What is umami, and why do I want it with my burger, you ask? Pronounced oo-mah-mee, it is the fifth basic taste you experience when eating food that has a savory combo of flavors from a variety of high-glutamate ingredients.

In other words, foods that tickle your taste buds with umami are absolutely delicious. This homemade burger recipe is the perfect way to give you and your burger-loving friends a proper umami experience without emptying your pockets.

Sushi, Chinese food, burgers, and pizza leave us (or at least me) feeling so satisfied because they’re packed with fixings that have high levels of glutamate and are rich with umami flavors. Some of those ingredients include shiitake mushrooms, Parmesan cheese, cherry tomatoes, soy sauce and beef. Like some of your choice eats, this recipe combines all of these ingredients and more to create a powerfully appetizing burger you can make at home, from items you can actually get your hands on.

The recipe may seem a bit overwhelming, but I suggest you man up and make it happen, because it is definitely worth the extra effort. Or you could make a subpar plain cheeseburger. The choice is yours!

Homemade Umami Burger (Makes 3-4 large burgers)

1.5-2lbs ground beef
1 avocado
1 Vidalia onion, sliced thin
6-8 strips bacon
6-8 small shiitake mushrooms
Boston lettuce, or equivalent
Sliced thick cheddar cheese
Sesame seed buns
2 tbsp unsalted butter

For the Roasted Tomato Spread:
1 bunch cherry tomatoes
Soy sauce
Cracked black pepper
Sea salt
Red pepper flakes

For the meat:
4-6 dried shiitake mushrooms, pulsed
2 cloves minced garlic
2 tbsp shaved Parmesan
2 tbsp oyster sauce (fish sauce)
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp cracked black pepper
1 tsp cumin
Sea salt, red pepper

To prepare the tomato spread for the burger, coat the cherry tomatoes with the rest of the spread ingredients and roast on a baking sheet for 15 minutes at 400°. At the same time, roast the bacon on a separate baking sheet, flipping once at around 7 minutes.


Prepare the burger patties by combining all of the meat ingredients in a large mixing bowl, and then set aside while the tomatoes and bacon are roasting. During this time, prepare the burger toppings by sautéing the onion and shiitake mushrooms in EVOO, butter, honey, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and pepper. Slice the avocado and set aside.

Once the roasted tomatoes are done, mix them in a food processor/blender with a large handful of grated Parmesan cheese. Mix this tomato sauce with 1/3 cup sugar and cook in a saucepan on medium heat until the sauce thickens.

Form 3-4 fairly large (about 10-ounce) burger patties with the seasoned meat, and grill on high heat for approximately 4 mins per side for medium-rare. Create your umami burger by stacking all cooked ingredients plus cheddar cheese, avocado, lettuce, and roasted tomato spread on the sesame seed buns. Enjoy.