Homemade In-N-Out Burger Recipe with Lighter Secret Spread

Homemade In N Out Burgers Recipe! Here's a lighter and lower calorie take on In N Out's famous double double burgers, including their delicious secret sauce!

Should we or should we not add burgers to the list of things not to talk about in polite company — in addition to religion and politics? Because burger choice is very personal, and just think about the number of times you’ve innocently waded into a pool of steaming hot water over talk of the best burger place: In N Out or Shake Shack? Or what about Five Guys? (The answer is Shake Shack btw). 

Homemade In N Out Burger Recipe! Here's a lighter and lower calorie take on In N Out's famous double double burgers, including their delicious secret sauce!

People get fired up about their burgers, and I get it. A perfectly pink-middled, well-built cheeseburger is more exciting to me than most things. And even though I’m team Shake Shack, I am fascinated by how beloved In N Out is on the west coast. A few years ago, on a trip to California, I went to In N Out and ordered a Double Double burger and I have to say, I got the hype. Everything was fresh, full of flavor, and reeked of quality.   

Homemade In N Out Burger Recipe! Here's a lighter and lower calorie take on In N Out's famous double double burgers, including their delicious secret sauce!

Homemade In N Out Burger Recipe with Lighter Secret Spread

In full-on summer grilling mode, I was inspired to make a homemade In N Out burger, with 2 ultra-thin patties–each patty weighing only 1/8th pound, rather than 1 slightly thicker ¼-pound patty. If you’ve ever eaten at a fast food place, you know how thin those patties are. Having 2 to stack, even though the portion of meat stays the same overall, gives you a sense that you’re eating more. And that’s just plain fun.

Homemade In N Out Burger Recipe! Here's a lighter and lower calorie take on In N Out's famous double double burgers, including their delicious secret sauce!

I seasoned the patties with salt, pepper, and garlic powder, and grilled them on my Staub Cast Iron 12-inch Steam Grill—which is a large grill pan I can set on my stovetop, and the great thing is, after I get those perfect grill marks on my burgers, I can put the cheese on top of the patties, cover the pan with with the lid, and let the cheese melt. It’s the best indoor grill pan.

Since the patties are so thin, they only require a quick sear on both sides. Once done, I top them with the In N Out traditions: cheddar cheese, finely chopped sautéed onions, shredded lettuce, tomato, and homemade “spread.”

My remake is 450 calories — 220 calories lighter than the classic Double Double at In N Out, which clocks in at 670 calories!

Homemade In N Out Burger Recipe! Here's a lighter and lower calorie take on In N Out's famous double double burgers, including their delicious secret sauce!

Shred the Cheese

Cheese is the struggle, isn’t it? In order to cover 2 patties, I decided to shred my cheese rather than using 2 slices, since each slice of cheese typically weighs around an ounce and can run you between 80 and 100 calories. Shredding the cheese myself allowed me to top each patty with about 2 tablespoons of shredded cheese—which is plenty for such thin patties, especially knowing there are

A Lighter Secret Sauce, aka “Spread”

The famous “spread” that you find smeared on In N Out burgers tastes a whole lot like Thousand Island dressing. To achieve that same sweet and tangy pickled flavor with a creamy consistency, you need 3 main ingredients: mayonnaise, ketchup, and sweet pickle relish. Some recipes will call for white vinegar, too, (Food Network’s fabulous adaptation of In N Out’s famous burger does), but I used nonfat Greek yogurt in place of half of the mayo (to reduce calories), and the natural tang it provides is enough to skip the vinegar altogether. That slightly tart note of yogurt is so appreciated in this spread because it balances the sweetness of the ketchup and relish. 

Eat It Protein Style!

If you want to lighten it even more, feel free to ditch the bun and eat the burger “protein-style”–an option at In N Out–and wrap the burger in crisp lettuce. Your bunless burger will clock in at 345 calories, sauce and all!

Homemade In N Out Burger Recipe! Here's a lighter and lower calorie take on In N Out's famous double double burgers, including their delicious secret sauce!


