March Madness Mini Cheeseburger Recipe

(Picture larger than actual MINI Cheeseburger)
Fried potato round topped with lettuce, tomato, mini hamburger,
and a melting basketball made of cheddar cheese.
Your guests are hanging out on your couch with a plate full of food precariously perched on their laps but their eyes aren’t on their plates, they are watching the final four game intently.  Would you rather have them eating party food they can just pop in their mouth or have them dribbling food all over your floor as they try to use a knife and  fork?  I thought so.  That’s why I created these fun little bite sized cheeseburgers you can serve during the big game.  I’m going to bet that once your guests taste them, they will divert their attention, for at least a moment, to the savory goodness of this little appetizer.   Topped with a slice of cheese decorated to look like a basketball, these will be so much fun to serve during the  final four games, or any basketball game, for that matter.  Of course you don’t have to decorate the cheese. These would make great snacks anytime of the year. As a matter of fact, I just had a few for lunch. MMMM!

French Fried Potato Round Topped with a Mini Cheeseburger

Makes 22

Basketball Cheese Slices:
6 slices cheddar or American cheese
black food coloring

Fried Potato Rounds:
3 russet (Idaho) potatoes
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon table salt, plus a pinch
Mini Hamburgers:
1 slice of white bread, crusts removed
1 1/2 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon ketchup (or steak sauce)
1/2 teaspoon salt
pinch of black pepper
1 pound ground chuck
1-2 teaspoons vegetable oil
Optional toppings:
small tomatoes, sliced, need 22 slices

Oxo Good Grips Mandoline Slicer
Special equipment needed:
thin tip paint brush (used for food only)
Mandoline Slicer or a knife
2″ round cookie cutter, and a 1″ or 1 1/2″ round cutter
heavy duty baking sheet
non-stick aluminum foil
griddle, skillet, or grill pan
Use either a 1 1/2″ or 1″ round cookie cutter to cut 22 rounds from the cheese slices. (If you use the 1″ cutter, your cheese will be smaller than your burgers – as shown in the first picture in this post. The 1 1/2″ cheese will completely cover your burger – as shown in the second picture in the post.) Pour a few drops of black food coloring into a small bowl.  Dip fine tip paint brush into the food coloring.  Paint seam lines onto each cheese slice creating basketballs.  Depending on how you view a basketball, the seam lines look different.  I created two different views. 
Move an oven rack to the lowest position.  Preheat oven to 475 degrees Fahrenheit.
Wash potatoes.  Cut, using a mandoline or a knife, into 3/8″ thick slices. Use a 2″ round cookie cutter, to cut rounds from each potato slice.  Fill a mixing bowl with hot tap water.  Place potato rounds in water and set aside for 10 minutes. Remove potato rounds from water and set on paper towels.  Blot dry.
Dry out your mixing bowl. Combine the vegetable oil and 1/2 teaspoon salt in the mixing bowl.  Line a heavy duty baking sheet with non-stick aluminum foil. (You can also use a heavy duty non-stick pan – my non-stick pans are too thin and they warp at high temperatures.) Pour 3 tablespoons of the oil onto the foil lined pan. Use your hand to swirl the oil around to get an even coating all over the pan.  Be sure the get the salt evenly distributed. Place potatoes in mixing bowl and toss to coat evenly with the remaining tablespoon of oil. Lay potatoes in a single layer on the baking sheet.  Sprinkle a pinch of salt over potatoes.  Cover pan tightly with aluminum foil.  Bake for 10 minutes.  Remove foil and bake for 8 minutes.  Rotate pan 180 degrees and continue to bake for 8 minutes.  Remove pan and flip potatoes over.  Bake for 8-14 more minutes until golden brown.  Remove from oven and place potato rounds on paper towels to remove excess oil.
While potatoes are baking, make burgers:

Tear slice of white bread into small pieces.  Place in a mixing bowl.  Pour in milk.  Use a fork to smash the bread into a paste. Add ketchup, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pinch of black pepper. Stir to combine.  Add ground chuck and stir just until combined.

Scoop out 22 portions of meat by the tablespoonful. (I used a 1 tablespoon – 18/8 ice cream scoop.) Press meat into a 2″ round cookie cutter to form into a nice circle. Heat one teaspoon of vegetable oil on a griddle pan, skillet, or grill pan until smoking.  Cook burgers in two batches until well browned on both sides. If serving these right away, set a piece of cheese on each burger after you flip it to cook the second side and allow the cheese to melt slightly.

If you plan to prepare the burgers and potatoes hours before your party, you can reheat them just before serving. Heat your oven to 350 degrees.  Place potatoes and burgers on a baking sheet and heat for 5 minutes.  Remove from oven and top burgers with a slice of cheese.  Heat just until cheese melts and burger is heated through. To assemble: set potato rounds on a serving platter and top with lettuce and tomato, if using. Then top with a cheeseburger. Serve immediately.  The burgers will remain moist because of the addition of the panade (bread and milk) even after being refrigerated overnight and cooked the next day.

I love the use of the potato round as a “bun”, but you can use a bun, if you prefer. You can, of course, also make regular sized hamburgers using this recipe.  Just cut the cheese slices a bit smaller than your un-cooked burgers. Serve the big burgers on a bun with any toppings you like. Any way you make these burgers, your party guests will surely enjoy munching on them while they cheer for their favorite team.

If you like this recipe, please share it with others by using the share buttons below. I really appreciate being Stumbled Upon, and am always grateful to those of you that share my ideas on your website. I do request that you don’t post my entire tutorial, but rather share a picture with a link and be sure to mention the recipe came from Hungry Happenings. If you make this recipe, I’d love for you to send me a photo to [email protected]. Thank you for visiting Hungry Happenings – Beth

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