Copycat In-N-Out Double Double Animal Style


2 + lots of extra patties for the freezer


30 min


10 min


  • 1/3 cup ‏mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons ‏sweet relish
  • 2 tablespoon ‏ketchup
  • 1 teaspoon ‏sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ‏white vinegar
  • a dash ‏Worcestershire
  • to taste ‏salt and pepper

Double Double Animal Style

  • 1 pound ‏ground beef, 80/20
  • 2 ‏Sara Lee, Soft & Smooth buns
  • 2 thick slices ‏beefsteak tomato
  • 2 leaves ‏iceberg lettuce
  • 4 slices ‏American cheese, sliced
  • 1 ‏onion


Living in California you take advantage of many things – french fries in your burritos, avocado available year round, great weather.. I have definitely found myself in that spot when someone asks me how the weather is out here assuming it’s amazing and it I say something along the lines of, “Actually it’s pretty crummy today.” Only to get a pretty a deserving, “What, is it like 50˚? 60˚?” Oh. right. You’ve had snow for the last 2 weeks? You couldn’t drive on the roads it was so bad? I’ll be over here not saying anything else, ever again.

But probably the one thing that we take advantage of most… is In-N-Out.

I heard that the reason there are no In-N-Outs outside of the West Coast and Texas is that none of their locations have freezers or microwaves and because of that, their ingredients comes fresh from one of their two distribution facilities (One in California and one in Texas). Unfortunately for my best friend, she came to this realization when she landed in her new home, Seattle. Having lived in California her entire life, can you imagine not having prepared for an In-N-Out cold turkey? This sounds like my worst nightmare. We’ve been friends since high school and during our sophomore year an In-N-Out opened up in our town and it was a big deal. Before that the closest In-N-Out was 45 minutes away which was quite the trek for a $3 burger. When it opened in town we would race over and get in line before it got out of control, this was the only way to ensure you could get food, slam it down, and get back to class on time. We’d spend late nights in that In-N-Out, chatting over that gooey goodness, realizing that pepper ketchup was a thing that goes really well with fries and that those little cups you put ketchup in are meant to be pulled apart so you have a shallow bowl of ketchup. (This still blows my mind!) Without realizing it, we were slowly becoming high functioning burgerholics. I mean, how does a double double just hits the spot every time??

When she came down to visit a couple weeks ago I promised her 2 things. 1) We’d go to In-N-Out and 2) we’d get drunk off wine and try making double doubles ourselves! I had seen a few copycat recipes online, one specifically by Kenji Lopez Alt and one by iamafoodblog and thought, well, we should just try to make them now because it would be way worse if you attempted it when you had a double double craving, thinking you could replicate it, only to end up like a Pinterest fail.

We decided to take the commoners approach, for those who don’t have a meat grinder or butcher shop nearby, we only used ingredients you could find at a major grocery store. When we went to the butcher counter at our local Vons (Safeway for all of you up north), we excitedly told the butcher we were attempting to make In-N-Out burgers for dinner. He then told us that he ate at In-N-Out every day for the first 2 months he lived here. He so obsessed with the Spread that he started taking packets homes and putting them in the fridge, disregarding the clear packaging that says, “Made for immediate consumption.” He informed us that the packets exploded in his fridge after a few days. We didn’t have the heart to tell him that it was just thousand island and likely could be made with things already in his fridge. Kenji did a great job at breaking down the exact ketchup to mayo to relish ratios, having overnight shipped the burgers from the west coast, so instead of reinventing the wheel, we gave it a go with our ingredients. Honestly, we were pretty sure it wasn’t going to end up the same. While we were confident we would be making delicious burgers, that exact “aaah” feeling that comes from the first satisfying bite of a true In-N-Out felt like it would be impossible to replicate. Either way, we cracked open a bottle of Boochcraft and went for it.

To start, I need to preface that you will be flattening these patties out to be thin, real thin, a lot thinner than I thought they would be so the first batch was a bust because they came out as meat nuggets rather than patties. We also found it best to set up a little assembly line so that we could get both of our burgers done around the same time. I tried this recipe once on my own and for 6 people and it was a bit more difficult.  Now, on with the recipe.






  1. One of the most signature ingredients of the animal style’d burger are the caramelized onions. This is something you can prep well in advance and refrigerate or just before you make the burgers but since they require a decent amount of simmering, start first with the onions – the longer they cook the sweeter they will be. Dice up the entire onion and saute in a pot with a little oil on medium-high heat, deglaze the pan with a little bit of water and repeat that method for the next 20 minutes or until they become so soft and the deep brown we know caramelized onions to be. This method allows the water to cool the onions so you can cook them longer without burning them! (If you have two people have someone on onion duty and buns.)
  2. Spread is super easy, just put all the ingredients together and mix until smooth.
  3. Butter the buns with softened butter (you can even do this ahead of time, but you want to give your butter enough time to soften so you can spread it evenly.) Heat up a pan on medium-high and toast 2-4 buns at a time until golden brown and crispy.
  4. We measured the patties out to be 37 grams (1.3 ounces) each and pounded each of them flat on a sheet of parchment paper. It is key to make them as flat as possible, I’m talking almost paper thin, they shrink quite a bit so aim for them to be a little bigger than your buns. Salt and pepper both sides generously – the parchment paper will help you peel the patties off easily to flip and season. I made a little bit extra because I wanted to be able to just cut up the parchment paper they were on, stack them, and throw them in a bag in the freezer, ready made patties for later in the week!
  5. We went the mustard grilled method – if you haven’t ordered this before it’s actually part of the animal style burger and just adds a little extra something to the taste of the meat – on a hot pan place 2 patties in the oil, leave it for 2-3 minutes until you get a good dark caramelized brown. Dollop a spoon of dijon mustard to the top uncooked side of your patty. Do not fidget with it either, you’re trying to only flip it once! Flip your patty and let it cook for 1 more minute in the mustard. iamafoodblog’s recipe removes the patty and places the cheese on to melt but the second time we made this recipe I let the slices of cheese melt on top of the patties in the pan and they came out way gooier! 
  6. While you’re grilling, slice your veggies – you’re aiming for 1 thick slice of tomato per burger, and if your lettuce is much bigger than your buns, just tear them into the appropriate sizes.
  7. If you have someone helping you, while you man the meat, have them stack the burgers in preparation for your patties. We stacked the burgers in this order: bottom bun, spread, 1 thick slice of tomato, 2 pieces of lettuce, first patty, a generous helping of caramelized onions, second patty, top bun. Done!

*This was really reminiscent of a game we recently discovered called Overcooked, which is essentially a coordination game that tests your ability to create food like burgers in a busy restaurant kitchen – essentially you need to chop all your ingredients, cook your patties, stack your burgers, serve your dishes and wash your plates but if you don’t have a system you suddenly have orders stacking up, fires in your kitchen and lots of angry customers. I think we’ll stick to real cooking because at the end, we got to eat our burgers and I will say… they were damn good. I feel confident that if times get tough, she’ll be able to hold her own!





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One Comment

  1. Avatar Nicole 4 months ago

    You’re the best of the best friends for making these with me <3 <3 <3 I'd say this was the truest copycat recipe I've ever had! Thanks for covering my future in-n-out cravings (I might just have to make these soon after reading this)!

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