What is a Luther Burger?

Sara Schmidt
Sara Schmidt

Many different types of unconventional American sandwiches and hamburgers have surfaced over the years. The Luther Burger, also known as the Luther Vandross Burger, is a hamburger with a glazed donut in place of a bun. Though the fried donut can be of any variety, it is traditionally a Krispy Kreme donut.

Luther Burgers may include bacon.
Luther Burgers may include bacon.

Named after rhythm and blues singer-songwriter, and record producer, Luther Vandross, who is said to have enjoyed the sandwich, the hamburger can be served with or without cheese. It is also known as the Donut Burger. Depending on the location, the hamburger can either be served between two whole donuts or a single donut sliced in half, with the glazed side touching the meat.

Fried eggs can be used to top a Luther burger.
Fried eggs can be used to top a Luther burger.

Typical Luther Burgers do not contain condiments or vegetables, though the meat is typically seasoned with black pepper and salt. The sandwich can be grilled as a whole or separately. Sometimes the meat and the donuts are cooked separately, then flattened and cooked together on a grill to merge them more fully together. A popular way to serve the Luther Burger is with a quarter pound (113 grams) of beef, a slice of American cheese, four slices of bacon, and the two glazed donuts.

Historical accounts of the hamburger's conception vary. Most people believe it was created at the suburban bar, Mulligan's, of Decatur, Georgia. The legend of the burger states that a cook ran out of hamburger buns one day and decided to experiment with donuts. The restaurant is also home to the hamdog, which is a deep-fried hotdog wrapped in a hamburger.

The independent baseball league of St. Louis, the Gateway Grizzlies, also serve the Luther Burger, though their version includes melted cheese and bacon. The sandwich has reportedly brought the team an increase in business. The company markets the hamburger as Baseball's Best Burger, with a tagline that claims the meal is dinner and dessert combined.

Famous culinary expert Paula Dean has featured the Luther Burger on one of her cooking segments. The cook adds several extra elements to her version of the sandwich, including fresh parsley, butter, eggs, and grated onion. Her recipe calls for topping the hamburgers with fried eggs, making them a breakfast or brunch dish.

Several medical experts have expressed concerns about the implications the sandwich can have on one's health. Depending upon the specific recipe, The Luther Burger can contain well over 1,000 calories. It also may have over 45 grams of fat per serving.

Sara Schmidt
Sara Schmidt

A graduate of Southeast Missouri State University, Sara has a Master’s Degree in English, which she puts to use writing for wiseGEEK and several magazines, websites, and nonprofit organizations. She has published her own novella, and has other literary projects currently in progress. Sara’s varied interests have also led her to teach children in Spain, tutor college students, run CPR and first aid classes, and organize student retreats.

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Discussion Comments


I think I could eat a Luther Burger if it's just one donut cut into two slices. Two whole donuts I probably could not manage. A Luther Burger is not the strangest thing out there. People eat chocolate dipped bacon too.


@ddljohn-- Yea, the donut burger is as unhealthy as it gets.

I actually had it once out of curiosity. The first several bites were very good. The contrasting sweet and sultry flavors were delicious. But the more I ate, the worse I felt. I went to the gym that night and exercised for an hour and half. I only had vegetable juice for the rest of the day.

The donut burger is very, very rich and the amount of oil does make one feel very heavy afterward and not to forget, guilty too.


I'm quite certain that if someone with a few clogged arteries has a Luther burger made of two glazed doughnuts, meat, cheese and bacon, it will push them over the edge and cause a heart attack!

Let alone the calories, carbohydrates and sugar content, the high saturated fat content of this burger cannot be good for anyone. Thankfully for me, I don't like mixing sweets with salty foods, so a Luther burger is not for me.

I enjoy breakfast burgers with meat and cheese or cheese and eggs. And I do like an occasional glazed doughnut with my morning or afternoon coffee. But a combination does not sound very tasty to me. I realize some people like this though.

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