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The best smash burgers

The best smash burgers

Martha Collison's recipe gives your patties a deep caramelised flavour that will make your burgers the best in town.

4 out of 5 stars(2) Rate this recipe
  • Serves4
  • CourseMain meal
  • Prepare30 mins
  • Cook1 hr 10 mins
  • Total time1 hr 40 mins

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For the caramelised onions

  • 25g butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 large onions, sliced into thin rounds
  • ½ tsp sea salt flakes

For the burger sauce

  • 50g mayonnaise
  • 2 tsp tomato ketchup
  • ½ tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp pickle brine (from a jar of pickles)
  • ½ x 20g pack dill, finely chopped

For the burgers

  • 500g pack British Beef Mince From Native Breeds 12% Fat
  • 2 tsp sea salt flakes
  • 1 tsp Cooks’ Ingredients Coarse Black Pepper
  • 1 tsp Cooks’ Ingredients Garlic Granules
  • 8 Essential Cheese Slices
  • 8 rasher/s streaky smoked bacon, to serve
  • 4 brioche burger buns, to serve
  • ½ Essential Curly Lettuce, to serve
  • 1 tomato, sliced, to serve
  • 8 slice/s Waitrose Pickled Gherkins


  1. Start by making the caramelised onions. Heat the butter and oil in a large frying pan over a low-medium heat. Add the onions to the pan (don’t worry if they overlap), sprinkle with the salt and cook on a low heat for 45-50 minutes, stirring occasionally to avoid them sticking or burning. They will reduce and turn sticky and soft. Add 1 tbsp water in the final 5 minutes and use a spoon to scrape the bottom of the pan, releasing the flavour. Set aside.

  2. To make the burger sauce, combine all the ingredients together in a small bowl, then stir until smooth.

  3. Divide the beef mince into 8 portions, then roll into balls. Combine the salt, pepper and garlic granules in a small ramekin, then roll each ball of mince in the seasoning until lightly coated. Remove to a plate until ready to cook.

  4. Place a heavy-bottomed, wide and ideally shallow frying pan (or flat griddle pan) on the hob over a high heat (the pan should be intensely hot). Unwrap the cheese slices and place within easy reach. Find a heavy saucepan (ideally a cast-iron dish) with a base of similar size to your frying pan and prepare a sheet of baking parchment.

  5. Preheat the oven to 150ºC, gas mark 2. When the frying pan is hot, add 2-4 balls of meat into the pan, spacing evenly apart. They should sizzle on impact. Immediately cover loosely with the baking parchment, then place the heavy saucepan on top and press down as firmly as you can to squash the meat into thin patties. Peel off the parchment – the patties should be less than 1cm thick and look lacy in places.

  6. Cook for 2-3 minutes, then flip over. Add the cheese slice to the top of each patty to melt, then cook for 1 minute more until the burger is cooked through, the juices run clear and no pink meat remains. Remove from the pan and keep warm in the oven on a baking sheet while you repeat the process, wiping out the pan with kitchen paper between batches.

  7. Once all the burgers are cooked, wipe out the pan with kitchen paper, then lower the heat to medium. Fry the bacon until crisp, then remove from the pan and wipe away any excess fat.

  8. Slice the brioche buns in ½ and lay the cut-sides down into the pan, until gently toasted. Spread the burger sauce onto the base of each bun, then top with lettuce and tomato. Add 2 smash burgers and top with a generous spoonful of caramelised onions, then the bacon and pickles, before finishing with the top of the bun. Serve immediately, with sides of your choice.

Cook’s tip

Why smash?
Smashing a burger increases the surface area of meat in contact with the heat, so more caramelisation can occur, which results in a deep umami flavour across the burger. In scientific terms, this is called the Maillard reaction, where heat transforms the proteins and sugars in food to create new, more complex flavours. More surface area, means more Maillard reaction, means more flavour!

The cheese
I consider myself a cheese connoisseur, so the idea of using a processed cheese slice for a recipe feels like sacrilege, but sometimes you cannot mess with a classic! You can use your choice of cheese, but nothing will melt, bind and deliver that typical flavour.

Make ahead
I recommend making the caramelised onions in advance, if you don’t want to be juggling too many components on the day. They will keep in the fridge for up to 4 days – simply reheat gently before serving.

To barbecue
As these burgers are so thin and require smashing onto a flat solid surface, they can’t be traditionally barbecued. Instead, cook them in a preheated cast-iron griddle pan or ovenproof frying pan onto the barbecue.


Typical values per serving when made using specific products in recipe


2,986kJ/ 716kcals



Saturated Fat












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