3 Steps Simple Responsive Hamburger Menu In Pure CSS

Welcome to a tutorial on how to create a simple responsive pure CSS Hamburger Menu. Yep, there are plenty of other hamburger menus on the Internet, but some of them still require the use of Javascript. So here it is, a menu that is purely CSS-driven, not a single line of Javascript. Read on to find out how to build one!

ⓘ I have included a zip file with all the source code at the start of this tutorial, so you don’t have to copy-paste everything… Or if you just want to dive straight in.

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Download & Demo How to Build Useful Bits
Tutorial Video The End

 

 

DOWNLOAD & DEMO

Firstly, here is the download link to the example code as promised.

 

QUICK NOTES

If you spot a bug, feel free to comment below. I try to answer short questions too, but it is one person versus the entire world… If you need answers urgently, please check out my list of websites to get help with programming.

 

EXAMPLE CODE DOWNLOAD

Click here to download the source code, I have released it under the MIT license, so feel free to build on top of it or use it in your own project.

 

HAMBURGER MENU DEMO

Go ahead. Resize the window and see the hamburger menu in action.

 

 

HOW TO BUILD A HAMBURGER MENU

Building a hamburger menu is actually not that difficult these days with the help of modern CSS…

 

STEP 1) THE HTML

index.html
<!-- (A) MENU WRAPPER -->
<nav id="hamnav">
  <!-- (B) THE HAMBURGER -->
  <label for="hamburger">&#9776;</label>
  <input type="checkbox" id="hamburger"/>
 
  <!-- (C) MENU ITEMS -->
  <div id="hamitems">
    <a href="a.html">First</a>
    <a href="b.html">Second</a>
    <a href="c.html">Third</a>
    <a href="d.html">Forth</a>
  </div>
</nav>

The HTML part should be pretty straightforward:

  1. First, we create the wrapper for the navigation menu <nav id="hamnav">.
  2. Followed by using a <label for="hamburger"> and <input type="checkbox" id="hamburger"/> as the hamburger button. For people who are new, that &#9776; is the HTML symbol for the “3 lines hamburger icon”.
  3. Finally, we sandwich the menu items <a> inside the  <div id="hamitems"> wrapper.

That’s all, zero Javascript involved.

 

 

STEP 2) CSS FOR BIG SCREENS

ham-menu.css
/* [ON BIG SCREEN] */
/* (A) WRAPPER */
#hamnav {
  width: 100%;
  background: #000;
}

/* (B) HORIZONTAL MENU ITEMS */
#hamitems { display: flex; }
#hamitems a {
  flex-grow: 1;
  flex-basis: 0;
  padding: 10px;
  color: white;
  text-decoration: none;
  text-align: center;
}
#hamitems a:hover { background: #af0d0d; }

/* (C) HIDE HAMBURGER */
#hamnav label, #hamburger { display: none; }

The CSS is where all the magic happens. This may seem to be a little complicated, but let’s take it step-by-step. Starting with how to display a “normal menu bar” on the big screens:

  1. Self-explanatory, a full-width navigation menu.
  2. Next, we set #hamitems to display: flex. Adding flex-grow: 1 and flex-basis: 0 to the menu items will automatically space them out equally.
  3. Since we do not need the hamburger icon on the big screen, we hide it by attaching display: none to #hamnav label and #hamburger.

This is actually all the important mechanics on the big screen, and we now have a working horizontal navigation bar.

 

 

STEP 3) RESPONSIVE CSS FOR SMALL SCREENS

ham-menu.css
/* [ON SMALL SCREENS] */
@media screen and (max-width: 768px){
  /* (A) BREAK INTO VERTICAL MENU */
  #hamitems a {
    box-sizing: border-box;
    display: block;
    width: 100%;
    border-top: 1px solid #333;
  }
 
  /* (B) SHOW HAMBURGER ICON */
  #hamnav label { 
    display: inline-block; 
    color: white;
    background: #a02620;
    font-style: normal;
    font-size: 1.2em;
    padding: 10px;
  }

  /* (C) TOGGLE SHOW/HIDE MENU */
  #hamitems { display: none; }
  #hamnav input:checked ~ #hamitems { display: block; }
}

Lastly, we add some style changes on the small screen to do the responsive magic:

  1. Transform the horizontal menu into a vertical one by adding #hamitems a { width: 100% }
  2. Show the hamburger icon with #hamnav label { display: inline-block }.
    • Take extra note – We are showing the hamburger label only, the checkbox remains hidden.
    • The checkbox will still work when the user clicks on the label.
  3. A little confusing, but this is where the magic happens.
    • By default, #hamitems { display: none; } will hide the menu items.
    • #hamnav input:checked ~ #hamitems { display: block; } in simple English – Show the menu items when the hidden checkbox is checked.

