Recipe Review

Cameron Diaz’s Smash Burger Recipe Is So Good, It’ll Change How I Make Burgers Forever

published Jul 10, 2024
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Cameron Diaz's Cuban smashburger with cheese, ham, onions, and pickles.
Credit: Kiersten Hickman

Picture this: it’s a smash burger and a Cuban sandwich all wrapped in one. That’s right, the perfect two-in-one combination smash burger bursting with all kinds of flavor, topped with ham and cheese and pickles like a proper Cuban sandwich. Cameron Diaz shared this brilliant creation in partnership with William Sonoma at an event in Napa Valley, showing off her favorite Cuban smash burger sandwich that pairs well with a bottle of Avaline Rosé, from the wine company she co-founded. The recipe sounded intriguing enough to me, with ingredients that you wouldn’t normally see in a burger patty, so I had to give it a try. Here’s what I thought.

Get the recipe: Cameron Diaz’s Cuban Smash Burger

Credit: Kiersten Hickman

How to Make Cameron Diaz’s Cuban Smash Burger

Slice red onion and avocado, and place in a small bowl. Pour the pickling juice from a jar of pickle chips into the bowl, then place it in the fridge to quick pickle.

In another small bowl, mix together mayonnaise, yellow mustard, microbladed garlic, and sugar. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, mix together lime zest, lemon zest, orange zest, granulated garlic, granulated onion, cumin, dried oregano, salt, and pepper. Add the ground beef and pork, and mix together until everything is evenly combined. Split the burger mixture into eight balls.

Heat up a griddle or cast iron skillet to medium heat. Smash the burger patty on the hot pan and cook on each side for two to three minutes. When you flip, add a slice of Black Forest ham, Swiss cheese, and pickle chips to the top of each burger. Transfer the cooked burgers to a sheet pan, then cover with another sheet pan or tented aluminum foil to let the cheese melt and the burger to set.

Spread the homemade aioli on brioche buns. Place the burgers on the buns, then top with the pickled onions and avocados. Serve with plantain chips and a glass of Avaline Rosé.

My Honest Review

Although this recipe is quite involved for a smash burger, I have to admit, it’s worth the effort. The extra taste that you get from the zest and the seasonings, the golden aioli, and the added layers of ham and cheese really do make a difference in turning this burger into a gourmet experience. My family was ooh-ing and ahh-ing at how tasty this burger was, and we’ve already set a plan to make them again in the future. The patty was bursting with flavor and the creamy aioli paired well with the tangy pickles and onions. The taste was surprising and certainly not something I would expect from a smash burger.

After I finished my burger, I did walk away with two small edits, simply based on my own taste preferences. I don’t think the burger patties needed so much zest. Don’t get me wrong, I think the combination of the lime, lemon, and orange zest did add a unique flavor to these patties that I liked. But I think half the amount of zest would still give the burger that unique taste and not completely overpower the flavor.

Second, I would say to use half the amount of garlic as well. The garlic in the aioli was also incredibly overpowering, and while I am a big fan of garlic (I’m Italian, after all), I actually think it was a bit much for this patty. Use only one clove instead of two, and I think it would help balance out the flavor.

But all in all, this recipe was divine, and absolutely worth the extra effort.

Tips for Making Cameron Diaz’s Cuban Smash Burger

  • Make quick pickled red onion instead: This recipe attempts to keep things simple and uses the pickling juice from the chips to quickly pickle the red onions and avocado. I don’t think this gave the red onion enough time to properly pickle, so I would say making a batch of actual quick pickled red onions would make this recipe even better.
  • Prep the layers before adding to the burger: Smash burgers cook really quickly (two or three minutes tops on each side), so you want to be prepared with all of the other toppings and layers before grilling them up. Slather the golden aioli on the buns beforehand. On a large plate, fold slices of Black Forest ham, Swiss cheese, and pickles in a stack so you can easily add them to the burgers after you flip them. This makes the process a lot faster — and smoother — and prevents you from overcooking the burger because you were unprepared.
  • Use a burger press: For a truly smashed burger, use a burger press to press down the patty to the proper 1/4-inch thinness. While a spatula can technically smash a burger, a burger press will make it even easier to make it thin and get those crispy edges we look for in a proper smash burger. Be sure to shape the patties properly before tossing them on the griddle!