Szechuan Peppercorn Burgers

It is no secret that I am kinda sorta in love with our new BBQ grill. Having an outdoor space in Hong Kong has been such a nice change. If you follow me on Instagram (which you should– click here to check it out) you know that Peter and I cook on the grill several times a week.

We’ve done ribs (recipe coming soon!), chicken, chicken wings, quesadillas, steaks, fish, sausages and of course a classic burger.

szechuan peppercorn burgers

These Szechuan Peppercorn Burgers start off just like your favorite simple burger recipe — ground beef, salt, pepper. Then in the last minute of cooking, you coat your patty in a tongue-numbing spice mix. The Szechuan Peppercorns create a slow heat that builds in your mouth without being overpowering. You will still be able to taste what your eating without having your mouth on fire.

szechuan peppercorn burger

our toppings

On top of your patty goes on a topping of crisp, spicy, pickled cucumber ribbons as a twist on the popular cucumber side dish or starter that often accompanies Szechuan cuisine (see my original recipe for spicy cucumber salad here). And on your bun you spread a heaping spoonful of chili-ginger mayo.

While this is starting to sound both incredibly delicious and incredibly spicy. Trust me that it really is not too spicy since the spice builds slowly with each bite. And as always, you can adjust the spice in the recipe for more mild tastes.

I would love to take full credit for this recipe, but when Peter and I first thought of making Szechuan Peppercorn Burgers, we stumbled upon this recipe, and it sounded too good to pass up so we had to give it a try and share it with y’all.

PS. We also made ours double burgers — bun, patty, mayo, cucumber, patty, mayo, cucumber, bun. Amazing.

Another tip: when you are toasting your spices (including the Szechuan peppercorns) make sure you have a window open or some good ventilation in your kitchen to avoid unintentionally pepper spray-ing everyone in your studio apartment…

Szechuan Peppercorn Burger

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes


Szechuan Peppercorn Burger


  • 1 tsp Szechuan peppercorns, stems removed
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 small star anise pod
  • 1 tsp light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp red chili paste
  • 1 2in piece of ginger, peeled and grated
  • 2 tsp rice vinegar
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 hamburger buns
  • 1 medium cucumber, peeled into thin ribbons
  • 1 tbsp vinegar
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes


  1. In a small skillet, toss Szechuan peppercorns, cumin, red pepper flakes, and star anise over miedum-high heat until fragrant
  2. Grind spices together into a powder in a mortar and pestle
  3. In a small bowl, mix ground spices with brown sugar
  4. In another small bowl, combine mayonnaise, chili paste, ginger, and rice vinegar
  5. In a medium sized bowl coat cucumber ribbons with vinegar and season with red pepper flakes
  6. Form ground beef into 4 equal sized patties
  7. Season well with salt and pepper on both sides
  8. Cook burger patties to your liking over high heat on a grill or a pan on your stove top
  9. During the last minute of cooking, generously sprinkle spice and sugar mixture over burgers
  10. Serve patties hot on burger buns with cucumber topping and mayonnaise spread


Adapted from Serious Eats Sichuan Peppercorn Burgers With Chili-Ginger Mayo and Cucumber Pickles

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