Smash Burger – Budget Bytes Fitnessnacks



Overhead shot of three Smash Burgers tucked into a tray with fries nestled around them.Side shot of a Smash Burger with a toothpick in the bun.

If you love a meaty, juicy burger patty with loads of crispy edges and tons of smoky crooks and crannies for your favorite sauce or cheese to sink into, this Smash Burger recipe is for you! Will you be left with a greasy stovetop? Undoubtedly. Will your smoke alarm holler? Probably. Will it be worth it? A million times YES. Plus, you get four burgers for what you’d pay for just one at a restaurant. Oh haiiiii, Budget-Friendly Smash Burger! Let’s be best friends.

Side shot of a Smash Burger with a toothpick in the bun.

What is a Smash Burger?

Unlike traditional burger patties that are thick and round, a Smash Burger has a thin patty with crispy, charred edges packed with smoky flavor. You make a smash burger by smashing a ball of ground beef onto an ungreased, hot, flat surface.

Ingredients for The Best Smash Burger

Smash Burgers are easy (though a bit messy) to make, ridiculously delicious, and perfect for a weekend get-together. Here’s what you’ll need to make a Smash Burger:

Ground Beef- Don’t use lean ground beef. You need fat for a smashed patty to be flavorful and juicy. Instead, use 80/20 ground beef, which means the beef is 80% meat and 20% fat. If you want to make your burger patties with ground turkey or ground chicken the same rule applies.

Butter- Adding frozen butter to the beef mix helps give you juicy results with deep, meaty flavors while also delivering smoky, crispy edges. To add even more depth to your burger, you should butter your buns before toasting them.

Seasoning – We use our Homemade Burger Seasoning, but you can also season this burger with a teaspoon of salt and a quarter teaspoon of black pepper. For a little more kick, try using a teaspoon of your favorite spicy blend, like our Homemade Cajun Seasoning.

Buns- What’s a burger without a fabulous bun? I prefer potato buns, but classic white, pretzel, brioche, or sesame buns are great choices too. You can also wrap your patty in a big, juicy lettuce leaf!

Toppings – If you want to make a cheeseburger, I recommend American cheese, which melts beautifully. We went super-classic with lettuce, red onion, and slices of tomato for our toppings, and skipped sauces that would overpower the flavor of our patty. But you do you. Other toppings that work fabulously are slices of avocado and crispy bacon topped with a fried egg. Or smother your patty with sautéed mushrooms and onions and smoky chipotle peppers.

Overhead shot of three Smash Burgers tucked into a tray with fries nestled around them.

  1. Chill your beef. Cold burgers have solidified fat. That means more fat stays in the patty as it cooks, producing a crispy brown exterior with a juicy interior.
  2. Salt your burgers when you’re ready to cook them. Salt denatures the proteins in ground beef very quickly, and it only takes minutes to transform the patty into a dry, rubbery, meatloaf-like texture.
  3. Use a cast iron or heavy-bottomed stainless steel pan which holds heat when a cold patty hits it. Do not use a non-stick pan; you should never heat non-stick to high temperatures.
  4. Use the biggest, heaviest spatula you have to smash your burger. If you need more leverage, place a tall, thick, heavy glass lip-side down on the spatula and place your palm on its bottom to smash down even more.
  5. To ensure your burgers are cooked evenly, use a meat thermometer to check for doneness. The internal temperature of a cooked burger should be 160°F.

What To Serve With Smash Burgers

We paired our Smash Burgers with our Oven Baked Steak Fries and they were absolutely AMAZING. You can also try our super crispy Garlic Parmesan Oven Fries. Other great options are our Easy Creamy Coleslaw or our Summer Vegetable Pasta Salad.

How To Store Smash Burgers

You can store cooked patties in an airtight container for up to 4 days. Then, reheat the patties in a preheated pan until steaming hot. Avoid using a microwave, which will leave you with rubbery results. If you’d rather freeze the burgers, don’t cook the patties. Instead, freeze the buttered, unseasoned ball-shaped portions wrapped in plastic or wax paper in an airtight container. Take them out of the freezer the day before you want to prepare them and thaw them overnight in your fridge.

Side shot of a Smash Burger with a toothpick in the bun with a second Smash Burger in the background.

Overhead shot of three Smash Burgers tucked into a tray with fries nestled around them.Side shot of a Smash Burger with a toothpick in the bun.

Smash Burger

If you love a meaty, juicy burger patty with loads of crispy edges and tons of smoky crooks and crannies for your favorite sauce or cheese to sink into, this Smash Burger recipe is for you!

Author: Monti – Budget Bytes

Side shot of a Smash Burger with a toothpick in the bun and french fries in the background.

  • 1 lb ground beef ($6.99)
  • 4 Tbsp frozen salted butter, divided ($0.56)
  • 3 tsp Homemade Burger Seasoning ($0.33)
  • 4 burger buns ($2.99)
  • 4 leaves iceberg lettuce ($0.37)
  • 1 tomato, sliced into thin rounds ($0.45)
  • 1/4 small red onion, sliced into thin rounds ($0.16)
  • Separate the ground beef into four equal portions.

  • Grate 1/2 tablespoon of frozen butter onto each portion. Wrap the meat around the butter and shape it into a ball. Chill the beef until you are ready to cook. Place an ungreased cast iron skillet over high heat. Turn on your exhaust fan. Open a window.

  • When the skillet is smoking hot, sprinkle a 3/4 teaspoon of burger seasoning all over the beef ball, then place it in the pan.

  • Smash down with a spatula and keep the spatula on the burger as it cooks. When you see the top of the patty change color (about 2 minutes), carefully work the spatula under the patty. Take your time with this step, as the patty will be stuck to the pan.

  • When you have loosened the patty, flip it and smash it again. Cook for 2 minutes more, remove the patty from the pan, and rest it on a cooling rack. Wipe the pan down with a paper towel and cook the remaining patties.

  • While the patties rest, place a rack in the top third of your oven and put it on broil. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and brush it onto the inside of the buns. Place them buttered side up on a sheet pan and toast in the oven for a few minutes until golden.

  • Assemble the burgers. Place the burger on the bottom bun and top with onion rounds, tomato slices, and lettuce. Add the top bun and enjoy the crispiest, smokiest, burger ever!

See how we calculate recipe costs here.

cast iron skillet

Serving: 1burgerCalories: 516kcalCarbohydrates: 23gProtein: 24gFat: 36gSodium: 453mgFiber: 1g

Read our full nutrition disclaimer here.

Side view of Smash Burger being held by two hands.

How to Make Smash Burgers – Step by Step Photos

Overhead shot of one pound of ground beef separated into quarters.

Separate 1 pound of ground beef into four equal portions.

Overhead shot of frozen, grated butter being tucked into a ball of beef.

Grate 1/2 tablespoon of frozen butter onto each portion. Wrap the meat around the butter and shape it into a ball. Chill the balls of beef until you are ready to cook. When it’s go time, place an ungreased cast iron skillet over high heat. Turn on your exhaust fan. Open a window.

Overhead shot of ball of beef in a black cast iron pan.

When the skillet is smoking hot, sprinkle a 3/4 teaspoon of our Homemade Burger Seasoning all over the beef ball, then place it in the pan.

Overhead shot of raw Smashed Burger patty in a black cast iron pan being smashed by a silver spatula.

Smash down with a spatula to create an even patty about 1/4 to a 1/2 inch thick. When you see the top of the patty change color (about 2 minutes), gently slide the spatula back and forth to take it off the top of the patty. Then, carefully work the spatula under the patty. Take your time with this step, as the patty will be stuck to the pan.

Overhead shot of cooked Smashed Burger patty in a black cast iron pan.

When you have loosened the patty, flip it and smash it again. If you want to make a cheeseburger, top the patty with a slice of cheese. Cook for 2 minutes more, remove the patty from the pan, and rest it on a cooling rack. Wipe the pan down with a paper towel and cook the remaining patties.

Overhead shot of melted butter being brushed onto a bun in a sheet pan with other buns.

While the patties rest, place a rack in the top third of your oven and put it on broil. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and brush it onto the inside of the buns.

Overhead shot of toasted buttered buns in a sheet pan.

Toast the buns buttered side up in the oven for a few minutes until golden. Assemble your burgers with red onion rounds, slices of tomato, and lettuce. Top the burger with the remaining bun and chow down, my friend!! Don’t forget to say “I cook. You clean.” as you get showered with compliments! #Trust

Overhead shot of three Smash Burgers tucked into a tray with fries nestled around them.

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