Butter Burgers

Butter burgers assembled and ready to eat.
The Spruce / Diana Rattray
  • Total: 47 mins
  • Prep: 15 mins
  • Cook: 32 mins
  • Servings: 4 servings
  • Yields: 4 burgers

Can't get to Wisconsin to enjoy a mouthwatering ooey-gooey butter burger? It's super-easy to make them at home!

Wisconsin has long been famous for its dairy production, producing more cheese and butter than any other state, so it's no wonder the butter burger was created in that state. An authentic butter burger is made with lean ground beef, preferably sirloin, and a generous amount of butter. Hot cooked chopped onions are usually layered on the burgers along with a slice of cheese if you like. If you crave additional toppings, feel free to add them to the bottom bun before you add the hamburger patty.

Butter adds flavor and succulent texture to these burgers, so lean ground beef (about 90 percent lean) is the best choice.


  • 10 tablespoons butter (softened, divided use)
  • 4 hamburger buns
  • 1 large onion (chopped)
  • 1 pound lean ground beef (preferably sirloin; 90/10 or better)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (or to taste)
  • Dash black pepper (or to taste)
  • 4 slices American cheese
  • Optional: lettuce leaves

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for butter burgers.
    The Spruce / Diana Rattray
  2. Lightly butter the cut side of the buns and toast on a griddle, skillet, or grill, or under the broiler. Set the buns aside.

    Toasted buns for butter burgers.
    The Spruce / Diana Rattray
  3. Place a large skillet over medium heat and add 2 tablespoons of butter. When the butter stops sizzling, add the onions. Cook, stirring frequently until the onions are soft and just lightly browned, or about 15 minutes. Remove them to a bowl and set aside.

    Onions in the skillet.
    The Spruce / Diana Rattray
  4. Meanwhile, shape ground beef into four burgers. Make an indentation in the center of each patty.

    Hamburger patties for butter burgers.
    The Spruce / Diana Rattray
  5. Place the same skillet back on medium heat. Arrange the burger patties in the skillet. Season the burgers with kosher salt and black pepper and cook them for about 6 to 8 minutes on each side, or until they reach at least 160 F, the minimum safe temperature (USDA) for ground meat.

    Burgers in a skillet.
    The Spruce / Diana Rattray
  6. Place a square of cheese on each burger and continue to cook until the cheese is melted. Meanwhile, reheat the chopped onions on the stovetop or microwave so they will be hot when you assemble the burgers.

    Cheeseburgers in a skillet.
    The Spruce / Diana Rattray
  7. Assemble the burgers. Slather each top bun with about 2 tablespoons of butter. If desired, place lettuce leaves on the bottom bun. Top the bottom bun with a cheeseburger. Top with a heaping tablespoon of the cooked chopped onion.

    Assembling a butter burger with cheese and onions.
    The Spruce / Diana Rattray
  8. Place the buttered top bun on the onion layer and serve immediately. Enjoy!

    Butter burger!
    The Spruce / Diana Rattray


  • For very thin patties or smash burgers, press the patties as soon as they go into the pan. Avoid pressing the burgers as they cook; you will lose some of the natural beef juices.

Recipe Variations

  • Garlic Butter Burgers: Smash and mince 1 clove of garlic. Just before slathering the butter on the buns, add the garlic.
  • Replace the onions with about 8 ounces of coarsely chopped sautéed mushrooms.
  • Replace the ground beef with lean ground turkey or lamb.