Keef Cooks logo
British food-lover Keef shows you how to cook amazing food with easy to follow recipes and videos. So stop wasting your time and money on takeaways or supermarket ready meals, and Get Cooking!

Wisconsin Butter Burger

Introduction & method

In 1936 Solly's Café (now Grille) made Milwaukee famous by inventing the butter burger. It's a very simple burger, elevated to exquisiteness by being smothered in ridiculous amounts of butter. So, not a healthy thing and definitely something to only have as an occasional treat.

Wisconsin Butter Burger Recipe

Stew Some Onions

The Wisconsin butter burger is topped with stewed onions, so you need to get that going first. Top, tail and peel your onion(s). Slice in half vertically, and then into thin half-moons about 6mm (quarter inch) thick. Pop them into a small saucepan with a tablespoon of sugar and 2-3 tablespoons of water. Stir well and simmer with a lid on for 15-20 minutes. Stir every now and then and add more water if they are sticking. When they are soft and only slightly brown, give them a taste and add salt as needed. At the end of cooking you want the moisture from the onions to have evaporated.

Make the Patties

Divide the minced steak into 4 equal pieces. Use a 10cm (4-inch) steel ring as a former. Pop a ball of mince into this and press the top down lightly with a potato masher to make the mince stick together but don't compress it too much. If you don't have steel rings you could improvise with a shallow tuna can or similar, but be careful with any sharp edges.

Prep Other Things

Slice the burger buns in half and toast them very lightly on both sides in a toaster, on your griddle or under a grille/broiler. Butter them generously and place them in a low oven to keep warm. Butter burgers don't usually have much in the way of vegetation in them, but if you really want lettuce, tomato, pickles etc, get them sliced and ready now. Cheese is commonly used (Wisconsin is hwere most American cheese is mined), so slice your favourite mousetrap or unwrap that delicious gooey pre-sliced burger cheese that really isn't cheese at all.

Cook the Patties

You can cook your patties in various ways - in a frying pan or cast-iron skillet, under a grille/broiler, or on a cast-iron griddle. The latter is my favourite because of the smoke, flames and fat spitting everywhere. The patties need about 3 minutes each side. When the first side is done, season the top with salt and ground black pepper, turn the burger over and lay a slice of cheese on top. Cook for 3 minutes then remove from heat. Tent with foil if your kitchen is cold and let the burger rest for 5 minutes.

Assemble the Burgers

Take the bottom bun pieces, spread with butter and add any lettuce/tomato/pickle. Place a cheese-laden patty on top of this, then a tablespoon or two of stewed onion - remember to reheat it if it's gone cold - and two tablespoons of butter. Place the lid on and transport to the table. This is definitely a burger that you want to serve on a plate because you will get a pool of butter dribbling out of it.

The video above is from the Keef Cooks YouTube channel. Click here to see the video recipe of Wisconsin Butter Burger on YouTube.

Related recipes from Keef Cooks

Ingredients & Info

 500 grams minced beef steak
 1 large onion
 6 tbsp butter
 4 slices burger cheese


Salt and pepper to taste. Optionally, lettuce, tomato, pickles

US Customary/Imperial

Makes 4 burgers
Prep time: 10 minutes.
Resting time: 5 minutes.
Cooking time: 26 minutes.
Total time: 41 minutes.