When it comes to burgers, the idea of a spread of burgers on the grill is about as summer as it gets. But these chicken smash burgers are great any time of year! And you don’t need a grill to make them!
The smash burgers cook quickly and stay really juicy and delicious. Thanks to some heavy smashing, they develop a really awesome crust on the outside. As far as homemade burgers go, they are hard to beat!
What is a Smash Burger?
A smash burger is a specific style of cooking a burger where instead of letting it sit on a grill or griddle, you press it firmly into a hot griddle. This not only cooks the burger very quickly, but gives the burger a signature crust on the exterior of the burger that is very crave-worthy!
Personally, I love smash burgers because they are fast to make and the burgers end up being juicier, in my opinion, than a standard grilled burger.
What chicken works best for smash burgers?
I just use normal ground chicken for my smash burgers and it works great. If you want to go the extra mile though, the best meat would probably be chicken thighs which you would probably have to grind yourself. The chicken thighs have a little more fat in them and will make for a juicier burger.
Like I said though, I just used store-bought ground chicken which works fine since these smashburgers cook so quickly.
How to make a good smash burger
You need a sturdy griddle or cast-iron skillet to make a good smash burger. You want to heat the griddle over medium heat for a few minutes so it’s nicely pre-heated.
Meanwhile, portion out your burgers. Personally, I think 1/4-pound burgers are great for smashburgers. If you use 1/3-pound burgers, it will work, but they will be pretty huge and hang way off the bun unless you are buying really big buns.
Once you have your chicken portioned by weight (you can kind of eyeball it, honesty), season each ball with salt, pepper, and a little granulated garlic. Spray your griddle with nonstick spray and then add your chicken to the griddle.
Using a second sturdy pan with foil on the bottom, press the pan into the smash burger for about 10 seconds until it forms an even, flat disc. Remove the pan and you should be left with a thin burger. Season it again and let it cook for about a minute on that side.
Optionally, you can add some thinly sliced onions to the burgers so when you flip the burgers, the onions are under the burger and will caramelize.
After about 90 seconds of cooking on the first side, you should be able to flip the burger and see a beautiful crust. Cook the burger for another 2 minutes or so on the second side. No need to smash it again!
If you are worried about your burger cooking through, you can use an instant-read thermometer to check the internal temperature (should be at least 165˚F). In the last 30 seconds of cooking, add a slice of cheddar to the burgers.
PRO TIP: Place a bowl over the burgers with a drizzle of water and the steam will melt the cheese!
Once your smash burger is done and the cheese is melted, serve it on toasted buns with lettuce and pickles!
Additional ingredients to your smash burgers
When making the chicken smash burgers, I like to add some sliced onions to the burger before I flip it. This is an optional step, but I like the caramelized onion flavors.
Beyond the smash burger itself, you’ll need some good potato buns for these. I also like to add mayonnaise to the bottom bun for each smash burger and some nice crispy lettuce.
While you could top these burgers with almost any standard burger topping, I like a big handful of pickles. The crunch and sour pickle flavor goes really nicely with the lean chicken.
Substitutions and ideas for these burgers
There are loads of varieties you can try out once you get the hang of these chicken smash burgers. Here are a few ideas!
- California Smash Burger: Add sliced tomato and ripe avocado to the burger.
- Lettuce Smash Burger: For a low-carb option, wrap the chicken patties in butter lettuce instead of a normal hamburger bun.
- Spice it up! Season the ground chicken with your favorite spices before smashing it including cumin, paprika, or even cayenne pepper.
- Add more fat! Chicken is very lean and you can add a little additional fat to the burgers by mixing some butter into the ground chicken.
- Change up the cheese! Try pepper jack cheese, aged cheddar, or even smoked gouda!
My Ultimate Chicken Smash Burger Recipe
These delicious chicken smash burgers are a fun twist on the classic smash burger. I add lots of caramelized onions and cheddar to my version!
1 pound ground chicken
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
1/2 white onion, sliced thin
4 slices cheddar cheese
4 potato buns
- Divide ground chicken into four even balls and season with salt, pepper, and garlic.
- Heat a large griddle or cast-iron skillet over medium heat until it’s hot. Spray with nonstick spray.
- Place burgers on griddle and press with something heavy and sturdy. A smaller cast iron skillet with foil on the bottom works well for this. Press each burger for 10 seconds.
- Add sliced onions (optional) to the top of the burgers. Cook for 90 seconds.
- Flip burgers and cook for another 2 minutes. Then add cheese. Place a bowl over the burgers with a little water to create steam.
- When burgers are done, serve on toasted buns with mayonnaise, lettuce, and pickles.