The patty melt is a sensational combination of burger and sandwich. There are a few key ingredients that go into your typical, traditional patty melt, like caramelized onions melted cheese, crispy toasted bread, and of course a burger patty.
Once you combine all these, you might be wondering whether you have more of a sandwich or a burger, but once you bite into it, that won’t really matter.
I’ll show you how to make a patty melt from scratch, and while this may not be the easiest kind of burger to make, it is definitely worth the effort.
A lot of the restaurants that serve the patty melt will have their own version of it, and I’ll show you how to make some of those as well after I cover how to make a patty melt burger.
You may want to experiment with it a little bit and test out some different recipes to see which version you like the most. This isn’t your typical burger or sandwich, though, so I suggest starting with the base recipe and then branching out from there to personalize it the way you like.
How to Make a Patty Melt at Home
- 1 pound of ground chuck
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 2 sliced yellow onions
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1 tablespoon of onion powder
- 2 tablespoons of butter
- 8 slices of American cheese
- 8 slices of white sandwich bread
- 1 teaspoon of ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup of thousand island dressing
- Start by cooking up your onions. Heat up the olive oil in a saucepan on medium heat, and once the oil is warm, you can add any onions. Cook them in the oil for about 10 minutes until they are caramelized. Be sure to stir them every so often so that they do not burn.
- In a bowl, mix together your ground beef, salt, pepper, and onion powder until they have combined. Don’t mix too much or you will make an overly tough patty.
- Divide your beef mixture into or equal parts and make patties with that mixture using your hands. We want the patties to fit the bread, so form them into square patties. It’s best to make up your patties right before you are ready to cook them to keep it at room temperature.
- Heat up your grill or skillet on high and add your patties in. If you are cooking them on an outside grill, you can cover the grill with the lid.
- Cook your patties until they become encrusted on the bottom and release from the pan or grate easily. This should take about 2 minutes, if you’re cooking on high heat. Try to flip them over at this point, but don’t force them. If they are not ready to release easily, then they need to cook for longer. Once they have cooked on one side, you can flip them over and cook for an additional two or three minutes. You do not need to adjust the heat, and this duration and heat level should make medium burgers. You can cook them for longer if you want burgers that are well done.
- Let the burgers rest for a few minutes while you prepare the rest of the patty melts. Spread your slices of American cheese on your bread add thousand island dressing and then your patties. Top the patty with caramelized onions.
- Preheat your skillet and put half a tablespoon of butter into the skillet for each sandwich you’re cooking. Once the butter is melted, you can drop your sandwich into the skillet and press it down with a spatula. Cook for about 2 to 3 minutes on medium heat until the bread is golden brown on one side. Then, flip the bread over and grill on the other side to cook your patty melt sandwich. This should take about two to three minutes on each side to cook the patty melt fully.
This method for how to make a patty melt sandwich is about as simple as you can make it. They are usually served sliced down the middle with additional thousand island dressing on the side that you can dip them into.
How to Make a Whataburger Patty Melt
Whataburger is known for its patty melt, which is made in his own signature way. There are a few differences between that patty melt and the recipe I just gave you. If you want to make a Whataburger patty melt at home, here’s what you need to do.
Don’t just use any kind of white bread, but use Texas toast instead. You can find this offered frozen in the grocery aisle in most major grocery stores. Texas toast tends to be thicker than your normal slices of white bread and is usually imbued with butter and garlic. It tends to be square, which is why it is ideal served with American cheese and square beef patties.
Instead of thousand island sauce for dipping and filling, Whataburger uses a proprietary pepper sauce in their sandwiches. You can buy pepper sauce or make it yourself, ensuring the right level of heat for your patty melt.
Another difference between this restaurant’s patty melt and the more traditional patty melt is the use of Monterey Jack cheese. You can use any kind of cheese you want for your patty melt, but if you want that authentic Whataburger experience at home, then you need to use Monterrey Jack cheese in your recipe.
These are all the differences you need to know if you want to know how to make ground beef in the Whataburger way.
Variations of The Patty Melt
Of course, you can make your patty melt however you like as long as it has some of the same base ingredients. It’ll still be a patty melt by all definitions.
The cheese you use is up to you, as is the type of toast and beef. Some people will use a spicy beef or a flavored beef, such as one seasoned with taco seasoning to give it a Mexican style flavor.
You can also use all sorts of different dipping sauces based on what your preferences and tastes are. Some people will avoid any type of salad dressing as a dipping sauce instead use melted cheese. This is especially good if you’re trying to make a patty melt for kids who might be less likely to enjoy salad dressing as a dipping sauce.
You might even want to try making a homemade dipping sauce in filling sauce for your patty melt. I know some people will make one from a mixture of barbecue sauce, hot sauce, Dijon mustard, and mayonnaise and refrigerate for up to three days to make a homemade sauce you can use for salad dressing or to put in a patty melt sandwich.