When the craving for a cheeseburger hits, there’s not much that can be done to satisfy it except devouring a stack of beefy, cheese-topped hamburger patties layered on a sesame seed bun with crunchy lettuce and onions, juicy tomatoes, pickles, smoky bacon, and just enough special sauce to hold it together. This cheeseburger salad has everything you love about your favorite comfort food, but with a few smart and delicious twists that make it one of the best salads ever.
Do you make cheeseburger salad on the grill?
Nope! There’s no grill required for this fresh take on cheeseburgers. This recipe uses the “smash” method to cook the burgers in a hot cast-iron skillet by using a spatula to “smash” them flat against the surface of the pan. This makes them super crispy on the edges and helps them cook quickly.
What’s in cheeseburger salad?
Everything you love about a cheeseburger, but with more toppings and a little less bun. But don’t worry, we’ve turned the sesame seed bun into buttery croutons! Paired with the cheese-topped mini smash burgers, thinly sliced onions, ripe tomatoes, pickles, bacon, and a drizzle of Thousand Island dressing, this salad has it all.
Can you make your own dressing for cheeseburger salad?
Absolutely! Store-bought Thousand Island dressing is a great short cut, but you can totally whip up your own “special sauce.” Special sauce is as simple as this: In a small bowl, stir together 2/3 cup of mayonnaise with 1/4 cup ketchup, 2 tablespoons mustard, 2 tablespoons pickle juice, and 1/2 teaspoon each smoked paprika, garlic powder, and onion powder until smooth. Thin with a little water or extra pickle juice, to make it drizzle-able like a dressing.
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ground black pepper
slices yellow American cheese
sesame seed buns, cut into 1-inch cubes
hearts of romaine lettuce
dill pickle slices plus 1/4 cup pickle juice (from jar)
cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
small red onion, thinly sliced into rings
slices cooked bacon, crumbled
Thousand Island dressing, to serve
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- Preheat oven to 350°. Stir together the beef, Worcestershire sauce, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and pepper in a large bowl until combined. Roll the meat into 12 equal balls, about 2 ounce each. Cut a three-inch square of parchment paper, and set aside.
- Add vegetable oil to a large cast-iron skillet; heat over medium-high heat until shimmering. Space four meatballs evenly apart in the hot skillet. Working with one meatball at a time, top with the parchment paper square and press down firmly with a spatula to smash each meatball into a 1/2-inch thick patty. (Peel off the parchment paper and move on to the next ball.) Let the patties cook, without disturbing, until the bottoms are browned, about 2 minutes. Flip patties and let cook until the other sides are browned, about 2 minutes more. Transfer cooked patties to a rimmed baking sheet. Repeat with remaining meatballs. Cut each cheese slice into 4 squares; top cooked patties with cheese.
- Toss cubed buns in a medium bowl with melted butter, and place on another rimmed baking sheet. Bake until toasted, about 10 minutes, adding cheese-topped burger patties to the oven in the last 5 minutes of cooking to melt the cheese.
- Meanwhile, thinly slice one heart of romaine lettuce to make fine shreds, then roughly chop the other two. Place all the lettuce in a large bowl, along with the pickles, tomatoes, and red onion. Drizzle with the pickle juice and sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt; toss to coat.
- Just before serving, top the salad with the burger patties, croutons, and crumbled bacon. Drizzle with Thousand Island dressing, if you like.
Try any ground meat you like for these smash burger patties, such as ground sirloin, or even ground bison or lamb.
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