Patty Melt Sandwich Recipe

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Retro Recipes from the '50s and '60sThe patty melt originated in Los Angeles at a restaurant chain owned by Biff and William “Tiny” Naylor in the 1940s and 1950s. The salty, cheesy sandwich was an instant hit and copycat recipes made their way onto diner menus throughout the country.

  • Yield: 4 sandwiches
  • Preparation Time: 5 Minutes
  • Cooking Time: 35 Minutes


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Butter, for the pan (optional)
  • 1 red onion, sliced
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 8 slices marbled rye bread
  • 4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 8 slices Swiss cheese
  • 8 slices American cheese
How to Make It
  1. Coat the bottom of a skillet with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, or a mixture of olive oil and butter. Heat over medium-high heat until the oil is visibly hot; it will shimmer. Add the onion and stir to coat with the oil. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion begins to caramelize, about 20 minutes. Remove from the skillet and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, mix the ground beef, salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, and Worcestershire sauce.
  3. Divide the beef mixture into 4 balls. Flatten the balls into 4 patties about ¼ inch thick.
  4. In a large skillet or on a griddle, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil over high heat. Cook the patties for 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Transfer the patties to a plate.
  5. Wipe out the skillet.
  6. Spread 3 tablespoons of the butter on one side of 4 slices of bread. Set aside.
  7. On each of the remaining 4 slices of bread, place 2 slices of the Swiss cheese and 2 slices of the American cheese. Top each with a beef patty, then some caramelized onions. Top with a second slice of bread, butter-side up.
  8. Melt the remaining 1 tablespoon butter in the skillet. Add two sandwiches to the skillet and cook until golden, then flip and brown the other side for 2 to 3 minutes more. Serve.

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