Apr 27, 2022

French Onion Soup Burger

Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 1 hr
This recipe combines two bistro favorites: French onion soup and classic cheeseburgers.

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In this French onion soup burger, a beef burger patty is served on a toasted bun with bacon and caramelized onions, a shortcut garlic “aioli”, salty Gruyère cheese and peppery arugula. I put the “aioli” in quotations because it’s not a traditional aioli made from scratch with garlic and olive oil. Instead, I add a bit of garlic and olive oil to store-bought mayonnaise to dress it up in a pinch. 

French Onion Soup Burger 

French Onion Soup Burger

Key Ingredients in This Recipe 

  • Beef – I prefer to use ground beef with a higher fat content, like a blend of 80/20 lean meat to fatty meat ratio. Fat equals flavor! I season the burger patties simply with salt and pepper. 
  • Bacon – The bacon is sautéed in the pan until crispy and set aside while the onions cook in the rendered fat. The caramelized onions create a bacon onion jam which adds a burst of flavor to the burger. 
  • Caramelized onions – Slowly cooked onions in butter and oil, which make up the base of French onion soup, are used to top off this burger. I add bacon to add another layer of rich flavors to the burger. The onions can be made ahead of time for easier and quicker assembly. 
  • Gruyère – Gruyère is a hard cheese with a nutty, sweet flavor and buttery texture from Switzerland used to top off classic French onion soup. It melts well (due to a high water to oil ratio) and with its distinct flavor it makes the perfect addition to these burgers.
  • Mayonnaise – I use store bought mayonnaise as the base for my “aioli”. I dress it up and give it more depth of flavor by adding a bit of olive oil and garlic. 
  • Arugula – Peppery wild arugula rounds out the flavor of this burger. 

How to Make French Onion Soup Burgers

cooked bacon for French Onion Soup Burger
Step 1: Cook the bacon

Add bacon to a large skillet over medium heat. Sauté the bacon until the fat has rendered and the bacon is crispy, about 10 to 12 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove the bacon to a paper towel to drain. Remove all but 2 tablespoons of the fat from the pan and return the pan to medium heat.

onions for French Onion Soup Burger
Step 2: Cook onions 

Add the olive oil to the pan and heat through. Add the onions and toss quickly to remove the moisture from the onions. Sauté, stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft and start to brown.

seasoned cooked onions for French Onion Soup Burger
Step 3: Season and continue to cook onions 

Sprinkle the salt and sugar over the onions (to help them caramelize) and reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are light brown and begin to caramelize, about 20 minutes.

Step 4: Combine the bacon and onion jam

Continue to cook until the onions are uniformly brown and caramelized, about an additional 10 minutes. Return the bacon to the pan and add the beef stock. Let simmer until the beef stock has evaporated and the onions have a jam-like texture. Remove from the pan and set aside or cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

garlic aioli for French Onion Soup Burger
Step 5: Make the garlic “aioli” 

In a small bowl whisk together the mayonnaise, olive oil and garlic until combined. Cover and set aside until ready to use.

burger patty for French Onion Soup Burger
Step 6: Shape burger patties 

Form the meat into 4 equal square-shaped patties and season on both sides with salt and pepper.

cooking burger patty
Step 7: Cook the burgers 

Heat a large cast iron pan over medium-high heat, add the oil and heat through. Working 2 patties at a time, add to the pan and cook until a browned crust forms, about 3 minutes.

burger patty and cheese
Step 8: Flip and add cheese

Next, flip and top each patty with Gruyère cheese. Continue to sear until the patties are cooked to medium, and the cheese has melted, about an additional 2 minutes. Remove from the pan and set aside, covered on a plate. Repeat with the remaining patties.

toast buns
Step 9: Toast buns 

Return the pan to heat, add the butter and allow to melt. Add the patties, cut-side down on the pan and toast.

Step 10: Assemble and serve the French onion soup burgers

Top each bottom bun with a cheeseburger patty. Add a spoonful of bacon onion jam and arugula. Spread the aioli on the top bun and close the burger. Serve immediately.

