A Smashed Burger
Homemade Smash Burgers - How to make delicious homemade smash burgers that are juicy and perfectly cooked. These copycat Smashburgers are worth the effort!
A Smashed BurgerJump to Recipe
When I cook a burger – and I’ve cooked a lot of burgers – I tend to keep it simple. I season them with salt and pepper, toss them on a hot grill and let them cook for 4-5 minutes per side until they are medium-ish in doneness. Assuming you use decent beef that has 15-20% fat in it, you’ll be in good shape just by doing no harm. This Homemade Smash Burger is an entirely different beast though and is one of my favorite burger methods even during grilling season.
There’s an mid-range burger restaurant that started in Denver, called Smashburger, that now has locations all over the U.S. and they take a slightly different approach to the burger. As their name implies, they literally smash the burger on a super hot grill. It cooks in about two minutes and is one of the better burgers I’ve ever had. The intense heat and pressure sears in the juices from the beef and makes for a really tasty burger.
While the restaurants use an expensive, patented pressing device that no home cook has access to, I figured there was a way to duplicate this crazy method at home.
I was right. It turns out not to be that hard to make Homemade Smash Burgers and it is totally worth the effort.
- This recipe was updated May 27, 2019 to add new images and spiffy up directions!
Homemade Smash Burger
- 1 pound ground beef
- 3 large buns
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- Sliced red onion
- Sliced tomato
- Fresh lettuce
- Sliced cheddar cheese
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon seasoned salt
- ¼ cup mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 2 teaspoons pickle juice
- 1 tablespoon diced pickle
- For sauce, dice pickle very fine and stir ingredients together. Store in refrigerator until needed.
- Portion out three 6-oz. burgers and roll them into loose balls.
- Heat your large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat for a few minutes until it’s very hot. While it’s heating prepare the second cast iron skillet (smaller) and wrap some foil around the bottom of it.
- When you’re ready to cook a burger, add some butter to the hot pan and let it melt. Then add a burger ball and press it down hard with the second skillet. Try to press down straight from above so create an even circle. Press down on the burger for 10 long seconds.
- Remove the top skillet and season the burger with seasoning mix. When the juices start to bubble up from the burger, flip it.
- If you’re adding cheese, add it after the flip and cover the burger with a metal bowl to steam the cheese.
- Cook the burger on the second side until the burger reaches 165 degrees F. in the center, about 90 seconds or so.
- Serve the burger on a toasted bun with lots of sauce, lettuce, tomatoes, and red onion.
Did you make this?
Snap a photo and tag @macheesmo so I can see your work.
How to Make Special (Smash) Sauce
One signature thing about Smashburger is they have this special sauce called “Smash Sauce.” Their website gives zero hints as to what is in it so I kind of had to wing it. Basically, I made a mix of mayo, mustard, and relish. I’m not sure if it’s what they actually use, but it tastes close and is really good.
Just dice up the pickle really finely and then stir together the ingredients in a bowl. The pickle juice may sound strange but it’s pretty crucial.
Homemade Smash Burger Seasoning
Every burger needs seasoning and this one is no exception. I mixed together a ratio of kosher salt, fresh ground black pepper, and seasoned salt. This is enough seasoning for 8-10 burgers so you can save it for later.
Also, before we actually start cooking the burgers, get the other toppings ready that you want. You can go crazy here and top this sucker with anything you would throw on your favorite burger.
I kept it simple for this version with just a diced red onion, tomato, and fresh lettuce.
Making the Smash Burgers
You need to start with a large burger for this to work right. A small burger won’t smash correctly. I like to use 6 ounces of ground beef, but you could even go up to 8 ounces honestly.
Once you have the meat portioned, roll it into a loose ball. You want it to be in a ball, not in a patty when it hits the pan.
Now for the setup. To get the proper smashing you need two heavy skillets. The larger skillet needs to be able to get very hot so cast iron is a good choice. The top skillet just needs to be smaller so you can fit it in the larger skillet. The top skillet won’t actually get hot. In fact, you don’t need to use a skillet, but something flat and round works.
Whatever you use, it’s a good idea to wrap some foil around the bottom of it so the foil is in contact with the burger. This is especially true if you’re using a dirty old cast iron skillet like I used.
When you’re ready to cook, get your larger pan very hot. Put it over medium-high heat and let it heat for a few minutes. Then, turn on the vents above your stove because it’s gonna get steamy.
When you’re ready to cook, add a small pad of butter to the pan and spread it out so it melts evenly. Then add your burger ball to the pan and immediately press down on it with the top part. Try to press down straight from above so the pressure on the burger is even, creating a round patty.
Press down for a long 10 seconds. One one thousand. Two one thousand… you get it.
The burger will smoke and hiss and complain, but it’s all good.
When the 10 seconds is up, remove the top pan and the foil and immediately season the patty really well with the seasoning blend.
Let the patty continue to cook on this side for 30 seconds or so until the burger starts to brown up around the edges. You’ll also notice that the juices bubble up a bit in the center.
When you flip this guy, take your time. There will be a serious crust on the bottom of the burger and you want to make sure that crust stays attached to the burger. Use a sturdy spatula and really work around the patty to make sure the burger loosens nicely.
If you do it right, it’ll be a thing of beauty.
The burger only needs to cook for about 90 seconds on the second side since it’s so thin at this point. If you’re using cheese, add the cheese and then I recommend slapping a metal bowl down over the burger which will help melt the cheese faster.
Here’s my finished patty which was done about three minutes after I started it.
Stack this homemade smash burger on a toasted bun with a good smear of the sauce and whatever other toppings you want and you’re in business!
This post isn’t sponsored by Smashburger or anything. In fact, they might dislike the fact that I just showed you how to make Homemade Smash Burgers, but if you drive by one it’s worth checking out. They make really tasty burgers (and try their fries with rosemary).
But, if you’re feeling frisky and have a large skillet, this is totally a doable way to make a really delicious burger.
Has anybody tried a Smashed burger? Leave a comment!
Here are a few other delicious burger recipes!
59 Responses to “A Smashed Burger” Leave a comment
I absolutely hate smashburger! Mostly because they use that gross cheese spread on a lot of their burgers and I feel like everything is over seasoned BUT their rosemary fries are completely delicious!
Interesting! Well, their method definitely works at home and then you can use good cheese and season it perfectly. :)
Exactly! I am totally going to try this recipe. (sorry smashburger)
The best thing about smashburger is the black-bean veggie burger. It’s the best! I don’t know if I’ve even had a beef burger there.
Agree! Their veg burger is super delicious. Probably my favorite of their burgers honestly. Forgot to mention that in the post.
Good to know. I am super picky about veggie burgers (as well as visiting chain restaurants in strip malls), but smashburger opened up in my ‘hood, and I know my husband wants to check it out. Now I don’t have to be so reluctant.
You know it’s impossible to make a statement like “it’s the best, but I haven’t had the others”
It’s like me saying “Ford is the best car in the world, I have never driven another car though”.
Try the beef one first and then write again
Not being a huge burger eater, I will pretty much always, make an exception for Smash Burger…or In-N-Out. Going to have to give your recipe a try! Looks pretty simpe and delicious!
Nick…searing meat doesn’t seal in juices, right?
I thought it was all about getting the crust through the Maillard Reaction, and reducing total time of cooking where the inside water is just boiling the meat fibers.
Not saying I’m not the biggest fan of that outer crust, but am I crazy?
Live at the Jersey Shore and used to go to a burger place in Point Pleasant where they cooked burgers about the same way, on a very, very hot flat top, flattened the burger with a spatula until it was very thin, flipped it once, cooked for a short time, as you said as flattening it made it pretty thin. The best part was the crispy outer crust. Some fried onions on top. The place was Peter Skoko’s…gone now, but not forgotten.
We have Smashburger out here in Vegas. I’ll take it over In-N-Out any day. Also, you’re right their fries are really good. Gonna try these at home.
