Whataburger Patty Melt

Whataburger Patty Melt sure is a tasty sandwich. What could be better than a delicious patty melt made with melted slices of monterey jack cheese, cooked onions, and creamy pepper sauce between buttery Texas toast?

homemade Whataburger patty melt sandwiches cut in half

Patty Melt Sandwich

The classic patty melt has been a staple of diners and restaurants across the US for decades. If you have never had one before, looking at it, it’s easy to make the mistake of thinking of it as just a cheeseburger served on bread. But it is so much more than that.

Best of all when you make your own copycat recipe, you don’t have to worry about this being a limited-time menu item.

Many folks think Whataburger serves the pinnacle of patty melts on the Whataburger menu with its thick slices of signature Texas toast that is toasted until golden brown, famous creamy pepper sauce, and double meat.

If you agree and are craving the version of the patty melt Whataburger makes, you are going to love this copycat Whataburger patty melt recipe!

Why is this called a Patty Melt?

Sure, everyone knows that a Patty Melt is a delicious type of burger that freshly grilled meat patties are topped with Swiss cheese and grilled onions. Did you wonder how this sandwich was created?

Thanks to Tiny Naylor or the owner of Tiny Naylor created this sandwich as a variation of a Tuna Melt. This burger was created sometime between 1930 and 1959. Thankfully, this burger was created for all to enjoy!

What’s the Difference Between a Cheeseburger and a Patty Melt?

Let’s first get out of the way any notion that a patty melt is just a poor man’s cheeseburger. That’s not the case. Except for using the same burger patties, the two sandwiches share very little in common.

The most noticeable difference is that patty melts use bread, not buns. Although most short-order cooks make patty melts with toasted rye bread, Whataburger switches things up and substitutes thick slices of Texas-style toast.

The lightly toasted, thick-cut bread ups the crunch factor considerably and eliminates the tang of the rye bread that some people don’t enjoy.

And then there are the onions. You can’t have a patty melt without them. Even if you are someone who generally doesn’t like to put onions on burgers, you are going to love these richly caramelized onions.

If you are making a Whataburger Parry Melt, it’s well worth setting aside about an hour to make these fall-apart soft, sweet onions. However, if you don’t have the time, check out the “Tips” section below for a quicker way to make caramelized onions.

Let’s Talk About Whataburger Patty Melt Sauce

This creamy chipotle-flavored patty melt sauce is the real game-changer. It adds an incredible amount of complex flavors and takes this patty melt beyond the ordinary.

Despite the patty melt sauce’s long list of ingredients, putting it together is quick and easy, so definitely make it. You can even double the recipe and keep it covered in the fridge for up to two weeks. Try it on fries or even as a dip for veggies!

What’s a Patty Melt Made Of – Recipe Ingredients

Here’s what you need for the Whataburger patty melt sauce:

  • Kraft mayonnaise, you can also use Duke’s or Hellman’s
  • Dry mustard powder
  • White vinegar
  • Lemon juice
  • Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
  • Freshly cracked black pepper
  • Ground white pepper
  • Salt
  • Onion powder
  • Garlic powder
  • Dried parsley
  • Accent flavor enhancer (MSG), optional

Here’s what you need for the patty melts:

  • Texas toast 
  • Butter
  • Ground beef chuck 
  • Salt
  • White onion 
  • Monterey Jack cheese slices
  • Patty melt sauce
Whataburger patty melt sandwich ingredients on a tray.

