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Whatever your reasons for doing so, it’s quick, easy, and satisfying to make the Shake Shack burger recipe at home. Here’s how to get it done in about 20 minutes.

shake shack burger recipe
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Why this recipe works

I’d been a big Shake Shack fan since the early days of New York’s original Madison Square Park location. Over the years, I’d been pretty jazzed as each new location opened in our orbit. Downtown NYC. JFK Terminal 4. A newly revamped Garden State Parkway rest stop just south of where we live.

I miss those uncomplicated-feeling times. But I’m also glad to have been a big enough fan to have years of experience making these burgers at home.

This recipe:

  • Starts with great-tasting, good-quality beef
  • Teaches you how to season, smash, and sear it for a crispy, browned exterior
  • Nails the sauce, toppings, and skillet-toasted buns
  • Is ready in less time than it takes to drive to the restaurant or order takeout

I first published this recipe here in 2019, gently improved from the recipe in Shake Shack’s cookbook. I’ve since updated the post for clarity, but the recipe remains the same.

What you’ll need

Here’s a glance at the ingredients you’ll need to make this recipe.

For the burgers

shackburger ingredients
  • I apply the same sourcing standards to these burgers as I do to all meat. Start with great-tasting, good-quality ground beef. For me that means 100% grass-fed and grass-finished meat, typically 85% lean, 15% fat. In the Shake Shack cookbook, Pat LaFrieda recommends 25% brisket, 75% chuck for a lighter blend or 20% short rib, 80% chuck for a richer blend, ground at home. They do not divulge their actual mix.
  • For the buns, the company uses Martin’s potato rolls. I no longer do. You can buy any good-quality soft hamburger buns or level it up and make your own potato buns with my favorite recipe.
  • For the toppings, use your favorite American cheese, sliced plum tomato, and a crunchy leaf lettuce.
  • Use a really good-quality butter if you can. Here and virtually everywhere, I start with a cultured, salted butter from grass-fed cows. This sounds fancy but doesn’t have to be. Kerrygold, for example, is sold in most supermarkets at a reasonable price.

For the sauce

The exact formula for Shake Shack’s burger sauce is a closely held secret. By their own admission, even the recipe in their cookbook isn’t the exact one they use in the restaurants. I found the published version a little lackluster, so the recipe you’ll see below hews to all their specific suggestions but with slightly amped up flavor.

shake shack burger sauce ingredients
  • The base of the sauce is Hellman’s mayo.
  • You’ll stir in some Heinz ketchup and a good dijon.
  • A little bit of pickle brine works magic. You can use brine from dill pickles or full-sour ones.
  • For the seasonings, all you need is a bit of salt, pepper, and ground cayenne.

My favorite sources for meat & pantry staples

For years, I’ve been sourcing our meat from ButcherBox. We love this curated meat delivery service, which provides grass-finished beef, heritage breed pork, organic chicken, and more from small farms direct to the customer. You can learn more in my extensive Butcher Box review and unboxing.

I love Thrive Market for a wide variety of products. Often described as one part Whole Foods, one part Costco, they’re a membership-based online market for healthier products at discounted prices. Plus, they’re mission-driven, engaged in the community, and not currently owned by a giant corporation. You can learn more in my Thrive Market review and unboxing.

How to make it

Here’s an overview of what you’ll do to make the Shake Shack burger recipe at home. You can see the steps in action in the video that accompanies this post, and get all the details in the recipe card below.

step by step
  1. Make the sauce by mixing the ingredients in a small bowl.
  2. Shape the beef into pucks and generously salt and pepper both sides.
  3. Spread the butter on the buns and toast them on the skillet until golden brown.
  4. Cook and assemble the burgers. That’s it!

Expert tips and FAQs

Here are the pro-level tips to making the Shake Shack burger recipe at home. The genius of these burgers lies in their restrained simplicity, and in a few basic methods that make all the difference.

Cast iron skillet

Use a seasoned cast iron skillet to set yourself up for success getting that crisp, browned patty that’s signature Shake Shack.

Cold beef

Keep your ground beef in the refrigerator until you’re ready to cook it. This helps the meat behave well while you smash it from puck shapes into thin patties on the skillet.

Generous seasoning

Sprinkling the meat generously with salt and pepper just before searing makes it flavorful throughout.

The smash

Using a metal spatula to quickly smash the burgers from hockey puck shapes to thin patties on the skillet gives them the surface area they need to get browned to perfection while cooking through quickly and easily.

Restraint while cooking

It won’t be easy, but it’s critical to totally ignore your burger patties for a few minutes after smashing them on the skillet. This is the key to that gorgeous brown crust.

