Oklahoma Fried Onion Burgers: A Delicious Slice of Americana

The Oklahoma Fried Onion Burger is more than just a hearty meal; it’s a taste of American history. Born during the hardships of the Great Depression, this flavorful twist on the classic burger helped stretch out expensive beef by bulking it out with plenty of thinly sliced, griddled onions. Today, it stands as a testament to American ingenuity and continues to be a beloved staple in diners and kitchens across the country.


The origin of the Oklahoma Fried Onion Burger dates back to the 1920s in El Reno, Oklahoma. As the Great Depression hit, onions were cheap and beef was expensive. Café owners started adding thinly shaved onions to their beef patties, and a legend was born. The onions not only extended the meat but also added an incredible depth of flavor, becoming a caramelized blanket atop the beef during the cooking process.

The Classic Recipe


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 2 large onions, thinly sliced
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 4 slices of American cheese (optional)
  • 4 hamburger buns, toasted
  • Condiments of choice (mustard, ketchup, pickles, etc.)


  1. Prepare the Patties: Divide the ground beef into four equal portions. Form each into a ball and set aside.
  2. Caramelize the Onions: Heat a large skillet or griddle over medium heat. Add the thinly sliced onions with a pinch of salt, cooking them until they are soft and beginning to caramelize about 10-12 minutes. Remove and set aside.
  3. Cook the Burgers: Increase the heat to medium-high. Place the balls of beef on the griddle and smash them flat with a spatula. Season with salt and pepper. On top of each patty, distribute the caramelized onions evenly.
  4. Flip and Cheese: Once the bottom of the patties has developed a nice crust, flip them over, onion side down, and press again. If you’re using cheese, place a slice on the cooked side of each patty.
  5. Assemble the Burgers: Place the cooked patties, onion side up, on the toasted buns. Add your chosen condiments and the top bun.
  6. Serve Hot: The Oklahoma Fried Onion Burger is best served immediately while the onions are hot and the cheese is melty.

Serving Suggestions

Pair these delectable burgers with classic American sides such as crispy French fries, coleslaw, or a simple side salad. For a true Oklahoma experience, wash it down with a cold, frothy root beer.


Oklahoma Fried Onion Burgers are a savory nod to both the resilience and creativity that define American culinary tradition. Simple ingredients, a straightforward method, and the perfect combination of flavors make this dish a timeless classic. Whether for a family dinner or a casual gathering with friends, these burgers are sure to please the crowd and bring a piece of Oklahoma heritage to your table.

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