It’s Called a Smash Burger, and You Need It

In this series, our Head Chef Elana Karp shares the recipes for dishes she’s dreamed about.

When I was living in France, I experienced some seriously intense cravings for a classic, fast food burger. Nothing remotely resembled it abroad, so my friends and I set out to recreate our favorite fast food order in our tiny Parisian kitchens. We bought steak from the butcher, hand chopped it ourselves, found some “buns,” and spent hours perfecting a special sauce. Now that I’m back in New York, though, I can stroll down the block to grab that burger anytime the craving strikes. That said, it’s much more fun (and delicious) to make these Parisian steak burgers from scratch. So, here’s my recipe for the juiciest smash burger of my dreams: two smashed patties, plenty of melty cheese, and the perfect special sauce, sandwiched between a buttered and toasty potato bun. And let me tell you…it’s so much better than fast food.

8 ounces ground chuck or other burger blend (80/20)
1 tablespoon melted butter
1 potato bun
2 slices American cheese
2 leaves Boston lettuce
1 slice tomato

The Sauce
2 teaspoons ketchup
2 teaspoons mayonnaise
1 teaspoon spicy mustard
1 teaspoon chopped sour pickle

Divide ground beef in half and loosely form each half into a ball.

Brush inside of buns with melted butter (keep bun connected on one side). Place a cast iron pan over medium-high heat and add buns, cut side down. Toast until golden, about 2 minutes.

Heat 1 tablespoon canola oil in pan from buns over medium-high heat. When oil is just smoking, add beef, leaving plenty of space between. Let sear for 30 seconds, then smash down until completely flat. Season generously with salt and pepper. Cook for 2 minutes, then flip, season other side with salt and pepper. Place cheese slices on top of burgers and cover pan. Finish cooking for 1–2 minutes. Transfer to buns, stack one on top of the other, and top with lettuce, tomato, and sauce.


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