Curried Lamb Burgers with Chutney Mustard & Greek Yogurt


Observing that the twice-a-week broiled-burger-topped-with-cheddar routine was leaving everyone at my dinner table a little wanting, I decided a change was in order. Lamb burgers seasoned with oregano and feta would do just the job, but when I reached for my favorite recipe (from an August 1990 Gourmet), a different recipe on the same page caught my eye: curried lamb burgers with chutney mustard.

The recipe, which called for deep frying onions and mixing them into the ground lamb, sounded fabulous if a little fussy — deep-frying certainly wasn’t going to happen. And as it turns out, deep frying wasn’t necessary. Caramelized onions, while offering little by way of crunch, provided wonderful flavor and sweetness in addition to keeping the burgers incredibly moist.

What I love about these burgers most, however, is that they still taste lamby — that even with the additions of curry powder and a few other spices as well as a dollop of chutney mustard, the flavor of lamb persists. Unless your grill is already back in business, a quick broil works nicely, and serving the burgers in half pieces of warm naan — there are several really tasty store-bought varieties out there (see notes below) — with some crisp lettuce makes for a nice change from the standard burger bun. Cheese doesn’t seem to fit here, but something cool and tangy like Greek yogurt is a must.

Have you found yourself in a cooking rut? Have you been making the same thing over and over again? In this uninspiring in-between-seasons period, these lamb burgers might just be what you need to re-awaken those palates surrounding your table, however teensy tiny they may be.


The chutney mustard is simply a mixture of nearly equal parts Dijon and Major Grey’s chutney:


The burger mix is a combination of lamb, spices, caramelized onions and a tablespoon of the chutney mustard:

Shaping and broiling the burgers:

Curried Lamb Burgers with Chutney Mustard

Inspired by an August 1990 Gourmet recipe
Serves 3 to 4

for the burgers:

1/4 cup Dijon-style mustard
3 to 4 tablespoons Major Grey chutney
1 lb. ground lamb
kosher salt
1 tsp. curry powder
1/2 tsp. cumin*
1 cup caramelized (or sautéed) diced onions, cooled (recipe below if you need it)

for assembly:

Greek yogurt
store-bought (or homemade) naan**

* I have a spice mix on hand — a combination of paprika, cumin, coriander and cayenne pepper — that I mixed together awhile ago for some chili, which is what I use here, so feel free to add/subtract to the half teaspoon of cumin ingredient — just don’t go overboard. A little spice goes a long way here, and I don’t think you want more than a half teaspoon of spices (apart from the curry powder).

** There are several high-quality brands of naan that you can find at your local grocery store. I buy the Wegmans brand, but I love the Stonefire Flatbreads brand as well.

1. In a small bowl, combine the mustard and chutney. Mix this to taste. I kind of like a more equal parts mustard to chutney ratio, so I always just measure 1/4 cup of each, but the original recipe called for a higher percentage of mustard, so use your judgement. Set aside.

2. In a large mixing bowl. Spread out the lamb in a thin layer. Season lightly with kosher salt. Sprinkle curry and cumin (or whatever spice mix you are using) over top. Spoon a tablespoon of the mustard-chutney mixture over top. Spoon in the caramelized onions.

3. Using your hands, gently mix the ingredients together until everything is evenly dispersed, then shape into four patties. I use a scale for this and usually find that I get four 5.5- to 5.75-ounce patties. Place patties on a plate and, if cooking immediately, season both sides lightly with salt and pepper to taste. (If preparing in advance, wrap plate in plastic wrap and store burgers in fridge until ready to serve. Bring burgers to room temperature 30 minutes to an hour before you plan on cooking them.)

4. Preheat the broiler (or grill, if you are already in grilling mode) to high. Lightly oil a broiling pan. Place burgers on pan. Broil about 2 1/2 to 3 minutes a side for medium burgers. Note: Cooking times will vary drastically here depending on how thick your patties are and on their temperature (chilled or at room temp) and on the intensity of your broiler, so use your judgement. You might want to go 2.5 minutes on the first side, flip, and do more or less time on the second side. I like a medium to medium-rare lamb burger, and with my broiler and room-temp patties, 2.5 minutes a side produces the doneness I like. Let burgers rest for a few minutes before serving.

5. To serve, heat the naan while the burgers are resting — I find the residual heat of the oven once I turn off the broiler is enough to get the naan nice and pliable. Tear each naan round in half and place on a plate. Top with a few pieces of lettuce. Top with burger. Spread each burger with a little Greek yogurt and chutney-mustard if you wish.

for the caramelized onions:

Yield = about a heaping cup

4 cups diced onion (from about 3 to 4 small to medium onions)
2 tablespoons butter
kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon vinegar* (optional)
freshly ground black pepper to taste
*red wine, white wine, sherry, balsamic — anything

1. In a large sauté pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onions, season with a pinch of salt and cover the pan. Cook covered for about 15 minutes.

2. Remove the cover, and increase the heat slightly. Continue to cook for another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to make sure the onions are not sticking. Sprinkle the sugar overtop and cook for an additional 10 to 15 minutes, stirring more frequently now, until the onions have turned a nice deep brown. Pour in the vinegar, turn off the heat, and scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon or spatula to remove any browned bits. Take pan off the heat and transfer onions to a large bowl to cool.