 

 

USEFUL BITS & LINKS

That’s it for the code, and here is a small extra that you may find useful.

 

STICKY MENU BAR

Want the menu bar to be permanently fixed on top of the screen as the user scrolls down on your website? Simply add a position: sticky to the navigation bar, and that should do the magic.

theme.css
#hamnav {
  position: sticky;
  top: 0;
}

But this will probably cause more problems on a small screen, so use it wisely.

 

BIGGER HAMBURGER?

The hamburger icon is an HTML symbol. Yes, changing the size is as easy as setting label[for="hamburger"] { font-size: XX em }.

 

I WANT DROPDOWN ITEMS!

That won’t be “simple” anymore, but feel free to challenge yourself…

 

COMPATIBILITY CHECKS

This hamburger menu works nice across all modern browsers.

 

TUTORIAL VIDEO

 

INFOGRAPHIC CHEAT SHEET

Pure CSS Hamburger Menu (click to enlarge)

 

THE END

Thank you for reading, and we have come to the end of this tutorial. I hope that it has helped you to create a better menu system for your project, and if you have anything to add to this guide, please feel free to comment below. Good luck and happy coding!

40 thoughts on “3 Steps Simple Responsive Hamburger Menu In Pure CSS”

  1. Actually I was able to solve problem of menu appearing behind other elements by adding
    z-index: 99 !important;
    to my navigation. It works great now. Thanks for this guide!

  2. What is the purpose of using a check box input? This is the second article I’ve read on this subject, both of which call of the check box. And in both cases, using the provided code renders a visible check box on full size screens, and zero responsiveness to the navigation bar.

    1. Really!? How about “actually reading through the entire tutorial and watch the YouTube video”? 🙄 *Hint* The magic happens with #hamnav input:checked ~ #hamitems…

  3. This is amazing! I love it! I made a nice square button with
    nav label {
    /* … */
    border-radius: 5px;
    width: 48px;
    line-height: 48px;
    text-align: center;
    vertical-align: middle;
    }

    One question, though: when the menu is opened, each link visually takes up the full width of the viewport, but most of it does not respond to click/tap. This can be seen in the browser with your example embedded on this page; you have to hover the mouse exactly over the text for the hyperlink to show. Is there any way to make the clickable zone for each navigation link take up the full width, including empty space? Thanks!

  4. After struggling with tons of tricks for hamburger menu (mobile view), i found this one is so simple, easy, and work for my web. No jquery or external script. Thanks.

  5. This was a lot easier to follow than other tutorials I’ve seen. However, mine isn’t working. The hamburger icon is present, but the menu doesn’t drop down once I click on it. Is there a way that we can fix this? I copy and pasted the code, so it should be working. I changed the background color, but that’s it. Also, is there a way that I can resize the hamburger icon. I tried everything with no luck. Thanks for your time and this tutorial.

    1. 1) Resizing the hamburger icon is as easy as adding label[for="hamburger"] { font-size: XX }
      2) The <input type="checkbox" id="hamburger"/> MUST be in the same container as the <ul> menu, since we are targeting them as siblings in CSS – #page-nav input:checked ~ ul { OPEN MENU }

  6. I echo the comment above, been looking at loads of tutorials on this today and this was by far the clearest I have found, really well set out and explained.

    I did find the ☰ code doesn’t display in some older browsers, and as the average age of the people using the website I am managing is probably quite old, I decided to create a little hamburger image instead and it works a treat, even on Chrome v18!

    Thanks!

  7. That has to be the clearest Hamburger menu tutorial I have ever come across – none of the messing about with borders and box shadows to create the lines. Thank you

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