If Patty Melt is on the menu, it’s almost always going to show up on my plate!  A tender juicy beef patty, caramelized onions, cheese, and dressing all tucked between slices of pan-grilled rye bread.

This diner classic is easy to create at home with a few simple ingredients; ground beef, onions, and cheese!

A patty melt stacked on a plate with pickles

An Easy Classic

Everyone loves a messy, juicy burger! The best patty melt is filled with all the good stuff but depending on what region you’re in, a patty melt recipe can be made with different kinds of cheese and on different kinds of bread and a great patty melt sauce (thousand island dressing)!

So, what is a Patty Melt? It’s almost like a smashup of a perfect grilled cheese sandwich melded with a juicy burger. In fact, the difference between a patty melt & burger is really just the grilling of the bread. They were invented sometime in the 1940’s and almost every restaurant has their own twist on it.

What’s on a Patty Melt?

Since a patty melt recipe is fairly simple and doesn’t contain many ingredients, using good quality ingredients is key!

  • Bread: Quality sourdough or rye bread will hold up against a juicy hamburger patty, cheese, and onions.
  • Onions: Caramelized Onions add tons of flavor and shouldn’t be skipped. (I make big batches in my crockpot and freeze them for recipes like this one and for Homemade French Onion Soup).
  • Beef: You want lean beef but not extra lean (80/20 should be good). A little bit of fat adds great flavor, keeps it juicy and is also great in the pan for grilling the bread!
  • Cheese: Swiss, cheddar, or American are great choices for a patty melt but really, any cheese goes! Add your favorite or layer a few for extra yum!

Optional additions: The sky’s the limit… Sauteed Mushrooms with Garlic, grainy-style mustard for dipping, pickles, sauerkraut. Get creative!

Homemade patty melts in a pan

How to Make a Patty Melt

A patty melt is super easy to make but does take a little bit of time. Caramelized onions add so much to the flavor of this sandwich, it’s worth the extra time!

  • Caramelize onions.
  • Cook burger patties.
  • Add cheese to the bread, and cook in butter in a skillet.

Talk about easy!

Homemade patty melts on a wood plate

What to Serve with a Patty Melt

These juicy burgers go great with a handful of potato chips and dill pickles of course!

Homemade patty melts with onions and cheese
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Homemade Patty Melt Recipe

A juicy beef patty, caramelized onions, cheese and sauce sandwiched between two slices of butter grilled bread.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 4 servings
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  • 2 small onions sliced
  • 4 tablespoons butter divided
  • 8 slices sour dough (or rye bread)
  • 16 slices swiss cheese or cheddar
  • ¼ cup thousand island dressing optional
  • grainy mustard (optional)

Beef Patties

  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • salt & pepper to taste


  • Combine sliced onions and 2 tablespoons butter in  a large frying pan. Cook over low heat until onions are golden, about 20-25 minutes Meanwhile, prepare remaining ingredients. 
  • Combine beef, Worcestershire sauce, salt & pepper. Divide into 4 patties shaped similar to the bread.
  • Add 1 tablespoon butter to a pan over medium-high heat. Cook the patties for 3-4 minutes on each side or to desired doneness.
  • Lightly butter both sides of the bread slices. Place the bread buttered side down on a griddle or in a skillet.  
  • Add dressing and mustard.  Top with cheese, onions and beef patty. 
  • Add the second slice of bread on top and grill on each side until hot and melted and bread is lightly toasted.
5 from 30 votes

Nutrition Information

Calories: 1013 | Carbohydrates: 42g | Protein: 57g | Fat: 67g | Saturated Fat: 35g | Cholesterol: 215mg | Sodium: 929mg | Potassium: 607mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 1325IU | Vitamin C: 2.9mg | Calcium: 975mg | Iron: 4.8mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.

Course Main Course
Cuisine American


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About the author

Holly is a wine and cheese lover, recipe creator, shopping enthusiast and self appointed foodie. Her greatest passion is creating in the kitchen and making deliciously comforting recipes for the everyday home cook!
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Recipe Rating


  1. Just how a melt should be made! This is how I remember them from my Jersey childhood. I made them tonight for my 53rd anniversary dinner, . My husband loved them. Thanks for sharing.5 stars

  2. I have tried this amazing patty melt recipe and i found this recipe really an amazing recipe. Thanks for sharing this recipe with all of us. 5 stars

  3. I love patty melts at restaurants, but I’ve never made them my self…for some reason. I’m going to try your recipe tonight. The only change I’d make is how to stack ingredients. Like the ruebens I make, I go bread, cheese, sauce, meat, onions, more sauce, more cheese, then bread. My mouth is watering.

  4. Yum! I don’t make sandwiches all that often and your post has DEF inspired me to get my sandwich game on big time!!! Thanks so much for sharing :).