Oklahoma Onion Burger

onion burger

The Oklahoma Onion Burger is a classic American dish that has been around since the Great Depression. This burger is known for its simplicity and rich taste. It combines thinly sliced onions pressed into a beef patty, creating a juicy, crispy, and delicious burger. If you love burgers and want to try something different, the Oklahoma Onion Burger is a must-try.

What Makes This So Great?

The Oklahoma Onion Burger is great because it’s simple to make and tastes amazing. The key to its deliciousness is the combination of thinly sliced onions and ground beef. The onions caramelize and get crispy as they cook into the patty, adding a wonderful texture and rich taste.

The burger is topped with melty American cheese, and the buns are steamed right on top of the patty, making them soft and flavorful. This burger doesn’t require fancy ingredients or techniques, but it delivers a satisfying and memorable meal.

What Kitchen Items Do You Need To Make This?

To make an Oklahoma Onion Burger, you need a few basic kitchen items:

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  1. Burger Press or Flat Sauce Pan Lid: This is used to press the onions into the burger patty, ensuring they cook into the meat.
  2. Mandolin: A mandolin is used to slice the onion very thinly, almost translucent, which is key to getting the right texture.

What Ingredients Are Needed For This Recipe?

Here’s a list of ingredients you’ll need to make the Oklahoma Onion Burger:

  • 1 large white onion
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 4 – 8 slices American cheese
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4 buns
  • Pickles and mustard (optional)

How To Make It

Preparing the Onions and Meat

  1. Slice the Onions:
    • Using a mandolin, slice the onion very thinly so that it’s almost translucent. This ensures the onions will cook quickly and blend well with the beef.
  2. Form the Patties:
    • Divide the ground beef into 4 even balls. This makes it easy to press the onions into the meat during cooking.

Cooking the Burger

  1. Heat the Pan:
    • Heat a large frying pan over medium-high heat for a few minutes. When it’s hot, add the oil and let it heat up.
  2. Cook the Patties:
    • Place a meatball in the hot pan and top it with a generous heaping of sliced onions (roughly ½ to ⅔ cup). Use a burger press or a flat sauce pan lid to smush down the meatball into a patty, pressing the onions into the meat. Hold for 20 seconds.
  3. Season and Cook:
    • Season the patty with salt and pepper. Cook until the edges of the patty get crispy, about 2 minutes.
  4. Flip the Burger:
    • Carefully flip the burger. Some onions may be stuck to the pan, which is okay. Scrape carefully to get all the bits. Once flipped, press down on the patty to sink the onions into the meat further. Season with salt and pepper again and add a slice of cheese.
  5. Steam the Buns:
    • Place the top bun on top of the cheese, and the bottom bun on top of that. This allows the buns to steam as the burger finishes cooking. Cook for 2 more minutes.
  6. Assemble the Burger:
    • Carefully scrape the burger off the skillet. Grab the bottom bun, place it under the burger, and slide the burger and top bun onto it. Repeat with the remaining patties.
  7. Add Toppings:
    • Add pickles, mustard, or any other desired condiments and toppings. Enjoy your Oklahoma Onion Burger!

What Is The History Behind This Recipe?

The Oklahoma Onion Burger has a humble yet fascinating history. It originated during the Great Depression in the town of El Reno, Oklahoma. The idea was to stretch the meat supply by adding onions, which were cheaper and more readily available. By pressing a large amount of onions into a small amount of beef, the burger retained its juiciness while offering a unique taste. This burger became a staple in Oklahoma, and its popularity spread throughout the region. Today, it remains a beloved dish, cherished for its simplicity and rich history.

What Can I Switch Up To Make This Different If I Have Dietary Needs?

Vegan Version:

  1. Beef Replacement:
    • Use a plant-based ground meat substitute instead of ground beef.
  2. Cheese Replacement:
    • Substitute the American cheese with a vegan cheese alternative.
  3. Buns:
    • Ensure the buns are vegan-friendly.

Vegetarian Version:

  1. Beef Replacement:
    • Use a vegetarian burger patty or a plant-based ground meat substitute.
  2. Cheese Replacement:
    • Ensure the cheese is vegetarian-friendly, as some cheeses contain animal rennet.

