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Recipe: Fried Onion Burgers, an Oklahoma specialty, make an irresistible meal

Fried Onion Burgers feature sliced onions mixed in with the ground beef. (Photo courtesy of America's Test Kitchen)
Fried Onion Burgers feature sliced onions mixed in with the ground beef. (Photo courtesy of America’s Test Kitchen)

Fried Onion Burgers are an Oklahoma specialty, a version that boasts a crisp crust of caramelized onions on the meat patty. It’s a technique that can turn burgers into an irresistible meal.

The raw onion isn’t layered on top of the meat. Instead, the 1/8-inch thick onion slices are salted and wrung out in a clean towel to remove excess water. Ground beef is formed into balls and pressed against a mound of onions to form a patty and in the process the onions stick.

Traditionally these burgers are topped with slices of American cheese. That’s fine, but I prefer sliced cheddar or provolone. If you like, you can butter and grill the buns, and then top with lettuce, tomato, and pickles.

Fried Onion Burgers

Yield: 4 servings


1 large yellow onion, halved, placed cut side down, cut into 1/8-inch thick crosswise slices

1 1/2 teaspoons salt, divide use

3/4 teaspoon black pepper, divided use

1 pound (85 percent lean) ground beef

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 teaspoon vegetable oil

4 slices American cheese (4 ounces)

4 hamburger buns, toasted if desired


  1. Toss onions with 1 teaspoon salt in colander and let sit for 30 minutes, tossing occasionally. Transfer onion to clean dish towel, gather edges, and squeeze onion dry. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon pepper.

  2. Divide onion mixture into 4 equal mounds on rimmed baking sheet. Divide ground beef into 4 equal portions, then gently shape into balls. Place beef balls on top of onion mounds and flatten beef firmly so onions adhere and patties measure 1/4-inch thick.

  3. Season patties with remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Melt butter and oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat. Using spatula, transfer patties to skillet onion side down and cook until onion is deep golden brown and beginning to crisp around edges, 8 to 10 minutes. Flip patties, increase heat to high, and continue to cook until well browned on second side, about 2 minutes. Transfer burgers to platter and let rest for 5 minutes. Place 1 slice American cheese on each bun bottom. Serve burgers on buns.

Source: “The Modern Pantry” from America’s Test Kitchen

Award-winning food writer Cathy Thomas has written three cookbooks, including “50 Best Plants on the Planet.” Follow her at @CathyThomas

Source: Berkshire mont

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