Easy Smash Burgers

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Easy Smash burgers, classic diner-style hamburgers made easy at home.

Delicious thin smashburgers loaded with melted American cheese fresh off a griddle – just like Freddy’s, In ‘n Out, and Smashburger!

Griddled smashed cheeseburger in a bun on a metal plate
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Smashburger in a bun on a metal plate

Easy Thin Griddled Burgers

Smash burgers are an easy, fun take on the summer grilling classic. These are easy, and only take a few minutes to cook and will be a huge hit with your family and friends!

Smashed burgers were first developed in Ashland, Kentucky at the Dairy Cheer burger stop. Owner Bill Culvertson added them to the menu when his staff used #10 cans of beans to smash down the burger patties giving them a better crust and taste. Don’t worry, you don’t have to use a #10 can of beans to make these easy smash burgers. 

Smash burgers are all about the Maillard reaction – the cooking process where the high heat, meat, amino acids, natural sugars and fat come together to brown into delicious, concentrated flavor.

Smashing the burgers onto the griddle top creates more surface area for the Maillard reaction to work its magic. The more brown, and more crunch you get on your smash burger, the better it’s going to taste! 

We hope you love this delicious classic American recipe as much as we do!

Check out my web story about these easy Smash burgers!

Smashed cheese burger in a bun on a metal plate

How To Make Smashburgers

To make this recipe, you’ll need:

Ingredients 

  • Ground beef – Use 80/20 ground beef. That number indicates the meat-to-fat ratio of that particular blend of ground beef. The first number is the percentage of beef, the second number is the percentage of fat included in the blend. 80/20 ground beef is the classic burger blend, because it includes enough fat to provide rich beef flavor and keep your burger moist.
  • Cheese– Use Kraft Deluxe American Cheese. Don’t overthink it, literally nothing melts on a burger better than American cheese. Use it.
  • Salt and pepper – Salt and pepper are indispensable 
  • Butter or Avocado oil – I use a combination of both. Butter provides flavor, and avocado provides a higher smoke point. Together they help keep the griddle non-stick and provide plenty of flavor
  • Buns – Pick your favorite bun. Since these are diner classic hamburgers, I’d go for a classic white bun. 

Condiments –  Condiments like mustard, relish, and ketchup are great ways to bring balance to the rich meat and cheese on your burger. Mayonnaise on the bun can actually help keep the bread from getting soggy, by creating a layer that keeps the melted cheese and fat from the burger from being absorbed into your bun.

One you’ve gathered your ingredients, we will use the following method: 

  • Step 1- Take your meat out of the fridge, and using a food scale portion and roll it into 2.5 oz balls and place on a parchment paper. I make double burgers, so each burger takes two 2.5 oz balls.
  • Step 2 – Bring your griddle to temperature, and add the butter and oil to met. When the butter melts and the oil begins to smoke you are ready to cook.
  • Step 3 – Place your meat balls on the griddle. Remember we are making double burgers, so you’ll need two balls per burger. I try to keep each “pair” of patties close together on the grill for ease of cooking. Once your balls are on the griddle, use your spatula to smash them flat on the cooking surface. Press down hard with you spatula to flatten them. Once all the patties are smashed, season aggressively with salt and pepper.
  • Step 4 – Flip your burgers when the edges of the patties begin to brown. Season again with salt and pepper.
  • Step 5 – When the patties are close to being cooked through, add a piece of cheese to the top of each patty. You can speed up the melting process by using a squeeze bottle to spray a small amount of water onto the grill and then cover with a metal bowl or cover to trap the steam. 
  • Step 6 – When the burgers are done and the cheese is melted remove from the griddle and place on a rack and sheet pan. Serve immediately while hot.
Smashburger in a bun on a metal plate with chips

Tips and Tricks to Perfect Smashburgers and FAQs

Toast your buns. After the grill has come to temperature, but before you cook your burgers, lightly butter the inside of your buns and toast them 35-45 seconds on your griddle, or until they reach your desired level of toast

Push down and away to avoid sticking. To avoid having the burger meat stick to your spatula when you smash them, push down and away on one half and the patty and pull toward the edge of the meat. This will keep the meat from sticking to your spatula.

Smashburgers can’t be too thin. You can’t press down too much! The lacier and thinner the edges of the meat are, the more they will brown and get crunchy. If the patties come apart a bit, don’t worry, the cheese will melt and hold them together. 

Flip when burgers brown. You’ll know when to flip the smash burgers when the lacy edges of the meat start to brown and the center of the patties start to turn from red to brown and fat begins to form drops on the top of the patties. 

