Mini burgers essentially are smaller versions of full-size hamburgers, usually around one-half or one-quarter of the standard size. Although there is no exact history of mini burgers, they were first commercially popularized by fast-food restaurant chains. Just like a regular burger, mini burgers are usually made of ground beef and can be topped with all the same condiments, although in decidedly smaller amounts. They also are served on smaller buns or buns that have been cut to fit their unique size. Mini burgers often are used as appetizers, party or snack food, a compact meal for an outdoor event or travel pack, or simply as a smaller portion for children and others with a light appetite.
The small size of the patty used in making mini burgers has made a variety of cooking methods possible. Aside from standard grilling or pan frying, mini patties also can be steamed, baked or braised. The undersized patties also are easier to make from ingredients other than beef, including salmon, eggplant, beans and oysters. One problem the size of the patties sometimes presents is the limited amount of space available for mixing ingredients into the burgers, usually resulting in larger ingredients being stacked on top of the burger after cooking.
The rolls on which mini burgers are served are not always a particular style. Unlike full-size hamburgers, it can be difficult to find buns to fit the smaller burgers. A few common choices include dinner rolls, biscuits and slices of toasted bread. For convenience, a long sandwich roll or hot dog roll can be sliced into smaller squares to fit each patty. Some recipes even call for the roll to be omitted completely, with the mini patties being served over rice or pasta.
Mini burgers are fairly versatile when it comes to the different ways they can be served. They can be stacked on platters and presented buffet style with condiments and toppings on the side, or they can be plated in pairs with a salad for a more formal presentation. As hors d’oeuvres, they can be skewered with toothpicks and made small enough to be eaten in a single bite.
There are many different recipes for mini burgers, using everything from tuna to mushrooms to ground duck to make the patties. They can be drenched in caramelized onions or topped with remoulade sauce. In the end, the one defining feature is the small size of the patties.