How to Make a Patty Melt Whataburger Copycat

  1. Combine all sauce ingredients in a small bowl. Mash and stir until smooth.
homemade Whataburger patty melt sauce in a bowl
  1. Place the sauce in an airtight container and let it set for at least 1 hour.
  2. Heat a grill pan, large cast iron skillet, or large frying pan to medium heat.
  3. Spread butter on both sides of the Texas toast slices.
  4. Cook both sides of the bread slices in the skillet until toasted and browned.
butter toasted Texas toast slices in a skillet
  1. Place the ground beef and salt into a bowl. Mix well.
  2. Shape the beef into 4 thin round patties.
four ground beef patties on a tray.
  1. Melt butter in the skillet.
  2. Add onions and salt to the melted butter.
  3. Cook the onions until they have browned then remove them from the skillet.
cooked onions in a skillet.
  1. Place all four burger patties in the skillet over medium-high heat and cook them for 3 or 4 minutes and then flip the burgers.
  2. Add the cheese slices on top of the meat. Cook the burgers for another 3 or 4 minutes or until cooked through.
  3. Spread some sauce on a slice of bread.
  4. Scatter onions on top of the sauce.
  5. Add a beef patty and then place another toasted bread slice on top.
  6. Repeat with the remaining bread and patties.
two homemade Whataburger patty melt sandwiches

Tips for Making a Whataburger Patty Melt

  • Give rye a try. Sure, some people don’t like the taste of rye bread, but it takes the Whataburger Patty Melt in a whole new direction. Traditionally, Jewish-style corn rye was the way to go, but you can get a bit fancy by using marbled rye bread instead.
  • Sourdough bread is another option. The tangy flavor pairs nicely with beef and cheese.
  • Switch out the cheese. Cheddar cheese and American cheese are great ones to use.
  • Steam your cheese. It’s called a patty melt, so you had better make sure that the cheese good and gooey. To melt the cheese quickly and prevent the patties from overcooking, pour a little water around the edge of the pan you are cooking in, and immediately cover it with an upside-down pan. The steam from the water will take about a minute to melt the cheese.
  • Save time caramelizing your onions. Cooking the perfect onions for a patty melt can take up to 45 minutes, but who has time for that? Try this quick method of caramelizing onions from America’s Test Kitchen to cut the prep time in half.

Watch us cook up your favorite Whataburger recipes on YouTube!

What can you serve with your patty melt?

You may want to make some French fries, or even some homemade onion rings to go with your burger.

Whataburger Patty Melt – Frequently Asked Questions

What sauce does Whataburger put on their burgers?

It depends on the type of burger. Whataburger typically puts mustard on their burger, but they use their spicy peppercorn sauce on their Patty melt.

How big is the Patty Melt at Whataburger?

A Patty Melt is a double meat hamburger. Each patty weighs 84 grams or about 3 ounces, so this puts your burger at about six ounces of pure beef.

How to Store and Reheat a Homemade Patty Melt

If you are going to cook up the entire recipe, but you do not need all of the burgers, I recommend cooking the meat and grilling up the onions, but I would not assemble the sandwich until you are ready.

I would toast the bread just before serving it for the second time. You can reheat your hamburger patties in an air fryer set to 350°F for about 3 to 4 minutes. Or you can simply reheat them in the microwave for about 30 seconds.

Final Thoughts

I hope you give this longtime customer favorite a try, I know you are going to love the magic that Whataburger serves up. The delightful combination of two pieces of Texas toast, perfectly seasoned burger patties, Whataburger’s creamy pepper sauce, and melted gooey cheese is so hard to resist.

While I may have a special place in my heart for a classic cheese Whataburger, their patty melt is one that I can’t put down!

a homemade Whataburger patty melt sandwich on a wood cutting board

Love Whataburger? Try these copycat recipes!

Check out more of my easy sandwich recipes and the best fast food recipes here on CopyKat!

homemade Whataburger patty melt sandwiches cut in half

Patty Melt (Whataburger Copycat)

You can make Whataburger Patty Melt at home with this easy copycat recipe.
4.86 from 7 votes
Print Pin Rate Add to Collection
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Patty Melt, Whataburger Patty Melt
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Sauce Resting Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 1136kcal


Creamy Pepper Sauce

  • 1 cup Kraft mayonnaise You can use Duke's or Hellman's
  • 1 tablespoon dry mustard powder
  • 1 1/3 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dry parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon Accent MSG optional

Toast Ingredients

  • 8 slices Texas toast
  • 1 tablespoon butter softened

Burger Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground beef chuck
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons butter
  • ½ cup chopped white onions
  • 4 slices Monterey Jack cheese


Creamy Pepper Sauce Preparation

  • Combine all sauce ingredients in a small bowl.
  • Mash the chipotle peppers as you stir the sauce until you have a uniform mixture.
  • Place the sauce in an airtight container and let set for at least 1 hour before using for best flavor.

