Krystal Burgers

Craving a Krystal Burger but don’t want to go out? You can make the best Krystal burgers at home with this easy copycat recipe.

homemade Krystal burger on parchment paper.

Homemade Krystal Burgers

Depending on where you grew up in the US, you might never have heard of Krystal burgers. if you grew up anywhere near Chattanooga you know the name Krystal. If you didn’t grow up in the south you were busy devouring White Castle burgers. 

If you never had a Krystal burger or cheeseburger, you don’t know what you are missing, and it’s more than square hamburgers at low prices. Now is your chance to correct that considerable oversight by making these copycat Krystal burgers.

Krystal Burger vs White Castle Burger

While White Castle may be the granddaddy of steamed sliders, Krystal is no Johnny-come-lately. Opened in 1932, this southern-based fast food business aimed to replicate the success of White Castle restaurants in Kansas by selling very similar hamburgers. Although the burgers look almost the same, there are several subtle yet critical differences between the two recipes.

Order a Krystal burger, and it will come with mustard, pickle, and onions, while a White Castle burger only has pickles and onions.

Oh, and then there is the patty itself. Although the meat patties from both places are super thin, the ones from White Castle have holes punched in them, while Krystal burgers do not.

But those aren’t the only differences.

Take a closer look at the onions, and you’ll notice something a bit unusual. The Krystal burger’s onions are tiny but bursting with beef flavor, while the White Castle’s onions are larger and bland. That’s the secret to how the Krystal burger recipe packs so much beefy taste into such a tiny beef patty.

Krystal uses dehydrated onions reconstituted in beef broth! What a brilliant idea you can easily use in other recipes when you want to add extra meaty flavor without adding more beef. Whatever you do, don’t use regular minced onions or skip adding the beef bouillon to the water. You’ll regret it!

homemade Krystal burgers on parchment paper.

Krystal Burger Ingredients

Here’s a list of what you need:

  • Dehydrated onion
  • Ground beef
  • Water
  • Salt
  • Beef bouillon cube
  • Yellow mustard
  • Hamburger dill pickle slices
  • Dinner rolls (soft and fluffy)
Krystal burger ingredients on a tray.

How to Make Krystal Burgers the Right Way

There is a lot that makes a Krystal burger a Kyrstal burger. If you want to capture the same taste and, more importantly, the texture at home, you need to steam the burgers like they do at the restaurant. Getting the steaming process right all starts with preparing the burger patties correctly.

  1. Whizzing the burger meat with salt and water in a food processor is an essential step. Make sure to grind the burger mixture into a fine, almost paste-like consistency. Unfortunately, this isn’t something that you can do by hand, so it’s worth digging out that Cuisinart from the back of your cupboard.
  2. When you finish whizzing the burger mixture, distribute it onto a plastic-wrap-lined jelly roll dish or a rimmed baking tray. Cover the meat with another sheet of plastic wrap on top and press down on the meat with another baking pan until it’s about 1/4-inch thick.
  3. Remove the top layer of plastic wrap and cut the pressed meat into 3 x 3-inch patties. Pop the tray in the freezer for 30 minutes to allow the burger mixture to firm up.
ground beef cut into square patties.
  1. While the patties are in the freezer (or before making the patties), soak the dehydrated onions in warm water with bouillon.
  2. Spread the reconstituted onions across the bottom of a skillet over medium-low heat.
  3. Place the semi-frozen patties on top of the onions.
ground beef patties and onions in a skillet.
  1. Top the patties with the bottom bun. Place the top bun on top of the bottom bun, cover, and allow the burgers to steam until done without turning.
  2. After the burgers are cooked, use a spatula to remove them from the skillet. Top with one slice of dill pickle, a squirt of yellow mustard, and all those delicious onions.
homemade Krystal burger, pickle slices, and bowl of mustard.

Finally, there is no need to make a road trip to Georgia, Tennessee, Florida,  or Alabama to go to Krystal. You can enjoy that tiny square hamburger anywhere with this easy copycat recipe. 

Love burgers? Try these recipes!

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Check out more of my tasty burger recipes and the best fast food recipes here on CopyKat!

homemade Krystal burger on parchment paper.

Krystal Burger

You can make homemade Krystal Burgers with this easy copycat recipe.
5 from 4 votes
Print Pin Rate Add to Collection
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Krystal Burgers, Krystal Hamburgers
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 12
Calories: 223kcal


  • ¼ cup dehydrated onion
  • 1 cup water divided
  • 1 beef bouillon cube
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 12 dinner rolls (soft and fluffy), sliced in half like hamburger buns
  • ¼ cup yellow mustard
  • 12 dill pickle hamburger slices


  • Soak the dehydrated onions in ½ cup of warm water with bouillon.
  • Place the ground beef, salt, and 1/2 cup of water in a food processor. Process for a few seconds, until the mixture is well blended and starting to become paste-like in consistency.
  • Cover the bottom of an 11×13-inch jelly roll pan with plastic wrap. Place the meat in the middle of the pan, cover with another piece of plastic wrap, and roll out the meat to 1/4-inch thickness.
  • Remove the top piece of plastic wrap and cut the meat into 3×3-inch squares, yielding 12 square patties. Leave the patties on the tray, cover with plastic wrap, and place in the freezer until partially frozen, but not solid.
  • Spread the reconstituted onions across the bottom of a skillet over medium-low heat.
  • Place the semi-frozen patties on top of the onions.
  • Top the patties with the bottom bun. Place the top bun on top of the bottom bun. Cover the pan and allow the burgers to steam until done without turning.
  • After the burgers are cooked, use a spatula to remove them from the skillet. Top each burger with onions, a dill pickle slice, and mustard.


Calories: 223kcal | Carbohydrates: 21g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 27mg | Sodium: 610mg | Potassium: 192mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 30IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 95mg | Iron: 2mg

About Stephanie Manley

I recreate your favorite restaurant recipes, so you can prepare these dishes at home. I help you cook dinner, and serve up dishes you know your family will love. You can find most of the ingredients for all of the recipes in your local grocery store.

Stephanie is the author of's Dining Out in the Home, and's Dining Out in the Home 2.

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Reader Interactions


  1. Wes

    Actually, when I worked for Krystal’s (about 16 years ago), at the time, the onions were hydrated in HOT water, for a minimum of 30 minutes prior to being used, but the preferred prep time back then was twice a day, once in the morning, once in the afternoon, which actually gave the onions more time to rehydrate (in the cooler). But Victor is correct, NO beef Bouillion, no seasoning of any kind. Also, the meat patties are steamed with a little water in the bottom of the pan (although they use specially designed grill plates) in addition to the onions.

  2. Pat

    I’ve not had a Krystal burger but grew up on White Castle burgers that seem very similar to these. I’ll be willing to try this recipe, looks good.

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