The Oklahoma Fried Onion Burger is a popular recipe from my home state that combines half ground beef and half grilled onions for a deliciously flavorful burger recipe. Growing up, my uncle owned an Onion Fried Burger restaurant in Oklahoma, so I’m here to share all of his tips and tricks!

onion fried burger on plate with Fritos chips and sliced tomatoes

Up until a few years ago, if you had never been to Oklahoma, you probably hadn’t had an Onion Fried Burger. Now I see Oklahoma Fried Onion Burgers on the menu at restaurants in San Diego! The word has definitely spread about these tasty burgers from the Sooner State.

While I love that they’re becoming more popular at restaurants, my favorite place to eat an onion fried burger is still in the comfort of my own kitchen. And if you’d like to make this delicious burger at home, I’ve got the best recipe for you, plus some great tips and tricks!

The fried onion burger came about during the Great Depression when ground beef was expensive and onions were cheap. A burger joint called Hamburger Inn, in El Reno, Oklahoma, created this burger, originally called “The Depression Burger”. What was originally created as a means to survive the great depression, turned into one of my favorite burgers of all time.

Up until a few years ago, my uncle Tony owned an Onion Fried Burger restaurant in my hometown of Edmond, Oklahoma. He decided to retire from the restaurant business and move to the cool mountains of Colorado, so I’m here today to continue our families onion burger legacy.

ingredients for onion fried burgers on white wood board

Ingredients

  • Ground beef – I recommend a ground beef that’s 80/20, meaning 80% lean and 20% fat. This will give you the perfect amount of fat to make flavorful, juicy burgers!
  • Salt + black pepper – to season the ground beef. Or level up the flavor with 2 teaspoons of this hamburger seasoning.
  • Yellow onions you’ll need more onions than you think, and you’ll want them very thinly sliced. I recommend using a mandoline to get ultra thin onion slices.
  • Sliced cheddar cheese – you can use American cheese slices.
  • Hamburger buns  – I love the flavor and texture of brioche buns, but feel free to use any type of hamburger buns.
  • Vegetable oil – for toasting the buns.

Instructions

I’ve included step by step photos below to make this recipe easy to follow at home. For the full detailed recipe instructions and ingredient quantities, scroll to the recipe card at the bottom of this post.

  1. Slice the onions. Thinly slice the onions, using a sharp knife, or a mandoline.
  2. Season the meat. Combine ground beef, salt and pepper (or hamburger seasoning), then divide it into 4 equal-size balls of beef.
  1. Prepare the buns. These burgers cook quickly, so I always recommend toasting the buns first. Heat a flat top grill, cast iron skillet or griddle to medium-high heat. Add 1/2 teaspoon oil to the griddle and place the buns face-down on the griddle. Toast the buns for approximately 1 minute, or until browned around the edges.
  2. Add the balls of ground beef to the flat top, or griddle. Spray the back of a large flat metal spatula with cooking spray. Place each of the balls of ground beef on the hot griddle. Use the back of the spatula to smash the ground beef into flattened burger patties. Cook for 1 minute.
  3. Top with onions. Add a handful of onions on top of each smashed burger patty. It will look like lots of onions, but don’t worry, they cook down a lot!
  4. Smash the onions into the patties. Carefully flip the burgers, so the onions are now on the bottom. Cook for 3-4 minutes.
  5. Add the cheese. Place a slice of cheese on each burger patty and allow it to melt over the burgers for 1-2 minutes.
  6. Use a spatula to flip the fried onion burgers onto the toasted buns, with the onion facing up. Add the top bun and serve immediately.
hand holding an onion fried burger above a plate

Optional toppings

I serve these onion fried burger without toppings, as that’s how I grew up eating them. I love the pure taste of caramelized onion goodness cooked into a juicy burger with melty cheese on a toasty bun!

That being said, when I go home to Oklahoma, I love to go to Tucker’s Onion Burgers, and I order my burger with pickles and shredded lettuce. I also add grilled jalapenos to the burger that they grill with the onions. It’s a deliciously spicy addition that I highly recommend if you like a kick of spice!

Try the fried onion burgers plain, or with any of these optional toppings.

  • Burger sauce – I use this sauce on my Smash Burgers and Animal Style Burger. It’s really delicious and easy to make! Simply combine mayonnaise, ketchup, chopped pickles and dijon mustard. Click the link for the full recipe and ingredient amounts. Spread a little of this on the bottom bun before adding any other toppings for a delicious, creamy, tangy addition to the burgers.
  • Ketchup, mustard or mayonnaise – pick any of the classics to add to this burger instead of the burger sauce, if you’d like!
  • Shredded lettuce or slices of tomato – classic burger toppings that can all be added to these onion fried burgers.
  • Pickles – sliced dill pickles are a delicious addition to these burgers, and the only topping that my husband adds to them. Use your favorite brand of store-bought pickles, pickle relish, or make homemade pickles.
  • Jalapenos – add thinly sliced jalapenos in with the onions to give them a nice char and incorporate them into the fried onions, or add raw sliced jalapenos with the other toppings.
  • Bacon – add a salty crunch to these burgers by using my oven-baked bacon recipe to cook up some crispy bacon and add it the burgers.
onion fried burger on plate with chips and sliced tomatoes

