Smash Burger Recipe

4.75 from 4 votes
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The smashed burger or smash burger has gained a devoted following for its irresistible combination of crispy edges, juicy patties, and sheer flavor perfection. A smash burger or smashed beef patty is the key to replicating your favorite fast food joint’s irresistible burger. Thin juicy beef patties topped with cheddar cheese and stacked for the most amazing homemade double cheeseburger you will ever make at home.

A juicy double smash burger and fries topped with a toasted brioche bun,

This smash burger recipe is incredibly easy to replicate at home, in fact, they’re easier to make than your typical burger and taste so much better. We both agree it’s the burger recipe we’d choose if we had to eat one burger for the rest of our lives.

While you can make smash burgers as a single patty, I like to make double cheeseburgers. Since the burgers are so thin, you’ll end up using the same amount of beef as a regular burger.

If you’re looking for more delicious sandwiches, try my spicy chicken sandwich and my chicken pesto panini. For a healthier alternative, try my unbeatable turkey burgers!

Serve smash burgers with smashed potatoes, homemade truffle fries, or baked sweet potato fries.

What Is a Smash Burger?

Smash burgers are made using the process of placing a round ball of ground beef on a hot cast iron cooking surface and smashing it into a thin beef patty. This technique results in a patty that’s both juicy on the inside and delightfully crispy and caramelized on the outside.

Smash burgers are typically light on toppings and mainly feature lettuce, onion, cheese, ketchup, and mustard.

Why This Recipe Works

  • Thin and juicy: despite the burgers being so thin, they cook very quickly and won’t dry out. These burgers are very tender.
  • Caramelized and seasoned: smash burgers get the perfect sear from the hot cooking surface. They’re seasoned with only salt and pepper to enhance the beef flavor.

Ingredients

Smash burger ingredients and toppings on a cutting board.
  • 80-85% lean ground beef: avoid 90%+ lean burger meat as it tends to dry out.
  • Toasted brioche buns: this is my favorite bun. I butter and toast them on the grill or griddle.
  • Red/yellow onion: slice as thinly as possible so the flavor is not overpowering. Try caramelized onions for a fancy burger.
  • Sliced cheese: my favorites are mild orange cheddar or yellow American cheese.
  • Shredded lettuce: I like to use leaf lettuce and shred it into thin strips with a sharp knife.

See the recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities below.

Recommend Kitchen Tools

  • Griddle/Baking Steel: smash burgers should be made on a flat cast-iron or steel surface for the best results. Anything with grates or ridges causes the beef to stick. For a few burgers, a large cast-iron skillet will do. For larger crowds, use a large flat griddle or baking steel placed directly on the grill. Always cook with the grill cover up to prevent overcooking.
  • Burger press or flat spatula: smashed burgers are flattened directly on the hot cooking surface by firmly pressing down with a burger press or flat spatula without holes. This will ensure your patty has full contact with the pan and gives the burger a beautiful textured finish. To prevent sticking, place a small piece of parchment paper on top of the burger before smashing it. This ensures a nonstick barrier!

How to Make Smash Burgers

Step 1.

Roll the beef into 2-inch diameter balls. I was able to get 5-6 patties out of 1 pound of ground beef. If making double cheeseburgers this is the perfect size. If making single patties, make them slightly larger.

4 beef patties rolled into balls for smash burgers.

Step 2.

Bring a skillet, flat cast iron griddle, or baking steel to high heat (on the stove or on the grill). Let it get very hot and brush it with a little oil.

Step 3.

Place beef balls on the hot skillet and immediately press down firmly with a flat spatula or burger press until the beef is smashed into a thin 1/4-1/2-inch thick patty. Season with salt and pepper to taste. To prevent sticking, place parchment paper between the beef/spatula.

2 round smash burgers on a hot steel surface on a grill.
Smashing a smash burger on the griddle with a burger press.

Step 4.

Let sear for 2 minutes. The edges may split and won’t be perfect. This is OK and actually preferred as it adds texture. Flip burgers, season with salt and pepper, and cook for 2 more minutes (burgers will be cooked medium and no longer pink). In the last 30 seconds, top each burger with cheese. Remove from the heat.

A smash burger sizzling on the grill just before flipping.
A golden caramelized smash burger patty on a hot griddle.

Step 5.

Toast the buns in the remaining burger grease to crisp the interior and warm the buns. It’s a phenomenal touch and makes the burger that much better. Assemble as double or single cheeseburgers. Layer with shredded lettuce, pickles onion, ketchup, and mustard.

A double smash burger with cheese melting on a hot griddle with toasting buns.
A juicy double smash burger and fries dressed with red onion and pickles.

