Oklahoma Fried Onion Burgers

Oklahoma Fried Onion Burgers

This Oklahoma smash burger recipe with caramelized onions takes the classic burger to the next level. Short rib patties get slammed thin on the griddle, then topped with gooey American cheese and sweet, crispy onions for the ultimate flavor packed burger.

Oklahoma smash burgers with caramelized onions are juicy, beefy and packed with flavor. The thinly sliced onions get nicely browned and softened from the hot griddle, infusing the patties with sweetness. Served on a toasted brioche bun with melted American cheese, this burger is an absolute winner.

What type of onion works best? 

For caramelized onions that cook quickly enough to top these smashed burgers, white onions are best. They have less moisture and sugar than yellow or red onions, so caramelize faster over high heat rather than burning.

Can I use pre-ground beef instead of grinding my own? 

Absolutely. Choose a fatty ground chuck for the best flavor and texture. Just be careful not to overwork the meat when forming patties so they stay tender.

What if I don’t have a meat grinder or food processor?

You can buy pre-ground beef or ask your butcher to freshly grind beef chuck for you. For food safety, grind meat just before cooking.

Do the burgers have to be smashed paper thin? 

Smashed thin burgers are highly recommended to maximize crispy lacey edges. But pressing the meat slightly thicker to around 1/3 inch can also work well. Just be sure to press down with the spatula periodically while cooking to promote contact with the hot skillet.


  • 2 lbs (1 kg) boneless beef short ribs, cut into 1.5 inch cubes
  • 4 small white onions, ends trimmed, peeled and mandolined or sliced paper thin
  • 8 brioche burger buns, lightly toasted
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • 12 slices American cheese


  1. Cut the beef short ribs into 1.5 inch pieces. Place in freezer for 15 minutes until firm but not completely frozen.
  2. In two batches, pulse the beef in a food processor for about 30-45 seconds until evenly ground but not overworked. An even grind is important for nicely seared crust.
  3. Weigh out 2.5 oz (70g) balls of the ground beef. Place on parchment paper, then use a flat bottomed lid or pan to firmly press into 1⁄4 inch thick patties, about 5 inches wide. Press the edges thinner than the middle to promote lacey crispness. Repeat with remaining beef to make 12 patties. Refrigerate.
  4. Peel and trim ends from onions. Using a mandoline, slice onions paper thin. Place in a bowl and set aside.
  5. Preheat a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat. No oil is necessary.
  6. Season patties liberally with salt and pepper. Add 4 patties to the hot skillet. Top each patty with about 2 tbsp of sliced onions, breaking them up so some make contact with the pan.
  7. After about 60 seconds, give the patties a press with a spatula to maximize surface contact. Cook for another 30 seconds.
  8. Flip patties and cook for 20 seconds more. Top each patty with a slice of cheese.
  9. Place a toasted bun bottom on two patties, then cap with the bun tops. Let sit just off heat for 2 minutes.
  10. Construct burgers by placing patty on the bottom bun and topping with desired toppings. Add the bun tops and serve immediately. Recipe by Ineskohl.info

Here are some helpful tips for making perfect Oklahoma smash burgers:

  1. Use a heavy, wide griddle or skillet – This allows you to cook more patties at once and to properly “smash” the burger for even crisping. Press down with a heavy spatula.
  2. Keep the patties and toppings close by – These burgers cook fast so have everything in arms reach. Get your mise en place ready.
  3. Slice onions uniformly thin – Use a mandoline slicer if you have one to cut the onions about 1/16 inch thick so they soften at the same rate as the beef.
  4. Toast buns ahead – They just need a quick warming before serving so toast all buns ahead so you can focus on the burgers.
  5. Work in batches – If your pan isn’t large enough to hold 4 patties without crowding, cook in batches to ensure proper searing. Wipe out pan between batches if needed.
  6. Use fatty beef – Brisket, chuck, and especially short rib have enough fat to render and fry the burgers nicely without sticking. Lean beef causes sticking.
  7. Don’t press patties too early – Wait at least 30 seconds after putting patties in pan before pressing so a nice crust can set before disturbing it.
  8. Let rest before serving – The juice will redistribute more evenly after a 1-2 minute rest off heat for a more moist bite.
  9. Avoid overworking the meat – Gently pulse meat rather than continuously grinding to get an even yet tender texture.
  10. Get creative with cheeses – While American cheese is classic, cheddar, swiss, and gouda also taste delicious melted over these juicy patties.

Make sure to try this incredible burger and roasted onion combination very soon. The crispy edges with melted cheese over beefy, onion-infused patties is out-of-this-world delicious. As always, I appreciate you stopping by and watching! See you next time.

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