This classic patty melt recipe is an all-American sandwich. There are few things better than meat topped with caramelized onions, melted cheese and served toasted on delicious rye bread.
I would say just about anyone loves a good, juicy beef burger on a perfectly soft bun. The patty melt is all of this and more, but, it is taken to the next level because instead of the soft bun, rye bread is spread with mayonnaise then toasted until brown and crispy. When you bite through the crispy bread, through the sweet onions, to the creamy melted cheese and finally to the burger, it really is the ultimate bite, after bite… I have to stop, my mouth is watering!
When it comes to a classic patty melt recipe, there are 4 non-negotiable components. Rye bread, a beef burger patty, simply seasoned, melted Swiss cheese and caramelized onions. Any other additions are optional and a personal choice and welcome at any time, but the classic always comes first for me.
Because of the shape of the rye bread, I feel it’s important to shape the beef patties accordingly. Rather than the standard round burger, which leaves you with a circle of meat in them middle of this long piece of bread, oval is the better shape. This way the entire slice of bread is covered with beef patty. You’ll see in the video how well this works to fill the bread from end-to-end so you are getting juicy burger in every bite of this marvelous sandwich.
A pan of sweet, browned caramelized onions being mixed with tongs
This patty melt is quick and easy to make, except the onions do need some time to cook. They cook low and slow for at least 30 minutes, but what you get are the sweetest, softened, best tasting way to cook onions known to man.
In closing, I just want to share the experience of my first patty melt after moving to California from England. It was in the iconic Mel’s Diner on Sunset Blvd in Los Angeles (I couldn’t have planned it better) and I thought I may never eat a regular burger again.
For tips, check out the video below:
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 2 large yellow onions peeled and sliced thin
- 1½ pounds ground beef
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- Salt and pepper
- 8 slices Swiss cheese
- 8 slices rye bread
- 4 tablespoons mayonnaise
- To a skillet, add the oil and butter over medium-low heat. When the butter is melted, add the onion, toss to coat in the butter and oil. Toss every 5 minutes until the onions are soft and golden brown. About 30 to 40 minutes.
- When the onions are ready. To a bowl, add the beef and season with the Worcestershire sauce. Divide the meat into 4 equal portions and shape into oval patties. Season both sides of the burgers with salt and pepper.
- Heat a cast iron skillet or griddle pan over medium heat. Add the burgers to the pan and don't turn or move until they develop and brown crust, about 3 minutes. Turn and repeat. Remove the burgers to a plate and wipe out the pan. Turn down the heat on medium-low.
- Line up 4 slices of rye bread and top with 1 slice of Swiss cheese on each. Add a burger to each, top with caramelized onions then another slice of Swiss. Top with the slices of rye bread and spread an even layer of mayonnaise onto the tops of the rye bread.
- Add as many of the sandwiches to the pan that will fit, mayonnaise side down. Spread mayonnaise over the tops of the bread on the sandwiches in the pan. Cover with foil and cook until the cheese starts to melt (make sure the bottom doesn't burn). Turn and brown the other side.