Love Smashburger!!! Moved to the East Coast five years ago, but trips back home to Colorado always include a Smashburger run!!!! So, I am going to give this recipe a try – Thanks, Macheesmo for figuring this out!!
I have been going to Smashburger for 2 years!!!! If you are a proper connoisseur of burgers, then this place should top your list. I never get cheese on my burgers as I am VERY fussy about my cheese but the whole grain bun impressed me. One bite and I was a fan of the Smashburger. Until I tried their chicken burger! It is moist, huge, and perfectly done. The veggies are all fresh and I do love their sauce. Fries, what can I say except delicious, I have tried the sweet potato, rosemary and regular…toss-up so I always say, “Surprise me!” The shakes….made right there on the spot. They run a special shake every 6 or so weeks. I had to stay away when they had the salted caramel shakes as I could not refrain from ordering this. Appreciated method to try to duplicate this burger at home….I drive almost 30 miles one way to my nearest Smashburger.
I have never seen one but I’ve seen that technique used by other places.
Hmmm . . . doesn’t interest me. I don’t particularly care for super thin burgers. But thanx for showing the method if for no other reason than to tell me not to go find a Smashburger. I don’t even think much of In-N-Out. Now the Wood Ranch Buckeye burger . . .
Perhaps you should just give it a try so you can speak with authority.
Nice write-up! I really enjoy smashburgers as well. My buddy and I have a burger blog and have tried the smash method a few times after seeing it on Serious Eats. If you wanna check out ours: http://www.chowdownchamps.com/2013/07/12/the-smash-method-mg/.
You really have to have some faith when making these; smash hard and know that it doesn’t take long to cook them. My dad says next time, he may try them with less fatty beef and no or less butter in order to get them to burn/crisp on the pan better. I make mine on a cast iron pan on the grill, by the by. Cheers!
My all-time favorite burger! Juicy, and flavorful it has spoiled me for any other burger.
Now I can try to make it at home! Thanks, Macheesmo for posting this recipe!!
I just made smash burgers according to this recipe and they came out marvelously!
*I used an anodized aluminum stockpot to smash the burgers instead of a cast iron pan.
*I only had mayo, Trader Joe’s Sweet & Hot Mustard, and dill pickle juice to mix up for the “secret sauce,” so that’s what I used not only as a topping, but I spread some on the inside of the buns then lightly sauteed them with some butter prior to making the burgers.
*I used Penzeys smoky seasoned salt as the sole burger seasoning.
They came out with a beautiful crust and were hot and juicy inside. The only not so great thing was that I neglected to have my above-the-oven vent going the entire time and we wound up with a house full of smoke! You know what…it was worth it.
Thank you for sharing this recipe! I just made it and the crust…yummy! Overall an AMAZING burger recipe!
I’m going to try this; it looks delicious. My comment is about your quote dirty old cast iron skillet unquote. You probably know that you can reseason it and get many more years out of it.
Yep. I reseason mine occasionally.. they were definitely in need of it during this post. :)
First of all, I am blown away and mystified by people who HAVE NOT MADE THIS RECIPE, but still feel the need to post negative or disinterested comments. Keep your vapid poison to yourself.
I think it’s just great that this site posted this recipe.
Second, I just made this burger for my man. He said it was the BEST burger he ever had. That’s saying a lot. I can’t get over how easy it is to make and how quickly it cooks. My father told me to NEVER smash a burger, but he was wrong. You just have to know how to do it. It was sooooo juicy and delicious. Also, I didn’t think it was really that “thin” – it was the perfect thickness.
First of all, you sho right if you don’t like them, know what they are, or have nothing nice to say then keep going no need to stop and give your 2 cents.
Second of all……. your dude is lucky! My wife does not like to touch the meat so I always have to cook the burgers! He better treat you right till the end of time!
Now that I’m starving imma go make a sammich yo!!
Hi All, I worked at smashburger for some time and would love to just clear some things up. I no longer work there so I don’t mind spilling the beans. We used to make the smashsauce in house everyday that was as follows:
16oz (by weight) Mayo
16 fluid oz Mustard
6 or 8 oz Sweet Relish
And 3 lemon slices squeezed in.
