Learn how to make a patty melt like your favorite diner and you'll soon be slinging out juicy burgers from your kitchen like a short-order cook, whenever the craving hits!
The classic patty melt put the 'greasy' in greasy spoon diners. Glistening in butter, beef drippings, and melted cheese - this is one of those meals that I sometimes enjoy ordering at a restaurant rather than making homemade, simply because then I can pretend to be ignorant of how much butter and fat is loaded into each mouthwatering bite.
Oh, but they are so easy to make and soooo worth every sinful calorie!
Ingredients & Substitutions
- Sourdough bread or Rye Bread - Toasted rye bread is the classic choice, but tangy sourdough is a wonderful substitute. Texas toast is sometimes used, but it is too thick to make the best patty melts.
- Fresh ground chuck - You can substitute 80/20 ground beef patties.
- Mild Cheddar cheese - Avoid American cheese unless absolutely necessary, or your patty melt will taste like a fast food burger. A slice of Swiss cheese can be substituted.
- Red onion - Yellow or sweet onions can be substituted. Sauteed onions are the traditional choice, but sweet caramelized onions are a wonderful upgrade.
- Mayonnaise - Mayo is the only condiment needed, but yellow mustard can be added to cut through the richness of this juicy burger.
How to make it
Despite this being classic Americana diner fare, you can easily make a homemade patty melt sandwich in your own kitchen that rivals your favorite greasy spoon restaurant. The process is slightly different than typical homemade burgers, but still easily executed.
First form the hamburger patties. Press them out to be considerably larger than your slices of bread. The patties shrink as they cook and you will want them to still fill the bread.
TIP: An easy way to do this is to put each unformed patty into a sandwich-sized ziplock bag and start pressing on it. It will form into a nice large rectangular patty, and keep your kitchen clean!
Next, melt butter in a large skillet (I like using a cast iron skillet for this) with a handful of sliced onions. Mix the onions around to coat with butter and saute until tender. Remove these from the pan or off to the side and add a ground beef patty dusted with salt and pepper to the hot skillet. Cook the patty over medium-high heat until cooked through, flipping once.
Now you are ready to assemble your perfect patty melt. Top a buttered slice of bread with cheese and add the beef patty, another slice of cheese, and a generous serving of cooked onions. Spread mayo (or my homemade burger sauce) on the inside of the remaining slice of bread and place on top of the patty melt. All that is left to do is to place the patty melt in the skillet to brown the exterior of your bread on both sides, and enjoy!
How to serve these
To replicate a traditional diner experience. I recommend serving your juicy patty melt with any of the following sides.
- French fries - Either traditional fries, or upgrade to Truffle fries!
- Sweet potato fries
- Half sour pickle
- Malt or milkshake
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How to Make a Patty Melt
- Very lightly toast the bread to firm it up, then set aside.
- Divide ground chuck into three equal portions and flatten each into a large rectangle, 1-2" longer than the bread. (it will shrink during cooking) Then liberally salt and pepper each side of the meat.
- In a large skillet set over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons of butter and add onions. Saute until browned. Remove and set aside.
- Set skillet to medium high heat and add 2 tablespoons of butter then add hamburger patties, working in batches as needed. Flip once and cook until the patties reach your desired degree of doneness.
- While patties are cooking spread 1 tablespoon of butter to exterior of each piece of bread and spread the inside of slice for each sandwich with mayo. Place buttered side down and add a slice of cheese to each slice of bread.
- Place the cooked patty on the non-mayoed side of bread, top with onions, and cover with the mayoed bread.
- Place patty melts in a clean skillet on medium heat and let cook until the toasted bread turns golden brown and cheese has melted, flip and repeat. Then serve immediately.
This recipe was originally published on FoxValleyFoodie.com on January 9, 2017.