Some sandwiches deserve all the praise. One such sandwich is the patty melt. Luckily for fans of this cherished meal, chef and recipe developer Michelle McGlinn perfected a sourdough patty melt recipe, and this recipe doesn’t take the skills of a top chef to make.

"This is only as difficult as making a hamburger," McGlinn said. "The hardest part is cooking the onions — it requires a lot of patience! Otherwise, it’s a cross between making a hamburger and grilled cheese: Sear the patties, then craft the sandwich and melt it all together. It takes a little more time than a standard hamburger or grilled cheese, but is worth the extra effort!"

With that said, there are certain steps that cooks should keep an eye on –– if they want to craft the best sourdough patty melt possible, that is. "I will add, I wish I had pressed mine down more –– my spatula is probably not sufficient enough for the amount of pressing required for a good, flat melt," McGlinn continued. "Another way to get a really flat melt is to place a piece of parchment paper on the sandwich while it’s in the skillet and place another heavy pan on top. Press down for a melty, pressed sandwich. Or serve it up thick like mine!"

On your marks, get set, cook!

Gather the ingredients for this sourdough patty melt recipe

Before you can begin cooking, you’ll need to gather the ingredients for this mouth-watering sourdough patty melt recipe. You’ll need one yellow onion, four tablespoons of butter, one teaspoon of apple cider vinegar, one pound of ground beef, two tablespoons of dried or ground thyme, one tablespoon of rosemary, salt, pepper, one tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce, eight slices of sourdough bread, and eight slices of Swiss cheese.

"For a pound of beef, I’d add in a generous pinch of kosher salt and cracked black pepper," McGlinn said. "This might look like half a teaspoon. If you like things a little saltier, you might want to add more. If you are using a denser salt like Himalayan or sea salt, you may want to add less to adjust the saltiness."

Caramelize the onions

To caramelize onions, you’ll need to melt two tablespoons of butter in a cast iron skillet. Sauté the onions on low, stirring frequently, for about 35 to 40 minutes. Halfway through cooking the onions, you’ll add apple cider vinegar to the skillet and stir to combine. The onions will slowly soften and darken into a caramel color. Keep the heat low –– if the onions are burning, the skillet is too hot.

Although McGlinn prefers cast iron skillets for this recipe, it’s not necessary if you don’t have one. "You can definitely make this in a nonstick skillet or pan as well," McGlinn exclaimed. "Cast irons are just great for cooking and searing hamburgers, as it is the closest thing to a hot grill."

McGlinn also mentioned that the onions cook down a lot. So if you love this vegetable, she recommends using two whole onions for the four sandwiches.

Prepare the patties

While the onions are cooking, you’ll need to prepare the patties. First, mix the ground beef, one tablespoon of thyme, rosemary, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and pepper. Use your hands to combine this meat concoction and then form the patties into long, thin ovals, similar to the shape of the bread.

Once the onions are softened and jammy, remove them from the skillet and reserve. Turn the heat on the stove up to medium. When the skillet is hot, add the beef patties. Allow each patty space –– you may need to work in batches.

Firmly press down on each patty, flattening the burgers as they cook. Cook them for three to four minutes, and then flip them and cook for another three to four minutes on the other side, pressing down firmly again to flatten. Once the burgers are cooked to your preferred doneness (eight minutes should be medium), remove them from the skillet.

Prepare the sandwiches

First, you’ll melt the remaining two tablespoons of butter in a small bowl and stir in the tablespoon of thyme. McGlinn melts the butter for 15 seconds at a time in the microwave, stirs, and melts again if needed. "Always stir before adding another 15 seconds because the butter will melt a bit in its own residual heat, and you don’t want to burn it," McGlinn said.

Brush the melted butter on one side of each slice of bread.

Next, to assemble the sandwich, take two slices of buttered sourdough bread and stack them, buttered sides together. On the bare side of the sourdough bread, place a cooked hamburger patty. Then layer the patty with two slices of Swiss cheese and the caramelized onions.

Cook the sandwiches

In a nonstick skillet over medium heat, place the sandwich butter-side down. Then, stack the second slice of buttered bread on top of the onions. Cook for about two to three minutes, until the bread is deeply golden brown and the cheese is melting. Flip the sandwich and cook for another two to three minutes until the bread is golden brown and the cheese is melted and gooey.

Remove the sandwich from the skillet and repeat this process with the remaining sandwiches. Cut them in half, serve, and enjoy!

If you want to pair your patty melt with a side dish, McGlinn recommends something simple yet efficient. "My mind goes to a cold, refreshing Coke," McGlinn exclaimed. "Or, of course, French fries and a pickle. Also, regular potato chips. The diner classics!"

  • 1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 2 tablespoons dried or ground thyme, divided
  • 1 tablespoon rosemary
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 8 slices sourdough bread
  • 8 slices Swiss cheese
  1. Begin by caramelizing the onions: Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a cast iron skillet and sauté the onions on low, stirring frequently, for about 35 to 40 minutes. Halfway through cooking the onions, add apple cider vinegar and stir to combine. The onions will slowly soften and darken into a caramel color. Keep the heat low –– if the onions are burning, the skillet is too hot.
  2. While the onions are cooking, prepare the patties. Mix the ground beef, one tablespoon of thyme, rosemary, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and pepper. Use your hands to combine, and then form the patties into long, thin ovals, similar to the shape of the bread.
  3. Once the onions are softened and jammy, remove them from the skillet and reserve. Turn the heat up to medium. When the skillet is hot, add the beef patties. Allow each patty space –– you may need to work in batches.
  4. Firmly press down on each patty, flattening the burgers as they cook. Cook for three to four minutes, and then flip them and cook for another three to four minutes on the other side, pressing down firmly again to flatten. Once the burgers are cooked to your preferred doneness (8 minutes should be medium), remove them from the skillet.
  5. Melt the remaining two tablespoons of butter in a small bowl and stir in one tablespoon of thyme. Brush the melted butter on one side of each slice of bread.
  6. To assemble the sandwich, take two slices of buttered sourdough bread and stack them, buttered sides together. On the bare side of the sourdough bread, place a cooked hamburger patty. Then layer the patty with two slices of Swiss cheese and the caramelized onions.
  7. In a nonstick skillet over medium heat, place the sandwich butter-side down. Then stack the second slice on top of the onions. Cook for about two to three minutes, until the bread is deeply golden brown and the cheese is melting. Flip the sandwich and cook for another two to three minutes, until the bread is golden brown and the cheese is melted and gooey.
  8. Remove the sandwich from the skillet and repeat this process with the remaining sandwiches. Cut them in half and serve.