Pace Picante Sauce Super Bowl Challenge: Picante Mini Burger

January 14, 2023


As a Featured Publisher with, I get to receive quite a few products to try. 

One of the recent challenge was to create a recipe for Super Bowl Party, using Pace Picante Sauce.  I don’t even understand the rule of American Football, yet I like parties, and of course food. I also don’t mind seeing different kind of dishes on Super Bowl party tables besides nachos and Mexican layered thingy.  (Ever since “The Biggest Loser“,  I’m scared of going near them, feeling like I won’t be able to stop and end up with 10,000 calories!)

Right before Christmas, I received two bottles of Picante Sauce from FoodBuzz.  One Mild, and one Medium.

According to the Pace Foods website, Picante Sauce is:

Ideal for cooking, since it’s smoother than salsa with the perfect balance of zesty sauce and crisp vegetables.

Created by David Pace over 60 years ago as a unique cooking sauce to add delicious flavor to all kinds of dishes.

With more rich sauce to go around, it helps dishes stay savory and keeps them from drying out.

A fast, easy way to spice up everyday meals and add flavor to meat, vegetables, pasta, rice, or any dish.

I like the last part.  When I make meatballs and burgers, I put a lot of sautéed vegetables for flavor and healthier eating.  Yet using Picante Sauce definitely make things easier especially when people don’t have them on hand.

Even though I used Medium, I found the sauce to be on the mild side. I personally like salsas which has lots of vegetables, and not very saucy, but this could be used for salsa for dipping in a pinch. 

As I started my experiment, I found its sauciness helps turkey stay moist, yet because it’s not that spicy, I had to add quite a bit, that makes the mixture soggy.  So I had to add extra panko to firm it up so that they firm up a bit.  This may not be an issue when you are using red meat, yet my husband doesn’t eat four-legged animal flesh, so it’s a dilemma I have to deal with every time.  My original plan was to make meat balls.  First attempt, I cooked them in the oven and the cheese inside ran out like there’s no tomorrow.  When I bit into it, there were lots of holes inside — where the cheese use to be!  I thought about calling them “MexSwiss Meatballs”, but I decide to ditch that idea.  

So, on my second attempt, I chose to fry them in the skillet with some flour to protect the cheese.  While I was rolling them in the skillet to color all over, they started to lose shape, so I flattened them into mini-burgers.  Thanks to the FLOUR POWER, the cheese stayed inside.

That accident actually worked out to my favor.  They came out as light and fluffy, flavorful mini-burgers which look like cookies, especially when they were adorned with Trader Joe’s cranberry apple butter on top!  Pretty enough to fool the picky eaters, perhaps?

Picante Mini Burger

Ingredients: (makes about 36 patties)

  • 1 lbs ground meat (I used turkey)
  • 1/2 cup or more Pace Picante Sauce, Medium (If using “Mild”, add hot sauce to taste)
  • 1/3 cup cottage cheese
  • 2 TBS sherry
  • 1 clove garlic (grated)
  • 1/2 ts anchovy paste or fish sauce
  • 1-2 TBS Extra Virgin Olive Oil if using  Ground Turkey
  • 1/2 cup Panko moisten with Milk
  • Salt and Pepper
  • flour for dusting
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil for pan-frying


  1. Add panko mixture, picante sauce, cottage cheese, sherry, salt and pepper to the ground meat.  Mix well.
  2. Shape the meat mixture into 2-inch patties (about 1/2 inch thickness).  Dust with flour on both sides, especially if using ground turkey — if you don’t, cheese may run out. (Easy and saves a lot of flour if you use mesh tea infuser.)
  3. Heat olive oil in a skillet on medium-high, and pan fry until cooked through and brown on both sides.
  4. Serve hot.  Optionally top with more picante sauce (best if it’s reduced by half) or cranberry apple butter (looks like cookies!), or mixture of the two.

Variation:  I used cottage cheese because that’s what I had in the fridge, yet also like Feta cheese especially with ground lamb.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 myrkth January 15, 2023 at 2:24 pm

These were so tasty! If you get a chance try it out, very easy to make and fun to eat!!

2 Jenn AKA The Leftover Queen January 20, 2023 at 10:15 am

Those mini burgers look great - what a wonderful way to feature the Pace sauce!

3 Sue Duda January 25, 2023 at 12:21 pm

This sounds like a great idea for us northern Wisconsin people. A tasty treat to warm us up after skiing or snowshoeing! Thank you for posting!

4 mari January 25, 2023 at 1:18 pm

Hey Sue, thanks for your comment.
This will be also good to serve at your concerts, art receptions, and trick your grandchildren to eat more vegetables! I normally make these with sauteed vegetables (leek or onion, celery & carrots) or grated vegetables. I like the cookie-like looks with cranberry butter…. You have lots of cranberries in your freezer, right? : )

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