IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Shake Shack's ShackBurger

Shake Shack reveals the recipes for its famous burgers, fries and shakes
Shake Shack reveals the recipes for its famous burgers, fries and shakesNathan Congleton / TODAY

Chef notes

The most likely the reason you've visited one of our Shake Shack restaurants is for our version of the great American cheeseburger. Like all deceptively simple things, it took us years to get it right, but now you can master burger perfection in five minutes.

Long ago we threw away the key to the secret recipe for ShackSauce; but we promise to get you really close with ingredients easily found in your kitchen.


Our salt & pepper mix
  • 1/2 cup kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Not quite our ShackSauce (makes about 1/2 cup)
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise, preferably Hellman's
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 3/4 teaspoon ketchup, preferably Heinz
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher dill pickling brine
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper
  • 4 hamburger potato buns
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 4 tablespoons not quite our ShackSauce (recipe above)
  • 4 pieces green leaf lettuce
  • 8 1/4-inch slices ripe plum tomato
  • 1 pound very cold ground beef, divided into 4 pucks
  • 1/2 teaspoon our salt & pepper mix
  • 4 slices American cheese


For our salt & pepper mix:

In a small bowl, mix the kosher salt with the pepper burgers as they cook. Set aside.

For the not quite our ShackSauce:

In a small bowl, combine all ingredients and stir to combine. Set aside.

For the ShackBurger:


Heat a cast-iron griddle over medium-low heat until warm. Meanwhile, open the hamburger buns and brush the insides with the melted butter. A soft brush is helpful here. Place the buns buttered side down on the griddle and toast until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer buns to a plate. Spoon the sauce onto the top bun. Add a piece of the lettuce and two slices of tomato.


Increase the heat to medium and heat the griddle until hot, 2 to 3 minutes.


Evenly sprinkle a pinch of our salt & pepper mix on top of each puck of meat.


Place the pucks on the griddle, seasoned side down. Using a large, sturdy metal spatula, firmly smash each puck into a 1/3-inch thick round patty. Pressing down on the spatula with another stiff spatula helps flatten the burger quickly. Evenly sprinkle another big pinch of our salt & pepper mix.


Cook the burgers, resisting the urge to move them, until the edges beneath are brown and crisp, and juices on the surface are bubbling hot, about 2½ minutes. Slide one of the spatulas beneath the burger to release it from the griddle and scrape up the caramelized browned crust. Use the other spatula to steady the burger and keep it from sliding. Flip the burgers. Put the cheese on top and cook the burgers 1 minute longer for medium. Cook more or less depending on your preference.


Transfer the cheeseburgers to the prepared buns and enjoy.