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Classic Patty Melt Recipe

The next time you’re stuck on what to make for dinner, try this classic patty melt recipe.

It’s tasty, easy to make, and sure to please the whole family. 

Close Up of Gooey, Cheesy, Meaty Patty Melt with Crispy Bread on a White Plate with French Fries

Craving a burger but don’t want to fire up the grill? Then you have to check out this patty melt!

It’s got everything – juicy beef, salty bacon, gooey cheese, and a sauce you’ll want to drown in.

Better yet, all that goes between two slices of bread. So you don’t have to run to the store for buns!

What Is a Patty Melt?

Most of us are familiar with the patty melt. If you aren’t, though, no worries!

In fact, I’m a little jealous because you’re about to experience something ah-mazing! 

A patty melt is an American sandwich with ground beef and melted cheese between slices of toasted bread. Like a burger, it often also features onions, bacon, and some kind of sauce. Dating back to the 1940s, it’s usually prepared on Texas toast, on a hot griddle, and served with fires.

Lots of patty melts come with caramelized onions. But we’re using onion powder instead.

You’ll still get that delicious oniony taste, but eating it is not as messy. Plus, caramelizing onions takes a while – and I’m hungry!

Top View of Two Slices of Bread Toasting in a Cast Iron Pan
Close Up of Burger Patties Cooking in a Frying Pan with a Spatula


You’ll need a few simple ingredients to make this mouth-wateringly yummy patty melt. Fortunately, they’re all pretty common.

  • Bread – Depending on where you go, you’ll see patty melts on Texas toast, whole wheat, rye, white, sourdough – you name it. So pick what you like best, and be sure to butter it liberally.
  • Ground Beef – Use lean ground beef or something fattier. Again, it’s up to you. I think fattier beef works best because it gives you the most flavor.
  • Seasonings – Keep it simple with salt, pepper, and onion powder.
  • Cheese – Use whatever you like best. I suggest Provolone and cheddar for the best taste and texture.
  • Sauce – Thousand Island dressing is a popular choice for patty melts. But if you want to amp it up, make your own with a blend of mayo, ketchup, bacon bits, sweet relish, and white sugar.

How to Make a Patty Melt 

Here are the steps for making this patty melt: 

  1. Slice and butter the bread. This recipe makes three patty melts, so you’ll need six pieces of bread. Butter one side of each with a thick smear.
  1. Make and cook the patties. Mix the ground beef, salt, pepper, and onion powder. Then, form the mixture into patties to match the shape of the bread. Place those patties in a nonstick skillet and cook them over medium-high heat for about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Then, reduce the heat to low and cook them for 5 more minutes.
  1. Make the sauce. Whisk the mayo and ketchup until well blended, then stir in the bacon, relish, and sugar. Smear the sauce over half of the bread (three slices). The side without butter.
  1. Toast the bread, and assemble the patty melts. Place one slice of bread (without the sauce), butter-side down, in a second skillet. Then, build the patty melts on top and cook on each side for 2 to 3 minutes. The bread should be lightly toasted, and the cheese should melt.
Three Cut Halves of Patty Melts with Gooey Cheese and Juicy Burgers Stacked on a Wooden Cutting Board

What Is the Best Bread for A Patty Melt?

The best bread for a patty melt is thick and firm enough to hold the fillings. Rye bread was the most used initially, but it’s tasty with all different types. It’s best to avoid pre-sliced bread because it’s not thick enough. And sourdough with holes won’t work well because the cheese will melt out.

I love rye bread. It is – hands down – my favorite option for patty melts.

But really, any thick, crusty bread will also work. Some other great options include: 

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  • Texas toast
  • Pumpernickel
  • Thick slices of whole wheat
  • Thick slices of multigrain

As mentioned, I’d avoid sourdough loaves with lots of air pockets because the cheese and sauce will melt out and make a mess.

But if you can find one with a consistent crumb, it’ll be delish!

Two Halves of a Patty Melt Stacked on a White Plate with Gooey Cheese, Juicy Burger Meat, and Crispy Bread

Tips and Variations

Here are a few last-minute tips to keep in mind: 

  • No butter, no problem! Substitute margarine or mayo.
  • Use different cheeses. Try pepper jack for a little spice. Or go for something smokey, like Gouda.
  • Use Thousand Island dressing for quick prep. It really doesn’t take long to make the sauce. But if you’re in a rush, go ahead and use pre-made.
  • Take the time to make caramelized onions. I’ve used onion powder for taste and to keep the prep short. But if you have the time, you just can’t beat sticky-sweet caramelized onions.
  • Add some sides. This sandwich tastes great with fries, fresh pickle spears, or your favorite chips. Coleslaw or a cold pasta salad would also work. 
  • Use a cast iron skillet if you have one. Cooking these melts in cast iron gives them a phenomenal flavor. 

More Nostalgic Recipes You’ll Love

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Chicken and Dumplings
Campbell’s Chicken Pot Pie

Classic Patty Melt Recipe



Prep time


Cooking time





The next time you’re stuck on what to make for dinner, try this classic patty melt recipe. It’s tasty, easy to make, and sure to please the whole family. 


  • 6 slices rye bread

  • 6 tablespoons butter, softened

  • 1 pound ground beef

  • 3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder

  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise

  • 2 tablespoons ketchup

  • 1 tablespoon real bacon bits

  • 1 teaspoon sweet relish

  • 1 teaspoon white sugar

  • 6 slices cheddar cheese

  • 6 slices Provolone cheese


  • Thoroughly butter one side of each slice of bread. Set aside.
  • Combine the ground beef, pepper, salt, and onion powder in a bowl and mix until the spices are evenly distributed.
  • Shape the mixture into three separate patties to match the shape of the bread.
  • Preheat a nonstick skillet on the stove over medium-high heat.
  • Place the patties in the skillet and cook for approximately 2-3 minutes. Then, flip them carefully to avoid breaking, and cook them for another 2-3 minutes on the other side.
  • Reduce to low heat and cook for approximately 5 more minutes. The centers should be uniformly brown with no pink remaining.
  • Use a digital thermometer to check the internal temperature of each patty. Each one should be 160 degrees Fahrenheit (71°C).
  • While the patties cook, mix the mayo, ketchup, bacon bits, relish, and sugar in a small bowl. Stir until well-blended, and set aside.
  • When the patties are ready, heat a second skillet on medium-low heat, and add one slice of bread (butter-side down) – or as many will fit.
  • Top the bread with two slices of cheddar cheese, followed by a patty and two slices of Provolone.
  • Spread the sauce over the unbuttered side of the second bread slice. Then, place that piece of bread (sauce-side down) on top of the last slice of cheese.
  • Cook for 2-3 minutes on each side or until the bread is lightly toasted.
  • Repeat steps 6, 7, and 8 until all three patty melts are ready.
  • Then, remove from heat, serve, and enjoy.

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author avatar
NaTaya Hastings
NaTaya Hastings is a food and recipe writer for Insanely Good Recipes. She’s an educator, boy mom, dog mom, and whatever-stray-enters-the-yard mom. As a result, she's constantly cooking for both humans and animals.

Luckily, she enjoys it!

Though born, raised, and still living in Alabama, her specialty is NOT down-home Southern cooking. Instead, she loves to experiment with Asian, Mexican, Italian, and other ethnic cuisines. She has two mottos when it comes to cooking. “The more spice, the better!” and “There’s no such thing as too much garlic!”

She’s also pretty good with desserts. Especially the easy, no-bake ones.

Her favorite things are cuddling with her four giant dogs, traveling, reading, writing, and hanging out in nature. She’s also pretty excellent at Dominoes.

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