Gluten-Free Version:

  1. Buns Replacement:
    • Use gluten-free buns.
  2. Check Ingredients:
    • Make sure all other ingredients, such as the cheese and any condiments, are gluten-free.

Frequently Asked Questions

What bun do you use for onion burgers?

For an Oklahoma Onion Burger, a classic hamburger bun works best. You want a bun that’s soft and can steam well when placed on top of the patty during the cooking process. Some people prefer potato buns or brioche buns for their slight sweetness and soft texture, but any good-quality hamburger bun will do the trick.

What other burgers are made in Oklahoma?

Oklahoma is known for a few unique burgers. Aside from the Onion Burger, another popular one is the Fried Onion Burger, which is similar but involves frying the onions before adding them to the burger. There’s also the Cattleman’s Club Burger, which features a large, juicy patty often topped with a variety of hearty ingredients like bacon and barbecue sauce.

What are other popular foods in Oklahoma City?

Oklahoma City has a rich culinary scene with a variety of popular foods. Barbecue is a big deal, with many local joints serving up smoked meats like ribs, brisket, and pulled pork. Chicken-fried steak is another beloved dish, often served with mashed potatoes and gravy. For dessert, pecan pie and fried pies are local favorites. The city is also known for its hearty chili, often served with cornbread or over a bed of rice.

How Should I Store This?

To keep your Oklahoma Onion Burgers fresh, follow these storage tips:

Refrigerator:

  • Store the Patties:
    • If you have leftover cooked patties, let them cool to room temperature. Place them in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
  • Reheat:
    • To reheat, you can use a skillet over medium heat or a microwave. If using a skillet, add a little oil and heat each side until warmed through.

Freezer:

  • Store the Patties:
    • For longer storage, you can freeze the cooked patties. Place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and freeze until solid. Once frozen, transfer the patties to a freezer-safe bag or container. They can be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months.
  • Reheat:
    • To reheat frozen patties, let them thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Then, reheat them in a skillet or microwave as described above.

Buns:

  • Storage:
    • Buns can be stored at room temperature in a sealed bag for a few days. If you need to store them longer, you can freeze them. Place them in a freezer-safe bag and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature or warm them in the oven before using.

Enjoy your homemade Oklahoma Onion Burgers fresh or from storage, and delight in this delicious and simple American classic!

onion burger

Onion Burger

Author: Maddy & JD – Them Bites
This Onion Burger is a classic from Oklahoma and so, so good. Easy to prepare, this is an incredibly delicious and satisfying burger.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Course dinner, Lunch
Cuisine American
Servings 4 people
Calories 570 kcal

Equipment

  • 1 burger press or flat sauce pan lid
  • 1 mandolin

Ingredients
  

  • 1 large white onion
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 4 – 8 slices American cheese
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 buns
  • pickles and mustard if desired

Recipe Instructions
 

  • Using a mandolin, slice onion very thin, so it's almost translucent. Divide meat into 4 even balls.
  • Heat a large frying pan over medium high heat for a few minutes. When it's hot, add the oil. When it's hot, place a meatball down. Top with a generous heaping of sliced onions (roughly ½ – ⅔ cup).
  • Use a press or pot lid and smush down. Hold for 20 seconds. Release and season with salt and pepper. Cook until edges get crispy, about 2 minutes.
  • Carefully flip the burger. Some onions may be stuck, and that's ok. Scrape carefully to get all the bits. Once flipped, press down on the patty to sink the onions into the meat. Season with salt and pepper and add a slice of cheese.
  • Place the top bun on top of the cheese, and the bottom bun on top of that. (This will allow the buns to steam as the burger finishes cooking). Cook for 2 more minutes.
  • Carefully scrape the burger up off the skillet. Grab the bottom bun, place under, and slide the burger and top bun onto it. Repeat 3 more times with remaining patties.
  • Add desired condiments and toppings. Enjoy.

Nutrition

Calories: 570kcalCarbohydrates: 33gProtein: 29gFat: 35gSaturated Fat: 13gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 14gTrans Fat: 2gCholesterol: 102mgSodium: 719mgPotassium: 334mgFiber: 1gSugar: 5gVitamin A: 198IUCalcium: 246mgIron: 13mg
Keyword onion burger
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