Classic patty melt recipe with buttered and toasted rye bread, juicy burger patty, succulent grilled onions, and melted swiss cheese that goes great with fries or homemade chips.
I love making this class diner burger. It’s a family favorite and I’ve been making them for years to break up the dinner monotony. Patty melts are almost as quick as a standard burger and I usually have all of the ingredients handy.
You’ll need some butter, onions, ground beef, swiss cheese, and some bread.
Rye, marbled, or pumpernickel bread all do really well in this recipe.
Clean and slice 1 large onion, or two small onions and cut the onion into half-moon slices about ½-inch thick.
Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a large skillet using medium-high heat and add the sliced onions.
Cook the onions stirring occasionally until onions are tender.
You can add a little bit of color, just don’t let them cook until they are mushy.
Remove the onions from the pan and set them aside.
Form 1/2 pound ground beef into 2 patties shaped similar to the bread you’re using, and make them about 1-inch larger than the bread.
The ground beef will shrink some while cooking. You want meat that goes all the way to the edges when it’s done.
I like 80/20 ground beef for burgers. It has a bit more fat that keeps the burgers moist. You can use a lower fat beef, it will just be a bit drier.
Cook the hamburger patties in the skillet over medium-high heat, flipping at least once until cooked to your desired doneness. We prefer our’s well-done and this takes about 5 minutes per side.
Remove the burgers from the pan and set them aside with the onions.
Wipe out the pan and add half of the bread, buttered side down.
Top each bread slice with a meat patty, a slice of swiss cheese, or two if you like yours super cheesy, half of the onions, followed by the last bread slices, butter side up.
Heat over medium heat until the bottom slice of bread is toasted.
Carefully flip the patty melt over and cook until the cheese has melted and the bread is toasted.
Alternatively, you can toast the bread in a separate pan before assembling the sandwiches.
If you toast the pans in a separate skillet, you will need to top the beef patties with the cheese and onions and heat over medium to medium-high heat in a skillet with a lid until the cheese has melted. Once the bread is toasted and the cheese has melted, you can assemble the sandwich on a plate. Make sure you keep the toasted sides on the outside of the sandwich.
I’ve made this patty melt recipe both ways and it really depends on how many I am making.
When making more than 2 I prefer the alternative way. I feel like there isn’t enough room in my skillet to flip them without making a mess of things.
I make this sauce only because it is requested by guests. Where I came from, Patty Melts were served without a sauce. The point was to let the grilled onions, swiss cheese, and rye bread shine.
Patty melt sauce is simply a burger sauce. It’s the one we use with regular burgers sometimes.
Mix 4 tablespoons of mayonnaise, not salad dressing, with a couple of tablespoons of French dressing, a couple of tablespoons of sweet pickle relish, 1/4 teaspoon of onion powder, 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder, and a pinch of black pepper. Allow it to sit while you are making the patty melts.
If you don’t have French dressing, ketchup will do in a pinch.
You could even use 1000 Island dressing straight from the bottle, or do like we did growing up – eat the darn thing plain!
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Recipe for Patty Melt
- 2 Tablespoons Butter softened and divided
- 1 large or 2 small Onions sliced thick
- 4 slices Rye or Marbled Bread
- 1/2 pound Ground Beef 80/20
- 4 slices Swiss Cheese
- In a skillet, melt 1 tablespoon of butter over medium heat and add sliced onions.
- Cook, stirring occasionally until onions are tender, but not mushy.
- Remove from skillet and keep warm.
- Use remaining softened butter, butter one side of each slice of bread and set aside.
- Form ground beef into 2 patties slightly larger than a bread slice.
- Heat skillet to medium-high heat and cook meat patties until desired doneness is reached. Set aside.
- Work quickly so the meat does not get cold, wipe out the skillet and place back on medium heat.
- Add 2 slices of bread to the skillet with the buttered side down.
- Place a meat patty on top of each slice of bread.
- Top each meat patty with 2 slices of Swiss cheese.
- Top each with half of the onions and the last slices of bread, butter side up.
- Leave in the skillet until bread is lightly toasted.
- Carefully flip the sandwich and toast the other side.
- Remove from skillet.
- Serve with patty melt sauce if desired.
- Any ground beef can be used. 80/20 makes a juicier burger patty.
- I prefer marbled Rye bread for appearances.
- Bread can be toasted in a seperate pan for convenience. Leave the burger patty in the skillet and top with the cheese and onions, cover with a lid and heat until the cheese is melted.
- How to Make Patty Melt Sauce – Combine 4 tablespoons mayonnaise with 2 tablespoons French dressing, 2 tablespoons sweet pickle relish, 1/4 teaspoon of onion powder, 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder, and a pinch of black pepper. Allow it to sit while you are making the patty melts. If you don’t have French dressing, ketchup will do in a pinch. Store leftover sauce for up to 1 month in the refrigerator. Great on regular burgers too!