Classic Diner Patty Melts with Caramelized Onions

Last Updated on September 17, 2023

With ButcherBox’s 100% grass-fed Ground Beef, a classic diner-style patty melt with Swiss cheese, and caramelized onions on rye bread is accessible even at home. 

Classic Diner Patty Melts with Caramelized Onions

5 from 1 vote
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Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 4


  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 large onions, peeled and thinly sliced 
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound ButcherBox Ground Beef, formed into 4 (4-ounce) patties, roughly the size and shape of 1 slice of bread
  • 4 tablespoons canola oil 
  • 8 slices seeded rye bread
  • 4 slices Swiss cheese or 4 slices American cheese
  • 4 more slices Swiss cheese  or 4 more slices of American cheese
  • Dijon mustard for serving 


  • Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Once melted, add the onions and 1 teaspoon salt, toss and turn them in the butter and cover with a lid. Cook, like this, lifting the lid and tossing the onions every few minutes, until completely softened, translucent, and golden brown, for about 25 minutes. Stir in ¼ cup water and keep stirring, breaking up the fond on the bottom of the pan, which will then color the onions even more brown. Once the onions are very soft, about 5 more minutes, turn off the heat. Transfer the onions to a plate and set aside. Wipe the pan clean.
  • Season the patties with salt and pepper and then melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in the same pan over medium-high heat. 
  • Place 2 of the patties into the pan and cook, with- out moving, until browned, about 2 minutes. Use a spatula to turn the patties over, and continue to cook for another 1–2 minutes, until a meat thermometer registers 160°F (71.1°C), then remove the patties from the skillet, and allow them to rest. Discard excess butter and fat and wipe the pan clean. 
  • Decrease the heat to medium, add 2 tablespoons of canola oil and swirl the pan to coat. Once hot, press 2 pieces of rye bread into the oil. Top each piece with a slice of Swiss cheese, then a patty on each, followed by ¼ of the caramelized onions, then a slice of American cheese on each, and finally another slice of rye. Use the spatula to press down on the patty melts, and after about a minute or so, carefully turn over each patty to begin to brown the other side. Cook until the cheese is almost fully melted (residual heat should finish the job) and the bread is golden brown and crisp on both sides. Repeat this process with the remaining canola oil and patty melt ingredients. Slice in half before serving, and have some Dijon mustard nearby for dipping. 
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