Peppercorn-Crusted BBQ-Ranch Burgers with Chili-Lime Crunchies


Gluten-free Peppercorn-Crusted BBQ-Ranch Burgers with Chili-Lime Crunchies are simple craveable!

Peppercorn-Crusted BBQ-Ranch Burgers with Chili-Lime Crunchies |

Happy Memorial Day, everyone! Many thanks today to the men and woman who have served and are currently serving our country, for whom this day is truly a celebration of. To you and your families, THANK YOU.

How was your weekend? Ours was a blast and thankfully it’s not over yet. Saturday morning my Mom and I headed down to the Farmer’s Market bright and early thinking we’d beat the crowds. WRONG. It was bananas! The whole city’s been cooped up for so many months that I think everyone’s making up for lost time and not willing to miss a minute of outdoor time.


This gentleman also tagged along. What a jolly old soul!


I didn’t pick up any produce at the market, saving my dollars for herb plants instead. I’m really stepping up my gardening game this year, can’t you tell? #sarcasm


Obviously the potted cilantro was kind of a disaster, what with me attempting to water a tiny pot with a blasting hose, but the others went into the ground well. We have a hill on the side of our pond that I call “herb hill”. The previous owners planted oregano, mint, thyme and sage on it, which come back every spring, but I decided to add my own touch this year.


I planted a few parsley seedlings, cilantro, and some basil plants that I’ve been babying in pots over the past couple of weeks. Grow! Grow! Grow!


Saturday night we went over to a friend’s house who have a baby girl one day younger than Lincoln, and had a blast catching up. We brought Mojito Fruit Salad as our contribution to the grill out and the leftovers tasted amazing coupled with FlipFlip Wines’ sparkling Pinot Grigio as a night cap on the back deck once we got home. Insta Sparkling Wine Mojito – so fresh!


It rained most of the morning and evening on Sunday, but Cool McShades and I got out for a 3 miler in between storms. Hot and humid – my favorite!


We’re grilling today, and if you are too but aren’t quite sure what’s on the menu yet, MAKE THESE BURGERS. Peppercorn-Crusted BBQ-Ranch Burgers with Chili-Lime Crunchies, to be exact!

Peppercorn-Crusted BBQ-Ranch Burgers with Chili-Lime Crunchies |

Ground beef is simply seasoned with Ranch dressing mix then crusted with freshly crushed black peppercorns. After grilling they’re topped with melty cheddar cheese and ranch-laced BBQ sauce then loaded with homemade chili-lime crunchies (aka baked seasoned corn chips,) on top. Ben and I inhaled these burgers when I made them last week.

As fancy as these burgers sound, they are so simple to make. Everyone’s going to be impressed not only by the name, but of course the taste. Ben declared them to be the best burgers I’ve ever made, and I heartily agree. Ranch+ cracked black pepper + BBQ sauce + crunchies = a recipe for success. The burgers kind of taste like pepper-crusted bacon, if you’ve ever had that. Different animal, I know, but the flavor is similar. So amazing!

Peppercorn-Crusted BBQ-Ranch Burgers with Chili-Lime Crunchies |

Start by making the Chili-Lime Crunchies which provide an awesome crunch every time you bite into the burger. You’ll need 4 white corn tortillas. I found these stone-ground white corn tortillas at Trader Joe’s and I’m not sure I’ll ever buy another brand. They were so fresh and have just three ingredients: stone ground corn, water, and traces of lime. Love that!


Stack the tortillas then slice then into 1/2″ strips and then cut in half.


Add the strips to a large bowl then mist or drizzle with extra virgin olive oil or nonstick spray, squeeze in the juice from 1/2 lime, and then season generously with chili powder and salt. Make sure you don’t skimp on the seasonings – add more than you think you should.

Tip: swap the lime juice for nutritional yeast and you’ve got homemade Chili-Cheese Fritos. YOU’RE WELCOME.


Spread the strips onto a baking sheet then bake for 7-8 minutes at 350 degrees or until crunchy then set aside. FYI: my tortillas didn’t turn golden brown so make sure you don’t over bake and burn yours.


Next get to work on the crushed peppercorn crust for the burgers, which really makes ’em special. I’ll show you how to get the perfect amount of heat, too! You’ll need 1/3 cup whole black peppercorns and a mortar and pestle.


Now I know whole peppercorns and a mortar and pestle aren’t in every kitchen, so here’s a couple of options if you don’t have one or both:

  1. Crush the peppercorns in a food processor.
  2. Add the peppercorns to a freezer-strength ziplock bag and crush with a meat mallet.
  3. Crush the peppercorns in a spice mill or coffee grinder (just don’t let them get too fine.)
  4. Omit the crushed peppercorn crust and season the ground beef with a normal amount of whatever pepper you have on hand. They’ll still be fabulous!

I crushed the peppercorns in my Bump and Grind (another Curtis Stone consolation prize!) until they were coarsely crushed. Not powdery, but not too chunky either. Once crushed, pour the peppercorns into a shallow bowl or dish then set aside.


