The Austin Smashburger Power Rankings

Because smashburgers are having a moment right now.
a hand holding a double smashburger with cheese

photo credit: Richard Casteel

Austin is home to a wide range of burger styles, from old-school, greasy, flat top classics on Dirty Martin’s and Dan’s menus, to the ultra-thick, smoked burgers found at barbecue spots like LeRoy And Lewis. But right now, smashburgers are having their moment. Something about thin, griddled patties just gets people excited, and it’s even hard to go more than a few blocks without passing one. So we decided to try them all. For the sake of this guide, we skipped pop-ups and weekly special burgers. These are all the smashburgers you can get in Austin every day, ranked. 


photo credit: Richard Casteel


South Austin

$$$$Perfect For:Casual Weeknight Dinner
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The award for “Thinnest Patty That Might Get Mistaken For An Ancient Piece Of Papyrus” goes to Patty Palace. These patties are almost paper-thin with a dark crust that looks like it’s bordering on burnt but without the accompanying bitterness. It’s well-seasoned, the bun is toasted nicely, and there’s just enough special sauce to prevent those thin patties from feeling too dry. This is the smashburger that other smashburgers aspire to be more like. 

Your Order: Double Palace Burger ($10.99). A role model to others. 

photo credit: Nicolai McCrary

$$$$Perfect For:Lunch

This is a massive burger with a juicy, double wagyu patty that’s been smashed hard for edge-to-edge-crispiness, plus a few requisite slices of american cheese and mustard. The crust is excellent, but the meat is still nice and juicy throughout. It doesn’t feel like it’s relying on gimmicks or any frills—it’s simple and perfectly executed. If you’re willing to spend $14 on a smashburger, just head to Butler Pitch & Putt off Riverside Drive to visit this trailer. And maybe get in a quick round of golf while you’re there. 

Your Order: Double Wagyu Gimme Burger ($14). A fancy burger that’s worth its price tag.

This is basically a McDonald’s cheeseburger that went to culinary school. Think smashed patties and steamed potato buns, diced onions, mustard, ketchup, and pickles. It’s small enough that you can probably put down a couple, and at $4, it beats what you’ll get at a fast food chain any day. When we find ourselves craving a simple, no-frills cheeseburger, this is usually the one that we’re thinking about. 

Your Order: Little OG Burger ($4). You read that price right. 

The double smashburger at Thunder Chief is one of the biggest ones on this list, with wagyu beef patties that somehow take on an intense crispy char while staying perfectly pink throughout. That makes this taste more like a classic backyard burger than the paper-thin patties we tend to associate with smashburgers, but make no mistake—this well-seasoned meat has indeed been smashed. If you’re going to make the silly decision to use wagyu beef in a smashburger, this is how to cook it. 

Your Order: Double Smash ($13). The beefiest of them all. 

We’ve seen burgers with a lot of different toppings, but at Cuantas Hamburguesas (from the Cuantos Tacos team) you can choose from a list of combos that grow increasingly daring—from cheese and chopped onions, to the Campechana with a smashed longaniza patty and a costra cheese corn tortilla. Grab the Americana if you want to see how Cuantas compares to other smashburger spots in town, or get one of their signature creations. Either way, pair it with a side of fries cooked in beef tallow. The combo will set you back less than $10.

Your Order: Campechana ($7.75). It has a beef patty and a Mexican chorizo patty on it. 

photo credit: Nicolai McCrary

$$$$Perfect For:Drinks & A Light Bite

A few key components set Bar Toti’s la smashburgesa apart from the rest—most notably a slice of griddled ham and a generous layer of escabeche relish. Together they add some savory punch, a bit of texture, and some much-needed acidity. The patties are crispy, and a layer of chipotle mayo adds a bit of heat. You won’t find a burger like this anywhere else in Austin. And if you do, promise you’ll tell us where?

