How to Cook Smash Burgers: Step-by-Step Recipe

Ever wondered how to make a smash burger on your own? This article explains all you need to know in a simple, step-by-step recipe.
Jeremy Bivens
Jeremy Bivens
Research Writer
Jeremy Bivens is a passionate writer and grilling enthusiast. He's been working as a freelance journalist for over 15 years now and has a particular interest in food writing read more
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Bruce Williams
Bruce Williams
Expert Consultant
Claims that grilling is the art that he has been learning all his life long and is not planning to stop. Has been grilling for as long as he can remember. Author of numerous read more
Last updated: August 27, 2023
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Smash burgers are irresistible, buttery, heavenly to the taste buds, and the perfect go-to snack for lunch, family picnics, and any other event you can think about. As popular as this meal is, most people are unaware that they can make it at home. After all, there is no need to waste hundreds of bucks at a restaurant when you can get the same thing, or even better at home. In this article, we’ll be doing a step-by-step guide on how to make the perfect homemade smash burger. We’ve also included an easy-to-make smash burger recipe, ingredients, and everything you need to know about how to make smash burgers in this guide. You can always check back here for more recipes for your favorite meals like grilled halibut, smoked catfish, and grilled ribs.

What is a smash burger

How to Cook Smash Burgers: Step-by-Step Recipe

A smash burger, just as the name suggests, is a burger that has been smashed. This all-time American classic was first made famous by Smashburger, a Hamburger restaurant chain. It derived its name from the restaurant’s style of cooking the burger. Unlike your regular burgers, the smash burger style requires you to press down the burger with a spatula or a burger press. This improves the grilling and allows the meat to make better contact with the heat source.

There are many advantages of smashing your burgers, and many people choose this option for several reasons. Some say that smashing your burger improves the flavor and cuts down the cooking time significantly. We definitely agree, but that’s not all. It also helps you achieve maximum crust, while the cheese slice between the patties keeps the burger moist.

You get a smash burger by placing the ball of meat, otherwise known as the patty, in an unoiled griddle and smashing it down into a thin, flat shape. By smashing the meat, you increase the contact between the meat and the heat source, increasing the Maillard reaction. The Maillard reaction is what gives that maximum brown crust and texture that makes the burger taste so good! No wonder smash burgers are so popular in restaurants and burger joints. After all, who doesn’t want something so easy to make, yet incredibly delicious, crispy, with dripping, juicy fillings?

Tools and ingredients you’ll need:

As we mentioned earlier, smash burgers are one of the easiest meals to prepare. All you need is the right ingredients, tools, and recipe, and within minutes you have a juicy, mouth-watering smash burger for you and your guests. This section focuses on the ingredients and tools you need to prepare the perfect smash burger. You can start by making sure you have the following ingredients and tools. As the main tool you can use a griddle, skillet, or large stainless steel saute pan. However, we prefer using the griddle since it gives the best results, but you may find out more differences between griddle and grill Trusted Source The Difference Between a Grill and Griddle Grills and griddles are distinct from each other. Learn the differences between them so you can cook on the right surface every time. . If you’re using the skillet, we have pointed out some of the best cast-iron skillet. Also you’ll need a good spatula to get great results. According to users’ reviews, the stainless steel metal spatula set is one of the best burger presses to make your cooking easy and stress-free.

Make sure to slice the onions thin for that extra crunch when you put them into the burger. Your cheese can be American or any type. However, for this recipe, we’re going for the classic American cheese. This is because they melt easily and deliver that yummy taste you want in a smash burger.

How to Cook Smash Burgers: Step-by-Step Recipe 2

Smash Burgers - Recipe

Bruce Williams
Admittedly, the cooking process for smash burgers is a bit different from regular burgers. Instead of focusing on making nicely shaped, well-cut, rounded patties, here you can be a bit casual. The meat shouldn’t be smoothed into a ball. Instead, you want aragged-shaped beef that’s loosely held together- more on this below.
Now that you have the ingredients and tools you need for your smash burgers, we can head on to the cooking process. Keep in mind that you don’t have to be a professional to try this on your way. That’s why we have divided the cooking process into sections to keep it as simple as possible.
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Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Course Main Course
Calories 730 kcal


  • Stainless steel, carbon steel, or cast-ironskillet
  • A large, firm metal spatula or bacon press
  • Griddle skillet or pan
  • Parchment paper
  • Cuttingboard
  •  Apron


  • 1-1,5 lbs. ground beef 80/20. 
  • 4-6 slices cheese
  • 2 teaspoons yellow mustard
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup ketchup
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1/8 tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon paprika
  • Salt and pepper  to taste
  • Pinch of sugar
  • 4-6 burger buns
  • 3 cups iceberg lettuce
  • 1 large tomato
  • 1 red onion
  • 3 pickles


