Project Description

Stove Top Cheese Burgers

Cheese burger with lettuce, tomato, pickles and onions

In true Philly form, let’s start with the roll. The spongy hamburger buns you find in the bread aisle of your grocery store are just fine and freeze well if you don’t finish the whole pack. I doubt you would be disappointed if you go this route. We do it too. However, a crusty round roll from the best bread bakery available, that is too big for the quarter pound burger you just cooked up on your stove top is next level. This burger will be juicy and hearty so ideally you want a roll that stands up well to it and you’re going to appreciate the extra bread to soak up the juice it makes. You don’t necessarily have to eat every bite of the roll, but you probably will and we don’t blame you. In our recipe, we toast the rolls first so that they are crisp and crunchy. Then when all topping have been prepared and are ready, we lay the flavorful beef patties right on a hot skillet in the midst of frizzling onions – 3 minutes, flip, 3 minutes, cheese, melt, add to roll – and repeat until all hamburger patties have been cooked. You can use any cheese that you prefer but we recommend picking a slice that melts well like American or Muenster or Fontina if you’re feeling fancy.

*About cheese and doneness: Burgers will take anywhere from 6 to 10 minutes total depending on your preference from rare to well done. About 3 minutes on each side for rare/medium rare, 4 minutes on each side for medium to medium well and 5 minutes on each side for well done. Pay attention to the sides of the burger toward the bottom as they color from red to brown. You can also press your finger to the top of the patty. The firmer the meat the more well done. If you’re using a cast iron skillet, cooking will take half the time recommended above. As for the cheese, after you’ve flipped the burger allow it to cook until almost done. With about a minute or so to go, add your cheese. You want the cheese to melt, not shrivel. The burger and the buns are hot and the cheese will continue to melt as you assemble your final masterpiece but of course alter these tips to suit your personal taste.


  • 1 1/2 pound of ground beef – 80% lean, 20% fat – this is what will make your burgers juicy not dry
  • 1/2 small onion, chopped fine
  • 1/2 small onion, rough chopped
  • 6 pieces of sliced American cheese or cheese of your preference – optional
  • Olive oil
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • salt and pepper to taste

Toppings – of course there aren’t any rules here but below is a guideline so use what works for you and feel free to add or subtract as you wish

  • Tomatoes, sliced
  • Iceberg or romaine lettuce
  • Pickles, sliced – our favorite are New Road Brinery which are small batch handcrafted in Philly
  • Onions, thinly sliced – we like red onions
  • Condiments of your choice: ketchup, mustard, relish, mayo or my preferred olive oil – I add it to the lettuce and tomatoes with a little salt & pepper
  • Salt & pepper


  1. In a mixing bowl combine ground meat, finely chopped onions, salt, pepper, garlic powder and onion powder, mix very gently to incorporate ingredients – like making meatballs, the trick is to handle the meat as little as possible
  2. Form meat mixture into about 6 one inch thick patties – about 1/4 pound of meat each and set aside
  3. In a large skillet or cast iron pan heat olive oil over medium heat and then add the rough chopped onion and saute for 2 minutes
  4. Move the onions to one side and add the buns to the skillet to toast until just a little browned,then remove and set aside
  5. Working in batches according to how many patties fit easily in your pan without crowding them, add the patties and *cook for about 3-5 minutes on each side  until the sides of the patties begin to color and are slightly firm to the touch see our note * above
  6. After flipping hamburger patties with about 1 minute or so left to cook, add the cheese and allow to melt then remove burger and place on bun
  7. Remove onions from the pan and serve with or on your burgers
  8. Assemble burgers with topping according to your taste and serve

You might enjoy these related posts…Makin’ the Sausage and How to Make Great Burgers for Memorial Day