Your Order: La Smashburgesa ($16). It’s half-price during Happy Hour all day Monday, 5-6pm on weekdays, and 10-11pm on weekends. 

photo credit: David Douglass

$$$$Perfect For:Casual Weeknight Dinner

Golden Tiger is located on the patio of Whisler’s, and we couldn’t be more grateful. This burger does a perfect job of soaking up a couple of Old Fashioneds at the end of a night out on the East Side. The patties are smashed down until they look like little leather coasters, but a lot more fun to eat. Then they get topped with american cheese, shredded lettuce, and red onions that add a little bit of bite. This is a very classic smashburger that doesn’t disappoint. 

Your Order: Golden Burger ($12). Simple and solid. 

You might be curious how a fully plant-based burger fares against the beef patties on this ranking. This is the first burger we’ve had that made us think that maybe going plant-based wouldn’t be so hard after all. It somehow defies the fundamental laws of burger physics—there’s a thick crust on a couple of thin, smashed patties topped with incredibly melty “american cheese,” and it does it all without using any animal products. Whether you’re vegan, vegan-curious, or just in the general South Congress vicinity, this burger should be on your radar. 

Your Order: Double Mission Burger ($14.95). 100% vegan. 

Biggie’s checks all the boxes we look for in a good smashburger—melty cheese, a fluffy potato roll, and nicely browned patty edges that look like a lace doily. It’s a solid burger, with a bun that we wish arrived just a little toastier, though they do get a few bonus points for selling us a side of fried, pickled okra bites that might be our new favorite snack. 

Your order: The Double ($12) plus a side of okra bites. Ol’ reliable. 

Buddy’s Burger is the only spot on this list with a drive-thru. They’ve cracked some kind of code and found a balance between quality and convenience, offering up a smashburger that can compete with the best in town at prices that feel appropriate for eating in the front seat of your car. Plus, you can pair it with a hand-spun milkshake and really complete the old-school burger drive-thru experience. 

Your Order: Double classic with cheese ($5.59). A quality burger at drive-thru prices. 

We’ve had the burger at Hold Out more than almost any other spot on this list (the excellent beers keep us coming back), so we’ve seen the full spectrum of burger quality here. Sometimes, the patties take on a dark brown crust that pairs perfectly with melted american cheese. Other times, it’s a little less griddled than we’d like it to be. Despite smashburgers being this generation’s it burger, Hold Out’s feels timeless thanks to a few classic ingredients, like shredded lettuce, French’s mustard, and a side of curly fries to bring it all home. 

Your Order: Double Hold Out Classic ($11). A timeless classic. 

The classic Jewboy burger is served as a single patty with double cheese, but it’s otherwise about as classic of a smashburger as they come. It’s a good burger on its own, but it’s the Yenta burger that sets Jewboy apart. This version starts with a classic smashburger, then is topped with a potato latke of your choice—we like the green chile and cheddar version. It adds a bit of crispy texture to it all, resulting in a distinct potato twist we didn’t know we needed. 

Your Order: The Yenta ($13). It’s a burger with a latke on it. 

NADC’s burger is made with wagyu beef and served on a Martin’s potato roll with american cheese, pickles, jalapeños, and some tangy secret sauce—essentially all the smashburger buzzwords jammed into a small $16 burger, without fries. It’s saucy enough that the bun will probably collapse into a soggy mess about midway through, and it’s a little too salty, but the patties have a great crust and are juicy throughout. This is the kind of burger that’s best enjoyed after one too many beers—thankfully, NADC is open very late. Otherwise, there are plenty of burgers in Austin that offer more for a lot less. 

Your Order: NADC Burger ($16). Ask for extra napkins. 

We’ve had a few really good burgers here, but we’ve also had a few that end up looking like the last time you tried grilling burgers on your patio and the patties shrunk down to the size of little hockey pucks. It’s also pretty heavy on the secret sauce, but it’s otherwise well-seasoned and good at doing its job of pairing well with sports and beer. And at $14, there are just a few too many caveats to justify the cost. But show up on Sunday when the burgers are $5 and you might have yourself a deal. 

Your Order: Smashburger ($14). Get it for $5 on Sundays. 

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