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  • Writer's pictureMatt Felsenfeld

Classic Smash Burger

Updated: Jun 24, 2020


The Basics

  • ¼ lb ground beef, rolled into a ball (we will be using 80/20 beef, meaning 80% lean and 20% fat. This is the ideal ratio for a smash burger)

  • 1 Martin’s potato roll (if you can’t find Martin’s, which is objectively the best potato roll, any brand will do)

  • 1 slice american cheese

  • Canola or vegetable oil

  • Mayo

  • Kosher salt

The Sauce

  • ½ cup mayo

  • ½ cup ketchup

  • ½ tsp smoked paprika

  • ¼ cup cornichons, roughly chopped

  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar

  • Kosher salt, to taste

Optional toppings:

  • 1 leaf green lettuce, fitted to the burger

  • 2 slices roma tomato

  • 1 slice bacon, cut in half

  • 3 bread and butter pickle slices

  • A second patty!

Notes before you begin

  • This recipe is to make 1 burger patty. If you would like to make multiple burgers (and I recommend you do), multiply the recipe for however many you would like. This does not apply to the sauce. That amount of sauce should be good for about 6 burgers.

  • The recipe above is for a very simple cheeseburger with three components: Cheese, beef, and a special sauce. You can (and should) add whatever you want to this. Want to substitute the special sauce for ketchup, mustard, or mayo? Go for it! No cheese? That’s your call. The point of this is to teach the basic technique of making a good smash burger.


  1. Start by making the sauce. Roughly chop up the cornichons, and combine them in a bowl with the mayo, ketchup, paprika, and apple cider vinegar. Mix thoroughly, salt to taste, and set aside.

  2. Roll your beef into a ball. Do not pack it too tightly as this will result in denser burgers. Additionally, smash burgers are meant to have little pieces around the edges which get crispy — a feature that will not appear in a tightly packed burger.

  3. Put a skillet, frying pan, or cast iron over medium-high heat and wait for it to get hot. Spread mayo and each of the buns, place them on the pan, wait for them to get crispy and for the mayo to cook off (30–60 seconds). Remove them from the pan and set aside.

  4. Turn the heat on the pan up to high and drizzle on the oil, and heat until it starts smoking. Generously salt the side of the beef you will place down first, put it in the pan and, with the back of a spatula, smash the burger until it is very thin and about 5–6 inches across. Cook for about 2 minutes until the edges start to become crispy. Salt and flip over. As soon as it is flipped, add your American cheese and let cook for 45–60 seconds. Remove from heat and place on your bottom bun.

  5. Spread sauce on top bun and add whatever you would like to your burger! If you want to do two patties on the burger (a pro move), go for it. I usually add bread and butter pickle slices, green leaf lettuce, some bacon, and roma tomato slices. enjoy!

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