Introduction: Diner Style Burger, Fries & Shake at Home
Burgers are the absolute best thing on the planet, and what’s the only thing that makes them better? Eating one with a side of salty french fries and washing it down with a super thick milkshake. American diners do this meal combo so well, it's ridiculous! If I could, I'd go to one every week. However, there's just one slight problem. I live in Australia, where diners aren't really a thing. Popping over to America every week to go to a diner seems a little excessive, so I decided to replicate the meal, but also make it accessible for the at home cook.
My version of the classic is amped up by baking homemade brioche buns, pickling red onion and mixing together a special burger sauce. I also chose to bake the french fries instead of deep frying them. I figured the mess, huge quantity of oil needed and high heat not worth the effort for something that can easily be achieved in an oven, which isn't as hands on.
And finally, we get to the milkshake. My recipe for a chocolate milkshake is so simple but SO good, and the best part is you can make variations of it with other flavours by using vanilla ice-cream and including different flavoured syrups or fruits. I also decided to go one step further and added the can of whipped cream and a maraschino cherry as toppings. Totally indulgent, but completely necessary. We are going for the full diner experience after all!
Step 1: Bake the Brioche Buns
Makes 8 buns
- 2/3 cups warm milk
- 4 tbs unsalted butter, melted
- 2 tbs white sugar
- 1 1/2 tbs instant yeast
- 2 large eggs at room temperature
- 4 cups plain/all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 egg yolk + 1 tsp water (for egg wash)
- White sesame seeds (optional)
- Using a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, whisk the milk, butter, sugar and yeast. Add eggs and whisk until combined.
- Change out the whisk for the dough hook. Add the flour and salt and mix on low-medium for 8-10 minutes. The dough should appear sticky, soft and smooth but come away from the bowl.
- Cover the bowl with cling wrap and place in a warm area. Let the dough rise for 1-2 hours or until doubled in size. Once risen, punch the dough to deflate.
- Lightly flour your work space and scrape out the dough. Divide into 8 pieces and shape each one into buns by rolling into balls.
- On a large baking tray lined with baking paper, arrange the buns, making sure none are touching. Cover with a towel and let rise again in a warm area for 30 minutes to an hour or until they've risen and puffed up a little.
- Use this time to preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F.
- Before placing in the oven, whisk together the yolk with 1 tsp of water and brush over the tops of the buns. Sprinkle on the sesame seeds if using.
- Bake for 15 minutes or until golden. Let the buns cool on a rack before assembling burgers.
Step 2: Make the Burger Sauce
Makes 1 small jar
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 2 tbs tomato sauce/tomato ketchup
- 2 tsp dijon mustard
- 2 tsp pickle juice (from a jar of pickles)
- 1/2 tsp white sugar
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp sweet paprika
- 1/4 tsp salt
- Mix all the ingredients together in a small bowl.
- Either serve immediately or spoon into a jar and place in the fridge for at least an hour for the flavours to work their magic.
Step 3: Pickle the Onion
Makes enough for 4 burgers
- 1/2 red onion
- 1/4 cup vinegar (apple cider/white/rice wine/white wine)
- 1/4 cup warm water
- 1 tsp salt
- 3 tsp white sugar
- Thinly slice the red onion.
- Combine the vinegar, water, salt and sugar in a small bowl.
- Scrunch the onion slices in your hand before transferring to the bowl and mixing all together.
- Allow to rest for 30 minutes before serving.
Step 4: Make the Beef Patties
I like to do about 125g of meat per person, so for this recipe of 500g mince, it should make 4 burgers.
- 500g beef mince (3 star quality or about 18% fat for best results)
- Salt & pepper
- Sliced cheese singles (for melting over the patty)
- Neutral flavoured oil (canola/rice bran/vegetable)
- Divide the mince into 4 portions. Without handling the beef too much, shape each portion into plump balls. Try not to take too long doing this as the more you shape them, the tougher they will be.
- Generously sprinkle salt and pepper onto both sides of the balls.
- Using a large fry pan on medium high, heat a drizzle of oil.
- Once the oil is hot, place all the balls in the fry pan. Using a burger press or potato masher, press down on each patty until thin. The patties won't be perfectly round, but the craggily bits that form will get crispy and give the patty extra texture and flavour.
- Fry on one side for about 3-4 minutes before flipping. The second side should take 2-3 minutes to cook.