Finally, mix up your meat. This is my favorite part of the recipe because the burger patties contain just two ingredients: 2lbs lean ground beef, and a 1oz packet of Ranch dip mix. That’s it!


Roll the meat into 6 even-sized balls.


Then, one at a time, roll the beef balls into the crushed pepper then brush off anything that doesn’t stick. We want a nice crust be we also don’t want to blow our faces off after the first bite. Trust me, I am a spice wimp, and the amount of pepper that was left after brushing off the excess was perfect.


Smash the beef balls between your hands to form patties then go light the grill.


Add the patties to a preheated grill over medium-high heat for 3 minutes with the lid down then flip, cook for 2 more minutes with the lid down, add slices of cheddar cheese, and then close the grill lid and cook until the cheese has melted.




Place the burgers onto grilled buns then top with a mixture of equal parts BBQ sauce and Ranch dressing, and then pile on the Chili-Lime Crunchies. Open wide!

Peppercorn-Crusted BBQ-Ranch Burgers with Chili-Lime Crunchies |

Peppercorn-Crusted BBQ-Ranch Burgers with Chili-Lime Crunchies

serves 6


Gluten-free Peppercorn-Crusted BBQ-Ranch Burgers with Chili-Lime Crunchies are easy, unique, and impressive.


  • 2lbs lean ground beef
  • 1oz packet Ranch dressing mix
  • 1/3 cup whole black peppercorns, crushed
  • 1/4 cup Ranch dressing
  • 1/4 cup BBQ sauce
  • 6 slices cheddar cheese
  • 6 gluten-free or regular buns
  • For the Chili-Lime Crunchies:
    • 4 white corn tortillas, cut into 1/2" strips lengthwise then cut in half
    • 1/2 lime
    • extra virgin olive oil
    • chili powder
    • salt


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees then add tortilla strips to a large bowl. Mist or drizzle with extra virgin olive oil or nonstick spray then drizzle with lime juice and season generously with salt and chili powder. Toss to coat then spread out on a baking sheet and bake until crunchy, 7-8 minutes, then set aside to cool. My tortillas did not turn golden brown so make sure you don't over-bake and burn the strips.
  2. Meanwhile combine ground beef and Ranch dressing mix in a large bowl, mix until just combined, and then shape into 6 even-sized balls. Pour crushed pepper into a shallow bowl or dish then roll each beef ball in the pepper and brush off any excess that doesn't stick. Press beef balls between palms then shape into patties. NOTE: if you can’t crush your own whole peppercorns, just season the ground beef with ground pepper.
  3. Add burgers to a preheated grill over medium-high heat then grill for 3-4 minutes on one side with the lid down. Flip then grill for 3 minutes with the lid down then add cheese and close lid. Continue grilling for 2 minutes or until burger has reached your desired level of doneness. Remove burgers to a plate then let rest for 5 minutes.
  4. Combine Ranch dressing and BBQ sauce in a small bowl then stir until combined. Place burgers on buns then top with BBQ-Ranch sauce and Chili-Lime Crunchies and then serve.

This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats,


You can totally smell the ranch seasoning in the hot burgers right off the grill, and the smokey-sweet ranch and BBQ sauce dressing on top is divine. I found myself dipping my burger into the mixture over and over. Can’t forget those crunchies which, along with the peppercorn crust, make these burgers totally unique. Hope you enjoy, and have a wonderful rest of your holiday weekend!

Peppercorn-Crusted BBQ-Ranch Burgers with Chili-Lime Crunchies |

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  1. YUM. Love that crunch on top!!

  2. These look so perfect for summer! Another idea if you don’t want to lug out your food processor to grind the peppercorns- an electric coffee grinder probably would work well.

    • Kristin 05.29.2014

      That’s a great idea, Tara, I’ll add that to the list of options!

  3. Faun 05.26.2014

    I’m afraid you’ve mixed up Memorial Day and Veterans’ Day – Memorial Day is to honor soldiers who have died in combat. Veterans’ Day is to honor all veterans. It’s a common mistake.

    • Kristin 05.26.2014

      I didn’t, that’s why I said “served”. I think today is also a great day to recognize those who are currently serving!

  4. Kelly Mitchem 05.26.2014

    These crunchies look awesome! Hope you all have an excellent holiday!

  5. YUM! I lovvvvve peppercorn steak and burgers! These look fab.

    And what a fun weekend! :)

  6. r.a. 05.26.2014

    I hope you have good luck growing the cilantro. I grow many herbs but cannot get cilantro to grow, it quickly bolts in the heat. I don’t know how they sell it so cheaply at the store, I would figure it would be very expensive as it is so difficult to grow.

    • Kristin 05.26.2014

      I planted one cilantro seedling on herb hill because there’s a few random sprigs of it randomly popping up (I have no idea how since they weren’t there last year!) then I also did one in the pot so I could bring it in on really hot days because I think you’re right – cilantro never seems to do well in the super high heat!

