Oklahoma Fried Onion Burgers are incredibly easy to make and insanely delicious. The key to making these mouth-watering burgers featured in Cooks Country is to smash thinly sliced onions into the ground beef before cooking. The result is golden caramelized onions embedded a perfectly cooked burger!
Ingredients: Here’s What You’ll Need
This delicious recipe uses simple ingredients that you probably already have on hand.
- Onion: You can’t have a fried onion burger without onions. I like to use sweet onions, but any good onion will work.
- Burger: Ground beef, sliced cheddar cheese and hamburger buns. I like to use my homemade hamburger buns which are amazing. However, use whatever hamburger buns you like.
- Flavorings: The flavorings are simple – Kosher salt and black pepper.
- Fats: Even though the ground beef contains fats, this recipe uses a combination of unsalted butter and vegetable oil for the cooking.
Prepping the Onions
The most time-consuming part of making these burgers was prepping the onions to remove as much moisture as possible. The reason for doing this is that the onions won’t begin to brown until the moisture has evaporated.
- I started by cutting the onion in half, pole to pole, and slicing it into ⅛-inch slices. Then, I combined the sliced onions with some Kosher salt and placed them in a wire mesh strainer set over a bowl.
- After about 30 minutes, I dumped the onions into a clean dish towel and squeezed them dry. I was amazed at the amount of liquid that came out.
Here’s How I Made The Oklahoma Fried Onion Burgers
- I started by dividing the onions into four separate piles on a rimmed baking sheet. Then, I formed the ground beef into four tightly packed 4-ounce balls and placed the balls on top of the onion piles.
- Next, I used my hand to flatten the ground beef into the onions, ensuring that the onions stuck to the beef. Finally, I sprinkled the patties with some salt and pepper.
- I melted the butter with the oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat. Then, I carefully slipped a spatula under each burger and transferred it to the skillet, onion side down.
I cooked the burgers for about 10 minutes until the onions were golden brown and began to crisp around the edges.
- Next, I increased the heat to high. I carefully flipped the burgers and cooked them on high for several minutes until they were nicely browned.
- Meanwhile, I lightly buttered and toasted the hamburger buns and placed the sliced cheese on the bottom buns. When the burgers were done, I placed them on the cheese, onion side up. Our topping of choice was just mayonnaise, but you could put whatever you wanted on the burgers.
Our topping of choice was just mayonnaise, but you could put whatever you wanted on the burgers.
The Oklahoma Fried Onion Burgers were incredible. I served them with homemade coleslaw, crispy French fries, and a chilled Chardonnay. Yum!
Frequently Asked Questions
The Oklahoma Fried Onion Burger is similar to the smashed burger made famous by Shake Shack, but different in several respects. First, it’s not smashed as thin as the Shake Shack burger. Second, I used a non-stick skillet. For a smashed burger, an ungreased stainless steel or cast iron pan works best. Finally, I “smashed” onions into the ground beef as the patty cooked over a lower temperature than would be used for a smashed burger.
This recipe is very forgiving regarding the fat content of the ground beef. Although I used 93% lean ground beef, I could have used up down to 80% ground beef.
One of the keys to this delicious recipe is onions that are very thinly sliced. Although you can slice the onions with a knife, a mandoline tends to work best.
If you want crispy, caramelized onions that cook quickly, you should not omit the salting step. Onions contain a fair amount of liquid and will not brown properly until the liquid is evaporated.
Other Delicious Burger Recipes
If you’re looking for other unique burger recipes, check out the following:
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Oklahoma Fried Onion Burgers
- 1 large onion, cut in half (pole to pole) and thinly sliced
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 pound (16 ounces) 93% lean ground beef (See Tip 1)
- 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
- 4 slices sharp Cheddar cheese or American cheese (See Tip 2)
- 4 hamburger buns, lightly buttered and toasted
- Toppings of your choice (See Tip 3)
- Toss onions with 1 teaspoon of salt. Place in wire mesh strainer set over a bowl. Allow to drain for 30 minutes. Transfer onions to clean dish towel and squeeze dry.
- Divide onion mixture into 4 separate piles on rimmed baking sheet. Form beef into 4 lightly packed balls; place on top of onion piles. Flatten beef firmly so the onion adheres, and the patties measure 4 inches in diameter.
- Melt the butter with oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat. Using spatula, carefully transfer the patties to the skillet, onion side down. Cook until the onions are golden brown and begin to crisp around edges, 8 to 10 minutes. Carefully flip the burgers. Increase the heat to high and cook the burgers until well browned on the second side, 2 to 3 minutes. Place 1 slice of cheese on each bottom bun. Place the burgers on buns, onion side up. Add desired toppings and serve.
- Yield: 4 Oklahoma Fried Onion Burgers.
Chula’s Expert Tips
- Although I used 93% lean ground beef with a 7% fat content, you can use ground beef up to 80% lean with a 20% fat content. The more fat content, the crispier the burgers will be.
- In general, American cheese will melt better than Cheddar cheese. However, both cheeses are delicious on this burger.
- I like to keep my toppings relatively simple. However, feel free to load this burger up to your liking, e.g., mayonnaise, mustard, ketchup, shredded lettuce, tomatoes, etc.
I have never drained my onions! What a difference! Love the recipe. We don’t do bread, so I just put the cheese on the plate and plopped the burgers on top. I made the best burger sauce I found on Pinterest. Dinner was a hit.
Chula King says
Morgan, I’d love to know how you made the burger sauce! It’s amazing the amount of liquid that onions and other vegetables have. Until the liquid evaporates, the vegetables won’t brown very well. I’m so glad that they turned out for you!
Thank you for this recipe. We really enjoyed the new way of doing it and it’s so good!
Chula King says
So glad you enjoyed the burgers!
Darla Stokes says
I thought this would just be burgers with nice crispy fried onions, and it was, but cooking them this way made the flavors blend better and the burgers tasted amazing! We don’t do cheeseburgers, but they were great without the cheese.
Chula King says
So glad that you lined them Darla!
Just a couple thoughts… For burgers, how about 3-part meats: 90%+ ground beef, pork sausage, and veal (or lamb). I like either shallots or red onions. Shallots don’t really need rinsing. I soak my red onions in ice water. Just sayin’
Chula King says
Michael Weber says
Great to follow a recipe that turns into a keeper! I used cast iron skillet. Caramelized the onions a bit. Yum!
Chula King says
Yum. I love caramelized onions!