The Very Best Onion Burger Comes From Nebraska Because We Know Beef


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onion burgers with cheese

Onion burgers, so delicious. We’re not talking about burgers with onions sitting on top of them, no sir! We’re talking about succulent, sweet caramelized onions fried right into the juicy ground beef patty. We didn’t nickname Nebraska “The Beef State” without reason! Out here in Nebraska, we know how to make delicious onion burgers!

The Reason Nebraskans Are Uniquely Qualified To Do Beef Perfectly

Nebraskans know beef because cattle feeding is a key industry in the state. The number of cattle fed in Nebraska tops six million, while the population of Nebraska is just under two million. Three counties in the state are among the nation’s top beef producers.

Nebraska has a unique mix of natural resources that help produce high-quality lean, protein-packed beef. Cattle graze on twenty-four million acres of grassland. Nebraska raises about one billion bushels of corn, and about forty percent of those bushels become cattle feed.

Nebraska’s cattle-producing families make their living from the land, so they are heavily invested in protecting natural resources and their herd. And, with all that great beef, you can be sure Nebraskans know how to cook it well!!

Here’s How To Make Perfectly Gorgeous Caramelized Onions

caramelized onions

Begin by cutting a large onion in half and slicing it into thin half-moons. Put the onion in a colander or strainer lined with fabric. You could use a cheesecloth or a clean dishcloth. I used a clean white handkerchief.

Toss the onion with some kosher salt and let it sit for 30 minutes or longer. The salt draws water out of the onions, which makes them fry and brown more quickly. The onions will release quite a bit of liquid, so set them on a plate or in the sink to catch drips.

When you are ready to cook the onions, gather up the fabric corners and squeeze the dickens out of them to get them as dry as you can. Hint: I put on my rubber gloves to keep the onion smell off my hands, and I found it gave me a better grip, too.

Next, put a small amount of vegetable oil in a skillet. I used my trusty old cast-iron. Scatter the onions in the skillet and cook them over medium heat until they are soft, transparent, and slightly brown. Stir them occasionally as they cook.

The aroma of onions as they release their natural sugar and caramelize is powerful. Years ago, we helped serve hamburgers at the County Fair as part of the local Chamber of Commerce. If business ever slowed down, we’d put some onions on the grill. That delicious smell never failed to draw customers to the stand, it worked every time!

And Here’s How To Make The Best Onion Burger You Ever Ate

onion burgers in skillet

(At least that is what my daughter and her husband said when they had supper with us!)

Divide one pound of good-quality ground beef into four patties, each about 4 inches across, and season them to taste with salt and pepper. Then, place them in the skillet right on top of the onions and mash them with a spatula to press the onions into the meat.

Cook over medium heat until one side is browned. Slip the spatula under the burger and the onions and carefully flip to cook the other side. If you like cheese, add it at the last minute, so it has a chance to get cozy with the burger.

While those burgers are cooking, take a couple of minutes to whip up a “secret sauce” that will take those burgers right over the top!

How simple is this? Stir together mayonnaise, ketchup, garlic powder, and pickle relish, along with a little salt, pepper, sugar, and vinegar. Boom! You’ve just sent this burger into orbit!

Put That Beautiful Burger On A Bun And Add Toppings

I hope you’ve chosen a terrific hamburger bun. I picked a sweet Hawaiin-style bun, but I bet your favorite grocery store offers some incredibly fresh bakery buns. Just don’t skimp on quality! An onion burger this awesome deserves a good place to sit.

Add the “secret sauce” and more pickles if you like. A slice of garden tomato would be a fitting crown for a kingly burger like this one! Oh, and grab an extra napkin or two. You’re gonna need ’em because this is one incredibly juicy burger!!

Yield: 12 servings

"Secret" Burger Sauce

secret sauce for burgers

A mayonnaise and ketchup-based sauce for burgers very similar to that served in a famous hamburger franchise.

Prep Time 2 minutes
Total Time 2 minutes


  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 3 tablespoons ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons sweet pickle relish
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper


  1. Whisk together all ingredients and serve.
  2. Keep refrigerated.

One of the best things about these burgers is that you can make them any time of day, in any weather, and any time of the year! If you’ve got a stove and a frying pan, you are in business! What is the most unusual thing you ever put on top of a burger? Peanut butter? A fried egg? We’d love to hear your story!

Nebraska fried onion burger

Printable Recipe:

Yield: 4 burgers

Nebraska Onion Burgers

onion burgers

Pan-fried hamburgers with caramelized onions.

Prep Time 30 minutes
Additional Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour


  • One pound of high quality ground beef, defrosted.
  • One large yellow or sweet onion, cut in half and sliced thinly into half-moons.
  • Kosher salt for onions.
  • 2 tsp vegetable oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 split hamburger buns
  • Sliced cheese if desired


  1. Cut onion in half and slice it into thin half-moons.
  2. Put the onion in a colander or strainer lined with fabric.
  3. Toss the onion with some kosher salt and let it sit for 30 minutes or longer.
  4. When you are ready to cook the onions, gather up the fabric corners and squeeze out as much liquid as you can.
  5. Put the vegetable oil in a skillet. Scatter the onions in the skillet and cook them over medium heat until they are soft, transparent, and slightly brown. Stir them occasionally as they cook.
  6. Form the ground beef into four flat patties about 4 inches across.
  7. Season beef with salt and pepper to taste.
  8. Place the burgers in the skillet on top of the onions.
  9. Use a spatula to mash the meat into the onions.
  10. Cook over medium heat until the bottom is browned.
  11. Slide the spatula under the onions and burger and flip over carefully.
  12. Continue to cook until the second side is browned and the meat is cooked throughout.
  13. Add a slice of cheese if you like at the last minute of cooking.
  14. Serve on a hamburger bun with "secret sauce" and any other desired toppings.

If you enjoyed this recipe, please share it on your social media! I would love for more people to try this delicious and easy-to-make recipe. If you have any questions or feedback, please feel free to leave a comment below. I would love to hear from you! Shhh… Join our secret foodie group on Facebook

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