New Recipe: The U.S. Navy’s Not-So-Secret Recipes for Cheesecake and ‘Ronnie Burgers’

Yokosuka, Japan, an hour south of Tokyo by train, plays host to the U.S. Navy’s largest base outside of America. A decade ago, the Navy felt it would be a nice gesture to share a recipe for hamburgers and another for New York-style cheesecake with cherries, a nod to Japan’s association with cherry blossoms.

Now you can make them in your own galley.

Each ship has its own version of the Navy burger. The “Ronnie Burger,” which is the signature offering of the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan, is the mother of them all, though it isn’t often on the menu for obvious reasons.

U.S. Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Bryan N. Blair


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 ½ tablespoons ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons catsup
  • 2 tablespoons bread crumbs
  • 4 tablespoons oil
  • 10 slices cooked bacon
  • 5 slices American cheese
  • 5 slices mozzarella cheese
  • 1 onion
  • 2 avocados
  • 1 tomato
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons ranch dressing
  • 2 tablespoon melted butter
  • 4 pickle slices
  • 3 buns


  1. Lightly mix ingredients for burger patty.
  2. Form flat, thick burger patties 4-6” wide.
  3. Place burger patty on grill or steel grill, and cook, rotating to ensure even grilling.
  4. Lightly butter burger buns and toast buns face-down on grill.
  5. After burger is properly cooked, begin construction by alternating buns and patties with condiments. Continue layering until complete.
  6. Enjoy! (Hopefully with a loved one, good friend, or Shipmate!) And be sure to get a good workout in after!

Alastair Gale/The Wall Street Journal


  • 3 ¾ ounces crushed graham crackers
  • 4 ½ tablespoons melted butter
  • 2 tablespoons cherry liquor
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 14 ½ ounces cream cheese (room temperature)
  • Pinch of Kosher salt
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 ½ tablespoons all purpose flour
  • ¾ teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • 1 medium egg (whole)
  • 3 medium egg yolks
  • 1-3 cans of cherries from Washington or Oregon state
  • Finely chopped lemon zest from 5 lemons
  • 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of cornstarch
  • ½ cup cold water


  1. Method of Preparation for Crust:
    Crush graham crackers into small crumbs in a food processor.
  2. Place crushed graham cracker pieces into a separate bowl and mix in brown sugar, butter and cherry liquor. Mix well until all the ingredients are incorporated and crust is moistened enough to hold together.
  3. Press moistened crust into a greased 9 inch pie pan and mold to the shape of the pan until about .25 inch thick on bottom and sides. Cover crust with plastic wrap and to help aid in molding, press another 9” pie pan on top and press bottom and sides until desired thickness of crust is reached.
  4. Method Preparation for Cheesecake Filling: Cut cream cheese into medium size pieces and place into mixer with paddle attachment.
  5. Start mixer and mix until cream cheese has smooth consistency.
  6. Add salt, sugar, sifted flour, lemon juice and vanilla extract slowly to ensure proper mixing and prevent clumping of dry ingredients.
  7. Start mixer again and add heavy cream in steady stream until incorporated.
  8. Beat whole eggs and add to the mixture in a steady stream. Mix well on medium speed until filling has a smooth consistency.
  9. Refrigerate mixture until ready to pour into crust and back.
  10. Method of Preparation for Bake: Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees.
  11. Add filling for cheesecake until about .25 inch from the top of the crust.
  12. Gently tap the pan to release any air bubbles.
  13. Bake cheesecake at 325 degrees in hot water bath until the center is set, about 1 hour.
  14. Place cheesecake on a rack to cool approximately 1 hour. Wrap with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator until chilled preferably overnight to fully set.
  15. To unmold, apply the gentle heat of a low open flame to the bottom and sides of cake. Run a knife around the sides of the pan. Place a plastic wrapped cake circle or cardboard on top of the cake, invert, and tap the bottom of the pan to release if necessary.
  16. Slice and serve with cherry topping.
  17. Method of Preparation for Cherry Topping: Place cherries, lemon zest, and sugar in a saucepan on medium high heat until liquid is reduced by ¼.
  18. In a separate bowl mix cornstarch and cold water.
  19. Add cornstarch and cold water to the cherries and bring to a boil while whisking mixture to thicken.
  20. Adjust sugar to taste and top cheesecake with chilled or warm topping.

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