Copycat Shake Shack Burgers

Dinner, DIY, Summer

These Copycat Shake Shack Burgers are exactly like the real thing. They’re smash burgers, topped with special sauce, American cheese served on a potato bun.

Before we dive into these Copycat Shake Shack Burgers…let’s talk about something:

Shake Shack Vs. In-n-out?

If you’re on the west coast, you’ve most likely been asked that dumb question that everyone loves to ask: In-N-Out or Shake Shack?”

It’s not really a fair question because the price point on a Shake Shack burger is WAY higher than an In-n-Out Burger AND most diehard LA people will never, ever say Shake Shack. They’d almost rather root for the Yankees.

And while I love LA, I will admit, I always choose Shake Shack. The meat at In-N-Out always makes me feel kinda ill. I once got the grilled cheese and I didn’t feel sick at all so it’s def the meat. So, for me, I’ll always go with Shake Shack because the quality of ingredients sits with me a bit better. But In-N-Out will always be near and dear to my heart and remind me of young childhood and driving up the coast of California.

BUT, we’re not making a copycat In-N-Out burger, we’re making a Copycat Shake Shake burger. WHY?!

BECAUSE THEY ARE DOPE. There have been some good posts on this subject, notably here. But luckily, for me, and you, Shake Shack has come out with a book, giving us all a better idea of how things should be constructed and made. Most importantly: the special sauce.

Martin Potato Rolls Are Amazing:

The first step is to butter your here.

I searched very far and wide for Martin Potato Rolls in LA and couldn’t find them. It was really annoying. A big part of me even thought of being crazy and buying eight burgers at Shake Shack, hold the meat and sides, so I could get the buns for this post…but then the normal, frugal part of me kicked in and immediately told my-sometimes-irrational-self that she was psycho for even thinking of that.

If you’re lucky enough to live on the east coast, go get them. If you’re a west coaster, you can order them online or just use white buns that are small. 🙁

Either way, you gotta butter them and then pan-fry them. This is what dreams are made of.

The Meat Blend for the Shake Shack Burgers

So we made our own blend, with the guidance of their book. BUT you don’t need to. Just go to your grocery store (that has a meat counter) and ask for a blend. OR you can use ground chuck that is 85/15. It will still taste good.

Copycat Shake Shack Burgers

But I did as follows:

  • I got one pound of sirloin and one pound of chuck.
  • I chopped them up into cubes and fed them through the meat grinder with the largest opening. And then I put them through again with the smaller opening.
  • And then we formed round pucks. Not patties. Pucks.

Copycat Shake Shack Burgers


Why Should the Meat Be Cold for Shake Shack Burgers?

Another thing that I found interesting was that you want the meat COLD. When the fat hits the pan you need it to be cold so it makes a really nice crust.

We pan-fried them on a cast iron with a bit of oil. We also used ghee on one patty and it was a bit too rich for me. But I’m also a baby when it comes to foods with too much fat.

When you flip the patties over, you then flatten them. You will feel like a short order cook. And immediately feel like you should be wearing a hairnet and have a cigarette hanging from the side of your mouth, just like Paula Deen (minus the racism part).

Copycat Shake Shack Burgers


American Cheese Is the Move!

You then drape slices of American cheese over the burgers. And that American cheese will melt gloriously.

How to Assemble Copycat Shake Shack Burgers:

  1. Special sauce on toasted, buttered bun.
  2. Green leaf lettuce
  3. Two slices of roma tomatoes, cut a lil’ on the thicker side.
  4. The patty with the cheese
  5. Two slices of pickles

And there you have it, Copycat Shake Shack Burgers.

Copycat Shake Shack Burgers

How to Make these Burgers Ahead:

  1. I prepped the meat the day before and then we made them and kept them in the oven to stay a bit warm while we assembled everything.
  2. Oh and crinkle fries! We bought a few bags of frozen crinkle fries and cooked them for about 45 minutes, salted them and served them on a baking sheet with lots of ketchup and mustard on the side.

This is a super easy idea for a dinner party because a lot of it can be prepped before. You can even have people assemble the burgers themselves if you want to.

And don’t forget about milkshakes.


Shake Shack Burger Recipe

5 from 4 votes
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Grinding Meat Time 15 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Serving Size: 8 burgers
Calories: 450kcal
These Copycat Shake Shack Burgers are exactly like the real thing. They're smash burgers, topped with special sauce, American cheese served on a potato bun.


Special Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise, Hellmann’s if you wanna be legit
  • 1 tablespoon ketchup
  • 1 teaspoon pickle brine
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne
  • Pinch paprika


  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • Martin’s Potato Rolls or White Hamburger Buns

Meat Options:

  • 1 pound sirloin, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 pound chuck, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • OR
  • 2 pounds ground beef, 85/25
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground pepper

For Cooking, Assembly and Serving:

  • Vegetable oil
  • 8 slices of American cheese
  • Roma tomatoes, cut into 1/2-inch slices
  • Leafy Green Lettuce
  • Sliced pickles
  • Baked crinkle fries
  • Ketchup + Mustard


Special Sauce:

  • Add the ingredients for the special sauce to a bowl and whisk until smooth. Transfer to a small bowl or squeeze bottle and set aside.

