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Oklahoma Onion Burgers

Oklahoma Onion Burgers

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Oh, what a beautiful Mornin', Oh, what a beautiful day. I've got a beautiful feelin', these Oklahoma Onion Burgers are comin’ my way! These Onion burgers are served up hot and ready, and sure to make a Midwesterner reminisce on simpler times.

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Oklahoma-Style Onion burgers have their origins in the 1920s, 1926 to be exact. Our story begins in El Reno, a small town USA that was fortunate enough to have the Main Street of America run straight through it, aka route 66. Ross Davis opened the Hamburger Inn alongside Route 66 around this time. Now this was during the great depression, and hamburger meat was expensive but onions were cheap. Davis began smashing onions into the patties with the back of his spatula and called them “Depression Burgers”, smashing half an onion into a five-cent burger.

Rather quickly, the onion burger caught on with word spreading across not just El Reno, but Route 66 as well. Other establishments began to follow suit, and it became a tradition. The Oklahoma Onion Burger is often regarded as an American classic and one of the “perfect” burgers of the world.

Straight to the Buns

The secret to an effective onion burger is to steam the buns softly with some of that sweet onion vapors. Doing this helps give the buns a nice soft, onion flavor and helps complete the experience. Remember, smelling is half of tasting! So grab your griddle, get your spatula, and get ready to make an American classic!


  • ¼ teaspoon canola oil
  • 5 ounces freshly ground beef, divided into two 2 ½-ounce balls
  • Dan-O’s Original
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced (about 1 cup sliced onions)
  • 2 slices of American cheese
  • 2 soft hamburger buns
  • Mustard, pickles, and other condiments, if desired

Preparation Instructions

  1. Spread canola oil inside a large cast-iron skillet with a paper towel. Heat over high heat until lightly smoking. Add balls of beef and press down with the back side of a spatula until completely flattened. Season generously with Dan-O’s Original.
  2. Working quickly, spread onions evenly over cooking burgers and press down to embed onions into the meat. Let cook with no further pressing until burgers are well browned, about 2 minutes.
  3. Carefully flip burgers with a stiff spatula, making sure to pick up all browned meat from the skillet. Let cook until onions start to soften, about 1 minute. Add cheese and top with top bun. Place the bottom bun upside-down over the top bun to allow it to steam in the onion vapors.
  4. When buns are soft, transfer the bottom buns to a plate. Add condiments if desired. Lift up onions, burger, and top bun together and transfer to the bottom bun. Repeat with the second burger. Serve immediately.


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