Expert Tips

  • If making double cheeseburgers, make 2-inch diameter beef balls. If making single patties, make them slightly larger.
  • Cook smash burgers quickly on a preheated skillet, about two minutes per side. This keeps your burgers really juicy and prevents them from drying out from overcooking. Since we’re not cooking on a grill, we’ll retain all of the beef’s juices.
  • To prevent sticking, place a small piece of parchment paper on top of the burger before smashing it.
  • Smash burgers are usually made with 80% or 85% lean ground beef, giving them lots of flavor. 90% is too lean and will leave your smash burger on the dry side.
  • I season my smash burgers with salt and pepper to bring out the flavor. Toppings should be kept simple to showcase the beef. Pickles, shredded lettuce, ketchup/mustard/mayo, and red or yellow onion. Lettuce always goes under the patty.

Frequently Asked Questions

What meat is used for a smash burger?

I use 80-85% lean ground beef for smash burgers. The higher fat content adds more flavor and makes the burgers juicy.

Do smash burgers taste better?

Smash burgers taste so much better than regular burgers because they’re juicy and very tender. A smash burger offers the perfect ratio of beef, cheese, and toppings.

Why is it called smash burger?

Smash burgers earned their name from smashing a round beef patty onto a hot cooking surface.

More Sandwich Recipes

Enjoy this recipe? If you made this recipe, please leave a ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ star rating in the recipe card below & a review in the comments!
4.75 from 4 votes

Smash Burger Recipe

Servings: 6 patties
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 5 minutes
Total: 15 minutes
A smashed burger is at the key to replicating your favorite fast food joint’s irresistible burger. Thin juicy beef patties topped with cheddar cheese and stacked for the most amazing homemade double cheeseburger you will ever make.

Ingredients 

  • 1 pound 80-85% lean ground beef
  • 1-2 tablespoons vegetable/canola oil, for cooking
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Burger toppings

  • Toasted brioche buns
  • Mild orange cheddar or yellow American cheese
  • 1 thinly sliced red/yellow onion, try caramelized
  • Ketchup/mustard/mayo
  • Dill sandwich chip pickles
  • Shredded lettuce, I like thinly chopped leaf lettuce

Instructions 

  • Roll the beef into 2-inch diameter balls. I was able to get 5-6 patties out of 1 pound of ground beef. If making double cheeseburgers this is the perfect size. If making single patties, make them slightly larger.
  • Bring a skillet, flat cast iron griddle, or baking steel to high heat (on the stove or on the grill). Let it get very hot and brush it with a little oil.
  • Place beef balls on the hot skillet and immediately press down firmly with a flat spatula or burger press until the beef is smashed into a thin 1/4-1/2-inch thick patty. Season with salt and pepper to taste. To prevent sticking, place parchment paper between the beef/spatula.
  • Let sear for 2 minutes. The edges may split and won’t be perfect. This is OK and actually preferred as it adds texture. Flip burgers, season with salt and pepper, and cook for 2 more minutes (burgers will be cooked medium and no longer pink). In the last 30 seconds, top each patty with cheese. Remove from the heat.
  • Toast the buns in the remaining burger grease to crisp the interior and warm the buns. It’s a phenomenal touch and makes the burger that much better. Assemble as double or single cheeseburgers. Layer with shredded lettuce, pickles onion, ketchup, and mustard.

Notes

If making double cheeseburgers, make 2-inch diameter beef balls. If making single patties, make them slightly larger.
Cook smash burgers quickly on a preheated skillet, about two minutes per side. This keeps your burgers really juicy and prevents them from drying out from overcooking. Since we’re not cooking on a grill, we’ll retain all of the beef’s juices.
To prevent sticking, place a small piece of parchment paper on top of the burger before smashing it.
Smash burgers are usually made with 80% or 85% lean ground beef, giving them lots of flavor. 90% is too lean and will leave your smash burger on the dry side.
I season my smash burgers with salt and pepper to bring out the flavor. Toppings should be kept simple to showcase the beef. Pickles, shredded lettuce, ketchup/mustard/mayo, and red or yellow onion. Lettuce always goes under the patty.

Additional Info

Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American
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About Shawn Williams

My name is Shawn, author behind Kitchen Swagger. I'm a food & drink enthusiast bringing you my own simple and delicious restaurant-inspired recipes.

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Recipe Rating




1 Comment

  1. 5 stars
    These are amazing! Best burgers I have ever eaten. We made them on vacation and they were a hit! Not a crumb left. I have made them several times and they are always requested year round! Great with fries or chips!