- In the last 30 seconds, place a slice of cheese on top of each patty and let it melt.
- Once cooked, rest patties on a plate for a few minutes before assembling the burgers (or add straight to the bun and eat immediately for a super juicy burger)
Step 5: Assemble the Burger
As a frequent burger maker, I feel I have somewhat perfected the art of assembling a burger that prevents spillage of the filling and soaking of the bun. The above order of ingredients is my own personal favourite method of assembly, but really, it doesn't matter that much. Burgers aren't fancy French pastries that require strict measurements and steps, so go ahead and just build that burger. You know it's going to be good regardless!
Step 6: Bake the French Fries
Try to start preparing the fries about 1 hour before you plan on eating the burgers so that everything is hot and can be eaten all together.
Makes enough for 4 people as a side
- 8 small to medium potatoes
- Salt & pepper
- Olive oil
- Peel all the potatoes and then slice into wedges or medium sized strips
- Place all the cut potatoes in a large bowl and add enough water to cover them. Soak the potatoes for 20 minutes (Soaking gets rid of some of the starch and results in crispier fries).
- While you wait for the potatoes to soak, preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F and line two large baking trays with baking paper.
- Once soaked, rinse the potatoes and thoroughly dry them by patting them down with a tea towel.
- Transfer to the large bowl and drizzle a generous amount of oil and a good sprinkling of salt and pepper. Use your hands to mix everything up and ensure all the potatoes are covered in oil.
- Spread the fries over the two baking trays, making sure to leave space between each one for maximum crispiness.
- Bake in the oven for 25-35 minutes or until golden and crunchy. Don't forget to take them out about halfway through to flip as this ensures even browning of the fries.
- Before serving, toss the fries in more salt or any other seasonings of choice.
Step 7: Blend the Chocolate Milkshake
Makes 1 large milkshake
- 2/3 cup milk
- 2 large scoops of chocolate ice-cream (use 3 or 4 scoops for a thicker shake)
- Chocolate syrup
- Can of whipped cream
- Maraschino cherries
- In the jug of a milkshake maker or blender, add the milk, ice-cream and a large drizzle of chocolate syrup.
- Blend until there are no more lumps and the milkshake is frothy.
- In your serving glass, drizzle the chocolate syrup all around the inside before pouring the milkshake in.
- Top with a squirt of whipped cream and a maraschino cherry (or two).
Now that the milkshake is done, the fries are baked and the burger is assembled, go ahead and enjoy your diner meal in the comfort of your own home! If you'd like to learn some tips about the above recipes, please read ahead.
Step 8: Tips and Tricks
The Brioche Buns
- The humidity and general air temperature can affect how much flour and liquid you need for the buns. During the summer, I find that I sometimes need a little more flour as the dough can be too sticky. When it's winter, the dough tends to be more dry, so I like to add a few tablespoons of water. Don't be too worried about keeping to the exact measurements of flour and liquid, my recipe is fairly flexible.
- If you're wanting to speed up the process of baking your buns, you can skip the first rising of the dough that occurs after the kneading. Go straight ahead to forming your bun shapes, but ensure you do let the dough rise for 30 minutes to an hour before placing in the oven. Doing this can take out 2 hours of the prep time, however your dough won't be quite as fluffy.
The Pickled Onions
- The pickled onions are a great addition to a number of other meals, so I like to double the recipe and store in a jar in the fridge. They should keep for 2-3 weeks.
An Extra Step in the Burger Assembly
- If you want to take your burgers one step further, a great idea is to toast your buns. If you want to be extra indulgent, toasting them in the pan you cooked the patties in (with the oils and juices still in there) for a few seconds will infuse some extra flavour.
Potatoes to Use for Baked French Fries
- The best kinds of potatoes for turning into fries are ones that are somewhere between starchy and waxy.
- Some varieties to consider: Yukon gold, blue and purple potatoes, Kipfler, Sebago, Russet
Milkshake Flavours to Try:
- Start with a base of 2/3 cup milk and 2 large scoops of vanilla ice-cream with:
- Banana: 1 banana, 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- PB&J: 2 tbs peanut butter, 2 tbs strawberry jam
- Oreo: 4 oreos
- Coffee: 1 tsp instant coffee, a drizzle of chocolate syrup
Thank you for reading my instructables tutorial ! I hope you learned something new !!
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