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I made Ina Garten’s caramelized-onion cheeseburgers, and the easy recipe is perfect for Memorial Day


ina garten caramelized onion smash burgersI tried making Ina Garten’s recipe for caramelized-onion smash burgers and they were easy and delicious.

Lloyd Bishop/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal/Getty Images; Erin McDowell/Business Insider

  • I made Ina Garten’s smashed cheeseburgers with caramelized onions.
  • The recipe only calls for a few ingredients and you don’t even need to fire up the grill.
  • The burgers were perfectly juicy and the simple toppings made the process super easy.

Ahead of Memorial Day weekend, I decided to try one of celebrity chef Ina Garten’s cheeseburger recipes.

Ina Garten has come up with multiple different burger recipes during her decades-long career. The recipe for smashed hamburgers with caramelized onions called to me because of its simplicity — a number of the ingredients I needed were already in my pantry, which helped me save money on buying supplies and was a testament to Garten’s flair for simple yet delicious recipes. 

Here’s how to make Ina Garten’s caramelized-onion cheeseburgers.

This recipe only requires a few basic ingredients, including onions.red onion slices cooking in a black panRed onion slices.

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You can find the full ingredient list and recipe instructions on Garten’s website here.

I started by preparing the caramelized onions. The recipe calls for two medium red onions, thinly sliced.

I added 2 tablespoons of canola oil into a large nonstick pan over medium heat and then added the onions.red onion slices cooking in a black pan with a wooden spoonRed onion slices cooking.

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Garten says it should take about eight to 10 minutes for the onions to start to brown. I liked that this recipe didn’t require a grill, making it apartment-friendly for this New Yorker on Memorial Day weekend.

While the onions were browning, I began preparing the burgers themselves.a package of lean ground beefA package of lean ground beef.

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The recipe calls for a pound and a half of ground beef with 20% fat. I found this at my local grocery store for $5.31, which I thought was an excellent deal considering I was able to feed four people with it.

To make the burgers, you season the meat with Colman’s mustard powder, black pepper, and kosher salt.colman's mustard powder, black pepper, and kosher salt on a counterColman’s mustard powder, black pepper, and kosher salt.

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I had never used mustard powder in a recipe before but was excited to see if it would add more flavor to the burgers.

I mixed the ground meat and seasonings in a glass mixing bowl.ground beef in a glass bowlGround beef in a glass bowl.

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This was so much easier and simpler than adding an egg or a ton of other ingredients like many celebrity chef burger recipes require.

I shaped the meat into four burger patties and placed them on a plate in the freezer, per Garten’s instructions.four uncooked hamburger patties on a paper plate in a freezerThe burger patties in the freezer.

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The chef says the burgers should stay in the freezer for exactly 15 minutes, so I set a timer to make sure I wouldn’t go over or under the mark. I assumed this step was to help the burgers keep their shape when I added them to the cast-iron skillet.

After adding a teaspoon of sugar to the onions and letting them caramelize for a few minutes, I added a tablespoon of red wine vinegar.a person holding a bottle of red wine vinegarRed wine vinegar.

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Garten explains this step is to help deglaze the pan. 

After less than a minute, my onions were lightly caramelized and ready to add to the burgers.caramelized onions in a black panCaramelized onions.

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I took them off the heat while I waited for the burgers to be ready to add to the pan.

I heated up a couple of tablespoons of oil in my trusty cast-iron skillet and waited for the burgers to be done in the freezer.oil in a cast iron skilletOil in a cast-iron skillet.

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While this recipe does call for two different pans, it doesn’t require many extra bowls or equipment, which I greatly appreciated when it was time to clean up.

I placed the burger patties down in the cast iron and made sure not to move them once they made contact.burger patties in a cast iron skilletBurger patties.

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Each burger patty should be about an inch thick. While all my burgers weren’t the exact same size, I figured I did a good enough job and was able to use every last bit of the meat mixture.

To put the “smash” in “smash burger,” I pressed down firmly on my burgers with a spatula.burger patties in a cast iron skillet with a spatulaBurger patties.

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This definitely would have worked a little better with a metal spatula, as Garten suggests using, but I made do with the one I had in my kitchen. In the end, the burgers turned out well.

After the burgers had cooked on one side for three minutes, becoming perfectly crispy, I flipped them over and added my toppings.hamburgers cooking in a cast iron skillet with caramelized onions and cheeseThe hamburgers cooking in the cast-iron skillet.

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I grated some Gruyere cheese to top the burgers and added the caramelized onions, too. Then, I placed a lid on the skillet to allow the cheese to melt completely and finish cooking the burgers.

After about two minutes, my burgers were done.a person holding a burgerThe finished burger.

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Garten suggests using sandwich potato rolls, such as Martin’s, for the burgers, so I did just that.

When I cut into the burger, it was perfectly medium rare.a person holding half of a burgerThe finished burger.

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I’m admittedly not the best at telling when burgers are done to my liking, but Garten’s timing worked out perfectly.

The burger blew me away — it was juicy and flavorful, and the onions added the perfect amount of sweetness.a person holding half of a burgerThe finished burger.

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This recipe is great for grill masters and burger novices alike, as you only need a few ingredients to get a delicious burger. Even my roommates were surprised by how tasty these simple burgers turned out. 

I’ll definitely be making these burgers again for an easy dinner or even a summer party with friends.

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