  • Portioning beef patties.
    The beef you use should be ground beef, with an 80/20 percent ratio. The fat has to be up to 20% because you want enough fat that can oil up the patties and make them easier to scrape.
    Divide the beef patties into 8 or 4 portions. If you want the patties even, you can use a kitchen scale to measure the size. Once you’re done portioning, each patty should be around ¼ pound depending on if you went with the 8 or 4 sectionings. Ensure you don’t flatten the balls immediately but rather mold them into loosely formed balls. The more lose they are, the more likely you’ll get that crusty brown edges that smash burgers are known for. Next, cover the patties and refrigerate until you’re ready to start cooking.
    How to Cook Smash Burgers: Step-by-Step Recipe 4
  • Preheating a griddle
    Start by preheating the skillet over high heat for about 2-3 minutes. Like most other grilling or baking processes, preheating your griddle helps you avoid sticky patties. It also ensures you achieve a brown, crispy crust. Besides, preheating ensures the griddle is evenly hot, making sure your patties will cook at the same time and rate.
  • Preparing toppings and buns
    • Lettuce: slice one of two lettuce leaves to your taste. It’s better to slice the lettuce thinly to achieve that restaurant-style smash burger.
    • Tomatoes: Choose large-sized and fleshy tomatoes and slice or cut them into round, ring shapes. Be careful not to slice it too thick. When the tomatoes slices are too thick, it adds too much cold moisture, which destroys the balance between the meat and toppings ratio. The same process goes for the onions. When the onions are too thick, it upsets the flavoring, and you don’t want to end up with an overwhelming onion flavor.
    • Onions: You should also slice your onions into rings instead of dicing them to avoid falling off.
    • Pickles: Pickles are not a must, but they can be an excellent addition to the toppings if you’re a fan. Like the rest of the topping, you’d have to slice the pickles too.
    • Mayonnaise: This is one of the essential parts of your toppings. It adds that dripping, moist, juicy taste to the burger. You only need about ¼ cup mayonnaise to make the perfect smash burger.
    Asides from the toppings, another thing you need to prepare is the buns. The buns are naturally the foundation of any great smash burger. To prepare the bun, slatter some mayonnaise on the bun and allow it to cook on the griddle for some seconds, about 10 to 15 seconds, till it turns slightly brown. Don’t forget to pay close attention, so it doesn’t get burnt.
    How to Cook Smash Burgers: Step-by-Step Recipe 6
  • Cooking the patties
    Use the parchment paper to cover each piece; you have to be fast about this. Once you’ve placed the parchment paper, smash the meatballs into a thin patty with a spatula or a burger press. Hold the patty down firmly until you get a thin patty.
    Once the first side is cooked and the juices start coming out, you can flip to the other side to let it evenly cook- this will take about a minute. Make sure you flip at a 45˚ angle to ensure you get all the crusts and caramelized parts, and add the cheese immediately after flipping.
    How to Cook Smash Burgers: Step-by-Step Recipe 8
  • Assemble burgers in a proper restaurant style
    • Add a meat patty
    • Add about 2 to 3 slices of pickles
    • Add your shredded lettuce
    • Top with tomatoes slices and onions if so desire
    • Add another meat patty
    • Cover with top bun
  • Wraping the burgers
    • Cut out a parchment paper into a square shape.
    • Then fold in half to make a triangle.
    • Place the burger halfway into the parchment and flip the burger to tuck in the sides
    • Tuck the under flap too
    How to Cook Smash Burgers: Step-by-Step Recipe 10


Calories: 730kcal


We don’t want to end this article without touching on some of the frequently asked questions we’ve seen online about smash burgers. Without further delays, here are some of the most common questions and answers to them.

What is the best meat for burgers?

The best meat for burgers is ground beef that is 80/20, or 80% lean and 20% fat. You can also read on for more details on the best meat for different types of burgers Trusted Source Burger Day 2021: World's weirdest burgers - CBBC Newsround From donut burgers to Yorkshire pudding stacks, ice cream patties to spaghetti buns, these are the weirdest burgers you’ll find on the planet. Just in time for Burger Day. Yum! .

What is the best burger press?

The best burger presses are flat, firm, and non-sticky. You don’t want patties sticking to the burger when flipping them. Besides, a flat burger press gives you thin patties and gets the job done faster.

Can I cook a smash burger without special sauce?

Yes, you can cook a smash burger without a special sauce.  However, we advise not to, especially if you want that extra dripping juice and flavor. Although you can skip using the sauce while grilling the patties and only add it as toppings when assembling the burger.

Final thoughts

There you have it! A proper restaurant-style homemade smash burger! Now that you know how to make a smashed burger, you don’t have to worry about serving your guests anymore. This will adequately serve dinner nights, family lunch, outdoor dates, and alone dinner. Don’t forget to add the special sauce recipe for smash burgers; it’s definitely a must-try! You can serve this meal with grilled halibut, potato salad, grilled corn, and lemonade.


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