A patty melt, with its beefy, juicy and cheesy deliciousness, is a bit of a nostalgic, classic treat to enjoy when a cheeseburger with-a-twist sounds enticing. My mouthwatering, bistro-style patty melt recipe is prepared with creamy Havarti cheese, caramelized onions and flavorful sauteed mushrooms, sandwiched between slices of sourdough bread!
A Beefy, Cheesy, Classic Sandwich
I've always enjoyed listening to my sweet hubby's stories about spending time with his great-grandpa Shay (short for Sherman), and all of the delicious meals they shared together at Shay's kitchen table...
Shay had such a love and respect for growing much of his own produce, which would often go towards preparing a delicious meal that the two of them would enjoy together.
One of great-grandpa Shay's favorite meals to enjoy was the classic patty melt, and he would typically eat his with an accompaniment of thick, juicy, slices of red, ripe tomatoes freshly picked from his vines, with a little side of cottage cheese.
As a boy, my hubby enjoyed this classic “Americana” style meal so much with his great-grandpa, and to this day, it's one of his favorites that brings back so many wonderful memories of his time with Shay.
The beauty of food is that so much love can be expressed through it, and so many memories made over partaking of a meal together, in the spirit of love, nurture, and communion.
So in honor of great-grandpa Shay, as well as my hubby's own love for a hot, cheesy and beefy classic patty melt, I’d like to share my very own bistro-style patty melt recipe dripping with Havarti cheese, caramelized onions, and sauteed shiitake mushrooms all nestled together with juicy, seasoned beef patties.
And because my hubs absolutely adores flavorful sourdough, I'm piling everything in between two slices of that delicious bread, all nice and buttery, golden, and toasty!
How to Make a Patty Melt
If you enjoy preparing cheeseburgers at home, then whipping up a deliciously mouthwatering patty melt sandwich is pretty much the same.
In my mind, a patty melt is sort of a cross between a cheeseburger and a grilled cheese sandwich in a way, because instead of using burger buns, nice thick slices of sturdy, rustic bread are buttered and used as the vessels to keep everything sandwiched together.
For my patty melt recipe, I generously season a pound of lean ground beef with savory flavors such as a drizzle of Worcestershire sauce, granulated onion and garlic, lots of black pepper, and a pinch of paprika.
I also love to use a super creamy cheese called Havarti, a favorite of mine for grilled sandwich recipes such as this one. It's extra ooey-gooey when melted, and has lots of wonderful flavor!
To take my patty melt recipe over the top, I love to add caramelized onions and sauteed shiitake mushrooms, but one could easily substitute regular button mushrooms, or even cremini mushrooms instead.
Here's a peek at my patty melt recipe: (or just jump to the full recipe...)
- To get started, I season my ground beef, and shape it into 4, equal patty shapes, nice and thin.
- Next, I caramelize my onions for a few minutes in a hot skillet, and once golden, I remove them from the pan. Then, in the same pan, I saute my mushrooms until tender and browned, then remove those from the pan and set aside.
- The beef patties are seared off in the hot skillet next, until slightly caramelized around the edges and cooked through, and set aside on a plate.
- To assemble my patty melt sandwiches, I butter one side of each slice of sourdough bread. Then, I lay a piece or two of cheese over the non-buttered side of the bread, followed by a beef patty. I top the patty with some caramelized onions and mushrooms, another slice of cheese, then the other slice of bread, the buttered side facing outside.
- Next, I place a couple of patty melts at a time into the hot skillet with the buttered-side of the bread down, and allow the bread to toast and become golden for a few minutes on each side, covering the skillet if needed, to help melt the cheese and keep things extra hot.
- I repeat with remaining patty melt sandwiches, then cut them in half to serve.
by Ingrid Beer
Yield: Serves 4
Nutrition Info: 975 calories per patty melt
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Total time: 50 minutes
- 1 pound organic ground beef (85/15)
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- Cracked black pepper
- ½ teaspoon granulated onion
- ½ teaspoon granulated garlic
- ¼ teaspoon paprika
- Olive oil
- 2 medium onions, halved and sliced thinly into semi-circles
- 7 ounces shiitake mushrooms, sliced
- 8 slices Havarti cheese (or more, depending on size of bread)
- 8 slices sourdough bread, lightly buttered on one side
- To begin, gather and prep all of your ingredients according to the ingredients list above to have organized and ready for use.