Let cheese crisp.  For an extra blast of flavor, let the edges of the melted cheese start to brown and crisp on the griddle before you take off your smashburgers. This extra-bit of crunchy cheese will add an amazing textural and flavor element to the smash burgers. 

Use parchment if needed.  Really worried about the patty sticking to your spatula when you smash it? Place a piece of parchment paper on top of the ball of meat and then smash with the spatula through the paper. 

FAQs

How long does it take to cook these easy smash burgers?

It will only take 3-5 minutes to cook the 2.5 oz, approximately 2-3 minutes per side, until the edges of the meat starts to brown. Actual cooking times will vary depending on the temperature of your grill. 

Do I need a special tool to make smashburgers?

No special tools are needed for these easy smash burgers. Use a spatula and a piece of parchment paper. If you really want extra leverage, use another spatula, wooden spoon, or a bench scraper to press down on the smashing spatula. 
We love using a steaming dome for our blackstone (you can use any lid or cover, or even an upside down pan if you don’t have one) or buy one here.

Can I cook smashburgers in a pan?

You can cook these easy smash burgers on your stove top by using a large cast iron skillet to cook the patties.
Cook them in batches, depending on the size of your cast iron skillet. Remember not to crowd the pan. Leave enough room between the smashed patties to let the steam cook off. The patties won’t brown if you crowd the pan. 

What should I cook smashburgers on?

We prefer making smashburgers on a Blackstone outdoor griddle grill – but the burgers can also be made in a cast iron or heavy pan or using a griddle pan.

When are smashburgers done?

Smashburgers are very thin, so it is easy to tell when your ground beef is fully cooked, unlike regular thicker burgers. Burgers are fully cooked when they are browned well on both sides.
Since the burger is so thin, there isn’t enough space to get a reliable temperature – go off the look of your burger instead of the temperature (which will be above the FDA recommended temperature of 145 degrees) for these burgers.

How long does it take to grill smashburgers?

Smashburgers cook incredibly fast since they are so thin – only about 3-4 minutes per side, and less than a minute to melt cheese – around 7-9 minutes total, depending on your griddle and how thin you press your burgers.

Do I need to weigh burgers?

Technically you can skip weighing burgers – but we found it really helps to keep your burgers at an even cooking time, and gives the absolute best results for thin burgers at home without any burger press or special equipment.

Smashburger in a bun on a metal plate

What to Serve With Smashburgers

Classic diner burgers like these easy smash burgers call for classic diner sides. I would recommend french fries to complete this perfect summer meal. 

Try my Best Easy Air Fryer french fries. They’re fast, and the airfryer won’t heat up your house in the summer.

Don’t have an airfyer? Don’t worry, flash-fry home made french fries are delicious.

If you looking for something a little more fresh and healthy to go with your burger try coleslaw like my Best Easy Coleslaw that has just four ingredients.

Potato Salad is another great accompaniment to the easy smash burgers.

You can also check out some of our favorite cookout and BBQ sides:

Smashburger in a bun on a metal plate

The Best Easy Smashburgers Recipe

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griddled cheeseburger on a plate with chips

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smashburger in a bun with mustard, cheese, and ketchup
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Best Easy Smash Burgers

Delicious easy smash burgers are a great way to enjoy a burger in rain or shine!
Course Burgers & Sandwiches
Cuisine American
Keyword burger, griddle burger, smashburger, thin burger
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 6
Calories 520kcal
Author Courtney O’Dell

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs ground beef
  • 12 slices American cheese
  • 6 hamburger buns
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • ¼ tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons butter for grilling

Instructions

  • Form the ground beef into 12 round even balls.
  • Bring your griddle to medium high. Add the butter and oil. When the butter melts and the oil begins to smoke you are ready to cook.
  • Place your meat on the griddle, use your spatula to smash them hard to flatten on the cooking surface. 
  • Season aggressively with salt and pepper.
  • Flip your burgers when the edges of the patties begin to brown.  Season again with salt and pepper.
  • When the patties are close to being cooked through, add a piece of cheese to the top of each patty. 
  • When the burgers are done and the cheese is melted remove from the griddle.
  • Add two patties to each bun and enjoy.

Notes

You can speed up the cheese melting process by using a squeeze bottle to spray a small amount of water onto the grill and then cover with a metal bowl or cover to trap the steam. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1burger | Calories: 520kcal | Carbohydrates: 27g | Protein: 52g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 15g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 120mg | Sodium: 750mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 5g

About Courtney

Courtney loves to share great wine, good food, and loves to explore far flung places- all while masting an everyday elegant and easy style. Courtney writes the popular creative lifestyle blog Sweet C’s Designs- a site devoted to delicious everyday recipes, home decor, crafts, DIY inspiration, and photography tips to help make your every day extraordinary.

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