Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Turkey Patty Melts

This blog has definitely given me the incentive to make some of those things I've always wanted to but just have never gotten around to. I've never made patty melts at home before today, but I've always been pretty sure that this would be the type of recipe that would be well suited to making at home. Diner food is so yummy, but often times I'll order something with a certain expectation just to be disappointed by what I ultimately get. Usually the complaint for me is that some of these "comfort foods" come out too greasy and/or bland. I was pretty sure that a homemade patty melt held a lot of promise compared to what I might get if I opted to order one from my local diner.

I decided to make my version using ground turkey instead of the standard ground beef. Recently I read a patty melt recipe in a cooking magazine that used torn up rye bread, soaked in milk to make a "panade" or paste to add to the patty mixture. I knew, like a meatloaf or meatballs, that this addition would add tenderness to the burger as well as flavor. Since I typically make both meatloaf and meatballs using ground turkey, I figured it would fit the bill nicely for this application. 

This recipe is pretty fast to throw together, like a "30-minute meal" caliber dinner. I was kinda surprised that it came together so quickly since patty melts are a bit of a multi-step process, caramelize onions, form and cook  burger patties, put together a sandwich and grill it. But it came together swiftly and only dirtied one skillet. 

When I offered up one of these patty melts to my 11-year old son, Caleb, he took one bite and said, "Aw dude, that tastes awesome!". I think that's good enough for me!

Turkey Patty Melts
~makes 4 sandwiches~

2 large onions, thinly sliced
5 t. canola oil, divided
10 slices of rye bread
2 T. milk
1 T. worcestershire sauce
3/4 t. onion powder
1 t. salt, divided
1/2 t. pepper
1 1/4 lb. 93% lean ground turkey 
8 oz. swiss cheese, shredded
8 t. Thousand Island Dressing (plus additional for serving with the sandwiches, if desired)
2 T. salted butter

1. Heat 2 t. of the canola oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until the oil is shimmering. Add onions and 1/2 t. salt and cook stirring often until the onions are nicely browned and caramelized, about 15 minutes. Transfer onions to a clean plate and set aside.

2. Meanwhile, form the patties: Tear 2 slices of the bread into 1/2-inch pieces. In a large bowl place bread pieces, milk, worcestershire, onion powder, 1/2 t. salt and pepper. Mash with a potato masher until smooth, add ground turkey and using your hands, thoroughly mix. Shape into 4, 4x6-inch patties. When the onions are out of the pan, add remaining 3 t. canola oil. When the oil is shimmering again, add the patties and cook until well browned on the first side, about 5 minutes. Flip patties and reduce the heat to medium and cook until the patties are cooked all the way through, about 7 minutes more. Remove patties from skillet. Wipe out the skillet with paper towel.

3. Assemble the sandwiches: Divide half the cheese between 4 of the bread slices. Top with the turkey burgers and spread each patty with 2 t. Thousand Island dressing. Divide onions between sandwiches and remaining cheese. Top with remaining bread. 

4. Grill the Patty Melts: Melt 1 T. butter in the skillet over medium heat. Add two sandwiches and grill until golden brown on both sides, 3-4 minutes per side. Repeat with the remaining 1 T.butter and the last two sandwiches. Serve with additional Thousand Island dressing, if desired.


  1. What gorgeous melts - definitely a perfect dinner recipe for my brother and dad :D

    Choc Chip Uru

  2. I ADORE patty melts! And I've been craving them lately!

    I never thought to lighten them up a bit with the turkey, but that's a great option!

    It'll make me feel better if I have more than one. :D

  3. I'm up for anything that has caramelized onions in it, just asking for a bite! :)

  4. That rye is calling my name!

  5. Yum! I loooove turkey burgers. So versatile. Well done.

  6. I love patty melts and I like that you used turkey here. I have never actually had one with turkey, but I am sure I would enjoy it. This does make for a pretty tasty weeknight meal, That cross section of them sure makes me want to eat one! Well done.

  7. I couldn't agree more. I've tried many new recipes and creations because of my little blog. Your Turkey Patty Melts looks sooo delicious. I'm sure it tastes just as good! You've got me craving for one now!

  8. New to your blog and I love your recipes! This recipe looks delicious and I like that you're using turkey. I am definitely going to try this out!