicing the cheese

Grill the lamb burgers:

  1. Preheat grill to medium-high.
  2. Grease the grill well.
  3. Grill your lamb burgers  4-5 minutes on each side, closing the lid, using a thin metal spatula to turn. Add cheese during the last minute or two of cooking to melt it. Grill your buns now too.
  4. Cook lamb burger to the desired done-ness. Use a thermometer: 135F for medium-rare, 145F for medium, 155F for well done.

Grilled Lamb Burgers with Harissa Aioli, on a cutting board, completely assembled.

Assemble the Lamb Burgers!

To the bun, add a generous layer of Harissa aioli, the burger with melted cheese, more aioli if you like,  pickled onions, tomato if you like, arugula,  and bun top (lathered with more aioli). That’s it!!

I hope you love these Grilled Lamb Burgers as much as we have. The flavor is out of this world!
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Grilled Lamb Burgers with Harissa Aioli, melty cheese, arugula and pickled onions served on a toasted Brioche Bun. Bacon optional.;) #lambburger #grilledlamb #harissa #harissaburger #bestburger

Grilled Lamb Burger with Harissa Aioli

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 3 reviews
  • Author: Sylvia Fountaine
  • Prep Time: 30
  • Cook Time: 15 mins
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 3 1x
  • Category: main, lamb recipes, grilled
  • Method: grilled
  • Cuisine: moroccan


Grilled Lamb Burgers with Harissa Aioli, melty cheese, arugula and pickled onions served on a Toasted Brioche Bun. Bacon optional.


Units Scale
Lamb burgers
  • 1 lb organic ground lamb ( or beef, or combo) – makes 3 burgers
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 1/4 C very finely diced onion, shallot or scallion
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cracked pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin

Harissa Aioli  Recipe:


  • 3 brioche buns
  • 1 cup baby arugula
  • sliced tomato -optionial
  • 3 oz. Mahon cheese sliced (or any melty cheese- jack, provolone, cheddar, edam, gouda)
  • Quick pickled onions
  • crispy bacon (totally optional)



  1. If making the harissa paste from scratch, do this first or make ahead.
  2. Make the Harissa Aioli- whisking mayo with harissa paste, or spices in a small bowl, set aside.
  3. Make quick pickled red onions and refrigerate them.
  4. Preheat grill to medium-high.
  5. Make the burgers: In a medium bowl, using your hands, combine ground lamb with onion, garlic, spices, salt and pepper, just to combine, being careful to not over mix. Form patties and  set aside.
  6. Crisp bacon slices (if using) and set on paper towel.
  7.  Slice the cheese.
  8. When the grill is hot, grease the grates and grill lamb patties 4-5 minutes on each side, closing the lid. Cook to the desired doneness see post above for temps. During the last minute of grilling, top with the cheese to melt it and toast buns at the same time.
  9.  Assemble. Once cheese has melted, assemble. Spread harissa aioli on both sides of the buns, layer the lamb burgers, optional bacon, arugula, tomatoes and pickled onions and then, the bun top.
  10. Serve immediately!


Feel free to double or triple the recipe!

If you don’t have a grill, feel free to pan sear in a greased skillet or grill pan on the stove.


  • Serving Size:
  • Calories: 754
  • Sugar: 2.7 g
  • Sodium: 894.5 mg
  • Fat: 59.6 g
  • Saturated Fat: 23.3 g
  • Carbohydrates: 17.8 g
  • Fiber: 1.9 g
  • Protein: 35.2 g
  • Cholesterol: 143 mg

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  1. Amazing! Did 50/50 lamb to beef. Served at a friend’s weekend and we did lunch. Everyone raved about it and wanted the recipe.

    1. Hi Shivagni-What if you did a chickpea burger? there are two on the site, just type it in search bar.

  2. Delicious! Made this for the first time and served it for a casual dinner with friends. Rave reviews! Will definitely make again.

  3. I just can’t get over this burger. It looks like a labor of love that would be worth every freaking second.

  4. How delicious! I love harissa, and every photo of every step makes me want this burger even more. : )

  5. This looks amazing! It’s finally hot here in England so will try for my next bbq, thanks x

  6. oh man. burgers are one of my all time faves. This one looks incredible! Totally pinning this.

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