Toast Preparation

  • Heat a griddle or a large cast iron skillet to medium heat.
  • Spread butter on both sides of all four slices of toast.
  • Place buttered bread slices in the skillet and cook on both sides until toasted and browned.

Burger Preparation

  • Place the ground beef into a bowl. Add salt and mix well.
  • Form the beef into 4 thin round patties.
  • Add 2 teaspoons of butter to the skillet.
  • Add onions and a pinch of salt to the skillet.
  • Cook the onions until they have browned. Remove the onions from the skillet.
  • Place all four burger patties in the skillet.
  • Cook the patties for 3 or 4 minutes and flip the burgers.
  • Add the slices of cheese on top of the meat. Cook for another 3 or 4 minutes or until cooked through.

Build the Patty Melts

  • Spread about 1 tablespoon of sauce on a slice of the toasted bread.
  • Scatter onions on top of the sauce.
  • Add a burger patty and then place another toasted bread slice on top.



Calories: 1136kcal | Carbohydrates: 42g | Protein: 34g | Fat: 93g | Saturated Fat: 28g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 26g | Monounsaturated Fat: 23g | Trans Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 142mg | Sodium: 2004mg | Potassium: 469mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 501IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 266mg | Iron: 15mg

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 CopyKat.com's Dining Out in the Home, and CopyKat.com's Dining Out in the Home 2.

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Reader Interactions


  1. Zane

    I have worked at whataburger in the past and I can say there is more than simply “salt” in the patties.

    Not in a “hur durr poyzin khemicels” kinda way, but just know “salt” isn’t enough.

    Also… Don’t mix the seasoning into the ground beef.. Whatever you choose to use, just don’t. It doesn’t work.

    The way it’s done at the restaurant is 100% raw patties with NO seasoning are placed on the grill. The patties are about 6″ in diameter, and around 1/8th of an inch thick when raw. The beef is 90/10.

    The seasoning is added to the top of the patty AFTER IT’S ON THE GRILL (my best guess is its a 2/1/1 mix of non-iodine salt, MSG and fine ground black pepper. That means for every two grams of salt, you add one gram of MSG and black pepper). Do not use iodine salt (usually called table salt) for this recipe.

    If you mix the salt into the ground beef before you make the burgers, you’ll end up with a chewy patty. So don’t do it. This isn’t a meatloaf that cooks for a long time, it’s a burger.

    The recipe for the sauce is “okay.” Do NOT use kraft mayonnaise – it has far too much sweetener. If you don’t use kraft, you’ll want to reduce the amount of vinegar added (because it isn’t needed). I’d say just a “splash,” maybe one or two tablespoons. Every other measurement I agree with.

    For the toast, butter is added after it’s toasted, not before. Adding the butter first will cause the milk solids to burn and give a different flavor. If you want the authentic taste, add the butter after the bread is toasted.

    No hate to the author, but that’s what happens when someone takes a “guess” at a recipe based only on taste. This recipe is a solid 9/10.

    Just adding my two cents as someone who had made this burger countless times.

  2. Thomas R. Householder

    The Whataburger Patty Melt is one of my favorite things. Can’t wait to try this recipe. I usually order mine with bacon and raw onion as I am not a fan of the cooked onions on a burger, so I will make a modification or two.

  3. Ty Wilson

    5 stars
    Made these last night. Minus a few ingredients for the sauce I forgot while at the store. Still turned out amazing. Thank you!

  4. Alette

    At Walgreens in Chicago area the soda fountain had the famous patty melt. Always used rye bread toasted on grill with cheese and onions. Wonderful

  5. Barbara

    4 stars
    It was ok ,but I have had a better patty melt.
    It was ground chuck ,cheese, sautéed onions, thousand island dressing
    Marble rye bread, and then grilled . a
    dill pickle on the side. With steak fries

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