Home Dinner Beef Smash Burgers

Smash Burgers

I’ve been obsessed with smash burgers for a while now, and I just created the ultimate copycat at home! The secret? It’s all in the technique. 

Smashing loosely packed balls of cold ground beef on a hot cast-iron skillet creates the signature edges and locks in the juices.

Double patty smash burger in a wooden board with cheese, tomato, red onion and pickles.
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The result is a flavor bomb exploding with each messy, satisfying bite. 

Seriously, this recipe ruins all other burgers. Trust me, once you go smash, you’ll never go back!

Why You’ll Love These Smash Burgers

You’ll fall in love with these smash burgers for a variety of reasons!

Maximum Flavor: Smashing the patties creates more surface area, resulting in an ultra-flavorful, caramelized crust. It’s crispy on the outside yet juicy on the inside.

Crispy Edges: The thin patties develop irresistibly crispy, lacy edges. They shatter when you bite into them, for a true texture treat.

Faster Cooking: Since the patties are pressed so thin, they cook through in just a couple of minutes. You’ll have burgers on the table in record time.

Nostalgia Factor: Smash burgers take you back to the old-school diner-style burgers of the 1950s. 

Pressed raw patties sprinkled with salt on a white plate.


Here’s everything you need to whip up these incredible burgers:

  • Ground Beef: The star of the show! Use 80/20 ground chuck for the ideal fat ratio and flavor.
  • American Cheese: It melts like a dream and is such a classic choice!
  • Soft Hamburger Buns: I like to use brioche or potato rolls since they’re nice and soft.
  • Butter: It helps achieve that coveted crispy, lacy edge on the patties.
  • Salt and Black Pepper: Season generously with salt and pepper for maximum flavor.
  • Burger Sauce: The mix of mayonnaise, ketchup, yellow mustard, and pickle brine has a nice kick.
  • Toppings: Use shredded iceberg lettuce, sliced tomato, thinly sliced red onion, and dill pickle chips.
Patties topped with cheese on a skillet.

How to Make Smash Burgers

Follow these simple steps to create these beefy burgers:

1. Divide the beef. Gently shape ground beef into 8 loose balls. Keep them chilled.

2. Mix the burger sauce. Combine the mayonnaise, ketchup, mustard, pickle brine, and seasonings in a bowl. Refrigerate.

3. Toast the buns. Butter the cut sides of 4 soft hamburger buns. Toast on a griddle until golden brown.

4. Heat the skillet. Heat a large cast-iron skillet or griddle over medium-high until smoking hot.

5. Smash the patties. Place 2-3 beef balls on the hot skillet. Immediately smash firmly into very thin patties, about 1/4 inch thick. Season with salt and pepper.

6. Flip and add cheese. Cook for 1-2 minutes until the edges are brown and crispy. Flip the patties and top each with a slice of American cheese. Cook for 30-60 seconds more until the cheese is melted.

7. Assemble the burgers. Spread the burger sauce on the bottom buns. Top each with 2 patties, then lettuce, tomato, onion, and pickles. Cover with the top buns.

8. Serve hot. Serve the smash burgers immediately while hot and the cheese is melty. Enjoy!

Triple patty burger with tomatoes, lettuce, melted cheese and dressing.

Tips For the Best Smash Burgers

These easy tips will help you perfect your technique! 

  • Smash ‘em firmly. Use a stiff metal spatula to press the beef balls down firmly, creating very thin patties (about 1/4 inch thick). The thinner the patty, the crispier the edges.
  • Don’t overwork the meat! Handle the ground beef gently and avoid excessive mixing or shaping. Loosely packed balls create a more tender texture.
  • Season after smashing. Sprinkle the salt and pepper onto the patties right after smashing. This helps the seasoning adhere to the meat.
  • Choose your cheese. Feel free to switch up the American cheese for another one of your favorites.
  • Resist the urge to press! Cook the patties for 1-2 minutes on the first side until crispy and brown, then flip. Don’t press down after flipping, as this can squeeze out the juices.
  • Serve them immediately. Smash burgers are best enjoyed hot off the skillet. Have your toppings ready to go so you can assemble and serve right away.

How to Store

If you have leftover smash burgers, follow these steps to keep them fresh and enjoy them again:

To Store: Cover and refrigerate cooked smash burger patties for 3 to 4 days. Store the toppings and buns separately until ready to reassemble and serve.

To Freeze: Shape the seasoned ground beef into balls but do not cook them. Wrap each ball individually in plastic wrap or place between sheets of parchment paper in a freezer bag. Seal tightly, and freeze for up to 3-4 months.

To Reheat: For best results, reheat the patties separately in a 350°F oven for 7-10 minutes, flipping halfway through, until the center is hot. Or, reheat gently in a pan over medium heat, adding a splash of water. Cover to steam them.

Smash Burgers

Course: Main CourseCuisine: American


Prep time


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Cooking time





Make restaurant-quality smash burgers at home with this easy recipe! There’s no grill required, and you can whip them up right on the stove.


  • 1 lb 80/20 ground beef

  • 4 slices American cheese

  • 4 soft hamburger buns (like brioche or potato rolls)

  • Butter, for toasting buns

  • Salt and black pepper

  • Toppings: shredded iceberg lettuce, sliced tomato, thinly sliced red onion, dill pickle chips

  • Burger Sauce:
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise

  • 1 tbsp ketchup

  • 1 tbsp yellow mustard

  • 1 tsp pickle brine (from a jar of dill pickles)


  • Divide the ground beef into 8 loosely packed balls (2 oz each). Place them on a plate, cover, and refrigerate while you prep the other ingredients. Keeping the meat cold is key.
  • Mix together all the burger sauce ingredients in a small bowl. Cover and refrigerate.
  • Butter the cut sides of the buns. Toast them on a griddle or skillet over medium heat until golden brown. Set aside.
  • Heat a large cast-iron skillet or griddle over medium-high heat until smoking hot.
  • Place 2-3 balls of the chilled ground beef on the hot surface, about 2 inches apart. Immediately smash them down firmly with a wide metal spatula until very thin, about 1/4 inch thick. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  • Cook for 1-2 minutes until the bottoms are dark brown and crispy at the edges. Scrape up and flip the patties with the spatula. Immediately place a slice of American cheese on each patty and cook for an additional 30-60 seconds until the cheese is melted. Remove from heat.
  • Assemble the burgers: Spread burger sauce on the bottom buns. Top with 2 patties each, then lettuce, tomato, onion, and pickles. Cover with the top buns.
  • Serve the smash burgers immediately while hot. Enjoy!


  • Use a stiff metal spatula to really smash the burgers firmly against the hot skillet. The thinner, the better.
  • Don’t press down on the burgers after flipping. This will squeeze out the juices.
  • American cheese melts beautifully, but feel free to use your favorite sliced cheese.
  • Buttering and toasting the buns adds great flavor and helps prevent them from getting soggy.

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author avatar
Kim - InsanelyGood
Hey there! I'm Kim. I love running, cooking, and curling up with a good book! I share recipes for people who LOVE good food, but want to keep things simple :)

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