Toasting Buns:

  • Brush the buns (top and bottom) with butter. Warm a pan over medium heat. When warmed, add the buns, toasting them for about 1 to 2 minutes. Repeat until you’ve worked your way through all of the buns

Meat Options + To Grind and Form:

  • If you’re grinding your own meat, add the cubed sirloin and chuck to a bowl and combine it. With the largest meat grinder attachment on your mixer or grinder, turn the speed to #4 and add the meat. Repeat until you’ve worked your way through all of the meat. Change the grinder attachment to the smaller attachment. Pass the meat through the grinder once more. Divide the meat into 4 ounce mounds. You should end up with 8 mounds of meat.
  • If you’re using store-bought ground beef, no biggie. Divide the meat into 4 ounce mounds.
  • Form pucks that are about 2 inches tall and 2-inches wide. Sprinkle the tops with a few pinches of salt and pepper.


  • Place a cast iron skillet over moderately high heat. Add a few teaspoons of oil and when glistening and VERY hot, add the meat puck. Allow to cook for about 30 seconds and then smash it with a spatula until it’s about 1/4-inch thick. Cook for about 1 minute and then add a few pinches of salt and pepper to the top. Then, flip. Add the slice of cheese and cook for an additional minute or so. Remove from the pan and repeat with the remaining pucks of meat.


  • Squeeze a bit of special sauce on both sides of the bun. Add a few pieces of leafy green lettuce, a few slices of tomatoes and then top with the burger patty. Add a few pickles and then add the other half of the bun on top. Repeat until you’ve made all of the hamburgers.
  • Serve with baked crinkle fries, ketchup and mustard on the side.
CourseDinner, Main Course
Keywordshake shack, shake shack burger, shake shack burger recipe, shake shack menu, smash burger
Serving: 6g | Calories: 450kcal | Carbohydrates: 20g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 10mg | Sodium: 15mg | Iron: 0.7mg
Did you make this Recipe? Tag me Today!Tag @acozykitchen on Instagram and hashtag it #acozykitchen

Photos by Billy Green

Previous Post Next Post

You Might Also Like


Leave a Reply

Recipe Rating

  • Reply Marissa Kenney April 19, 2020 at 11:47 am

    5 stars
    Lot of hard research here and I think you’re close. My take:
    Think you meant 85/15 beef blend
    Bet that Shack has brisket and/or short rib in the grind
    Pretty sure Shack has mustard in the sauce
    Bit more Pickle juice

  • Reply Kristin June 2, 2018 at 6:04 am

    I grew up in California and live in DC now…and it’s Shake Shack all the way for me! Looking forward to trying these out!

  • Reply Agustina July 21, 2017 at 5:44 pm

    These look better than shake shack! SO GOOD!

  • Reply Kelley June 4, 2017 at 8:16 am

    This post has made me super happy! I love shake shack, but I really love Martin’s Potato rolls, two things I miss since my move to Utah. Didn’t know I could order the rolls, –> life changer!!

  • Reply Tobey May 31, 2017 at 4:33 pm

    That sounds good. Thank for this post !!!

  • Reply Amber - Loves Food, Loves to Eat May 30, 2017 at 10:12 am

    As a Seattleite with no nostalgic allegiance to either, I’m team Shake Shack 100%. Sooooo good. I’ve made the Serious Eats fake shack burger before, but I’ll have to try this one. Also, re: your expensive bun plan…. I’ve contemplated flying to Vegas just to get Shake Shack (they have one there now!!!!!!! We told friends to go while in Vegas and they accidentally went to Steak and Shake…lololol/tragic mistake). Haven’t done it yet, but I might…

  • Reply fatimah May 29, 2017 at 5:04 am

    5 stars
    these look so good and legit! i gotta grab this book, while i’ve never had in n out, i have had my share of shake shack and was so happy that they had one in atl when i moved. love that you went the extra mile and ground your meat ha! xo

  • Reply Cam Salsberry May 28, 2017 at 3:56 pm

    :)!Thanks!!! Have a memorable weekend…..

  • Reply Cam Salsberry May 28, 2017 at 3:13 am

    Need the pickle selection as well!!!!!

  • Reply Janee May 27, 2017 at 8:24 pm

    Cali has so many great things that we just can’t get out east, but you can order Martin’s lovely rolls direct from the manufacturer. happy burger making!

    • Reply Adrianna Adarme May 28, 2017 at 8:29 am

      This is true! Ordering is an option. I wish I had thought about that before this post! 🙁

  • Reply Stu Borken May 27, 2017 at 11:27 am

    I got it, except for the pickle brine. I make Kosher Style hot spicy garlic salty wonderful deli style pickles with NO vinegar. Is this the brine you mean? Or do you mean the vinegar based brine like national brand hamburger chips cucumbers or pickles?
    I have made the In ‘n Out Double Double Animal Style…what a lot of work! I want to try your Shake Shack version. We just got one at Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota. The burgers and fries are really good. Long lines to get your burger. Very noisy. Hard uncomfortable seats. They want you in and out, fast!

    • Reply Adrianna Adarme May 28, 2017 at 8:29 am

      This is definitely the pickle variety that uses vinegar! 🙂