Patty Melt Recipe

4.72 from 32 votes

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What is a Patty Melt? Patty Melts are one of those rare culinary gifts that give you maximal taste and satisfaction in return for minimal ingredients and effort.

Made famous by little mom and pop diners across our land, this is one American classic that you can easily make at home in your kitchen. It’s one of our many easy ground meat recipes.

Side view close shot of grilled patty melt cut and stacked
This just may be the easiest patty melt recipe ever!
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How to Make a Patty Melt

This recipe for Patty Melts could not be any easier or more delicious.

Using just a few ingredients, a full and satisfying meal can be at your fingertips and on your table in no time at all.

Raw onion cuts in saute pan and cutting board
Caramelized onions start out raw in the skillet.

Caramelizing onions takes a little time but the process elevates their taste to gourmet status, and all you need is just a part of butter and a hot skillet.

Onions being caramelized in saute pan with wooden spoon
With heat and time, the onions melt into a sweet and gooey spread.

Mixed in with some pan-fried ground beef and a couple of slices of Swiss cheese, these Patty Melts take on a sweet and juicy character all of their own.

The patty melt is ultimately sandwiched together by two slices of grilled rye bread.

Close up of 2 shades of caramelized onion laid out side by side
Photo credit Alex Lau

Here are some great tips for when it comes to caramelizing onions, from Bon Appeit

What’s in a Patty Melt?

Burgers being fried in skillet
You can prepare and refrigerate the hamburger patties for this patty melt recipe ahead of time.

Not Your Typical Hamburger Patty Melt Recipe

The burger patty transforms ordinary ingredients into an ooey, gooey, sweet and salty caramelized delight.

Talk about comfort and taste; these melt burgers deliver both of these things and so much more.

Substitutions and Variations

This Patty Melt can also be made into a great leftover beef sandwich! Using leftover prime rib, or leftover chuck roast, or beef brisket, you can slice and sear the meat from any of these instead of using hamburger. The results are always mouthwatering!

Whole grilled sandwich with meat, cheese and caramelized onion on plate
Use your cheese of choice on this melt sandwich! We love Swiss cheese in this variety.

Prep ahead for this Patty Melt!

  • Making the caramelized onions for this melt burger is the longest part of the process. You can easily do your onions a day ahead of time, then store them in an airtight container until ready to use. Just reheat in the pan, and you’re good to go!
  • By the same token, you can form the hamburger patties up to 8 hours ahead of time. Wrap them up nice and tight and keep in the fridge until your hot skillet is ready for them.

This may be the best hamburger patty recipe you’ve ever tasted!

Do you have a secret hamburger patty recipe? We would love to know about it!

Also, everyone has a favorite hamburger joint, what’s yours? We want to know!

Give this rye bread sandwich a try and please, let us know what you think of it!

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Patty Melts

4.72 from 32 votes
This sweet and salty sandwich is a warm comfort food that’s packed with juicy flavor simple satisfaction. Recipe from The New York Times
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 50 minutes
Total: 1 hour
Yield: 4 servings


  • 2 lbs ground beef, minimimum 20% fat content
  • 2 large sweet onions, thinly sliced
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter, divided
  • 8 slices Swiss cheese
  • 8 slices rye bread
  • salt and pepper, to taste


  • To caramelize the onions, start by melting 2 tablespoons of the butter in a heavy skillet, over high heat. When butter foams, stir in the onions and add a sprinkle of salt. Allow onions to sit in pan for about a minute, without stirring. After a minute or so, stir over high heat for about five minutes until the onions become soft and translucent.
  • Lower the heat to medium, and continue to cook while stirring, for about 30 to 40 minutes until the onions take on a golden brown color and are fully melted. Then, remove onions from skillet and set them aside.
  • To cook the burgers, begin by adding the remaining butter to the skillet, over medium heat. Divide the beef into four equal portions and flatten slightly to form patties that approximately the same size as the bread. Generously with salt and pepper.
  • Increase skillet heat to high and place patties into the skillet. Be sure to leave plenty of space between them and allow to cook for 3 minutes without turning. Use a spatula to flip each patty and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Remove from skillet and allow to rest.
  • Lower heat to medium and place four slices of rye bread into the skillet, using the butter and fat to grill the bread. Place a slice of cheese on each piece of bread, add one of the cooked patties, top with caramelized onions, another slice of cheese, and then another slice of bread.  Press down on the patties, using a spatula. After about 2 minutes, turn each patty over and grill the other side.  (It might be necessary to and a couple more tablespoons of butter to the skillet at this point.) Cook another couple of minutes until the bread is brown and crispy and the cheese is fully melted. Cut each patty in half and then serve.



To save time,  consider caramelizing the onions a day ahead of time. Refrigerate them and simply reheat them slowly when you are ready to make the patty melts.


Calories: 1056kcal, Carbohydrates: 33g, Protein: 59g, Fat: 74g, Saturated Fat: 35g, Cholesterol: 243mg, Sodium: 646mg, Potassium: 761mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 3g, Vitamin A: 820IU, Vitamin C: 0.2mg, Calcium: 534mg, Iron: 6.3mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Main Course, Sandwich
Cuisine: American
Tried this recipe?Mention @plattertalk or tag #plattertalk!
Updated from Original Post of February 9, 2017

Delicious Sandwich Recipes

Meet the Platter Talk Guys

Dan & Scott split their time between Wisconsin and Southwest Florida and are dads to six boys. Good food runs through their veins, and they love showing others how to cook easy recipes.

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  1. 5 stars
    I LOVE patty melts. They are almost always the one thing I order if they are on the menu. I love this recipe so I can start making them at home and not waiting until I hit a diner.

  2. 5 stars
    I love adding roasted bell peppers in my hamburger/meatloaf recipe. I am addicted to peppers so I typically put them in just about everything! I will probably add them to this patty melt recipe too! More veggies are always a bonus, right? I will switch out the rye bread because I am not a fan of fennel/caraway seed but it will be just as good!!

    1. Loving the idea of roasted peppers in this baby! Thanks so much for the comments!

  3. 5 stars
    My hubby likes to order patty melts when we dine out, I have never made them for him at home! This recipe is a winner!

  4. 5 stars
    The carmelized onions are one of the best ingredients in this patty melt, plus the gooey cheese, and the toasty rye bread. Ok, the whole sammie is one epic sandwich!!!

  5. 5 stars
    You had me at ooey, gooey, sweet and salty caramelized deliciousness, pretty sure that sums up this meal. YUM!

  6. 5 stars
    My mouth is watering just looking at these pictures! I love patty melts, the combination of rye bread, onions and cheese is SO good!