These homemade Wisconsin butter burgers are incredibly indulgent burgers loaded with sauteed onions, pickles, and of course, lots of butter. This is not a recipe for anyone counting calories! However, this Wisconsin classic might just be the ultimate in comfort food, and it is easy to make in the comfort of your home!
What are they?
Wisconsin is famously the dairy state. We love butter and cheese, and this Wisconsin butter burger recipe is loaded with both. These great burgers are pan-fried in butter, topped with melted cheddar cheese, and then an additional pat of butter is melted on top of the patty in lieu of any condiments. Finally, this glorious concoction is served on a toasted buttered bun.
You will find authentic butter burgers served at some of the best greasy spoon diners across the state, such as Solly's Grille, Kopps in Milwaukee, Krolls West in Green Bay, and others. However, Culver's butter burgers are the most famous. Ironically though, this popular fast food chain doesn't serve authentic butter burgers. Culver's burgers are only called butter burgers because they lightly butter the crown of the bun. Those aren't the butter-soaked burgers we are talking about today.
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Ground beef - I prefer to use ground chuck, but any 80/20 beef will work well. For the best burger, you don't want overly lean ground beef or the patty won't be very juicy.
- Yellow onion - A sweet onion is a perfect substitution.
- Cheddar cheese - Cheddar is the best choice but American cheese can be substituted.
- Dill pickle slices
- Hamburger buns - You want fresh hamburger buns from the grocery store's bakery department to truly replicate an authentic butter burger.
Note on additional toppings - The best part of this tasty meal is its simplicity, so I do not recommend adding additional toppings like fresh mushrooms, ketchup, or mustard.
How to make them
Begin making your homemade butter burger by first sauteing the chopped onions in a large cast iron skillet set over medium heat on the stove top with two tablespoons of butter and cook until translucent. Then remove the cooked onions from the skillet and set aside in a small bowl.
Form thin burger patties by separating the meat into equal portions, then press the ground beef into a flat patty slightly wider than your bun. If you have large hamburger buns, you may want to use a larger hamburger patty.
Add one tablespoon of butter to the hot skillet and add your raw burger patties. Cook until they are nicely seared underneath, then flip once and let finish cooking. Add a cheese slice to the top of the burgers after flipping.
While the burgers cook, butter the interior of each bun and toast in a separate skillet set over medium heat. Then assemble your butter burgers by adding the meat patties to the bottom bun and topping in a small pat of butter, followed by the sauteed onions, pickles, and top bun. Serve with onion rings or French fries along with a milkshake. Finally, for a true Wisconsin feast, you'll want to fry up some cheese curds as well!
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Wisconsin Butter Burgers
- 2 Large skillets
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 large yellow onion chopped
- 1 stick butter divided
- 4 slices cheddar cheese
- 12 pickle slices
- 4 hamburger buns
- salt and black pepper
Butter Burger Prep
- Divide your ground beef into 4 equal-sized chunks and firmly press them flat until they are slightly wider than the hamburger bun.* Sprinkle patties with salt and black pepper.
- Generously butter the cut side of each hamburger bun.
Making Butter Burgers
- Add two tablespoons of butter to a large skillet set over medium heat and add the chopped onions. Saute until tender, then remove the onion and set aside.
- Add an additional tablespoon of butter to the skillet and cook your hamburger patties for 2-4 minutes per side. Add a slice of cheese after flipping the patty and continue cooking until the patty reaches your desired level of doneness and the cheese has melted.
- While the patties cook, place the hamburger buns buttered-side down in a separate skillet and toast until golden brown
- Place each patty on a toasted bun and top with a thin pat of butter (approximately 1 teaspoon), then add sauteed onions, pickles, and the top hamburger bun. Serve immediately.