Big Mac In A Bowl

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Big Mac In A Bowl is a fun, low-carb way to enjoy all the flavors of a classic hamburger, without the bun! This is a great keto-friendly meal and a fantastic make-ahead/meal prep option.

Looking for more low-carb meals? Try our popular Ground Turkey Stir Fry, this tasty Italian Sausage and Veggies, or these cheesy Unstuffed Peppers.

Overhead image of the Big Mac In A Bowl

Big Mac In A Bowl

Still to this day, my husband’s all-time favorite meal is this Burger Recipe. We typically grill those burgers year-round, but I’ll admit, neither of us braved the cold this past winter to get the grill going. Which has left us all with some serious burger cravings.

And so the last couple of weeks I’ve been making this Big Mac In A Bowl Recipe while still enjoying the warmth of our home. It’s got all the great flavors of a good burger recipe, but doesn’t need a grill — or any hamburger buns for that matter! In fact, this is a great keto-friendly or low-carb meal and I think you’ll find it really does satisfy the cravings.

I’m sure you recognize the name: Big Mac is the trademarked name of the burger-with-the-works sandwich from McDonald’s. This recipe takes all the flavors of a Big Mac and loads them in a bowl–need I say more?! This easy Big Mac In A Bowl is also a little quicker and cleaner to prepare than burgers since you don’t need to form patties — just brown the beef and it’s ready to go. 

Process shots-- images of the sauce being mixed together in a bowl

Big Mac In A Bowl Sauce

We like to start with making the sauce so the flavors have a chance to meld. The sauce does well being made ahead of time, so you could prepare it another day or earlier in the day to make dinner prep come together that much quicker! Here’s a quick breakdown of the ingredients:

  • Mayonnaise: I highly recommend real, full-fat mayo. Skip the salad dressing or low-fat varieties for the best creamy and delicious sauce.  Hellmann’s/Best Foods® is my favorite brand. 
  • Ketchup: Ketchup adds so much flavor, so make sure to use a good brand. Cheaper ketchup brands can make the sauce more acidic or sour; I highly recommend Heinz® Tomato Ketchup for this sauce.
  • Pickle relish: This is a seemingly strange ingredient, but we absolutely love the tang this relish adds to the sauce. If you aren’t a fan of pickles, I’d recommend adding in a splash of vinegar or some lemon juice.
  • Grated onion: Grate part of the onion (we’ll use the rest in the beef) on a cheese grater. Grated onion gives the sauce the best possible taste and texture while ensuring all the great flavor is evenly dispersed throughout the sauce.

Process shots of Big Mac In A Bowl-- images of the onions being sautéed and the beef being browned

Sauce Ingredients, Continued

  • Chipotle sauce: To add a touch of heat and depth of flavor, we use the sauce surrounding the chipotle chilies. You can find canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce in the Latin aisle of most grocery stores. See the section below on storing leftover chipotles.
  • Salt: While the mayo contains salt, I usually like to add a touch more to the sauce to enhance and bring out all the flavors. 

QUICK TIP

Leftover chipotles (and the sauce) freeze beautifully! Here’s how to do it:

  • Spoon out peppers with sauce, 1/2-inch apart, onto a lined pan. Place the pan in the freezer until the peppers are solid, about an hour. Once frozen, peel the peppers and sauce off the tray. Add all the frozen peppers to a freezer-safe plastic bag, seal while pressing out any air, and store in the freezer for up to 6 months.
  • To thaw, take as many peppers as needed out of the bag and let stand at room temperature for 15-20 minutes or until thawed through (or pop individual peppers in the microwave for 10-15 seconds).

Process shots-- images of the bowls being layered with lettuce, beef, cheese, onions, tomatoes, pickles, sesame seeds, and the sauce

Big Mac In A Bowl Ingredients

These burger bowls are divided into two components: the cooked ground beef and all the bowl toppings (the veggies you’d see on a burger, but diced or chopped in bowl form).

  • Beef: We recommend using lean ground beef (93/7) and browning it with a few other ingredients. The sautéed onion, salt, pepper, beef bouillon powder, and Worcestershire sauce all add a wonderful depth of flavor without being overpowering. The Worcestershire sauce adds a nice umami flavor and saltiness and the bouillon intensifies the beefy flavor of the meat.
  • Bowls: Assemble and load up your bowls however you like your burgers! We love a bed of shredded iceberg lettuce, grated Cheddar cheese, diced dill pickles, halved cherry tomatoes, thinly sliced red onions, and a good sprinkling of white sesame seeds.

QUICK TIP

Here are a few more ideas for loading up your bowl: diced avocado or scoop of guacamole, cooked and crumbled bacon, sautéed or raw mushrooms, jalapeños, pepperoncini peppers, sautéed or raw bell peppers, and grilled pineapple. Get creative!

