Simple Smash Burger Recipe

There are regular burgers, and then there are smash burgers. Both are great in their own special ways, but smash burgers give the meal a bit more of a diner feel. You'd normally use a grill to cook burgers, yielding those beautiful char marks. The smash buger has a different method: You cook them on a griddle and literally smash the patties, getting them nice and thin. Not only does this help the burger cook faster, but it also gives it that brown, crispy outer layer. This recipe is great for any occasion, but we love that you can cook it year-round since it doesn't require a grill.

Recipe developer Kate Shungu came up with this delicious recipe and she shares her favorite part: "I love the crispy exterior on the burger from the griddle." This, she says, makes them better than the average burger. A special sauce with an unexpected secret ingredient helps, too.

Gather your simple smash burger ingredients

You can begin by making a grocery list and heading to the store. The recipe calls for mayonnaise, yellow mustard, pickle juice, butter, American cheese, hamburger buns, and, of course, ground beef. "Either ground turkey or ground chicken can be substituted for the ground beef," Shungu notes. If you want to add toppings, she suggests lettuce, tomato, red onion, pickle slices, and ketchup.

Once you have those items, you're ready to make these delicious smash burgers.

Make the special sauce

Add the mayonnaise, mustard, and pickle juice to a small bowl or dish. Stir to combine. "You can taste both the mayo and the mustard in the special sauce," Shungu says, but "the pickle juice adds some briny flavor that takes it over the top!" 

Make (and smash!) the burgers

Take out the ground beef and divide it into four evenly sized balls.

Heat the griddle to medium and add 1 tablespoon of butter. Place one of the balls of ground beef on the griddle and flatten it using a spatula and, as a weight, a can. This is the step where the smash burgers get their name. Repeat with the remaining three patties. 

Flip the burgers and add cheese

Cook the patties until the bottom is crispy; this should take about 3 minutes.

Once the bottoms are crisp, flip the burgers over to the other side to finish cooking. At this point, you can add your cheese slices to each patty. Continue cooking for another 3 minutes until the patties have browned and crisped up on the other side and the cheese has begun to melt. Remove the burgers and set them aside.

Toast the buns

What good would a burger be without a toasted bun? Melt the remaining tablespoon of butter on the griddle. Place the cut sides of the buns down on the hot surface. Continue cooking until toasted, then remove. 

Assemble, serve, and enjoy

Now let's assemble those smash burgers! Place the bottom half of a bun on a flat surface; if you so choose, top with a thin layer of ketchup. Then, load on the burger patty and toppings. In this recipe we use pickles, red onion, tomato, and lettuce, but feel free to customize based on your preferences. Spread a tablespoon of the special sauce on the top bun, then place it over the toppings. Repeat with the remaining burgers.

These are best enjoyed immediately after cooking. The burgers are delicious and very filling on their own, but we'd be lying if we said we weren't a sucker for a good side. "I like serving these with either chips or fries. Add a homemade milkshake if you're really feeling indulgent!" Shungu suggests.

Simple Smash Burger Recipe
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There are regular burgers, and then there are smash burgers. The American favorite gets an upgrade with a flattened, hard-seared patty. Learn how to make them!
Prep Time
Cook Time
smash burger on plate
Total time: 25 minutes
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons yellow mustard
  • 1 teaspoon pickle juice
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 2 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 4 slices American cheese
  • 4 hamburger buns
Optional Ingredients
  • Lettuce
  • Sliced tomato
  • Sliced red onion
  • Pickle slices
  • Ketchup
  1. Stir together the mayonnaise, yellow mustard, and pickle juice. Set aside.
  2. Form the ground beef into 4 evenly sized balls.
  3. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter on a griddle over medium heat. Place 1 ground beef ball on the griddle and flatten with a spatula and a can (apply pressure on the former using the latter.)
  4. Repeat with the remaining balls of ground beef.
  5. Cook patties until browned and crispy on one side, about 3 minutes. Flip and place 1 slice of American cheese over each. Cook for an additional 3 minutes, until browned and crispy on the other side and cheese has begun to melt.
  6. Remove and set aside.
  7. Melt the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter on the griddle and place the buns, cut side down, on the surface. Cook until toasted.
  8. Place the bottom half of 1 burger bun on a flat surface. If desired, spread a thin layer of ketchup over the bottom bun, followed by the burger patty and optional toppings. Spread 1 tablespoon of the sauce made in Step 1 on the top bun, then place it on top. Repeat with the remaining burgers.
  9. Serve immediately.
Calories per Serving 627
Total Fat 46.4 g
Saturated Fat 17.5 g
Trans Fat 1.6 g
Cholesterol 114.8 mg
Total Carbohydrates 23.0 g
Dietary Fiber 1.0 g
Total Sugars 2.7 g
Sodium 599.4 mg
Protein 27.9 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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