Cuban Fritas (Seasoned Cheeseburgers With Shoestring Potatoes and Spicy Sauce) Recipe

J. Kenji Lopez-Alt

The frita is a classic regional American burger created by Cuban immigrants in South Florida. While the standard is a thin, griddled patty with a spiced ketchup-based sauce, my take on it is a slightly larger version designed for the backyard grill with a boldly seasoned pork and beef patty, a creamier sauce, and more vegetables. The crisp shoestring potatoes that are the hallmark of a traditional frita remain the same.

Recipe Details

Cuban Fritas (Seasoned Cheeseburgers With Shoestring Potatoes and Spicy Sauce) Recipe

Prep 15 mins
Cook 35 mins
Total 50 mins
Serves 4 servings


  • 1 potato, peeled and cut into 1/8th inch matchsticks with a mandoline or by hand

  • 1 quart canola oil

  • Kosher salt

  • 1/4 cup ketchup

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise

  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin, divided

  • 1 tablespoon paprika, divided

  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced (about 2 teaspoons), divided

  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar

  • 1 teaspoon sugar

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • 12 ounces ground beef

  • 8 ounces ground pork

  • Sliced American, cheddar, Swiss, or pepper jack cheese, as desired

  • Sliced onions, shredded iceberg lettuce, sliced tomatoes, and pickles, as desired

  • 4 toasted hamburger buns


  1. Rinse cut potatoes in a bowl of cold water, changing water as necessary until water runs clear. Drain carefully and dry on paper towels.

  2. In a deep cast iron skillet, fryer, or wok, heat oil to 350°F. Carefully lower potatoes into oil. Cook potatoes without moving, adjusting heat to maintain temperature, until bubbles from potatoes slow down and potatoes are a pale golden blond, about 3 minutes. Continue cooking, agitating potatoes occasionally with a metal spider or tongs until potatoes are deep golden brown, about 3 minutes longer. Carefully transfer potatoes to a paper towel-lined bowl and season immediately with salt. Allow to cool completely. After cooling, potatoes can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

  3. In a small bowl, combine ketchup, mayonnaise, 1 teaspoon cumin, 1 teaspoon paprika, 1 clove of garlic, vinegar, and sugar. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.

  4. Combine beef, pork, remaining cumin, remaining garlic, and remaining paprika in a large bowl and mix by hand just until combined. Form into 4 large burger patties.

  5. When ready to serve, season burger patties generously with salt and pepper and cook burgers to desired doneness on a hot grill or in a skillet on the stovetop (135°F for medium) topping with cheese for the last minute of cooking as desired. Transfer to a plate and allow to rest for 5 minutes.

  6. Place onions, lettuce, tomatoes, and pickles (if using) on bottom buns and top with burger patties. Spoon sauce on top of patties, cover with fried shoestring potatoes, and close burgers, pressing down gently until they just hold together. Serve immediately.

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Nutrition Facts (per serving)
785 Calories
49g Fat
49g Carbs
36g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 785
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 49g 63%
Saturated Fat 12g 58%
Cholesterol 108mg 36%
Sodium 1114mg 48%
Total Carbohydrate 49g 18%
Dietary Fiber 4g 13%
Total Sugars 9g
Protein 36g
Vitamin C 10mg 52%
Calcium 146mg 11%
Iron 6mg 35%
Potassium 1038mg 22%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)