  7. Whitney B. 05.26.2014

    These burgers sound amazing! Can’t wait to try them. And I’m so jeslous of your herb garden. I’ve been wanting to do this for a few years. Fresh herbs are the best! I’m inspired to start my own now! :)

  8. Chicago Jogger 05.26.2014

    Yum! I never would have thought to make my own “crunchies” – and I agree with you about the Trader Joe’s tortillas. I discovered them recently and they are now my absolute favorite!

  9. Karla Brizzi 05.26.2014

    Great-looking recipe! Lincoln, as always, steals the show in his adorbs lil cardigan!
    What buns did you use in your photos, and where did you get them? They look like a perfect size and texture to pair up with these amazing burgers.

    • Kristin 05.27.2014

      They are Udi’s gluten-free buns which I didn’t love right out of the package, but are really good when lightly grilled!

  10. Matt Robinson 05.26.2014

    The flavors, the ingredients, the seasoning, everything about this burger is absolutely amazing!!!

  11. Christina 05.26.2014

    Great post!!

  12. em@simplypresents 05.26.2014

    Your garden reminds me of mine. I’m actually working on improving mine this year!

  13. Alexandra 05.26.2014

    Ummm, this looks so delicious and crunchy!!

  14. Mel 05.27.2014

    Confused here. Do you mix the entire packet of ranch dressing with the beef? If so, what ranch dressing gets mixed w the BBQ sauce at the end?

    • Kristin 05.27.2014

      Yep the whole packet goes into the beef, then regular ranch dressing gets mixed with BBQ sauce.

  15. you are giving me SUCH farmer’s market envy. holy cow.

  16. Dena 05.27.2014

    I did NOT listen to you and should have! I was so scared of all that pepper, so I cut it down some and I could hardly taste it. Why didn’t I trust you??? LOL!! But, the burgers were fantastic, and the crunchies were da bomb!! (I had to use flour tortilla because my small town did not have white corn, only yellow, and I hate yellow corn tortillas). Thanks Kristin for a great recipe and I will never doubt you again :)

  17. klee 05.27.2014

    Memorial Day is a day to remember those who have died while serving in the armed forces.

    Veterans Day is a day to honor those who have served in the armed forces.

    • Kristin 05.27.2014

      That’s why I said “served”. I think Memorial Day is also a great day to recognize those who are currently serving.

  18. Oh my gosh, I have to make my own Chili Cheese fritos! Almost as much as I have to make those burgers! Thanks for the recipe.

  19. Natasha 05.27.2014

    These burgers sounds incredible, however I cannot move past the mention of a Mojito Fruit Salad, please share that recipe!!!!!!

  20. Megan 05.27.2014

    My mom and sister and I went to the Farmer’s Market Saturday too. I remembered you talking about pupusas and we decided to try some. DELICIOUS! Thanks for the tip!

    • Kristin 05.29.2014

      Yayy!! I have yet to have one this year – can’t wait to dig in soon!

      • Sarah 07.17.2014

        Hey Kristin – do you happen to know if pupusas are gluten free? I haven’t had one since my diagnosis because I wasn’t sure, but thought you might have scoped it out :)

        • Kristin 07.22.2014

          I don’t which is why I haven’t had one ALL summer – sad! I always want to ask at the stand but their line is usually super long and I feel bad. Maybe next weekend I will. I’ll report back!

  21. I always like a good burger recipe and I’m sure I won’t be disappointed by this! It looks so juicy and flavorful!

  22. Brittney 05.27.2014

    I made these tonight with some ground turkey I had on hand & I think I’ll be adding a packet of ranch to every burger we make from now on- turkey or otherwise. Great flavor!

  23. Carla 05.27.2014

    I’ve never tried growing my own herbs. I didn’t realize that they would come back up year after year. I may have to rethink this.

    I’m not a burger fan but you made this look so delish. You are a food photography master! Plus I figure I can use turkey instead of beef. ;)

  24. Julie 05.27.2014

    I’m sorry that you have Celiac- no fun! But, thanks for the delicious recipes and cool ideas! I’ve been doing it for over 3 years and haven’t came up with the tortilla strip idea!

  25. Looks like a fantastic weekend and an even better burger!

  26. These crunchies just take the burger to a whole ‘nother level … Oh and not to mention that crushed peppercorn crust! Goodness! That is just DELICIOUS!

  27. Steph 05.28.2014

    Where have you found nutritional yeast in dsm? I’m curious about other ways to use it/benefits of it.

  28. Jill 05.29.2014

    Do you know how to make crispy onion strings? I’d love to learn, they are my favorite burger topping. Great recipe!

  29. […] onions, and shrimp, fresh tomatoes and olives, guacamole, shredded cheddar, plain Greek yogurt and chili lime crunchies from Iowa Girl Eat’s […]

  30. Tre 06.07.2014

    That is one delicious looking burger! Made with lots of love!

  31. […] Peppercorn-Crusted BBQ Ranch Burgers with Chili-Lime Crunchies (pictured above) by Iowa Girl Eats have a long name but they look so delicious! This is sure to be […]

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  33. I don’t normally crave burgers but OMG the second I saw this it was insta-drool!!

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