Ultimate Oklahoma-Style Onion Burgers: A Flavor Explosion

Best Authentic Oklahoma Style Onion Burgers Recipe

Discover the mouthwatering magic of Oklahoma’s iconic onion burgers! These juicy sliders pack a punch with an abundance of caramelized onions, creating a flavor fusion that’ll make your taste buds dance.

Imagine biting into a perfectly seared beef patty, its juices mingling with sweet, golden onions that have melted into the meat. This isn’t just any burger – it’s a time-honored Oklahoma tradition that dates back to the Great Depression. Now, you can bring this delicious piece of history right into your own kitchen!

The Tasty Tale of the Onion Burger

Born out of necessity during tough economic times, the onion burger has become a beloved staple of Oklahoma cuisine. In 1926, Ross Davis of the Hamburger Inn ingeniously stretched his beef supply by pressing heaps of sliced onions into each patty. Little did he know, he was creating a flavor sensation that would stand the test of time.

Fast forward to 1946, and you’ll find Johnnie’s Grill in El Reno, Oklahoma, perfecting the art of the onion burger. Their secret? A sizzling hot griddle that caramelizes the onions to perfection while giving the beef a irresistible crust.

Mastering the Onion Burger Technique

Creating the perfect Oklahoma-style onion burger is all about technique. We use the “smash method” – pressing balls of beef onto a scorching hot surface to maximize that delicious crust. But remember, timing is everything! Once the patties start cooking, hands off! Overzealous pressing will rob your burger of its juicy goodness.

The Onion Overload (In a Good Way!)

When we say these burgers are loaded with onions, we mean it! Expect to use at least half an onion per patty. Don’t worry – they’ll cook down to sweet, caramelized perfection. For the authentic experience, slice your onions into thin rounds. This orbital cut releases more flavor compounds, giving you that classic onion burger taste.

Building Your Burger Masterpiece

While traditionalists might stack the onions on top, we prefer to flip the script (and the patty) to get that heavenly cheese-to-meat contact. As the burger sizzles, we add a slice of gooey American cheese and steam the buns right on top of the patty. The result? A perfectly melded burger experience where every element shines.

Get ready to sink your teeth into a slice of Oklahoma history. These onion burgers are more than just a meal – they’re a delicious journey through time and flavor!

Oklahoma-Style Onion Burgers Recipe


  • 1/4 teaspoon canola oil
  • 5 ounces freshly ground beef, divided into two 2 1/2-ounce balls
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced (about 1 cup sliced onions)
  • 2 slices American cheese
  • 2 soft hamburger buns
  • Mustard, pickles, and other condiments, if desired


  1. Preheat your flavor arena! Use a paper towel to spread a whisper of canola oil in a large cast iron skillet. Crank up the heat until you see the first wisps of smoke. Drop in your beef balls and smash them flat with authority using your spatula. Season generously with salt and pepper – these patties mean business!
  2. Time for the onion avalanche! Working at lightning speed, blanket your patties with a generous layer of sliced onions. Press them down firmly, embedding those flavor bombs right into the meat. Now, hands off! Let the magic happen for about 2 minutes until you’ve got a beautiful brown crust.
  3. Flip it good! Use a sturdy spatula to perform the perfect patty flip, making sure to scrape up all that delicious caramelized goodness. Give the onions about a minute to start softening, then crown your creation with a slice of cheese. Top with the bun crown, and place the bottom bun face-down on top. This steamy sauna will infuse your buns with incredible oniony flavor!
  4. Burger assembly time! Once your buns are perfectly steamed, transfer the bottom buns to a plate. Add your favorite condiments if desired. Carefully lift the entire onion-beef-cheese-top bun stack and nestle it onto the waiting bottom bun. Repeat for burger number two. Serve immediately and prepare for flavor nirvana!
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
473 Calories
20g Fat
41g Carbs
30g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 1 to 2
Amount per serving
Calories 473
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 20g 26%
Saturated Fat 8g 40%
Cholesterol 79mg 26%
Sodium 987mg 43%
Total Carbohydrate 41g 15%
Dietary Fiber 2g 8%
Total Sugars 8g
Protein 30g
Vitamin C 3mg 17%
Calcium 422mg 32%
Iron 5mg 26%
Potassium 491mg 10%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

You may also like: