Let's take a little trip in the Wayback Machine to 2016, the year when dessert burgers first started trending. The 20-teens were a time known for their food fads ranging from ramen burgers to rainbow bagels, so of course everybody from mommy bloggers to lifestyle websites was touting this latest craze which, as you might have guessed, consists of either regular burger buns or faux buns made of cake or doughnuts sandwiched with sweet fillings.
Dessert burgers made their first comeback during lockdown when anything Instagrammable or TikTokable was worth revisiting by home-bound bakers with time on their hands but not enough patience for sourdough. Well, either dessert burgers never really went away or these sweet and sometimes just a little savory sensations came back for yet a third spin on the trendy-go-round since we've also seen them featured in TikTok videos from late 2022 into mid-2023. Their enduring (or repetitive) popularity isn't all that surprising when you consider that they are not only visually whimsical but also incredibly easy to make (even easier than the somewhat similar dessert pizza) and seem like they might also taste pretty decent, as well.
Dessert burgers come in many varieties
The first step in making a dessert burger is to choose your bun, and for this, you can use an actual burger bun, although a semi-sweet one made with brioche bread might be the best bet. You could also do dessert sliders using Hawaiian rolls or opt for pretzel rolls if you want to go sweet and salty, thus scoring double trendy points. If you prefer to go all-in on the dessert-ness, though, a sliced-open doughnut, cupcake, cinnamon roll, or pair of small waffles can be used, or you could go rogue and use a longer bun or eclair for a dessert hot dog.
As for the fillings, these can be as sweet as you please. If you opt for a cake-type bun, a simple frosting filling could work, while savory buns might call for a more elaborate filling of ice cream, whipped cream, or sweetened cream cheese. Pudding is another option, as is Nutella, peanut butter, fudge and/or caramel sauce, and fresh fruit. Some cooks opt for multi-layer burgers sandwiching cookies, brownies, or more cake within, while others add savory elements such as bacon and cheese to balance out the sugar.