The 12 Best Patty Melt Recipes of All Time

Tex-Mex Patty Melt
Cole Saladino/Thrillist

A traditional patty melt is composed of a beef patty topped with caramelized onions, cheddar, and Swiss cheese smashed between two slices of rye. It's like if a burger and grilled cheese made out, and let me tell you, it's hot. But just as there's no one way to make a grilled cheese, there are also endless patty melt combos, as this dozen demonstrates.

To make things easy, each uses the same patty recipe -- ground chuck with a couple dashes of Worcestershire, a dash of garlic powder, a pinch of salt, and a couple grinds of black pepper. Then, flatten the meat to ¼-inch thick and roughly the same dimensions as the bread you're using. Heat oil in a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat, then cook the patty, pressing gently, until browned, about 2 minutes per side. If you're using caramelized onions, follow these steps to make them perfect.

Now, the only problem is deciding which melt to make first.

Donut Patty Melt
Cole Saladino/Thrillist

Donut melt

Heat griddle or skillet over medium. Slice a glazed donut in half and invert it so the glazed sides face inward for the sandwich. Top one half with cheddar, then patty, onions, and more cheese. Close up sandwich with the other donut half and spread mayonnaise on top. Place sandwich in pan, mayo-side down, and press with a metal spatula or heavy pan to flatten. Cook for 3 minutes, spread the top with mayonnaise, flip the sandwich, press and cook for another 3 minutes.

Philly Patty Melt
Cole Saladino/Thrillist

Philly melt

Heat griddle or skillet over medium. Top one slice of pumpernickel with provolone, then patty, caramelized onions, peppers, mushrooms, and more cheese. Close up sandwich with the other slice of bread and spread mayonnaise on top. Place sandwich in pan, mayo-side down, and press with a metal spatula or heavy pan to flatten. Cook for 3 minutes, spread the top with mayonnaise, flip the sandwich, press and cook for another 3 minutes.

Pizza Patty Melt
Cole Saladino/Thrillist

Pizza melt

Heat griddle or skillet over medium. Top one slice of thawed Ellio's pizza with mozzarella, then patty, and provolone. Close up sandwich with the other pizza slice. Place sandwich in pan and press with a metal spatula or heavy pan to flatten. Cook for 3 minutes, flip the sandwich, press and cook for another 3 minutes.

Pickleback Patty Melt
Cole Saladino/Thrillist

Pickleback melt

Combine ½ cup maple syrup and ¼ cup whiskey in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside. Place 3-4 strips of thick-cut bacon on a wire rack in a baking sheet and cook in oven at 350℉ for 20 minutes, until lightly browned, brush whiskey glaze on both sides of bacon, sprinkle with brown sugar, and return to oven until crisp.

Heat griddle or skillet over medium. Top one slice of rye bread with pepper Jack cheese, then whiskey bacon, beef patty, pickles, and more pepper Jack. Close up the sandwich with another slice of rye and spread mayonnaise on top. Place sandwich in pan, mayo-side down, and press with a metal spatula to flatten. Cook for 3 minutes, spread the top with mayonnaise, flip the sandwich, press and cook for another 3 minutes.

Kentucky Hot Brown melt
Cole Saladino/Thrillist

Kentucky Hot Brown melt

Heat griddle or skillet over medium. Top one slice of rye with cheddar, then turkey patty, cooked bacon, and Swiss. Place in pan and cook for 3 minutes, until cheeses melt. Top with sliced tomatoes.

Waffle Patty Melt
Cole Saladino/Thrillist

Waffle melt

Make two waffles using your favorite batter. Top one waffle with cheddar, then patty, caramelized onions, and Swiss. Close up sandwich with the other waffle. Place sandwich in waffle iron and press to flatten, until cheeses melt.

Loaded potato patty melt
Cole Saladino/Thrillist

Loaded potato melt

Poke holes into a potato with the tines of a fork and nuke it in the microwave for 5 minutes. Slice potato in half lengthwise and scoop out the innards, leaving 1/4 inch of flesh on the skins. Sprinkle each potato skin with cheddar, crumbled bacon, and chives. Top one with a patty, then cheddar, and close the sandwich with the other potato skin.

Meatball Patty Melt
Cole Saladino/Thrillist

Meatball melt

Heat griddle or skillet over medium. Top one slice of ciabatta with mozzarella, then meatballs in sauce, and provolone. Close up sandwich with another slice of ciabatta and spread mayonnaise on top. Place sandwich in pan, mayo-side down, and press with a metal spatula or heavy pan to flatten. Cook for 3 minutes, spread the top with mayonnaise, flip the sandwich, press and cook for another 3 minutes.

French onion melt
Cole Saladino/Thrillist

French onion melt

Heat griddle or skillet over medium. Top one slice of French brioche with Gruyere, then patty, caramelized onions, and more Gruyere. Close up sandwich with the other slice of brioche and spread mayonnaise on top. Place sandwich in pan, mayo-side down, and press with a metal spatula or heavy pan to flatten. Cook for 3 minutes, spread the top with mayonnaise, flip the sandwich, press and cook for another 3 minutes.

Southern comfort melt
Cole Saladino/Thrillist

Southern comfort melt

Heat griddle or skillet over medium. Combine ½ cup shredded cheddar with 3 tablespoons mayonnaise and 2 tablespoons chopped pimientos. Slice a buttermilk biscuit in half and top the bottom with pimento cheese, then patty, and more pimento cheese. Close up sandwich with the biscuit top and place on griddle until cheese melts.

Cheeseburger patty melt
Cole Saladino/Thrillist

Cheeseburger melt

Heat griddle or skillet over medium. Top one slice of rye with American cheese, then patty, caramelized onions, pickles, mustard, ketchup, and more cheese. Close up sandwich with the other slice of bread and spread mayonnaise on top. Place sandwich in pan, mayo-side down, and press with a metal spatula or heavy pan to flatten. Cook for 3 minutes, spread the top with mayonnaise, flip the sandwich, press and cook for another 3 minutes.

Tex-Mex patty melt
Cole Saladino/Thrillist

Tex-Mex melt

Heat griddle or skillet over medium. Top one slice of Texas toast with cheddar cheese, then beef patty, caramelized onions, chopped green chiles, and American cheese. Close up the sandwich with another slice of toast and spread mayonnaise on top. Place sandwich in pan, mayo-side down, and press with a metal spatula to flatten. Cook for 3 minutes, spread the top with mayonnaise, flip the sandwich, press and cook for another 3 minutes.

Sign up here for our daily Thrillist email, and get your fix of the best in food/drink/fun.

Perry Santanachote is Thrillist's recipes editor and she'll stop the world and melt with you. Follow her at @perrysant.