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Smash Burger Tacos

Calling all burger and taco fans! Get ready to have your taste buds blown away with these Smash Burger Tacos. Inspired by the iconic irresistible flavors of Smash Burgers — those crisp-edged patties achieved through a unique cooking technique — these tacos level up your taco night to delicious heights. Imagine seasoned ground beef, smashed thin for maximum flavor and texture, nestled in warm tortillas, topped with melted cheese, burger sauce, and your favorite toppings. So grab your spatulas and get ready to experience the burger-taco fusion and change up your easy weeknight dinners.

Close-up of a folded Smash Burger Taco.

I’m always on the lookout for quick and easy — but still fresh and homemade — meals that I can crank out for dinner or a work-from-home lunch.

But Smash Burger Tacos are making a comeback on social media — I completely missed it the first time around lol — but this time I was there for it. Brilliant! Quick-cooking burgers that use just a fraction of the ground beef called for in the typical thick and juicy, grilled patty. So quick, it only takes a total of maybe five minutes to cook the meat and melt the cheese.

Prepping my taco toppings took longer!

And personally, I love that these get served in a taco wrap instead of a bun, so that I have better control over calories and carbs. I also made a homemade burger sauce, because it’s so easy to whisk up: Bang Bang Burger Sauce, which is very similar to regular burger sauce except that it subs sweet chili sauce for pickle relish, for an unexpected kick of flavor.

Let’s get to it!

Ingredients for Smash Burger Tacos spread out on a board.

Ingredients and Substitution Notes

Tortilla Wrap — I’m always amazed at the wall of tortillas at the grocery store these days. There’s a huge number of options, from soft flour to soft corn to flavored to low-carb and gluten-free. I’ll just recommend a taco-sized wrap, and from there, you can pick what suits you best.

For the record, the wraps shown in the photos in this post are actually egg white wraps. They’re quite delicious and surprisingly sturdy. I have to (emphasis on have to) follow a low-carb diet, so these zero-carb, low-calorie wraps make me very happy that I don’t have to give up all of the kinds of foods that I love (just most, wah). Both my local Kroger and Target carry the Egglife brand.

Beef — I highly recommend using a very lean ground beef for these Smash Burger Tacos. The beef is smooshed very thin, and the goal is actually to get crispy edges. So, there’s not a lot of advantage to using a fatty cut of ground beef. Plus, if you’re making more than one at a time, the lack of greasy fat all over the pan makes for cleaner, less drippy tacos. Save the 85/15 for the summer BBQ grill!

Can you substitute ground turkey, chicken, or pork? Technically … yes … but I would take another route to cook the meat because, in all three cases, it has to be cooked through, whereas there’s some leeway with beef.

Cook the turkey, chicken, or pork directly in the pan, without the tortilla, smashing it flat using a wide spatula. Flip the patty after a few minutes and make sure it’s completely cooked through. Then position the tortilla over the top of the patty, press with the spatula to adhere, and flip. Continue with the cheese step in the recipe.

Cheese — Most Smash Burger aficionados would probably say to use American cheese, and while I don’t disagree, I also don’t think there’s a particularly compelling reason to reject other cheeses. In the photos here, I used smoked Gouda because that’s what I had on hand. Swiss or fontina or asiago or extra sharp would all be lovely, too.

Burger Sauce — Away from the blog, I’ve been sort of obsessed with Bang Bang sauce (and especially a Bang Bang Shrimp Salad sold in a little independent grocery store in my neighborhood). And it’s easy to whip up; I use it on a lot of things, including these tacos. It’s just mayo, sweet chili sauce, and ketchup. Plus a little sriracha or gochujang, if you’re feeling sassy.

An overhead shot of Bang Bang Burger Sauce in a white bowl.

The sweet chili sauce takes the place of sweet pickle relish, and does so with a zesty flair. Spicy, but not hot. Absolutely delish.

If you’re not into ketchup-y sauces, try my Fish Taco Sauce. It’s not fish-specific, but rather is creamy and well-seasoned, and goes with everything!

