Jump to Recipe Print Recipe

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

Peppercorn-Crusted BBQ-Ranch Burgers with Chili-Lime Crunchies | iowagirleats.com

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 | iowagirleats.com

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 | iowagirleats.com

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 | iowagirleats.com

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


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


serves 6

  • 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, http://iowagirleats.com.


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 | iowagirleats.com