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Oklahoma Onion Burger

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The famous onion burger may not be fancy but it’s still a must try recipe for burger fans.

If you haven’t tried an Oklahoma onion burger, it’s time you did.

I first tried one when I was a teenager, travelling through Oklahoma and was treated to a famous burger joint called Sid’s Diner.

Back in those days I could eat a lot more and ended up eating three.

The onion burger was simple but out of this world delicious. I decided I had to copy the recipe way back then and I’ve been making these ever since.

onion burger

I like to double stack my onion burger but you could just use a larger patty.

The history of the onion burger

The idea of the Olkahoma Onion Burger stems from the Depression. Beef was an expensive luxury so lots of onions were added to bulk it up. 

It worked and people loved a good onion burger so there was no need to stop making them when times got better.

The caramelised, thinly sliced onion that is cook right onto the burger makes it!

Sure, I love fancier burgers too like this smash burger and my spicy smash burger but I always have a few onion burgers on the grill when I’m serving burgers.

Which meat?

I have no idea what the meat combo was back in the Depression. It probably wasn’t great.

When I make onion burgers, I use a 70% meat to 30% fat mix. When ordering from my butcher, I ask for lean chuck, skirt and rump and then ask them to mix in some good fatty bits such as short rib and brisket.

What equipment do you need?

A heavy bottomed cast iron pan is ideal if you want to cook indoors.

I like to cook onion burgers outdoors on a Thuros BBQ with a fitted plancha. The model I use is the B2 if you’re interested. 

You might also like to get yourself a good burger press, a melting dome and a good sharp metal spatula is a must. These are the products I use and yes, I do get a small payment should you decide to purchase.

Building the onion burger…

Personally, I like to make smaller patties and stack them. It’s a bit neater and easier to eat.

Many people prefer to make one larger patty. It’s really up to you.

As you will see from the photos below, there isn’t much to a good onion burger. These famous burgers rely on the quality of the meat and that caramelised onion for flavour. That and perhaps a slice or two of yellow burger cheese. 

Step by step photos…

Toasting burger buns

Buttered and toasted buns are a must. I do this before cooking the meat.

Beef balls on grill

When your cooking surface is flaming hot, place a few loosely formed beef balls on it.

Pressing burgers

Smash the burger balls into thin patties. I use a piece of grease proof paper so that the burger press doesn’t stick to the meat.

burger patties cooking

As the burger patties cook, the juices will begin to rise. Time to season and add the sliced onion.

Onion burgers

Flip the burger patties over and add cheese slices if you like. The onion will caramelise to the bottom of the patty.

melting dome over burgers

If you have a melting dome or a metal bowl, place it over the patties to help the cheese melt.

Onion burger

As mentioned above, you could also form larger patties for a single burger.

Prepared toasted bun

This burger is simple. I use my own burger sauce on the bottom bun and mustard on the top bun.

What is in the burger sauce?

I have made a lot of different burger sauces over the years.

This one is different as very little ketchup is used and I also add a couple squirts of hot chilli sauce which is optional. 

If you would like to try it, the recipe follows:

Grate one onion. Mix it with 125ml (1/2 cup) mayonnaise and add 1 tbsp ketchup, 1 tbsp yellow mustard, a few good squirts of Worcester sauce, hot chilli sauce (to taste and if you like) and salt and pepper to taste.

That’s it. Easy!

onion burger

My big one patty onion burger with lots of delicious caramelised onion.

If you like this onion burger recipe, you might like to try some of these too…

Smash burger prepared

Give this Smash Burger a try too! The link is below.

If you like this smash burger recipe, you might like to try some of these too…

Smash Burger
Spicy Smash Burger
In-n-Out Double Double
BK Whopper with cheese
Big Mac

Yield: 4

Oklahoma Onion Burger

Oklahoma Onion Burger


  • 4 hamburger buns, buttered generously
  • 680g (24oz) minced beef 70% - 30% meat to fat ratio
  • Burger seasoning (see above)
  • 2 onions, thinly sliced
  • 8 slices of yellow burger cheese
  • 1 batch burger sauce (see above)


  1. Heat a plancha or pan over direct heat. While it's heating up, toast your buttered buns to your liking and set aside.
  2. Divide the meat into 8 equal sized, loosely formed balls.
  3. When the pan or plancha is flaming hot, place your burger balls in the pan. This may need to be done in batches depending on the amount of cooking surface you have.
  4. Place a piece of grease proof paper on one of the burger balls and smash it down with a burger smasher or similar. Hold it down for at least 10 seconds. Repeat to form the remaining patties.
  5. As the meat cooks, you will see it cooking through from the bottom. When it is just a little pink on top, season with the burger seasoning (see above) and top each patty with a good handful of sliced onion. Flip the burger. It is important to press down with your spatula against the cooking surface when flipping so that none of that amazing char gets left behind.
  6. The onion will begin to fry and the heat will rise upwards to finish cooking the burger patty. Top each patty with a piece of yellow burger cheese. When if begins to melt, place the patties on top of each other to make double burgers. Then cover with a melting dome or metal bowl so that the cheese melts to perfection.
  7. Slather some of the burger sauce on each bottom bun and mustard on the other bun.
  8. Place the cooked burgers on top and then cover with the top bun to serve.

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