Homemade In N Out Burger Recipe with Lighter Secret Spread

Calories: 455kcal


Secret Sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons light mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons nonfat plain greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon sweet pickle relish


  • 1 pound 93% lean ground beef
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large white onion finely chopped (about 2 cups)
  • 4 thin slices Cheddar cheese about 4 ounces
  • 4 hamburger buns split and toasted
  • 4 slices tomato
  • 1 cup shredded iceberg lettuce


  • In a small bowl, mix the mayonnaise, yogurt, ketchup, and relish. Cover and chill until ready to serve.
  • Season the ground beef with the garlic powder, salt, and pepper and mix with your hands. Be careful not to overwork the meat. Form the beef into 8 very thin, evenly sized patties. Let stand while you make the onions.
  • In a large cast iron skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until softened and golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Add a tablespoon of water to the skillet if the onions begin to burn. Transfer the onion to a bowl.
  • Return the skillet to medium-high heat. Add 4 of the patties and cook until well browned on 1 side, about 3 minutes. Flip and top each patty with 1 slice of cheese and let cook until the cheese is melted, about 3 more minutes. Transfer the patties to a plate and cook the remaining 4 patties, 3 minutes per side.
  • Spread the sauce on the tops and bottoms of the toasted buns. Top 4 of the bun halves with 1 cheese covered patty. Divide the onions among the patties. Place another patty on top of the onions and top with sliced tomato and shredded lettuce. Cover with the top halves of the buns.


Nutrition Information:
Calories 455, Fat 21g, Carb 32g, Fiber 3g, Sugars 6g, Protein 36g
Burger with Bun (no sauce): Calories 424, Fat 19g, Carb 29g, Fiber 3g, Sugars 5g, Protein 35g
Burger with Sauce and No Bun: Calories 345, Fat 20g, Carb 10g, Fiber 2g, Sugars 3g, Protein 33g
"Spread" recipe adapted from Food Network


Serving: 1g | Calories: 455kcal | Fat: 21g


37 thoughts on “Homemade In-N-Out Burger Recipe with Lighter Secret Spread

  1. Meg

    Hamburgers that aren’t cooked all the way through skeeve me out. I’m Canadian – you won’t find a burger that is pink middled here! Otherwise, these look so delicious.

  2. Janabelle

    No In and Out, Shake Shack or Five Guys around here (tiny college town way way down deep south). Lots of locally owned burger places, though and almost all of them are into doing the whole “gourmet” burger thing with crazy toppings and buttery buns, etc. And while those are delicious (who doesn’t want a fried mozzarella patty and a half pound of bacon on their burger?), there’s something to be said for just a simple and simply good burger and this one looks sooooo good. Once I get back to cooking (in the fall, maybe…when the temps aren’t competing with Hell) I’ll be all over this. :-)

  3. Hootie

    Yum!!! Never tried any of the joints you mentioned but I do love a good burger. My obsession burger is the Avalon at Ted’s with garlic aoili (yummmmmm) #obsessed. Is there a trick to getting the patties thin?

  4. Lola Fields

    I’m watching Dr Oz about the stretch pants….years ago when jog suits first came out my Aunt told me that they were our downfall. They had on support to hold you in. I was very skinny at the time and was still a tight jeans girl. I guess that was in the early 80’s. (100 lbs) I did gain weight and started wearing those kind of suits alot. Now I’m 65 and I I weight more than ever. I wear leggings with the longer tops and I feel very comfy. But I’m still a jeans girl.

  5. Phi @ The Sweetphi Blog

    All hail the QUEEN! I mean, girl, this is beyond an epic and amazing recipe, it’s craveworthy and I am putting these on the menu for next week because I need them in my life ASAP!
    Also, totally lol’d at adding burgers to the list of politics and religion, my vote is yes – people sure do get passionate about their burgers. Here where I live in Milwaukee, WI we have something called Kopps – frozen custard and burgers, people go nuts when discussing it lol. I went to an In-n-Out burger one time, and I totally get the hype for it too :)

  6. Biz

    I love the idea of having two thin patties – I think mentally it does feel like you are indulging! Hope you are having a kick ass summer Andie! :D

  7. Susie


    Do you have any ideas to substitute the bun to make this low carb? Or a “make your own” bun recipe?

    Thanks for the great post!

    1. Pat

      In-N-Out has a lettuce wrapped option for low carb diets. These are my favorite burgers! They also have a 4×4 with 4 patties that’s not shown on the menue. Too much of a good thing I think. Lol

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  10. Elisha Eli

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  11. cathie

    Next time you’re on the west coast you gotta try The Habit………..
    hands down the best burger chain out there!!

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  13. Katherine

    I made these exactly as written and they were delicious. I’ll be using the secret sauce recipe over and over. I’ve tried making my own before and could never get the flavor just right. The greek yogurt really makes it.
    My husband loves In-N-Out and he (jokingly) asked me if I could make these every night.

  14. Kate

    we don’t have in n out in the UK at least… not where I live. but I’ve always wanted one. I’m so excited to make this healthier version.

  15. Chelai

    I made these for our family and they asked me when I was making the again. The only thing I would do different is get a little more ground beef so I could add another party for hubby but that’s just preference.

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