When making hamburgers that will be eaten in a bun should the pickle slices be placed above the hamburger like this:

line drawing of hamburger

Or should they be placed below the hamburger like here:

line drawing of hamburger

Of course, there are ancillary issues concerning lettuce, onion, tomato, fried egg, ketchup, mustard and mayo but let us just consider this for a hamburger with pickles and maybe a little ketchup.

Is there an objective reason to choose one or the other?

  • 1
    Serve them on the side?
    – Stephie
    Sep 1, 2016 at 6:44
  • Stuff on the bottom hits more taste buds than stuff on the top. Of course, with a burger, you've got to get past the bun first. Aug 22, 2018 at 22:54

1 Answer 1


As you might guess there is not hard and fast rule for this. It depends on when you want to have the flavor of the pickle hit your taste bud; before the savory or after the savory (meat). Additionally it could be complicated by other condiments you have mentioned above. However there is a bit of science you can employ here as well. Pickles (assuming you are using dill) activate the sour taste buds in our mouth. Savory (umami) is not as widely distributed as sour. So from that standpoint if you really like that savory flavor from a freshly grilled juicy burger, you would want to put the pickles underneath the meat. If you prefer the pickle taste to be front and center place them on top. I've included a reference for you as well. Happy eating! http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0072592/

  • 1
    Some fast food hamburger chains may have preparation rules that they give to the workers that assemble the sandwiches. It would be interesting if someone with that experience were to comment. Aug 31, 2016 at 11:12
  • 2
    If you have them on top and think you would prefer them on the bottom, turn the sandwich over and try it. Aug 31, 2016 at 15:21
  • 1
    While I am a scientist by profession I put myself through college working at TGIFridays (7 years). Pickles don't usually come on their burgers but for those that do it has less to do with taste than it does ease of assembly and presentation. :)
    – Sandi
    Sep 1, 2016 at 12:26

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