Aug 25, 2020

Pressed Patty Melt with Sriracha Mayo

Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 40 mins
A patty melt is a sandwich consisting of a hamburger patty, melted cheese (I use Cheddar), and caramelized onions, all placed in between two slices of bread – it’s essentially a hybrid burger and sandwich.

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I’ve been on a serious patty melt kick after I recently had a great one at Me Me’s Diner in Prospect Park, Brooklyn. While most patty melts also include mayonnaise, I stir a little Sriracha in for a kick of flavor and spice.

Pressed Patty Melt with Sriracha Mayo

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What is a Patty Melt? 

A patty melt is a sandwich consisting of a hamburger patty, melted cheese (I use Cheddar), and caramelized onions, all placed in between two slices of bread. It’s essentially a hybrid burger and sandwich. I press the sandwiches using a weight, making sure the bread crisps up so that it’s a buttery golden brown.

Key Ingredients in This Recipe

  • Beef – I use a blend of 80% lean/ 20% fat ground beef. The fat adds flavor to the burger which I season simply with salt and pepper. The blend of fat also helps to keep the burger moist as it sears.
  • Caramelized onion – While caramelizing onions takes a bit of patience. Don’t try to rush the process by turning up the heat. The goal is to draw out the sugars in the onions and caramelize them – you have to go low and slow. You end up with mellow sweet onion flavor. I used a mix of yellow onion and red onion. Adding sugar helps the onions to caramelize.
  • Sriracha – Sriracha is a chili garlic hot sauce made with vinegar. I love combining sriracha with mayonnaise to make a quick and delicious spicy mayo that tastes good on just about anything from bagel sandwiches to BLTs.
  • Cheddar cheese – Always use sharp Cheddar when cooking. If you use mild or medium Cheddar the flavor will cook out and the recipe will be lacking in that cheesy flavor. There is no difference in flavor between white and yellow Cheddar cheeses. The yellow variety included annatto to create the yellow color.
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How to Make a Patty Melt

For the caramelized onions: 

  1. Sauté the onions. Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat, add the olive oil and heat through. Add the butter and allow to melt. 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. 
  2. Slowly cook the 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. Add the balsamic and stir to combine. 
  3. Finish cooking and set aside. Continue to cook until the onions are uniformly brown and caramelized, about an additional 10 minutes. Remove from the pan and set aside or cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

For the sriracha mayonnaise: 

  1. Make the sriracha mayo. In a small bowl stir together the mayonnaise and sriracha until completely combined. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use. 

For the melt:

  1. Shape the burger patties. 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. Working 2 patties at a time, add to the pan and cook until a browned crust forms. Flip and continue to sear until cooked to medium. Remove from the pan and set aside, covered on a plate. Repeat with the remaining patties. 
  2. Assemble the sandwiches. Wipe out the pan and reduce heat to medium-low, add the vegetable oil and heat through then add 1 tablespoon of butter and allow to melt. Working in batches, add 2 slices of bread to the pan top with each with 2 slices of cheese, then follow with beef patties, a spoonful of caramelized onions and the remaining slices of Cheddar cheese. Spread the remaining 2 slices of bread with about 1 tablespoon of sriracha mayonnaise each. 
  3. Press the sandwiches. Weigh down the sandwiches with either a heavy pan or brick wrapped in aluminum foil. Cook until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Flip the sandwiches and weight again, cooking until golden brown and the cheese is melty, about an additional 3 minutes. Remove from the pan.
  4. Repeat with all the sandwiches. Repeat with the remaining sandwiches and toppings. Open the sandwich and add a handful of arugula then close and slice in half. 
  5. Serve. Serve immediately with a side of pickles. 
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 What Makes Up a Good Patty Melt?

  • Proper searing – The hamburger patty should be cooked to medium so that when the bread slices are pressed and the cheese is melted on the bread, the patty doesn’t over-cook.
  • Good bread – I opt for sourdough since it crisps nicely and can withstand any juices from the burger. Rye is also a good, classic alternative.
  • A golden-brown crust – I do this by pressing the bread in a pan of vegetable oil and butter.
  • Moistness – The patty melt should be moist, so I add sriracha mayo for both flavor and to keep the sandwich moist. There’s nothing worse than a dry sandwich.
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Tips and Tricks for This Recipe

  • Since caramelizing the onions can take a bit of additional time. Plan on about 30 to 40 minutes for cooking the onions. The onions can also be made ahead of time.
  • The patties are placed on square slices of bread rather than a circular hamburger bun, so I like to form square patties where you get a bit of patty in each bite. 
  • I also add a handful of arugula for some greens and texture.
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Other Recipes to Try

If you enjoy this recipe, I recommend checking out some of these:

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Pressed Patty Melt with Sriracha Mayo

Print Pin
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Serves 4 sandwiches

Ingredients:

For the caramelized onions: 

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

For the sriracha mayonnaise: 

  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons sriracha

For the melt:

  • 1 1/2 pounds (80/20) ground beef 
  • Kosher salt, as needed
  • Freshly ground black pepper, as needed
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 8 slices sourdough bread
  • 8 slices white Cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup wild arugula
  • Pickles, for serving

Instructions:

For the caramelized onions: 

  • Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat, add the olive oil and heat through. Add the butter and allow to melt. 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. Add the balsamic and stir to combine. 
  • Continue to cook until the onions are uniformly brown and caramelized, about an additional 10 minutes. Remove from the pan and set aside or cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

For the sriracha mayonnaise: 

  • In a small bowl stir together the mayonnaise and sriracha until completely combined. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use. 

For the melt:

  • 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. Working 2 patties at a time, add to the pan and cook until a browned crust forms, about 3 minutes. Flip and continue to sear until cooked to medium, about an additional 2 minutes. Remove from the pan and set aside, covered on a plate. Repeat with the remaining patties. 
  • Wipe out the pan and reduce heat to medium-low, add the vegetable oil and heat through then add 1 tablespoon of butter and allow to melt. Working in batches, add 2 slices of bread to the pan top with each with 2 slices of cheese, then follow with beef patties, a spoonful of caramelized onions and the remaining slices of Cheddar cheese. Spread the remaining 2 slices of bread with about 1 tablespoon of sriracha mayonnaise each. 
  • Weigh down the sandwiches with either a heavy pan or brick wrapped in aluminum foil. Cook until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Flip the sandwiches and weight again, cooking until golden brown and the cheese is melty, about an additional 3 minutes. Remove from the pan.
  • Repeat with the remaining sandwiches and toppings. Open the sandwich and add a handful of arugula then close and slice in half. 
  • Serve immediately with a side of pickles. 

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