Toppings — The sky’s the limit on toppings. Start with what you’d normally put on a burger, and branch out from there: Lettuce, tomatoes, red onions. Maybe bacon crumbles, caramelized onions, crispy fried onions, pickled jalapeños, dill pickle chips, roasted red peppers, banana peppers. Whatever you might be craving!

A hand holding a Smash Burger Taco.

How to Make Smash Burger Tacos

Here’s the overview for making these tacos. Don’t forget to review the recipe card below for full instructions and ingredient amounts, to ensure you have everything prepped before beginning.

Step 1: Prepare the meat

Set a frying pan over medium heat, and spray with nonstick spray. Press the seasoned ground beef onto the tortilla shell, pushing it out to the edges of the tortilla and evening out the thickness. It should be a very thin layer.

Collage of photos showing Step 1 of the process.
Step 1

Step 2: Cook the burger

Place the taco with the pressed meat side down on the hot pan. Let cook for 3 minutes. Check the meat’s doneness by using a spatula to lift up the edge of the tortilla to inspect the beef. When it’s cooked to your preferred doneness, flip the taco over.

A collage of photos showing Step 2 of the cooking process.
Step 2

Step 3: Melt the cheese

Place the cheese slices on the meat and let melt. If your pan has a lid that fits, a steamy environment will help melt the cheese more quickly.

A collage of photos showing Step 3 of the cooking process.
Step 3

Step 4: Assemble the taco

When the cheese has melted, transfer the taco to a plate and top with your favorite toppings. I love shredded lettuce, chopped cherry tomatoes, a little red onion, and a big schmear of Bang Bang Burger Sauce.

A collage of photos showing Step 4 of the cooking process.
Step 4

Fold it up and enjoy! I particularly love this recipe because it’s so fast with little prep involved. It’s the perfect work-from-home lunch.

The crispy edges are really delightful, and who doesn’t love tacos? Switch up your next Taco Tuesday and try these Smash Burger Tacos instead!

Karen xo
Smash Burger Taco lying flat open on a gray plate.
Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Smash Burger Tacos

These Smash Burger Tacos are a weeknight meal game-changer! Ground beef smashed flat for maximum, crispy-edged flavor, piled onto toasty tortillas with melty cheese and your favorite toppings. A fun twist on classic tacos that’s perfect for busy mealtimes.
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time5 minutes
Total Time10 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: smash burger tacos
Servings: 1
Author: Karen Gibson

Ingredients

  • 1 taco-sized tortilla
  • 2.5 to 3 ounces lean ground beef (90/10 or 93/7), seasoned with salt, pepper, or Montreal steak seasoning
  • 2 slices of melty cheese , such as American (I used smoked Gouda here)

Suggested toppings:

  • Bang Bang Burger Sauce*
  • shredded lettuce
  • chopped tomatoes
  • slivered red onions

Instructions

  • Preheat pan or skillet to medium. Flick water droplets onto the surface; if they immediately bubble and sizzle away, the pan is ready
  • Spread the ground beef on the tortilla, edge to edge, in a thin layer, pressing it out to the edges
  • Place the tortilla onto the hot pan, meat side down. Press down on the tortilla to ensure maximum surface contact with the pan.
  • Cook for 3 minutes. Lift a side of the tortilla with the edge of a spatula and check the color of the beef. When it’s no longer red or dark pink, it’s ready.
  • Flip the tortilla meat side up and lay the cheese slices on top. Let melt. If the pan has a lid, it can help with the melting.
  • Remove from heat and add Bang Bang Burger Sauce and toppings.

Notes

*Quick Bang Bang Burger Sauce:
Mix about a 1/2 cup of mayo with 1/4 cup of Sweet Chili Sauce and a scant tablespoon of ketchup. The chili sauce takes the place of pickle relish in regular burger sauce and adds a nice little unexpected kick, without tongue-burning heat. Add a little sriracha or gochujang paste for a little optional heat.
Nutritional information, if shown, is provided as a courtesy only, and is not to be taken as medical information or advice. The nutritional values of your preparation of this recipe are impacted by several factors, including, but not limited to, the ingredient brands you use, any substitutions or measurement changes you make, and measuring accuracy.
Recipe Rating