Enjoy a juicy, cheesy, grilled Patty Melt at home! This classic diner sandwich is easy to make with fresh ground beef, caramelized onions, and melty swiss cheese.
There’s just something amazing about classic American diner food. Sandwiches like Patty Melts and Tuna Melts are really quite simple but made in a way that makes you feel warm and fuzzy and nostalgic inside.
What is a Patty Melt?
I don’t know if it’s the slow-sauteed caramelized onions or the generous amount of melty Swiss cheese that makes a patty melt amazing. Maybe it’s the juicy burger, pan-seared to perfection, or the buttery, toasty rye bread.
Probably, it’s all of these delicious things put together in one perfect patty melt sandwich!
Don’t worry, I’m about to show you exactly how to make the best Patty Melt at home, and it will be just as magical as the one served at your favorite sandwich shop.
And if you really love burgers, be sure to check out my Juicy Lucy cheeseburger recipe. It’s another diner favorite, featuring a hamburger that is stuffed and gooey with melty American cheese.
And for the vegans or vegetarians in your life, make them some of my delicious Bhaji Burgers, packed with Indian spiced veggies.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- A Classic Sandwich – Everyone loves this crispy sandwich with melty cheese and a freshly made burger patty inside.
- Caramelized Onions– The thing that makes a patty melt really special is the slowly caramelized onions in every bite. They are savory and sweet and pair perfectly with beef and Swiss cheese.
- Versatile Recipe – It’s easy to change up the ingredients in this recipe to suit your preferences or to include what you have on hand. Just like at a restaurant, you can choose a different type of bread, another kind of cheese, or add toppings like horseradish sauce or even ketchup!
Patty Melt Key Ingredients
Here’s what you need to make this perfect sandwich:
- Rye Bread: This is the classic bread choice for a patty melt, but the recipe will work with other types too. Try dark pumpernickel bread, thick Texas toast, sourdough, or marble rye.
- Onions: Slice 2 yellow onions thinly and get ready to spend some time perfectly caramelizing the slices.
- Ground Beef: Each patty melt has a generous quarter pound of meat on it. I used ground chuck, but a leaner version will also work.
- Swiss Cheese: Sliced Swiss is added to the top and bottom of each sandwich to make a slightly messy, gooey, and perfect melt.
Complete list of ingredients and amounts can be found in the recipe card below.
How To Make a Patty Melt
- Caramelize the Onions: In a large skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of butter and add the sliced onions. Cook, stirring occasionally for 2 minutes, then add a tablespoon of water and continue cooking and stirring. Add more water whenever the onions dry out. Keep going for about 15 minutes until the onions are soft and have reached a rich brown color. Remove the onions from the pan and set aside.
- Cook the Patties: Season the beef with salt and pepper, then shape into balls and flatten it into burger patties. Heat a tablespoon of butter in the same skillet, season the patties again, and then add them to the pan. Press down with a spatula to flatten. Cook on one side for 2 minutes, or until a brown crust forms, then flip and cook on the other side for 1-2 minutes. Remove the burgers, and wipe down the pan with paper towels.
- Toast the Bread: Spread softened butter and mayonnaise on one side of each piece of bread, and place the bread in the skillet. Toast for 1-2 minutes, or until golden brown. Butter the other side of the bread, flip, and cook for a minute, then reduce the heat on the pan to medium-low.
- Assemble: To two of the pieces of bread, add two slices of cheese, a beef patty, caramelized onions, and two more slices of cheese. Cover with the other two slices of bread and allow the cheese to melt.
Use an oven-proof skillet for this recipe so that you can put the whole thing in the oven to melt the cheese quickly.
- Don’t Rush the Onions. It will take at least 15 minutes to get the onions to sweet caramelized perfection.
- Add More Cheese! Try using two types of cheese instead of just Swiss. Swiss plus American cheese is delicious, or you could add shredded cheddar or gruyere to the mix.
- Try Different Protein. Any type of ground meat will make a delicious patty melt. Use ground turkey, ground chicken, or vegan ground meat like Beyond Burger.
- I like to use both mayo and butter to get a delicious toasted crust on the bread, but you can also choose just one or the other.
- For extra flavor, rub a clove of garlic on the toast before assembling the sandwich.
- Add a Sauce: Horseradish sauce, Chick Fil A Sauce, Fry Sauce, or your favorite burger sauce will all be tasty here.
A homemade patty melt sandwich is meant to be enjoyed just after making it! I don’t suggest trying to make it ahead of time, although you can make the caramelized onions up to 2 days ahead of time and store them in the fridge.
What To Serve With A Patty Melt
Swiss cheese is the classic cheese option for a patty melt. It has the perfect melty texture and savory flavor. American cheese is also a great option, or a combination of both.
Yes, technically. A patty melt is a cheeseburger that is fitted inside a toasted sandwich rather than served on a bun.
Yes, Any type of skillet, flat griddle, or even a Blackstone will work perfectly for this recipe.
There’s no need to go out to eat when you can make this classic, traditional patty melt recipe at home! Pin this recipe for the next time you’re looking to do something different with ground beef for dinner.
- 6 tablespoons (78 grams) butter softened
- 2 yellow onions thinly sliced
- ¼ cup (60 ml) water
- 8 ounces (225 grams) ground beef I used chuck 80%
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 4 slices rye bread
- 2 tablespoons (30 ml) mayonnaise
- 8 slices swiss cheese
- In a large skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of butter and add the sliced onions. Cook while stirring occasionally for 2 minutes, then add a tablespoon of water and continue cooking and stirring while spreading the onions evenly on the pan. Keep adding water whenever the onions dry out and start sticking to the pan. Cook until the onions are soft and caramelized (reached a rich brown color). The process takes about 15 minutes. Remove the onions from the pan and set them aside.
- Season the beef with salt and pepper, and shape into balls and flatten them and season with salt and pepper again. Then in the same skillet melt 1 tablespoon of butter, and add the beef and flatten as you would do with a smashed burger. Cook on one side for 2 minutes without turning to allow a brown crust to form, then turn and cook on the other side for 1-2 minutes. Remove onto a plate, and set aside. Wipe the skillet clean with paper towels.
- Spread softened butter and mayonnaise over one side of the bread, and place in the skillet to toast for 1-2 minutes or until golden brown.
- Butter the other side, flip and cook for a minute then reduce the heat to medium-low and layer 2 slices of cheese followed by the beef patty, caramelized onions, 2 more slices of cheese, and cover with bread. Allow to cheese to melt. Remove onto a plate, slice in half and serve.
- Use an oven-proof skillet for this recipe so that you can put the whole thing in the oven to melt the cheese quickly.
- Don’t rush the onions. It will take at least 15 minutes for the onions to get to a rich brown caramelized color.
- Try using two types of cheese instead of just Swiss. Swiss plus American cheese is delicious, or you could add shredded cheddar or gruyere to the mix.
- Any type of ground meat will make a delicious patty melt. Use ground turkey, ground chicken, or vegan ground meat like Beyond Burger.
- To Store: Keep leftovers in the fridge and enjoy within 2 days. Try to eat your sandwich directly after making it though, as it will be the best then!
- Caramelized onions can be made up to 2 days ahead of time, keep them in a sealed container in the fridge until you’re ready to make lunch.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.
© Little Sunny Kitchen