When I cook a burger – and I’ve cooked a lot of burgers – I tend to keep it simple. I season them with salt and pepper, toss them on a hot grill and let them cook for 4-5 minutes per side until they are medium-ish in doneness. Assuming you use decent beef that has 15-20% fat in it, you’ll be in good shape just by doing no harm. This Homemade Smash Burger is an entirely different beast though and is one of my favorite burger methods even during grilling season.

There’s an mid-range burger restaurant that started in Denver, called Smashburger, that now has locations all over the U.S. and they take a slightly different approach to the burger. As their name implies, they literally smash the burger on a super hot grill. It cooks in about two minutes and is one of the better burgers I’ve ever had. The intense heat and pressure sears in the juices from the beef and makes for a really tasty burger.

While the restaurants use an expensive, patented pressing device that no home cook has access to, I figured there was a way to duplicate this crazy method at home.

I was right. It turns out not to be that hard to make Homemade Smash Burgers and it is totally worth the effort.

  • This recipe was updated May 27, 2019 to add new images and spiffy up directions!

Homemade Smash Burger

3.47 from 65 votes
Author: Nick Evans
Servings: 3 Servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
How to make delicious homemade smash burgers that are juicy and perfectly cooked. These copycat Smashburgers are worth the effort!


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 3 large buns
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Sliced red onion
  • Sliced tomato
  • Fresh lettuce
  • Sliced cheddar cheese

Burger Seasoning:

  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon seasoned salt

Special Sauce:

  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons pickle juice
  • 1 tablespoon diced pickle


  • For sauce, dice pickle very fine and stir ingredients together. Store in refrigerator until needed.
  • Portion out three 6-oz. burgers and roll them into loose balls.
  • Heat your large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat for a few minutes until it’s very hot. While it’s heating prepare the second cast iron skillet (smaller) and wrap some foil around the bottom of it.
  • When you’re ready to cook a burger, add some butter to the hot pan and let it melt. Then add a burger ball and press it down hard with the second skillet. Try to press down straight from above so create an even circle. Press down on the burger for 10 long seconds.
  • Remove the top skillet and season the burger with seasoning mix. When the juices start to bubble up from the burger, flip it.
  • If you’re adding cheese, add it after the flip and cover the burger with a metal bowl to steam the cheese.
  • Cook the burger on the second side until the burger reaches 165 degrees F. in the center, about 90 seconds or so.
  • Serve the burger on a toasted bun with lots of sauce, lettuce, tomatoes, and red onion.



Serving: 1Burger | Calories: 719kcal | Carbohydrates: 24g | Protein: 31g | Fat: 55g | Saturated Fat: 19g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 10g | Monounsaturated Fat: 20g | Trans Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 135mg | Sodium: 3678mg | Potassium: 507mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 269IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 109mg | Iron: 5mg
Course: Main Dishes, Sandwiches
Cuisine: American

Did you make this recipe?

Tag @crunchtimekitchen

How to Make Special (Smash) Sauce

One signature thing about Smashburger is they have this special sauce called “Smash Sauce.” Their website gives zero hints as to what is in it so I kind of had to wing it. Basically, I made a mix of mayo, mustard, and relish. I’m not sure if it’s what they actually use, but it tastes close and is really good.

Smash Sauce basics - Smashburger recipe
A guess…

Just dice up the pickle really finely and then stir together the ingredients in a bowl. The pickle juice may sound strange but it’s pretty crucial.

Special Burger Sauce - Smashburger Recipe
Pretty tasty!

Homemade Smash Burger Seasoning

Every burger needs seasoning and this one is no exception. I  mixed together a ratio of kosher salt, fresh ground black pepper, and seasoned salt. This is enough seasoning for 8-10 burgers so you can save it for later.

Seasoning mix - Homemade smash burgers
Seasoning mix.

Also, before we actually start cooking the burgers, get the other toppings ready that you want. You can go crazy here and top this sucker with anything you would throw on your favorite burger.

I kept it simple for this version with just a diced red onion, tomato, and fresh lettuce.

Burger Toppings - Homemade Smash Burgers
Burger toppings!

Making the Smash Burgers

You need to start with a large burger for this to work right. A small burger won’t smash correctly. I like to use 6 ounces of ground beef, but you could even go up to 8 ounces honestly.

Once you have the meat portioned, roll it into a loose ball. You want it to be in a ball, not in a patty when it hits the pan.

6 ounces - Smashburger Recipe
6 ounces is perfect.

Now for the setup. To get the proper smashing you need two heavy skillets. The larger skillet needs to be able to get very hot so cast iron is a good choice. The top skillet just needs to be smaller so you can fit it in the larger skillet. The top skillet won’t actually get hot. In fact, you don’t need to use a skillet, but something flat and round works.

Whatever you use, it’s a good idea to wrap some foil around the bottom of it so the foil is in contact with the burger. This is especially true if you’re using a dirty old cast iron skillet like I used.

Burger setup - Homemade smash burger
The setup.

When you’re ready to cook, get your larger pan very hot. Put it over medium-high heat and let it heat for a few minutes. Then, turn on the vents above your stove because it’s gonna get steamy.

When you’re ready to cook, add a small pad of butter to the pan and spread it out so it melts evenly. Then add your burger ball to the pan and immediately press down on it with the top part. Try to press down straight from above so the pressure on the burger is even, creating a round patty.

Press down for a long 10 seconds. One one thousand. Two one thousand… you get it.

The burger will smoke and hiss and complain, but it’s all good.

Smashed. Homemade Smash Burgers recipe

When the 10 seconds is up, remove the top pan and the foil and immediately season the patty really well with the seasoning blend.

Season well. Homemade Smash Burgers
Season well.

Let the patty continue to cook on this side for 30 seconds or so until the burger starts to brown up around the edges. You’ll also notice that the juices bubble up a bit in the center.

When you flip this guy, take your time. There will be a serious crust on the bottom of the burger and you want to make sure that crust stays attached to the burger. Use a sturdy spatula and really work around the patty to make sure the burger loosens nicely.

If you do it right, it’ll be a thing of beauty.

Nice crust! Homemade Smash Burgers
Nice crust!

The burger only needs to cook for about 90 seconds on the second side since it’s so thin at this point. If you’re using cheese, add the cheese and then I recommend slapping a metal bowl down over the burger which will help melt the cheese faster.

Cheese melting method - Homemade Smash Burgers
Cheese melting method.

Here’s my finished patty which was done about three minutes after I started it.

Perfect homemade smash burgers

Stack this homemade smash burger on a toasted bun with a good smear of the sauce and whatever other toppings you want and you’re in business!

Done deal. All mine. Homemade Smash Burgers
Done deal. All mine.

This post isn’t sponsored by Smashburger or anything. In fact, they might dislike the fact that I just showed you how to make Homemade Smash Burgers, but if you drive by one it’s worth checking out. They make really tasty burgers (and try their fries with rosemary).

But, if you’re feeling frisky and have a large skillet, this is totally a doable way to make a really delicious burger.

Has anybody tried a Smashed burger? Leave a comment!

Here are a few other delicious burger recipes!