Move aside, grill—these cast iron skillet burgers are about to become your go-to recipe. Cooked to perfection, this recipe has all the components of a great burger: a juicy patty, melty cheese, crunchy veg, and a soft, supple bun. With a few simple tricks, there are no domed or overdone patties. Plus, they can be made right inside your kitchen, so burger season never really has to end.
What Makes a Perfect Cast Iron Skillet Burger?
When it comes to a great burger, the basics are best. No frills or over-the-top gimmicks, just well-seasoned beef and fantastic ingredients. This recipe calls exclusively for salt and pepper to season the beef, and that is truly all you need—promise. This allows the rich flavor of beef to shine through and actually keeps the cast iron skillet burgers ultra-tender and moist.
If there’s one takeaway, let it be this: treat your burger patties like you treat your steak. Season liberally with salt and let rest for 15-20 minutes. This draws moisture out of the burger to dissolve the salt, then draws it back into the ground beef for even seasoning. There’s no mixing or over-handling required, which helps the beef maintain a tender texture. Plus, bringing the patties to room temperature makes it much easier to cook them quickly and evenly.
How to Keep Burgers from Doming
We’ve all been there—a burger patty formed to just the right size, only to puff in the center and shrink two sizes too small for the bun. Never again! Here are two simple tips to making sure you have a perfectly sized, flat patty for your cast iron skillet burger.
- Go oversize: When forming your patties, make them about ½-inch wider than the bun. Burgers shrink as their fat renders, and this extra width gives them room to size down without getting too small.
- Make a well: You may have heard that dimpling the patty prevents doming, but for thick burgers like these, a small dimple isn’t quite enough. Gently form the patty into a disk, then make a well that extends from the center to about ½ inch from the edge of the burger patty. The well should be about half the height of your burger. These cast iron skillet burgers are 1 inch thick, so the well should go about ½ inch deep. It may seem excessive, but it gives you the perfect shape every single time.
Dress it Up with Special Sauce
An elevated mayo goes a long way on a burger. Start with a base of mayonnaise, then add something sweet, something tangy, and something spicy for the perfect balance. In this recipe, that means ketchup (sweet), mustard and vinegar (tangy), and hot sauce (spicy). Slather it on a toasted bun, and your cast iron skillet burgers are served.
More Cast Iron Skillet Recipes
Cast Iron Skillet Burgers
- 1 ¼ pounds ground beef*, 80/20
- ½ tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 tomato
- 4 leaves romaine lettuce
- 1 medium yellow onion
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 potato buns
- 8 slices American cheese
- pickles, for serving**
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon hot sauce
- 1 tablespoon ketchup
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 2 teaspoons whole grain mustard
- Pinch kosher salt
- Divide the ground beef into four equal portions weighing 5 ounces each. Make the patties by gently rolling each portion into a ball and setting on a plate or cutting board. Leaving them on the plate or cutting board, press each ball into a disk standing 1 inch tall and 4 ½ to 5 inches in diameter (depending on the size of your buns). The disk should be about ½ inch larger than your bun. Create a well about ½ inch deep in the center of the burger by pressing down on the patty with your fingers, leaving a rim all around the edges. Disperse the kosher salt across each of the four patties, then let rest at room temperature while preparing the toppings and special sauce, ideally 15-20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, prepare the toppings and special sauce. Slice the tomatoes and lay them in a single layer on a paper towel to drain. Prep each romaine leaf, then dice the onion. Finally, make the special sauce by combining the mayonnaise, hot sauce, ketchup, apple cider vinegar, mustard, and salt in a small bowl or jar and whisking to combine.
- Heat a 10- to 12-inch cast iron skillet over medium heat.** Add 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil and swirl the pan to coat, then, working in batches, toast the inside surface of each potato bun until golden. Set the buns aside. To the same pan, add the remaining extra virgin olive oil and the diced onions and saute until softened and browned. Using a spatula, create 3-4 small piles of sauteed onions in each quadrant of the cast iron, depending on the size of your skillet. Add each patty flat side down, rim side up directly covering each pile of onion, then add a few cracks of black pepper. Sear for 1-2 minutes, then flip, replacing any onions that fall off on top of the burger patty. Add two slices of cheese to each patty just after flipping and cook the other side for an additional 1-2 minutes. If needed, cover the skillet until the cheese is melted.
- Assemble the burgers by spreading 1-2 tablespoons of special sauce on the top side of each bun. Add a patty to the bottom half of each bun, then top with a leaf of romaine, a slice of tomato, and a few pickles. Add the top bun and serve immediately.
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