What should I serve it with?

How about some fries, and, if you like, a donation.

Can I make this recipe in advance? What about leftovers?

The Shake Shack burger recipe is quick and easy to make. These burgers are really at their best right after cooking, so I don’t recommend making them in advance. You can make the sauce up to a week in advance and keep it in an airtight container in the fridge.

I doubt you’ll have leftovers, but if you do, patties can be stored, tightly wrapped, in the fridge for a week. Toast buns and assemble burgers right before serving, even the second time around.

More favorite sandwiches

two homemade shake shack burgers

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two homemade shake shack burgers
4.68 from 52 votes

Shake Shack Burger Recipe

By Carolyn Gratzer Cope
Whatever your reasons for doing so, it's quick, easy, and satisfying to make the Shake Shack burger recipe at home. Here's how to get it done in about 20 minutes.
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Total: 20 minutes
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Ingredients 

For the sauce

  • ¼ cup (52 grams) Hellman’s mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon (15 grams) dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon (17 grams) Heinz ketchup
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) brine from dill or full-sour pickles
  • teaspoon ground cayenne
  • teaspoon fine sea salt

For the burgers

  • 4 soft burger buns
  • 2 tablespoons (28 grams) salted butter, softened
  • 1 pound (454 grams) cold grass-fed ground beef (straight from the fridge)
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 thick slices, (80 grams) American cheese
  • 8 slices ripe plum tomato
  • 4 pieces green leaf lettuce

Instructions 

  • To make the sauce, stir together the mayo, mustard, ketchup, pickle brine, cayenne, and salt in a small bowl until well combined.
  • Heat a cast-iron skillet over medium heat for two minutes.
  • Open the hamburger buns and spread each inside face with some of the softened butter.
  • Place buns buttered side down (probably in two batches, depending on your skillet) and toast for a couple of minutes, until light golden brown on the underside.
  • Place buns on serving plates.
  • Raise heat to medium-high.
  • Divide beef into four hockey pucks and sprinkle both sides generously with salt and pepper.
  • Place pucks onto skillet and use a sturdy metal spatula to firmly smash each puck into a patty that's about 1/3-inch thick. After this, absolutely ignore the burgers for about three minutes, until the undersides are brown and crisp at the edges and the juices on the surface are hot and bubbly.
  • Scrape up each patty and any brown bits with the spatula and flip it.
  • Cook one to two minutes more.
  • Place a slice of cheese on top of each burger at the very end of cooking to melt just enough.
  • Transfer patties to buns.
  • Layer each burger with two tomato slices and a piece of lettuce.
  • Spoon 1/4 of the sauce onto each top bun half. Serve immediately.

Step-by-step video

Notes

  1. Start with great-tasting, good-quality ground beef. For me that means 100% grass-fed and grass-finished meat, typically 85% lean, 15% fat. In the Shake Shack cookbook, Pat LaFrieda recommends 25% brisket, 75% chuck for a lighter blend or 20% short rib, 80% chuck for a richer blend, ground at home. They do not divulge their actual mix.
  2. For the buns, the company uses Martin's potato rolls. I no longer do. You can buy any good-quality soft hamburger buns or level it up and make your own potato buns with my favorite recipe.
  3. These burgers are quick and easy to make and are really at their best right after cooking, so I don't recommend making them in advance. You can make the sauce up to a week in advance and keep it in an airtight container in the fridge.
  4. I doubt you'll have leftovers, but if you do, patties can be stored, tightly wrapped, in the fridge for a week. Toast buns and assemble burgers right before serving, even the second time around.
  5. Gently adapted and improved from the Shake Shack cookbook.

Nutrition

Serving: 1burger, Calories: 557kcal, Carbohydrates: 27.7g, Protein: 30.5g, Saturated Fat: 35.3g, Fiber: 1.5g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Burgers
Cuisine: American
Tried this recipe?Mention @umamigirl or tag #umamigirl!

Hungry for more?

Subscribe to Umami Girl’s email updates, and follow along on Instagram.

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About Carolyn Gratzer Cope

Hi there, I'm Carolyn Gratzer Cope, founder and publisher of Umami Girl. Join me in savoring life, one recipe at a time. I'm a professional recipe developer with training from the French Culinary Institute (now ICE) and a lifetime of studying, appreciating, and sharing food.

4.68 from 52 votes (52 ratings without comment)

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3 Comments

  1. I made this last night and it was quite delicious. Sauce was outstanding. I haven’t been to a ShakeShack yet, but one is coming to my town this coming November.