- Place the ground beef into a large bowl, and add to the Worcestershire sauce, about ½ teaspoon of salt, about ¼ teaspoon of the freshly ground black pepper, the granulated onion and garlic, and the paprika. Mix the seasoning thoroughly into the meat.
- Divide the beef into 4 equal portions (4 ounces each), and shape the portions into flat, oval/rectangular patties that roughly match the shape of your sourdough bread (perhaps a little bigger as the patties will shrink during cooking). Place the patties on a plate, cover with plastic wrap, and set aside for a while.
- While the patties rest, place a large, non-stick skillet over medium-high heat (cast iron is ideal for this), and add in about 2 tablespoons of oil. Add in the sliced onions plus a couple of pinches of salt and pepper, and caramelize the onions until a deep, golden-brown, for about 10 minutes. Spoon the onions into a bowl and cover to keep warm. Set aside for a few moments.
- In the same non-stick skillet set over medium-high heat, add another 2-3 tablespoons of oil, and add in the sliced shiitakes mushrooms. Saute those until a deep, golden-brown, for about 6-8 minutes. Spoon the mushrooms into a bowl and cover to keep warm. Set aside for a few moments.
- To cook the patties, use the same non-stick skillet and place it over medium-high heat. Add a drizzle of oil into the pan, and once hot, add two of the patties (or however many fit comfortably into the pan) and cook for a couple of moments on that first side.
- Flip the patties over and cook a little longer, until the patties are cooked to your liking. Remove the patties onto a plate, and loosely cover with foil to keep warm, and repeat the process with any remaining patties. Clean out the skillet.
- To assemble and finish the sandwiches, place a slice (or two, if needed) of Havarti cheese on the side of the bread that is not buttered, and place a beef patty over the cheese. Add about ¼ of the caramelized onions and sauteed mushrooms over the patty, then place another slice (or two) of cheese over that, and cover with the other slice of bread with the buttered side up. Repeat with remaining sandwiches.
- Once all sandwiches are assembled, place the skillet over medium-high heat, and once hot, add a couple of the sandwiches to the pan, buttered-side down, pressing down on them with a spatula to help everything to melt together better.
- Allow the sandwiches to become toasted and golden on the first side, and then gently flip, pressing down again, and allow them to toast on the other side until the cheese is melted (cover the pan if necessary to help the cheese to melt). Repeat the process with the remaining sandwiches.
- To serve, cut the sandwiches in half, and serve while hot.
Tips & Tidbits for my Patty Melt:
- Organic, lean ground beef: A classic patty melt is prepared with beef, and I prefer to use an organic, 85/15 ratio of fat to lean variety. Organic has better flavor in my book, and is healthier. You could also substitute ground turkey, chicken, or lamb if you'd like a leaner burger and a different flavor profile.
- All sauteed mushrooms or all caramelized onions: While I enjoy the combination of both caramelized onions and mushrooms for my patty melt recipe, you could simply choose either mushrooms or onions for delicious results! Just use a little more of either one to have lots of topping in your patty melt.
- Havarti cheese, or your favorite super melty variety: Havarti has such a wonderful creamy yet mild flavor and texture, so I opt for this kind of cheese for my patty melt. But feel free to use another type of cheese, if you'd like. Just make sure it is highly meltable, such as whole milk mozzarella, gouda, provolone, muenster, or cheddar.
- Prep ahead for your patty melts: If you'd like to get a head start on prepping your patty melts a day or two before you'd like to serve them, then simply season and shape your beef into patties, caramelize your onions and saute your mushrooms, and then keep them in a covered container in the fridge. When ready to serve, simply sear off your patties, assemble your patty melts, and toast them up until hot, juicy, and melted!
- Cast Iron Skillet, perfect for patty melts: I love to use my cast iron skillet when preparing patty melts, as it creates terrific caramelization and distributes heat evenly. If you don't have a cast iron skillet, just use any heavy-bottom skillet or pan with good heat distribution.
Craving more delicious sandwich recipes? Check out this Korean BBQ Burger, this Spicy Chicken Sandwich, this Grilled Chicken Sandwich with Pesto, this Meatloaf Sandwich, or this Pork Tenderloin Sandwich!
Cook's Note: This recipe was originally published in 2013, and has been updated with even more love!