Up-close side shot of the Big Mac In A Bowl ready to be eaten

STORAGE

Meal Prepping this Big Mac Burger Bowl

To meal prep this recipe, divide the lettuce equally among four containers or bags. Add all the toppings except the sauce (the chopped veggies, cheese, and sesame seeds) on top of the lettuce.

In a separate container, add the ground beef. Add the burger sauce to another separate small container.

When ready to eat, warm the meat. (I do about 30-45 seconds, covered with a damp paper towel, in the microwave. Don’t heat too long or it will dry out the beef.) Add the beef to the veggies and drizzle on the sauce.

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Big Mac In A Bowl

5 from 4 votes
Big Mac In A Bowl is a fun, low-carb way to enjoy all the flavors of a classic hamburger, but without the bun! This is a great keto-friendly meal and a fantastic make-ahead/meal prep option.
Print Recipe

Big Mac In A Bowl

5 from 4 votes
Big Mac In A Bowl is a fun, low-carb way to enjoy all the flavors of a classic hamburger, but without the bun! This is a great keto-friendly meal and a fantastic make-ahead/meal prep option.
Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine American, Healthy
Keyword Big Mac In A Bowl
Prep Time 25 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 264kcal
Author Chelsea Lords
Cost $8.54

Ingredients

  • 1 large yellow onion, divided
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound (16 oz.) lean (93/7) ground beef
  • Fine sea salt & pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon beef bouillon powder, optional
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 16 ounces shredded iceberg lettuce
  • Toppings: grated sharp Cheddar cheese, diced dill pickles, halved cherry tomatoes, thinly sliced red onions, white sesame seeds (optional)

Sauce

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise (Note 1)
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon sweet pickle relish
  • 1 teaspoon adobo sauce from canned chipotle chiles in adobo(Note 2)

Instructions

  • ONION: Peel the skin from the onion. Using the large holes of a cheese grater, grate the onion to get 1 tablespoon grated onion and set it aside for the sauce. Finely dice the rest of the onion to get 1 cup; set aside for now.
  • SAUCE: Prepare this first so the flavors have a chance to meld. Combine all the sauce ingredients: 1/2 cup mayo, 2 tablespoons ketchup, 1 tablespoon relish, 1 teaspoon adobo sauce, and 1 tablespoon grated onion. Season to taste with salt (I add 1/4 teaspoon). Stir until combined and smooth. Taste and adjust to personal preference. (Feel free to add a teaspoon or more of the sauce from the chipotles to increase the heat.) Store in the fridge until ready to serve.
  • BEEF: Heat a large cast-iron skillet to medium-high heat. Add olive oil and the 1 cup diced onion. Sauté until it begins to turn golden, about 4-5 minutes. Move the onion to the edges of the skillet and add beef in the middle. Let the beef sear (brown), for about 1 minute per side before crumbling with a wooden spoon and browning all the way through. While beef is browning, season, adding salt & pepper to taste (I add 3/4 tsp salt & 1/4 tsp pepper), 1 teaspoon garlic powder, and 1/2 teaspoon beef bouillon powder. Once fully cooked through, drain off grease, and stir in 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce. Remove from heat.
  • ASSEMBLE: Divide shredded lettuce evenly among 4 bowls. Divide beef evenly over the lettuce. Add toppings in desired amounts: cheese, diced pickles, halved cherry tomatoes, and thinly sliced or diced red onions. Drizzle sauce evenly (or as much as you'd like) on each bowl. Finish off with a light sprinkling of sesame seeds and enjoy promptly!

Video

Recipe Notes

Note 1: Mayo: We highly recommend real, full-fat mayonnaise. Hellmanns/Best Foods® is my favorite brand (not sponsored).
Note 2: Chipotles: To add a touch of heat and depth of flavor, we use the sauce surrounding the chipotle chilies. You can find canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce in the Latin aisle of most grocery stores. Leftover chipotles freeze beautifully! Here’s how to do it: Spoon out peppers with sauce, 1/2 inch apart, onto a lined pan. Place the pan in the freezer until the peppers are solid, about an hour. Once frozen, peel the peppers and sauce off the tray. Add all the frozen peppers to a freezer-safe plastic bag, seal while pressing out any air, and store in the freezer for up to 6 months.
Note 3: Calories do not include the toppings, as those will vary.

Nutrition Facts

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 264kcal | Carbohydrates: 10.8g | Protein: 1.7g | Fat: 24.3g | Cholesterol: 11.6mg | Sodium: 297.9mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 7.1g

We do our best to provide accurate nutritional analysis for our recipes. Our nutritional data is calculated using a third-party algorithm and may vary, based on individual cooking styles, measurements, and ingredient sizes. Please use this information for comparison purposes and consult a health professional for nutrition guidance as needed.

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