Recipe tips

  • Always prep the buns and toppings before cooking the burgers. These burgers cook quickly and are best eaten hot and fresh off the griddle, so you want to make sure the buns are toasted and topped with whatever toppings you’re adding to the burgers, before actually cooking the burgers.
  • Always make sure the griddle is hot before adding the burgers. Adding burgers (or any food for that matter) to a hot surface is important for cooking safety. It will also give you a beautiful sear on the outside, while keeping the burgers super juicy on the inside. Fried onion burgers should be cooked over medium-high heat, around 400 degrees fahrenheit.
  • If you don’t have a flat top or griddle, you can make the burgers in a skillet. Depending on the size of your skillet, you’ll probably only be able to fit 2 burger patties in the skillet at a time. I recommend a cast iron skillet if you have one available. A cast iron skillet can be used on the stove, or on a grill, to make these burgers.
  • Always serve the burgers on the buns with the onions facing up. This was a tip from my Uncles restaurant. This way, the juicy grilled onions don’t leave you with a soggy bottom bun.
  • Put more onions on the burgers than you think is reasonable. I know this sounds funny, but I’m serious. After making these for myself dozens of times, I’ve found that you always want more onions than you think. You’ll want to top each burger with about a ½ cup of onions.

What to serve with them

Burgers and fries are a match made in heaven, but really any side dish that you’d serve at a bbq will pair with these Oklahoma onion burgers. Try any of these recipes for the perfect pairing!

hand holding onion burger over plate with sliced tomatoes

More burger recipes

Burgers are a delicious, quick and easy option for meals throughout the week. Be sure to try all of these scrumptious burger recipes!

onion fried burger on plate with chips and sliced tomatoes
Print Pin
5 stars (3 ratings)
Rate this Recipe

Oklahoma Fried Onion Burger

The Oklahoma Fried Onion Burger is a popular recipe from my home state that combines half ground beef and half grilled onions for a deliciously flavorful burger recipe. Growing up, my uncle owned an Onion Fried Burger restaurant in Oklahoma, so I'm here to share all of his tips and tricks!

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Thinly slice the onions, using a sharp knife, or a mandoline.
  • Combine the ground beef, salt and pepper, then divide it into 4 quarter-pound balls of beef.
  • Heat a flat top grill, cast iron skillet, or griddle to medium-high heat.
  • Add the vegetable oil to the griddle and place the buns face-down on the griddle. Toast the buns for approximately 1 minute, or until browned around the edges. Set the buns aside.
  • Spray the back of a large flat metal spatula with cooking spray. Place each of the balls of ground beef on the hot griddle. Use the back of the spatula to smash the ground beef into flattened burger patties. Cook for 1 minute.
  • Add approximately ½ cup of thinly sliced onions on top of each smashed burger patty.
  • Smash the onions into the patties. Carefully flip the burgers, so the onions are now on the bottom. Cook for 3-4 minutes.
  • Place a slice of cheese on each burger patty and allow it to melt over the burgers for 1-2 minutes.
  • Use a spatula to flip the fried onion burgers onto the toasted buns, with the onion facing up. Add the top bun and serve immediately.

Notes

  • Level up the flavor of the burgers by replacing the salt and pepper with 2 teaspoons of this hamburger seasoning.
  • Add any optional toppings of your choice, like burger sauce, ketchup, mayo, mustard, shredded lettuce, tomato slices, pickles or jalapenos.
  • Always prep the buns and toppings before cooking the burgers. These burgers cook quickly and are best eaten hot and fresh off the griddle, so you want to make sure the buns are toasted and topped with whatever toppings you’re adding to the burgers, before actually cooking the burgers.
  • Always make sure the griddle is hot before adding the burgers. Adding burgers (or any food for that matter) to a hot surface is important for cooking safety. It will also give you a beautiful sear on the outside, while keeping the burgers super juicy on the inside. Fried onion burgers should be cooked over medium-high heat, around 400 degrees fahrenheit.
  • If you don’t have a flat top or griddle, you can make the burgers in a skillet. Depending on the size of your skillet, you’ll probably only be able to fit 2 burger patties in the skillet at a time. I recommend a cast iron skillet if you have one available. A cast iron skillet can be used on the stove, or on a grill, to make these burgers.

Nutrition Facts

Calories 544kcal (27%)Carbohydrates 27g (9%)Protein 31g (62%)Fat 34g (52%)Saturated Fat 15g (75%)Cholesterol 110mg (37%)Sodium 1049mg (44%)Potassium 469mg (13%)Fiber 2g (8%)Sugar 5g (6%)Vitamin A 281mg (6%)Vitamin C 5mg (6%)Calcium 309mg (31%)Iron 4mg (22%)
Did you make this recipe?Tag @WhitneyBond on Instagram and hashtag it #WBRecipes!

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.