Patty Melts with Secret Sauce

Patty Melts with Secret Sauce

Learn how to make the ultimate diner-style Classic Patty Melts piled high with caramelized onions, gooey Swiss cheese and juicy beef patties sandwiched between crispy, buttered slices of rye bread. This easy patty melt recipe will satisfy any cheeseburger craving!

Craving a diner-style sandwich layered with melted cheese and piled high with caramelized onions? These easy Classic Patty Melts are the ultimate comfort food sandwich. We start by slowly caramelizing thinly sliced onions in olive oil and butter to bring out their natural sweetness. Juicy beef patties sizzled in a cast iron skillet are layered between melted Swiss cheese, the caramelized onions, and crisp, buttered rye bread. With each bite you get a perfect medley of textures and flavors – the tangy onions, the melted cheese, the crisp toastiness of the bread, and the juicy meatiness of the burger patty. This patty melt recipe comes together in just 45 minutes but tastes like you spent all afternoon in your kitchen perfecting it. It’s an easy weeknight meal or casual dinner party fare that is sure to impress any cheeseburger lover.

What type of onion works best? 

Yellow onions or sweet onions work well. Avoid red onions as they may overpower the other flavors. Thinly slice the onion so it can properly caramelize.

Can I use a different cheese? 

Yes, you can use other sliced cheeses like cheddar or provolone. Swiss cheese gives a nice creamy, melted texture though.

What’s the best way to prevent the patties from getting overcooked?

Use a meat thermometer to monitor the center of patties. Cook just until they reach 160°F. Also, make thinner patties than a regular burger since they’ll cook again inside the melts.

Why butter the bread instead of mayo or mustard? 

Buttering the bread gives it a nice crisp, toasty exterior and adds rich flavor as it fries in the pan. This keeps the bread from getting soggy. Feel free to lightly spread mayo or mustard on the inside pieces of bread though.

Classic Patty Melts

Total Time: 45 minutes

Yield: 4 sandwiches


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced (about 2 cups)
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1 1/4 pounds ground beef (80% lean)
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 8 slices rye bread
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • About 8 ounces sliced Swiss cheese


  1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the sliced onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until deeply golden brown and caramelized, 20 to 25 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Meanwhile, preheat a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in the hot skillet.
  3. In a large bowl, gently mix together the ground beef, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, 1/2 teaspoon onion powder, 1 teaspoon salt, and some pepper until just combined. Divide the meat mixture into four equal patties and shape each into rounds slightly wider than the bread slices.
  4. Cook the patties in the hot skillet for 4 to 5 minutes per side until well browned. Remove from the pan and set aside.
  5. Assemble the patty melts: Wipe out the skillet and melt 2 tablespoons of the remaining butter over medium heat. Lay 4 slices of rye bread, buttered side down, in the skillet. Top each with a burger patty, a slice of Swiss cheese, half of the caramelized onions, and another slice of cheese. Close the melts with the remaining 4 slices of buttered bread, placing them buttered side up onto the sandwich. Recipe by
  6. Cook each patty melt until both sides are golden brown and the cheese is fully melted, 2 to 4 minutes per side, pressing gently with a spatula to help melt the cheese.
  7. Transfer the patty melts to a cutting board and slice diagonally to serve. Enjoy!

Tips for making the perfect Classic Patty Melts:

  • Caramelize the onions slowly – Be patient and cook the onions over medium-low heat for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally. This long cooking time develops complexity of flavor.
  • Use high quality ingredients – Splurge on bread from an artisan bakery and good melting cheese like Swiss or aged cheddar. This makes a difference.
  • Butter the bread generously – Butter provides crucial flavor and crispy texture when frying the sandwich. Mayo or oil make bread soggy.
  • Smash the sandwich gently – Use a spatula to press down while the patty melts cook. This melds the fillings together and crisps the bread. But don’t press too hard or the bread tears.
  • Slice on a bias – Cut the patty melts diagonally rather than straight across. This creates broader surface area for the juicy fillings in each bite. It just looks prettier too!

Nutrition Information (Per serving):

Calories: 765; Total Fat: 53g; Saturated Fat: 27g; Cholesterol: 175mg; Sodium: 1087mg; Total Carbohydrates: 38g; Dietary Fiber: 3g; Total Sugars: 5g; Protein: 37g


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  1. Sharon

    Looks like something my family would like

  2. Joan Cummings

    Your recipe looks yummy!! Keep them coming!!!!!!!!
    Thank you.
    Joan & Chris Cummings

  3. Shelley Baxter

    Everything looks so good. I want to start cooking now

  4. Julie

    Enjoy your recipes, they are easy to follow instructions thank you for the yummy recipes

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