This caramelized onion burger recipe takes homemade burgers to the next level with just a few simple ingredients! A flavorful bun is loaded with a juicy patty, melted cheese, sticky caramelized onions, and a delectably tangy sauce. This delicious burger is absolute perfection!
I love this great recipe because it combines three of my favorite things I have written about extensively. The first, of course, is my wildly popular tutorial for crafting obscenely tender hamburger patties. Seriously, it will turn you into an instant burger snob. Combine a perfect patty with sweet and sticky caramelized onions, and a tangy burger sauce, and you have perfection on a bun!
Ingredients & Substitutions
- Ground beef - 80/20 ground beef or ground chuck is recommended. Don't use very lean ground beef or the patty won't be juicy.
- Olive oil - Butter is a great substitute.
- Provolone Cheese - Blue cheese, Swiss cheese, or Gruyere cheese would each be fantastic substitutes.
- Caramelized onions - You will need two large yellow onions, or sweet onions, along with 1 ½ tablespoons of butter.
- Hamburger buns - Onion rolls, brioche buns, or pretzel buns are my recommended choices.
- Balsamic vinegar
How to make Caramelized Onions
To make deliciously sweet caramelized onions simply add two sliced onions to a saute pan set over medium heat along with a couple tablespoons of butter and slowly saute for about 30 minutes (you can't rush the caramelization process), or until the onions are brown and sticky. As they cook sugar will be coaxed out of the onion, making them incredibly sweet and flavorful.
When the onions have turned a deep golden brown, deglaze the pan with water, wine, or balsamic vinegar to remove all of the burnt-on fond stuck to the bottom of the hot skillet. This stuff is PURE FLAVOR! When it loosens from the bottom of the pan, it will soak in with the onions. For an even more detailed explanation of this process, please check out my How to Make Caramelized Onions tutorial!
How to make Balsamic Mayo
I top my Caramelized Onion Burger with a tangy balsamic mayo burger sauce. It is a perfect fit for this burger recipe because the acidity of balsamic vinegar and the sweetness of caramelized onions are a classic combination.
Balsamic mayo can be made by mixing ¾ teaspoon of balsamic vinegar and ¼ cup of mayo together in a small bowl. Adding fresh ground pepper to taste is a great way to deepen the flavor further. This condiment is even better when made in advance because the flavors will meld together.
How to make caramelized onion burgers
A good burger starts with a great patty. Don't overwork your meat when forming the hamburger patties. The more it is worked, the tougher it will be. Form the ground beef into rounds, then press firmly with the bottom of a plate or burger press to flatten them.
Tip: Using parchment paper will prevent the raw patties from sticking to the cutting board, plate, or your hands.
Adding a little oil to a hot cast iron skillet helps your burger form a flavorful crust while cooking. Set your frying pan over medium-high heat and cook the hamburgers until the tops begin to darken in color, then flip and let cook for a couple minutes further.
Tip: NEVER press a burger while it is cooking, or you will expel the juices and have a very dry patty.
When the burger is flipped it is a great time to add the Provolone cheese so it melts as the patty finishes cooking. Add the cooked onions after the burger is on the bun.
Every time you make a burger, toast the inside of the buns. This improves the overall texture and will help it taste more like a restaurant-caliber burger. Spreading some of the burger sauce on the bottom bun also prevents it from becoming soggy because the juice from the patty can't penetrate oil-based mayo.
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Caramelized Onion Burgers
- 1 pound ground beef (ground chuck is perfect)
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- salt and black pepper to taste
- 3 slices provolone Cheese
- 6 tablespoons caramelized onions
- 3 hamburger buns
- ¼ cup mayo
- ¾ teaspoon balsamic vinegar
- fresh ground black pepper to taste
- Combine all ingredients and set aside.
Caramelized Onion Burgers
- Divide the ground beef into 3 equal sections and gently form them into rounds. Press each round firmly with a flat object, like the bottom of a plate, to form into patties. Season generously with salt and black pepper.
- Set a large skillet over medium-high and add cooking oil. Once the oil is shimmering add burger patties, cooking in batches if needed. Cook until a brown crust forms on the bottom and the top is beginning to turn a deep red. Flip patties, top with cheese, and cook for a few minutes longer, until the cheese melts.
- Lightly toast the buns, then spread Balsamic Mayo on the inside of the hamburger buns. Add burger patty to the buns and top with ~2 tablespoons caramelized onions per burger, or to taste.
- Let the burgers rest briefly to allow juices to redistribute, then serve and enjoy!
This recipe was originally published here on June 6, 2018.