Some say that the patty melt—a griddled sandwich of ground beef, caramelized onions, cheese, and rye bread—isn’t technically a burger, because it has no bun. We love it just the same.

Featured in: Deconstructing the Perfect Patty Melt


Yield: Makes 6 sandwiches
Time: 1 hours


  • 1½ lb. ground beef
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 5 Tbsp. canola oil
  • 2 yellow onions, halved and thinly sliced
  • 12 slices rye bread
  • 12 thin slices cheddar, swiss, or American cheese
  • 8 Tbsp. unsalted butter, room temperature


  1. Season the beef with salt and pepper. Divide into six 1⁄4-inch-thick patties that are slightly wider and longer than the bread.
  2. In a 12-inch cast-iron skillet, heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium-high. Add the onions, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and browned, about 20–25 minutes. Transfer the onions to a bowl; wipe out skillet. Working in 3 batches, heat 1 tablespoon oil in the skillet over high. Add 2 patties; cook, flipping once, until well browned, about 2–4 minutes total. Transfer patties to a plate; wipe out skillet. Repeat with the remaining oil and patties.
  3. Top each of 6 bread slices with some of the onions, a cheese slice, and a patty. Top each patty with a cheese slice and a piece of bread. Using a table knife, spread butter over the top and bottom of each sandwich.
  4. Return the skillet to medium heat. Working in 3 batches, cook the sandwiches, flipping once, until golden brown and hot, about 6 minutes. Repeat with the remaining sandwiches.