Star Anise Burgers

The secret ingredient is... star anise!
star anise burgers

Recipe by Dorie Greenspan

"Thirty years ago, I ate an amazing beef dish that had some flavor I couldn’t quite place. It was elusive and licoricey, and it made the food taste extraordinary. I asked the chef, and he told me it was star anise. I’ve since added it to all kinds of beef dishes, and it always gets oohs and aahs.” –Dorie Greenspan, food writer and author of Dorie’s Cookies

Tip: If you have time to mix the ground beef with the spices a few hours ahead, the flavors will have more time to permeate the meat. Refrigerate after mixing, and bring to room temperature before cooking.

  • Cook Time
  • Prep Time
  • 4Servings



  • 2 tbsp. sweet soy sauce (also known as kecap manis) or hoisin sauce
  • 1 tsp. ground star anise or Chinese five-spice powder
  • 3/4 tsp. chili garlic sauce
  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 1/4 lbs. ground beef

Toppings and Assembly

  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 tsp. ground star anise or Chinese five-spice powder
  • 1/2 tsp. chili garlic sauce
  • Pinch of ground ginger
  • 4 hamburger buns, toasted
  • 1 large tomato, sliced
  • Shredded iceberg lettuce or whole romaine leaves


1. For the burgers, in a large bowl, mix the soy sauce, star anise, chili garlic sauce, ginger and 1 tsp. salt. Add the beef and gently mix with your hands until evenly blended. Shape the meat mixture into 4 patties.

2. In a small bowl, mix the mayonnaise, star anise, chili garlic sauce and ginger; season the mayo with salt.

3. Heat a grill or a large skillet over medium-high. Cook the burgers to the degree of doneness that you like, about 3 minutes per side for medium-rare. Serve on the buns with a swish of the mayo and the sliced tomato and lettuce.

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