The super secret smasher you mentioned was nothing more than a handle with a shallow circle looking thing. We would smash for 10 seconds, but the REAL TRICK THAT MAKES THE BURGERS JUICY is how we prepped the beef. Take your beef and get it nice and Cold. Like straight out of the fridge. Maybe freeze for 10 mins. Now break up your beef into little tiny pieces the size of peas. Use forks or your hands if you have to. Now lightly press the meet into balls. Here is what would make the difference between juicy and rough, you want the balls to be almost falling apart. If they are packed too tight, your burgers will suck. Like a snowball.
Also, we would season the crap out of the burgers, but a small amount of any good burger seasoning will work fine.
For the true Smashburger make as follows
Red Onion (one ring)
And 3 pickles
You have yourself a smashburger. Any questions about the restaurant I’d be happy to answer. Just comment below.
Hey “Jane”! Thanks for the insider info. ;)
Good to know, thanks! How many oz burger meat do they use per burger?
gotta use the french’s yellow mustard to make the smash sauce. i also always said pack the balls of meat like you don’t want to break the baby so light hands. and the seasoning needs to have a smidge of beef bouillon or if you are broke a smidgen of powder from beef ramen packet. let me know if you want to know how to make the smash oil they toss the smash fries in :)
I want to know how to toss the rosemary fries. I think the other people who raves about them would too.
Man this post generated interaction. If you could only bottle that up and sell it, or save it for a rainy day…
Make up a little container of the Smash Oil the night before. It’s olive oil with their herb mixture inside which has Rosemary a little garlic just use granulated garlic and a bit of powdered thyme. Mix the oil together and let sit over night so the herbs can absorb the oil. Then fry your french fries. They use a canola & beef tallow blend in their fryers. Immediately after frying throw them in a metal bowl and after stirring the herb oil ladle a generous amount over the fries and toss. That’s it. i don’t have actual measurements i’m quarantined away from my recipe book lol. but i figure you use a cup of oil i’d do 2-3 Tb of rosemary and a half teaspoon granulated garlic and a smidgen of thyme i know that’s not exact but u can experiment :) Also i would use fresh rosemary finely chopped but dried would be fine too.
My husband’s favorite burger joint is Smashburger, so I’m thinking I need to try this at home. Or maybe I’ll just show him the recipe and let him cook this night. :)
P.S. I found your blog through EBA.
Cool! Thanks for the comment Maryea. :)
I just pinned this, so it’s on the to make list. Have you ever made the onion burgers from Serious Eats? I just made these again last night , and they are fabulous. Check it out. It’s a smash technique too. Thanks for the recipe.
Awesome Vicky! Thanks for the pin. I’ll definitely check out the SE burger as well. They always make good stuff. :) Cheers!
Thank you for this. I cannot wait to try my own version. I LOVE SMASHBURGER!! We are 90 miles away from the nearest one. My favorite by far is the Sin City it has egg, bacon,cheese, and onion straws. Yes, it is a heart attack but a treat that I enjoy about 4 times a year. Thank you also to Jane Doe, I will be utilizing all of your advice.
Thank you for your posting on your take of the AMAZING Smash Burger! I had a stop off last year in Newark Airport whilst on my way to Las Vegas with my new Fiancé who is now my Wonderful Wife.
I am pleased to say that Smash Burger is the most intense and tasty Burger I have ever had the pleasure of pacing over my taste buds, My wife had not eaten meat for nearly five years, yet while I was in the middle of my first bite, my eyes looked up to heaven and a moan of delight rumbled from my throat, my Fiancé (at that time) looked at me and asked “is that nice?” to which I said
“OH MY GOD ITS AMAZING!!!! ” I then allowed her to try a bite of this delicious mouth watering burger, and WOW 1 she was hooked.
I have been trying to recreate this moment for some time now and I am looking forward to your recipe to amaze my wife’s taste buds once again, I should say that we live in England in the midlands and the burgers here SUCK!
