How To: Clone Shake Shack's Bacon CheddarShack Burger

Clone Shake Shack's Bacon CheddarShack Burger

Most people I've talked to agree that Shake Shack has mastered the upscale, fast food hamburger quite well. So when a new burger comes out on the ultra-popular fast food chain's menu, you've got to take notice—even if you live nowhere near one.

Their latest creation, the Bacon CheddarShack, builds upon their classic burger with an addictive sharp cheddar sauce and crispy, salty bacon. Its unique blend of flavors is guaranteed to make your tastebuds tingle.

The "real" Shake Shack Bacon Cheddar Stack. Image by Liz Clayton/Shake Shack

For those of you who don't have easy access to this burger phenomenon, or want to recreate the magic at home, we have exciting news: we found a way to hack the cheese sauce. So read on to discover how to recreate this limited-edition burger in the privacy of your own home. Just be warned: burgers will never be the same again.

Image by Julia Kitlinski-Hong/Food Hacks Daily

Mastering the Cheese Sauce

Food & Wine Magazine got the inside scoop on what makes this cheese sauce so delicious, and the secret ingredients include aged Wisconsin cheddar and American cheese with hints of lime and sautéed vegetables. Now that we deciphered the ingredients, we just need a foolproof method for the cheese sauce.

Enter the innovative thinking of Serious Eats' J. Kenji López-Alt. Using his method as a guide for constructing a magical cheese sauce was the solution to creating a smooth, complex flavor. Making cheese sauce is not as simple as melting cheese, and it actually requires a bit of science to have it turn into the velvet smooth consistency that we all dream of. The major issues when melting cheese are that the proteins break up and come back together as long strands, and the fat globules spread out which turns the whole mixture into a greasy mess.

Mmm...cheese sauce. Image by J. Kenji Lopez-Alt/Serious Eats

The solution to these problems is to use a high-fat ratio cheese like cheddar that is more stable for melting, adding extra proteins like evaporated milk (a highly concentrated milk protein source that helps with effortless melting), and cornstarch that prevents the fats and proteins in the cheese from coming together and forming a solid mass. Voilà— creamy, cheesy goodness!


Step 1: Sauté the Veggies

Add the oil and onions to a large saucepan over medium heat. When the onions begin to brown, add in the bell peppers. Sauté for a few minutes until the peppers are soft, then remove the pepper-onion mixture, leaving the oil infused with the flavor of the vegetables.

Image by Julia Kitlinski-Hong/Food Hacks Daily

Step 2: Make the Cheese Sauce

In a large mixing bowl, mix the shredded cheddar cheese and cornstarch together. Add the cheese mixture to the saucepan with the infused olive oil. Melt the cheese on low heat, stirring occasionally, then add in the slices of American cheese. Once the cheese sauce thickens (around 5 minutes), it will be ready to remove from the heat. When you do that, add a squeeze of lime.

Image by Julia Kitlinski-Hong/Food Hacks Daily

Constructing the Burgers

Inspired by PopSugar's recipe for hacking the classic Shake Shack burger, here's how to recreate this classic.


  • 8 oz. ground beef sirloin, all natural Angus beef
  • 4 oz. ground beef chuck, all natural Angus beef
  • 4 oz. ground beef brisket, all natural Angus beef
  • 4 potato burger buns (Martin's Sandwich Rolls are the official bun of Shake Shack, but any potato bun will do)
  • 2 Tbsp. butter, room temperature
  • ½ tsp. vegetable oil
  • kosher salt
  • black pepper
  • 2 strips of cooked bacon (Shake Shack uses Niman Ranch)

Step 1: Mix the Beef

In a mixing bowl, carefully mix the sirloin, chuck, and brisket until they are just combined. Make the mixture into four patties and refrigerate until they are ready to be grilled.

Step 2: Toast the Buns

Split open the potato buns and coat with a thin layer of butter. Place them buttered-side down on a skillet and toast until golden brown (around a minute).

Image by Julia Kitlinski-Hong/Food Hacks Daily

Step 3: Cook the Burgers

In a heavy-bottomed pan, add oil and heat on medium-high until it begins to smoke. Season the burgers with salt and pepper on both sides and place them in the pan. Flatten with a spatula, and cook until a crispy crust has formed (around 2 minutes). Flip the burger over and repeat on the other side.

Image by Julia Kitlinski-Hong/Food Hacks Daily

Step 4: Assemble the Burger & Enjoy

Place the burger on the bun and add the bacon, then add a generous helping of that glorious cheese sauce. Now take a big, mouth-filling bite because you have totally earned this.

Image by Julia Kitlinski-Hong/Food Hacks Daily

Now that you know how to make Shake Shack's secret cheese sauce, run—don't walk—to your nearest supermarket to stock up on ingredients and get cooking! Let us know in the comment section below how your version of the Bacon CheddarShack turned out.

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