There’s nothing better than a juicy hamburger with crispy edges, a SMASH Burger. All you need is cheese, SPECIAL SAUCE and hamburger. Perfect for summer cook-outs, and no grill required.
Every once in a while you just have to have good burger, the kind that’s juicy but has thin crispy edges, a smash burger. Shake Shack has perfected the smash burger but we don’t have one close by so I have to create my own. I’ve never actually eaten a Shake Shake hamburger, when I’m in NY or DC there are so many other restaurants to choose from, but the girls always find time to stop in, even if it’s just for a shake. So after coming back from NY recently, I decided to work on my own classic smash burger.
I wanted a thin but juicy and flavorful burger with crispy edges, and I wanted a Thousand Island type special sauce. After a few attempts, all my taste testers agree that these are amazing!
While I love a good burger, to be worth the calories, I want to serve it on the best bread around. After trying a few different buns, I think Smash Burgers are best on either a potato bun or a Hawaiian bun. If you really like bread like I do, then you’ll want to make sliders instead of full size burgers, that way you can eat two.
What do you need to make a really good Smash Burger
How to make a perfect Smash Burger
Step 1. Sauté some onions and add to ground chuck that is 80% beef. You need some fat to get juicy and flavorful burgers. To that add a bit of Worcestershire sauce.
Step 2. Don’t make nice pretty balls. Once you have combined the onions and Worcestershire sauce, just barely form them into blobs. You won’t get nice crispy edges if you have rounded formed mounds of beef. You need to keep it sloppy.
Step 3. Heat your skillet or grill pan and place buttered buns on the grill pan to slightly toast the buns.
Step 4. Remove the buns and place the mounds of beef on the hot pan and immediately smash them until they’re about ¼ inch thick. If you have your pan hot enough, it will only take 1-2 minutes for the burgers to cook, flip and cook the other side. Add some American cheese while the second half is cooking. Of course you can add a different type of cheese, but for a classic Smash Burger, you need American, it melts the quickest.
What’s in Special Sauce
Why type of bun is best for Smash Burgers
By using 80% ground chuck, the burgers have enough fat to keep them juicy. Cooking them quickly on a very hot skillet gives them the crispy edges, and the special sauce is just the right combination of mayonnaise and catsup.
If you have access to a grill, placing an iron skillet or grill pan directly on the grill is the easiest way to make the best homemade hamburgers. Your kitchen doesn’t get smokey or hot and all the mess stays outside. If it’s the middle of winter then it’s nice to know that these work just as well in a skillet on the stove.
Smash Burgers are so delicious by themselves you don’t really need anything with them, but of course, I always have to have a side. I would try fresh corn on the cob if it’s available.
Not sure how much meat you will need per person, I’ve created a planning guide so that no one goes hungry!
FAQ’s and tips
To get the classic crispy edges on a smash burger, use 80% ground chuck, don’t form them into nice patties, they should be ugly. Place the patties on a very hot griddle pan and smash down immediately with a flat spatula.
American cheese works best if you want a melty cheese on top.
What sides can you serve with smash burgers
- Warm potato salad
- Zoodles caprese salad
- Fruit salad
- Crispy roasted potatoes
- Corn and blueberry salad
- Mac & Cheese
- Spinach salad with strawberries
- Rich chocolate brownies
- Chocolate pudding cake
- Cream cheese fruit pizza
- Cobbler with strawberries
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- 1 onion diced
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 lb ground chuck 80%
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- salt and pepper
- American Cheese
- Potato rolls
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons catsup
- 1 tablespoon onion finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon sweet pickle relish
- salt and pepper
- Special sauce:Add all ingredients to a bowl and mix until combined.
- Burgers:Heat olive oil in a skillet and add onions, cooking until soft and slightly brown. Add to a large bowl. Add hamburger and Worcestershire sauce. Combine with a large spoon. Separate into 4 regular size burgers or 6-8 smaller burgers if making sliders. Do not form into balls.
- Heat iron skillet or grill pan to medium-high. Butter buns and place face down in pan. Cook just until lightly toasted and remove.
- Salt and peppers burgers and place in a hot skillet. Immediately take a solid metal spatula and press down until they are ¼ inch thick. Let cook for 1-2 minutes until browned. Turn and add cheese, cook an additional 1-2 minutes. Remove and place on toasted bun with special sauce and additional toppings.
Barbara’s Tips + Notes
- You can make these on the stove or with a cast iron skillet on the grill, if cooking on a grill, turn it up as hot as it will go,
- If you don’t have a grill pan, you can use a large skillet and cook them in batches.
- For extra crispy edges make sure you use 80% ground chuck, the fat helps get the edges crispy and adds flavor.
- For the best rolls, try potato or Hawaiian rolls.
- Use a heavy duty flat spatula to press the burgers flat as soon as you put them on the grill pan.
If you make Smash Burgers be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Above all, I love to hear from you guys and always do my best to respond to each and every comment. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to also tag me on Instagram! I would love to see your creation.
Jeannine Meador says
They are absolutely wonderful. Love the crispy edges and the fact that I can make lots of them quickly for a family gathering. I use the Hawaiian sweet slider buns and your sauce. Which by the way makes a great tartar sauce for shrimp. It’s the only tartar my picky husband will eat. Thanks so much for all your recipes…all great.
Barbara Curry says
I will definitely try using the sauce for tartar sauce, great idea.