Serve the burgers with store-bought naan, some lettuce, a little Greek yogurt and a spoonful of the chutney mustard. Yum.


  1. crotchfairy says

    I absolutely love that you section out your lamb mixture and weigh them. We just bought some lamb to cook for our shih tzu. He’s a very expensive dog in that he’s allergic to everything from grass to beef, pork, chicken, sweet potato and fish. His list of allergens is three front and back pages long. We started cooking him rice with egg and lamb. And it just so happens we bought a lot of lamb and have everything needed except for the naan. Some crusty bread will have to make do. or lettuce wraps. I’m on a diet anyway.

    • says

      Crotchfairy — I think lettuce wraps actually sound wonderful here. You’ll really be able to appreciate all the flavors in the burger that way. And your shih tzu is so lucky to have such dedicated owners. Bravo. I’m sure he’s worth it!

  2. says

    Yum! I’m in a total cooking rut and I love lamb burgers – can’t wait to try these. I have to use up all of our ground beef first, but maybe I’ll make curried beef burgers? Love the shot of E&G playing with trucks :)

  3. says

    Chutney mustard sounds like it would go with a lot of things! These burgers do look lovely – I haven’t had a lamb burger in a while, and when I do I tend to take the Greek-flavoured route too.

  4. says

    I love how deep frying is immediately out. I would skip that part too..I am scared of hot oil. These burgers have an EXCELLENT amount of Dijon mustard in them!

    • says

      ExplodyFull — I know, it’s way too much work. There is an EXCELLENT amount of Dijon in here indeed…perhaps not enough to mask the curry for you, however…I know how you are not such a fan :)

  5. Klady says

    I love lamb burgers and this sounds great. I’m wondering if you’d mind also sharing the “favorite” recipe you reference here from August 1990 gourmet. Many recipes you share on your blog become my favorites as well, so something you mention as a favorite sounds intriguing.

    • says

      Klady — I will definitely share the recipe! If I can’t find it online, which I likely won’t as I wasn’t able to kind this curried lamb burger recipe online, I will type it up here. Just give me the weekend :) It’s a really simple recipe. Thanks so much for your nice comment.

  6. Nancy Dudek says

    these burgers were excellent, however, they did not stay together at all! It was a mess on the pan and if I grilled them they would not have made it off the grill at all. Any ideas on how to make t hem stay together? the flavor was beyond belief!

    • says

      Nancy — glad to hear that you liked the flavor but I am so sorry to hear about the mess :( That’s no fun, and with grilling season upon us, I think you are right that these would make an even bigger mess on the grill. Let’s see, I have a couple of thoughts: 1. Perhaps forget about adding the tablespoon of the chutney mustard to the burger mixture? That was not in the original recipe, but I though it might add some nice flavor, which it probably does, but with all of those caramelized onions and with the chutney mustard on top, maybe it’s unnecessary. 2. You could add fewer caramelized onions and reserve some for serving on top. 3. You could try adding one beaten egg to the mixture. I don’t love this idea or the idea of adding breadcrumbs because I don’t want to turn the burgers into meatballs, but a little egg or a little bit of breadcrumbs might make a difference? Next time I make these, I will experiment with the recipe, because I do see what you mean — I had to deftly flip my burgers over on my broiling pan to be sure they stayed together. Will be in touch.

  7. Nancy says

    I would NEVER consider cutting back on the Dijon since it’s heavenly in this recipe. i will try easing up on the onions and add a bit of egg. I would rather serve this as a loose meat filling that lose any of your seasoning.

  8. Grace says

    Akexandra, these lamb burgers are just OUTRAGEOUS!!! My husband and I could not get enough of them. The came out unbelievably moist, and the sweet chutney with the tangy yogurt is just addictive. I cannot wait to make these again – thank you!

    • says

      Grace — wonderful to hear this! We made them again over the weekend, too. Did you grill them or broil them? Just curious bc one commenter had trouble with the burgers holding together, and I am still wondering how to advise her. I love that mango chutney-mustard-yogurt combo, too! Thanks for writing in.

  9. Grace says

    I grilled them in a stove-top grill pan (and just made them again last night for friends – they went nuts for them!) Maybe the grill pan is a little easier than a regular grill, as there is nowhere for the lamb to “fall.” A couple patties were a tad bit crumbly when I flipped them, just on the edges, but not enough to be an issue.

    • says

      Grace — wonderful to hear this! I think you might be right about the grill pan, too. I haven’t tried these on my outdoor grill yet, but plan on doing so soon. Will definitely report back when I do!

  10. Grace says

    Ah – I see, I just read Nancy’s post. That can be so frustrating. I would definitely recommend the grill pan, and maybe also make sure that the heat is very high and that the burgers are well-seared on the first side before flipping them, so that they have a “sturdy” side when they are flipped.

  11. Grace says

    This note is for Nancy :) On my recommendation, my mother made these burgers last night. Unfortunately she misread the recipe and put ALL of the mustard/chutney mix in with the lamb…she reported that the patties were a mess, so I wondered if it was possible that you ran into the same trouble?

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