How to Make a Burger That Tastes Like it Came From a Restaurant


Upon being asked, any one of us could probably name multiple examples of restaurants that arguably make the best burgers. Whether you like a big burger stacked with ingredients or something simple, smashed and crispy, there are countless ways to enjoy the restaurant-style burger of your dreams.

But if you wanted to make a restaurant-quality burger at home, how would you go about doing so? According to our favorite celebrity home cook, Ina Garten, there's one simple ingredient that will elevate any homemade burger to restaurant-level standards instantly: caramelized onions.

Related: How to Caramelize Onions Like a Chef



How Do Caramelized Onions Transform a Burger?

In a recently reposted clip that was shared to the Food Network Youtube channel, Garten puts her secret ingredient to use while making her famous Niman Ranch Burgers. She recommends using good ingredients so that the “volume is turned up” on the flavor of the hamburger.

If you're a burger connoisseur just like us, then you are well aware of just how effective caramelized onions are in transforming a burger. For starters, the sweetness of the beautifully browned onions is delicious with the juicy, savory beef. The sweet-savory onions are also great paired with whatever cheese you put on your burger (and you should definitely add cheese).

Related: The Best Way to Slice a Bagel, According to Ina Garten

How To Make Ina Garten’s Niman Ranch Burgers

Starting with ground beef prep, Garten instructs viewers to prepare the meat with liquid ingredients first, including olive oil and spices, while lightly mixing everything together with a fork. She then rolls a 1/3-pound hamburger at a time to form uniform patties. Once prepared, Garten places the raw patties in the fridge to stay cool while she whips up her caramelized onions.

“If there’s anything that can make a good burger into a really great one, it’s a big pile of caramelized onions on the top,” Garten announces gleefully.

Garten cuts her onions into thinly sliced rounds before sautéeing in a pan with butter and freshly chopped thyme, leaving them to cook for at least 30 minutes, stirring periodically. Truly well-cooked caramelized onions can take up to 3 hours to make, so feel free to test the limits of your patience here if you want an incredibly flavorful payoff. And because caramelized onions can take a while, it's a good idea to make more than you need. Leftovers keep well in the fridge.

Once the onions are ready, Garten pulls the burger patties out of the fridge and cooks them on her beachside grill. After cooking the burgers evenly on each side, she grills up English muffins to use as the buns and reheats the caramelized onions before assembling her beautiful burger.

You can find the full recipe here and get ready for a summer full of burger experimentation and taste tests. We’ll be doing the same thing ourselves this season, caramelized onions and all.

Up next: 19 Classic Ina Garten Recipes That Prove She's the GOAT