So thanks Macheesmo , my mouth is watering already
Darrin S England
Ha! Thanks for the comment Darrin. Hope you like the homemade version!
Hi there Nick, I loved the home made version once I had got the technique just right and the timing spot on! I got my wife to try it out and she loved it, then my friends tried the burger and are hooked ! looks like this summer is going to be a SMASHING!! time
Darrin S. England
Fantastic Darrin. Spread the word about smashing! :)
I’ve been eating “smash” burgers my whole life. My Dad was a manager at Steak n Shake in Indianapolis when I was born more than 50 years ago. I make ball of meat, place it in the skillet, let it fry a little and then flip it over. Smash with the spatula and season. Let that side fry. Flip again and fry to the doneness you prefer. I guess this is why I don’t like thick burgers.
Wow, I never had smashed burger, It’s definitely something to try,
my husband will be more than happy, he loves Hamburger :)
Well, if the post didn’t completely sell me, the comments did. I’m goin’ in. ;)
Was a Smashburger fan, until Freddy’s Steakburgers came to town. I’ll take Freddy’s double steakburger and fries over Smashburger any day
Tried these tonight!! Turned out terrific! One word of advice – notice in the picture the metal bowl has a handle! Mine did not :) OOPS my metal bowl basically sealed itself with the cast iron pan and I burnt my hand every time I tried to pull it up! Yikes!
Worth it for the great burgers but using a different bowl next time :D
Hey Ashley! Yikes! Sorry that happened. I’ve had that happen before also. You can use a butter knife to lift up the bowl and break the seal on it a bit. The things people will do for a good burger right?! :)
Back in the day, Growing up in Toledo, Ohio, there was a burger chain known as White Tower. They made “butter burgers.” Cooked in butter (obviously) they were thin, juicy, topped with cheddar cheese, mayo, shredded lettuce, onion, on a butter grilled bun. Quite simply, my (& my Mom’s) addiction. Sadly, White Tower is gone now & I would kill for an In-N-Out cheeseburger after moving back east a few years ago. Never had SMASHBURGER & don’t understand the fascination with 5 Guys. THANKS for this Smashburger recipe!!! Got me thinking about a White Tower cheeseburger & salivating big time, so will make this ASAP! And will also add some rosemary fries to the mix! NOTE: next time you make fries from scratch add truffle salt. You will see God.
Which part of beef meat have been used ?
made last night. perfect. i made six balls out of 1 lbs of meat. should have made those balls more lime hunks..not balls. regardless…they were amazi g. not to thin..not too thick. my son I law got two for a double….so good. woke up this morning wanted another one. thanks to the e x smash employee for the real method of handling raw beef. yummy…thank u.
Can you please tell me the ratio or blend of the beef used in a Smash Burger
Ground chuck 20- 80 is fine non of that tube stuff though its gotta be fresh ground if you have a butcher even better.
Yesterday, I ordered a Classic Smashburger Single (no ketchup). I wanted to focus my taste buds on the Smash Sauce. By its color and general appearance, Smashburger’s well kept secret reminded me of Hollandaise Sauce.
This looks AMAZING! Thank you for sharing your secrets!
I never write reviews for recipes, but I tried this one tonight because my fiancé loves burgers cooked like this, but now we live far away from anything similar. He has been going on and on for 30 minutes about how good the burger was! I love it as well and normally, I’m not a fan of burgers cooked like this. Your directions were so easy to follow and everything was well seasoned and freaking delicious!
Yay! So glad it worked for you Brittany. Thanks for reporting back. :)
In South Africa our only Smashburger place is called “Roco Mamas”. It’s a big hit, so I tried to make one with this recipe. The mayo isn’t quite as good as theirs, but these burgers were still better than any other we’ve made at home before, or after.
So glad you liked it! I need that Roco Mamas mayo recipe. :)
Tom Ryan who founded Smashburger has videos on you tube showing how they cook them. They are really good and easy to do on a Blackstone griddle.
I did that while going on a picnic, and all of my pals found it fun. Thank you for sharing this delicious dish, the instructions are simple.