I’m happy to introduce you to my idea of the most perfect burger ever: Onion Burgers! It’s kinda strange that this is only the second recipe for burgers I’ve shared on this website – the first being Turkey Burgers – because I absolutely love them.
This recipe is very similar to the Smashburgers with Caramelized Onions recipe in my digital cookbook ‘We Got Food at The House‘ but different enough to warrant a post all on its own. I’ll bring that Smashburgers recipe over to the site soon.
What You’ll Need to Make Onion Burgers
Feel free to jump to the full recipe, but here are useful notes about the ingredients you will need to make this Onion Burgers recipe:
- Ground beef: My preferred burger blend is half ground chuck and half ground sirloin because I’m not a fan of fatty cuts. You can feel free to go with half ground short rib or brisket instead of chuck if you’d prefer a higher fat content. If you’re using packaged ground beef from the grocery store opt for around 90/20. These Onion Burger patties will get a lot of moisture from the onions, after all and we don’t want them to fall apart.
- Vidalia onions: If you can’t find Vidalia onions just use whatever kind of sweet onions you can find. These caramelize nicely and have the perfect flavor to build these Onion Burgers with.
- Seasoned salt, cracked black pepper, garlic powder: Normally I’d season the outside of the burger patty and only with kosher salt, but these are different. Flavor and unqiness is what I’m after. These shouldn’t taste like burgers you’ve had anywhere else!
- Cayenne pepper: If you check out the photo below I like them much spicier than this written recipe calls for. I opted for a small amount of cayenne to give it a manageable heat level. If you can’t handle any spice at all, omit the cayenne pepper.
- King’s Hawaiian Hamburger Buns: Remeber this is my perfect burger. I think using King’s Hawiian Original Sweet rolls for these burgers really take them over the top. I’ve tried them on brioche and homemade hamburger buns and I always come back.
- Amerikan cheese: The only topping called for! If you dont’ count the onions and mayo, that is. Yellow or white cheese, it doesn’t matter. It melts beautifully and completely. If you want to add other toppings go right ahead.
- Mayonnaise: If you’re like me you’ll put mayonaisse on everyone elses and Miracle Whip on your own, but that’s up to you. Feel free to use whatever sandwich spread or sauce you prefer.
How to Make Onion Burgers
Full instructions are included in the recipe below, but here is a basic overview of what you’ll need to do, along with some important tidbits to help you make the most of this Onion Burgers recipe:
- Prepare your ingredients. While it’s preheating toss together the sliced onions and granulated sugar in a small bowl and them aside. In another bowl add the ground beef. Sprinkle in the seasoned salt, cracked black pepper, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper (if using). Stir together with a wooden spoon to distribute the seasonings evenly. Separate the meat mixture into 8 evenly sized portions and roll them into balls between your palms. Don’t use too much pressure, just enough to keep them together.
- Warm your skillet. Place a 12″ cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat and allow it to preheat for 2 minutes. After 2 minutes add the vegetable oil and butter to the pan. Once the butter has melted add the onions to the pan and stir around to coat in the melted butter and oil. Spread into an even layer and reduce the heat to medium. Allow the onions to cook, stirring occasionally, until they are completely softened and browned, and starting to char a bit around the edges – about 10-15 minutes.
- Cook the onions. Once the onions are nicely browned and starting to carmelize either remove them from the pan or shove them to the side. If you decide to keep them in the pan you’ll need to stir them ever so often to make sure they don’t burn. I recommend removing them if this is your first time making these.
- Smash the patties. Increase the heat to medium-high and arrange your desired amount of onions in the center of the pan – I usually do a heaping dinner spoonful – and place one of the balls on top of them. Using a heavy metal turner – or your sturdiest spatula – and wooden spoon press down evenly on the meat so that it smashes down into a patty, as flat as you can get it (or as you like). This is what makes them Onion Burgers: the onions become part of the burger patty by doing this. You’ll use the wooden spoon to push down on the top of the metal turner to apply more pressure than you would normally be able to.
- Scrape and flip. Let the Onion Burger cook undisturbed for 4 minutes, then use the metal turner to scrape the onion patty up off of the surface and flip. Give it another smash to flatten further and secure the onions into the patty and allow to cook for another 3-4 minutes, or until they reach your desired temperature inside. While they’re cooking go ahead and spread the mayo on the burger buns.
- Build the Onion Burgers. If you’re adding cheese, add it to the patty 1 minute after you flip it and cover the pan with a lid to encourage it to melt completely. Once it’s melted place the top of your hamburger bun on it, then lift the burger out of the pan, allow the excess grease to drip off, and transfer it directly to the bottom bun. Serve immediately, or place on a baking sheet in a 175°F oven to keep warm until you’re ready to eat. Dassit!
Plant-Based Onion Burgers
You can watch me make a vegetarian version of these Onion Burgers with Impossible Patties on IGTV. To make them entirely plant-based substitute the butter with vegan butter or more oil, and use vegan cheese or no cheese at all. And vegan buns, of course. For a real treat pair them with my Gas Station Potato Wedges!
Here are the Pinterest pins: