Recipe: Make Pandora’s Cheeseburger Pods at home

by Samantha Davis-Friedman

It’s been more than a month since Disneyland and Walt Disney World closed their gates due to COVID-19, but fans who are missing the parks have found a way to bring a bit of Disney magic into their homes by recreating their favorite Disney foods — from sweet treats like churros and Mickey-shaped beignets to Disneyland’s iconic Monte Cristo sandwich.

cheeseburger pods
Photo courtesy of Walt Disney World

“Part of the experience [at a Disney Park] is that we’re wonderful at storytelling,” says Disneyland Resort Executive Chef John State. “But ultimately, there’s something that has to connect with our guests in their hearts and their minds […] that they’ll never forget.”

Anyone who has spent a day in a Disney Park knows that food plays a significant part in connecting to our hearts, minds, and of course, our stomachs. Whether they’re a “three full meals” person or an all-day snacker, many park-goers plan their entire experience around what they’re going to eat, and some Disney foods are so craveable, they’re impossible to forget.

Cheeseburger Pods

When guests explore Pandora – The World of Avatar, they can experience the exotic sights, sounds, and tastes of the bioluminescent moon, but one craveable item, the Cheeseburger Steamed Pods at the land’s Satu’li Canteen, offers familiar flavors with a not-so-exotic all-American cheeseburger filling inside fluffy steamed bao buns.

“I thought the cheeseburger pods were so fun as a snack for my [three] boys,” says Meredith Wallace, owner of Minnie Memories Travel. “When they looked at them, they were not impressed, but the pods got a huge thumbs up from my gang once they took a bite.”

disney food
Photo by Samantha Davis-Friedman
cheeseburger pods
Photo by Samantha Davis-Friedman

For the pods, we decided to use refrigerated biscuit dough instead of making dough from scratch. We also added chopped pickles and mustard to our filling, but for picky eaters (and let’s face it, every family has at least one), those can be eliminated or even swapped out for other favorite burger toppings like ketchup, chopped jalapeños, or even chopped bacon and barbecue sauce.

cheeseburger pods
Photo by Samantha Davis-Friedman

A make-your-own cheeseburger pod bar could also be an excellent idea for a Pandora-inspired family dinner, maybe even followed by a screening of “Avatar” on Disney+.

disney food
Photo by Samantha Davis-Friedman

It’s easy to understand why the cheeseburger pods are a craveable Walt Disney World snack. Even though our pods weren’t nearly as pretty as the ones in Pandora, they were equally tasty.

cheeseburger pods
Photo by Samantha Davis-Friedman

Check out our at-home recipe below:


  • 1 pound of ground beef
  • 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 white onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon of yellow mustard (optional)
  • 1/2 cup of finely chopped pickles (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 can of flaky layers refrigerated biscuits
  • 1 Tablespoon of Vegetable Oil
  • Cooking Spray

Directions for Filling

  1. Heat 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil in a medium pan. Add onions and sauté until slightly brown/translucent.
  2. Add ground beef and Worcestershire sauce. Cook until the meat is browned.
  3. Add cheese and mix until melted. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Add mustard and pickles (optional).
  5. Set filling aside to cool.

Directions for Cheeseburger Pods

  1. Separate dough into 8 biscuits and separate each biscuit in half crosswise. Press each to form a 4-inch round.
  2. For each pod, spoon about one tablespoon of the cheeseburger filling onto the center of each dough round. Bring edges of biscuit together, pinching in the center to close. Repeat for each pod.
  3. In a large pot, heat 1 inch of water to simmering. (Alternately, cook in an air fryer. See video below.)
  4. Spray a metal colander with cooking spray. Arrange the filled pods in the bottom of the colander, about 1 inch apart.
  5. Reduce heat to medium-low; place the colander in the pot and cover. Steam the pods for about 20 minutes.

Note: Make sure the simmering water does not touch the bottom of the pods, or they will get soggy.

Here’s a video of us making them at home using an air fryer and Instapot:

We want to see your creations if you decide to give this Cheeseburger Pods recipe a try! Be sure to share photos with us on Twitter at @Attractions.


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1 comment

Linda May 6, 2020 - 5:41 pm

Love this idea for a themed night! I’ve been wanting to make the copycat Night Blossom drink! https://www.allthingswithpurpose.com/pandora-frozen-night-blossom-recipe/


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