Smash Burger

Smash burgers are a popular meal in our house. They’re easy to make, cook up in no time, and most important, they remind me of the classic diner burgers of my youth. I will go out of my way for a good griddled burger no matter where I am. Fortunately, I can make them quite easily on my backyard grill with just a few tools. Thin patties, seasoned simply with just salt and pepper, cooked over onion until the perfect lightly crunchy edges are obtained. Served on toasted buns with traditional toppings, such as pickles, tomato, lettuce. A little ketchup, sure. Maybe a little mustard. And even a little mayonnaise. Whatever you prefer, no matter what you add, you’ll enjoy a great burger.

Smash Burger

The Right Tools For The Job

Here’s the equipment I use. You can get by using two cast iron skillets. Use a larger skillet for cooking the burgers, and a smaller one to smash the burgers and keep them flat. Since I’m a cooking gadget collector, I prefer to use a few more tools.

A Griddle

First, a griddle. You can buy griddles that sit on top of your grill grates or ones that replace them. Just about every grill I have has a griddle on it. I use them for a lot of things, not just smash burgers. You want one that can be placed over the hottest part of your grill so it gets screaming hot.

A Burger Press

Next, you need a burger press. You can use a heavy cast iron skillet, like I mentioned. Or get a burger press. For easy cleanup I wrap mine in foil first. When I’m done, just peel off the foil and toss. Super easy. Get a press that’s at least big enough to cover two burgers. You only smash one at a time, but if you want to keep them flat, you want to rest the press on top so bigger (and heavier) is better. Plus I’ve found that a bigger, heavier press tends to stay on the burgers whereas a smaller, lighter one is hard to keep centered on the burgers, specially if you have a bunch of them cooking at once.

A Dome (Sorta)

Next up, a dome. While not 100% required, it does speed the time it takes to melt the cheese and it does it in a nice even fashion. In my opinion you don’t really need one if you’re using a super melty cheese, such as American, but for thicker slices like say a deli pepper jack, you want the cheese to melt before you over-cook the burger and that’s where a dome comes in handy.

The Clean-Up

Lastly, you need something to clean your griddle. I like to clean mine when I’m done cooking, but you can do it at the start instead. I use one of these pad holders with a griddle cleaning pad. Then I add a bit of water to my griddle then use the pad (connected to the holder) to scrub off any big chunks and get up some of the grease. I don’t go crazy with it, I always heat the heck out of my griddle before cooking, but I get the worst. The long arm on the pad holder makes it perfect for scrubbing a hot griddle, too.

Also try my Cowboy Big Mac Smash burgers.

Smash Burger
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5 from 1 vote

Smash Burger

Smash burgers are a popular meal in our house. They're easy to make, cook up in no time, and most important, they remind me of the classic diner burgers of my youth.
Course Main
Cuisine American
Keyword burgers
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 1986kcal


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • kosher salt to taste
  • ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 onion sliced thin, optional
  • 4 slices American cheese
  • 4 hamburger buns
  • additional toppings dill pickle slices, ketchup, etc, optional


  • Fire up your grill for high heat. Place a griddle or a large cast iron pan over the highest heat.
  • Season the ground beef and form into four 4 ounce balls (not patties!).
  • Place on the onion slices on the griddle and divide into four equal piles. You want the piles to be about the size of your buns.
  • Place the balls of beef on top of the onion piles and let cook for one minute. Just let them cook, don't mess with them.
  • Take your press and flatten out the patties. I like to use the point of the press and work my way around the ball first, doing a little section at a time and then finally I press down on the entire patty to flatten it out. You can also just flatten out the ball all at once. At this point I also like to season the patties some more.
  • Let the patties cook until you start to notice a little char along the edges. Flip, season again if desired, and continue cooking another minute or so until the other side is charred. The burgers are thin so they will cook very quickly so watch out.
  • Add the cheese slices. If desired, cover in a dome to help the cheese melt.
  • Toast the buns. Remove, add the patties and serve with desired toppings. Devour immediately.


Calories: 1986kcal | Carbohydrates: 100g | Protein: 111g | Fat: 124g | Saturated Fat: 52g | Trans Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 406mg | Sodium: 2572mg | Potassium: 1715mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 18g | Vitamin A: 798IU | Vitamin C: 10mg | Calcium: 1282mg | Iron: 15mg

Nutritional values are approximate.