Tips and Tricks for This Recipe 

How to Cook the Perfect Burger 
  • Always shape your burger patties 25% larger than you will need them for the size of the buns – as they cook the patties will shrink up! This way you have the perfect burger to bun ratio. 
  • Keep the meat cold when you are working with it. This is to ensure the meat isn’t overworked while shaping the patties. 
  • Press an indent into the center of the patty. This helps the burgers to cook evenly as the meat shrinks as it cooks.
  • Don’t press down on your burger as it cooks! It squeezes out the juices. You don’t want to end up with a dry burger.
Swaps and Substitutions
  • If you can’t find Gruyère cheese, I recommend substituting with another Swiss cheese like Emmental.
  • For a pork substitute simply omit the bacon in the caramelized onions.
  • If you don’t add bacon to the caramelized onions they can also be baked and served over the burger.
  • The garlic “aioli” can be swapped with basic mayonnaise in a pinch.
How to Make these on the Grill

Preheat outdoor grill to high (about 450ºF/ 230ºC). Place the burger patties on the grill in a single layer. Cook until grill marks appear, about 2 minutes. Flip and add the gruyere cheese on top. Cook until grill marks appear on the other side, about an additional 2 to 3 minutes for medium-rare. Assemble according to the instructions below.

French onion soup burgers on wood serving board held by cook in apron

Other Recipes to Try

If you enjoy these French onion burgers, I recommend checking out some of these recipes and follow me on Instagram for more updates:

French Onion Soup Burger

Print Pin
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 1 hr
Serves 4

Ingredients:

For the bacon caramelized onions:

  • ½ pound thick-cut bacon, thinly sliced into ½" strips
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • ½ cup beef stock

For the garlic “aioli”:

  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

For assembly and serving:

  • pounds ground beef (80/20 blend)
  • Kosher salt, as needed
  • Freshly ground black pepper, as needed
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • cups shredded Gruyère cheese
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • cups packed wild arugula

Instructions:

For the bacon caramelized onions:

  • Add bacon to a large skillet over medium heat. Sauté the bacon until the fat has rendered and the bacon is crispy, about 10 to 12 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove the bacon to a paper towel to drain. Remove all but 2 tablespoons of the fat from the pan and return the pan to medium heat.
  • Add the olive oil to the pan with the bacon fat and heat through. Add the onions and toss quickly to remove the moisture from the onions. Sauté, stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft and start to brown.
  • Sprinkle the salt and sugar over the onions (to help them caramelize) and reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are light brown and begin to caramelize, about 20 minutes.
  • Continue to cook until the onions are uniformly brown and caramelized, about an additional 10 minutes. Return the bacon to the pan and add the beef stock. Let simmer until the beef stock has evaporated and the onions have a jam-like texture.
  • Remove from the pan and set aside or cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

For the garlic aioli:

  • In a small bowl whisk together the mayonnaise, olive oil and garlic until combined. Cover and set aside until ready to use.

For assembly and serving:

  • Form the meat into 4 equal square-shaped patties and season on both sides with salt and pepper.
  • Heat a large cast iron pan over medium-high heat, add the oil and heat through. Working 2 patties at a time, add to the pan and cook until a browned crust forms, about 3 minutes.
  • Flip and top each patty with Gruyère cheese. Continue to sear until the patties are cooked to medium, and the cheese has melted, about an additional 2 minutes. Remove from the pan and set aside, covered on a plate. Repeat with the remaining patties.
  • Return the pan to heat, add the butter and allow to melt. Add the buns, cut-side down on the pan and toast until golden brown.
  • Top each bottom bun with a cheeseburger patty. Add a spoonful of caramelized onion followed by the arugula. Spread the aioli on the top bun and close the burger. Serve immediately.

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Recipe Rating




  1. 5 stars
    I made these rich juicey burgers last Friday night. The flavors and textures are spectacular! I did use the cheese we had on hand mozarella and Swiss. The aroma while cooking made us feel like we were in our favorite birsto. The recipes Kylie gives here is easy to follow and I am glad to give a HUGE thumbs up for this recipe.

  2. 5 stars
    These were the best burgers I have made in a long time. The onion/bacon jam paired with the garlic aioli and gruyere made these next level. 10/10 we will be making these again.