Prep Time:  35 minutes | Cook: 5 minutes

This diner-style burger is the best burger you will ever make at home. It is crispy around the edges and just the right size to layer on a bun or Homemade with loads of condiments. You can even stack two if you’re really hungry. The beef is seasoned and then formed into a ball and chilled. Once the skillet is searing-hot, the chilled balls go into the pan and are flattened out with a big flat metal spatula (or a 10-inch cast-iron skillet, if you have one). It’s important to keep pressing down on the burger as it cooks to keep it flattened out and to create the crispy diner-style edges. After a couple of minutes, turn the burger, top with cheese, and let it cook on the other side. Perfection! Thanks to Meathead Goldwyn for introducing me to this method, and thanks to my family for asking me to make burgers so I could perfect them.


  • 1-1/2 pounds ground beef chuck or 80% lean ground beef
  • 1 teaspoon seasoning salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 6 burger buns or Homemade
  • English Muffins, split in half
  • 6 slices mild cheese (such as mild Cheddar or a melty-type American)
  • Condiments of your choice: mustard, mayo, ketchup, pickles, sliced onion, sliced tomato, lettuce, etc.


1. If you want to keep the cooked burgers warm between batches, preheat the oven to 275°F.

2. Put the beef in a mixing bowl and use your hands to gently work in the seasoning salt and pepper until loosely combined. Do not overwork the meat, or this will make tough burgers. Divide the meat into six equal-size loose balls, wrap, and chill while getting everything else prepared.

3. When you’re ready to cook, melt the butter in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Place the buns, cut-side down, in the skillet and griddle until lightly browned, about 30 seconds. Remove and keep warm.

4. Wipe out the skillet with a paper towel. Heat the skillet over medium-high heat until it smokes, 4 to 5 minutes.

5. Unwrap the meat and place three balls of meat in the skillet, spaced about 3 inches apart. Press down on them with a large metal spatula or a 10-inch iron skillet until they are about ⅓ inch thick. Let them cook, undisturbed, until well browned, about 3 minutes. Keep pressing down on the burgers as they cook to get the edges crispy and to flatten them. Flip the burgers to the other side, regulating the heat as needed so the burgers don’t burn. Place a slice of cheese on each burger. After 2 minutes, transfer the burgers to a baking sheet and cover them with a large saucepan lid so the cheese melts. If desired, place the baking sheet in the oven to keep the burgers warm while you make the next batch. Wipe out the skillet and repeat with the remaining three burgers. Serve warm, with your favorite condiments.

NOTE: Instead of cooking in two batches, you can cook the burgers all at once in two skillets.