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Italian Chicken Smashburger

Courtesy The Grill Dads
Cook Time:
25 mins
Prep Time:
30 mins

Chef notes

Chicken meatballs are pretty darn good. But bringing a smashburger approach to the party will allow the burger to seared and crispy, adding extra layers of flavor. It is the best of both worlds: meatballs and burgers.

Technique tip: Smash the burger until it is bigger than the bun. It will shrink as it cooks, and you don't want it to be smaller than the bun.

Swap option: This works great with ground turkey or pork, too!

Special equipment: You need a pan with a flat surface. Either a large cast-iron skillet or a griddle will work great.


Spicy Tomato Sauce
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 (15-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • kosher salt
  • 2-3 Calabrian chiles, finely chopped
Chicken Burgers
  • 2 pounds ground chicken
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • kosher salt
  • 8 buns, such as ciabatta or kaiser rolls
  • 8 slices provolone cheese
  • 8 leaves fresh basil


For the spicy tomato sauce:

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic to the oil and cook just until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the crushed tomatoes and a big pinch of kosher salt. Finish the sauce with the chiles and remove from the heat.

For the chicken burgers:


Combine the ground chicken, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, cayenne, Parmesan and parsley in a bowl. Add a hefty sprinkle of kosher salt and then use clean hands to gently work the mixture together. Divide the mixture into 8 rounds — not patties, but loose rounds to smash later.


Heat the grill for two-zone cooking. Toast the burger buns over high heat and then move to indirect heat to keep warm.


Heat a large skillet over direct heat. Working in batches of two, add two of the rounds to the skillet at a time. Use a large flat spatula to press down hard on each patty for 2 minutes. Flip and continue cooking — the goal is a crisp, craggled, super-thin patty. Move the first two patties to indirect heat and top each with a slice of provolone. Repeat with the remaining chicken rounds. While you're still at the grill, top the chicken patties with a scoop of the sauce.

For the sandwiches:

Build the sandwiches by placing one patty on each bun and topping with fresh basil.