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

Fried Onion Burgers are an Oklahoma specialty, with a crisp crust of caramelized onions on top of the meat patty. It’s a method that can transform burgers into an irresistible meal.

There is no raw onion on top of the meat. Instead, the 1/8-inch thick onion slices are salted and wrung dry with a clean towel. To make a patty, ground beef is formed into balls and pressed against a mound of onions, causing the onions to stick.

These burgers are traditionally topped with slices of American cheese. That’s fine, but I prefer sliced provolone or cheddar. If desired, butter and grill the buns before topping with lettuce, tomato, and pickles.

Burgers with Fried Onions

4 servings per recipe


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

1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt, divided

3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper, divided

1 pound ground beef (85% lean)

1 tbsp. unsalted butter

1 tsp. vegetable oil

4 slices (4 ounces) American cheese

4 hamburger buns, optionally toasted


  1. In a colander, toss onions with 1 teaspoon salt and set aside for 30 minutes, tossing occasionally. Transfer the onion to a clean dish towel, gather the edges, and squeeze dry. Season with 1/2 teaspoon pepper.
  2. On a rimmed baking sheet, divide the onion mixture into four equal mounds. Divide the ground beef into four equal portions and shape into balls. Place beef balls on top of onion mounds and press firmly to adhere onions and make 1/4-inch thick patties.
  3. Season the patties with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. In a 12-inch nonstick skillet, melt the butter and oil over medium heat. Transfer patties to skillet, onion side down, and cook until onion is deep golden brown and crisping around the edges, 8 to 10 minutes. Turn patties over, increase heat to high, and cook until well browned on the second side, about 2 minutes. Place the burgers on a platter and set aside for 5 minutes. Place 1 slice of American cheese on the bottom of each bun. Burgers should be served on buns.

“The Modern Pantry” by America’s Test Kitchen

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