Patty Melt: Recipe

RECIPES | The Patty Melt is a sandwich that I discovered while in Austin, Texas, a few years ago. The simple sandwich, which originated in Los Angeles in the 1950s, can be found in diners across the USA, and is very easy to make at home.

Beef mince, Swiss cheese, and caramelised onions grilled on light rye bread is the original version, I like to add pickles to mine to add a little acidity and balance.

You can find out more about the history of the sandwich, and my first experience eating the Patty Melt, in my YouTube video at the bottom of this post, but if it’s just the recipe that you’re after, here it is.

Preparation Time: 10 minutes / Cooking Time: 40 minutes / Serves: 2 people


  • 30g unsalted butter
  • 1 large onion, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 300g beef mince
  • 4 slices of light, American style rye bread
  • 4 slices Swiss cheese
  • 6 slices dill pickles
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Melt half of the butter over a cast iron skillet on high heat. When it starts to bubble, add the onions and some salt.
  2. Reduce the heat to medium and keep stirring the onions until they are completely caremelised and a deep, golden brown. It should take around half an hour – feel free to do this a day or two before and keep the onions in the fridge until you’re ready to make the sandwich.
  3. Add the remaining butter to the skillet on a medium heat. Form your mince into two patties, roughly the shape of the slices of bread. Season with salt and pepper, flatten them, and put them onto the skillet. Increase the heat to high and cook for around two minutes on each side. Remove the patties (which should be rare) and allow them to cool.
  4. Decrease the heat of the skillet to medium, and place two slices of bread onto it. Top with a slice of cheese, a patty, onions, and another slice of cheese. Place another slice of bread on top and push down with a chopping board, large spatula, or the like. Flip after two minutes, and cook until the cheese is fully melted and the patties are cooked to medium.


Many put a twist on their patty melts. For me, it’s the common addition of pickles. Others like to add a bit of seeded mustard or sauce. Feel free to tweak to your tastes.

A cast iron skillet is best for flavour, but if you just have a regular frying pan, you can use that instead.

Paul founded The City Lane back in 2009 as a place to share photos of his travels around Europe with friends and family. The City Lane might have changed quite a lot since those early days but one thing that’s remained constant is Paul’s passion for food, travel and culture, and a desire to photograph and write about his experiences. Paul has a strong inquisitive nature that drives him to look beneath the surface in order to discover what really makes a city and its people tick, and what better way to do this than over a good meal or drink, with a city’s locals, at places that people who live in that city actually frequent. Paul is also a co-host of The Brunswick Beer Collective, a podcast that may or may not actually be about beer.


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