Best Onions for Burgers

What are the best types of Onion and Serving Styles for Hamburger Onions for a Big Crowd?

What seemed like an easy pondering, what is the best onion for burgers in 2024, led me to recall all my top hamburgers. I think it’s unlikely that a burger will make my best burgers, especially when cooking for a crowd without onions – simply put – onions are a key factor in making a burger successful especially for a big group.

Also, see

Picking the best onion for hamburgers depends on how you are going to use the onions also, raw, caramelized, diced, and mixed with the patty.

There are many types of onions, but what is the best one to use for burgers? We are going to talk about 6 different types of onions in this post.  One of the most popular ingredients for a great burger is onions.

TLDR: Caramelized Onion with a sprinkle of chili powder and fennel is my favorite.

Also, see our Bourbon Onion Hamburger made in an Instant Pot.

You should read this guide to figure out what your favorite onion would be since there are so many different types.

What are the best frozen burger patties to buy for a party?

What Onion For Burgers?

When you read a burger recipe they do not tell you what onion to use.  For other beef recipes, like beef bourguignon, the recipe will specify shallots which are milder tasting onion. Salads will suggest spring onions but this is seldom done or happen with burger recipes.

What are the options when it comes to burgers?

Caramelized Onions In a Hamburger
Caramelized Onions In a Hamburger

Yellow Onions – Also referred to as Brown Onions

The yellow onion is the most versatile onion. When you don’t know how you’re going to use the onion, this is the safest one to buy. It’s an all-purpose onion, which is good for burgers, pasta, and everything else.

Yellow onions have white onion flesh. The skin however is yellow to brown skin, which is why they get called brown onions. When raw, they have a very sharp taste. If you plan to serve raw onions on your burger, I don’t recommend this onion. When cooked they are great for caramelizing because of the high levels of sugar and the sharp taste just disappears. So these are great grilled onion, sauteed onions for burgers. They can also be used in a french onion burger recipe.

Sweet Onions

If you don’t know what you’re cooking, sweet onions are the safest onion to buy, but not sure if you’ll make a burger with them.

They can be used for onion rings due to their thick layers. If you want raw onions on your burger, the flavor profile isn’t too sharp or stinky.

Sweet onions can be grilled or fried, and have high sugar content for making caramelized onions.

Diced and sliced onion is usually added into a raw burger patty for extra flavor in the cooked ground beef.

Sweet onions are the best for burgers.

Red Onions

The red onion has a unique purple skin so it stands out when you see it. If you want to bring a little color to your juicy burger, this is a great choice. I like this onion for its mild taste and no strong smell. It’s ideal to add raw on burgers.

I usually use a red onion sliced and diced. It’s also great diced and used in raw salsa. All of them are excellent on hamburgers. These onions are very good for grilling but do not caramelize as well as a white onion.

White Onions

Mexican cooking uses white onions. They are famous for their sharp taste. People like to use onions in salsa, but I don’t think they are good fried. These are good if you like fried onions on your turkey burgers or other ground meat. I also love these on a bacon and egg skillet cooked burger.

Spring Onions

Also called scallions or green onion. You wouldn’t normally associate spring onion with a burger. They have a delicious taste. If you are putting a mixed salad on your burger, I would say to chuck in some spring onion.

Red Onion Rings
Red Onion Rings

Vidalia Onions

The sweet flavor is due to the low amount of sulfur in the soil in which the onions are grown. It can be called a Vidalia onion only if it’s planted grown in one of around 20 counties designated by the the Vidalia Onion Act of 1986.

Georgia named the Vidalia onion its state vegetable in 1990.

The onions have very low levels of sulfur in the soil and that is what makes them sweet.

What onion for burgers– Styles

What is the best style of onions for burgers

If you only had one topping for a burger, it would make sense to pick onions. There is a good range of choices and their sweet flavors complement the meat. My favorite ways to add onions to my burger are outlined here.

Raw or Cooked Onion Which is Best

When it comes to adding onions to your burger, the key choice is cooked or raw onions. It is possible to have a little bit of both raw and cooked onion if you are a real fan of onions. Do not forget the pickled onion – we will also cover that.

We’ll cover a few more cooked options in this article. Let’s take a look at the options that are raw.

Sliced Onion

A lot of thought has gone into making sure the sliced onion for burgers is perfect. The onion ring is the most classic slice and makes for a great picture. Although it’s never a deal-breaker for burger connoisseurs, this method isn’t the best. Why – because they do not stack well and the burger will need to be supported if you have a mega onion burger – it will be just too tall. e.g Oklahoma onion burger.

The most dangerous method to cut onion is slicing it into rings as they can be slippery and that makes it easy to cut your hand. If you have kids helping to make burgers you can get around this if you use a deli slicer.

Diced Onion

While diced onions are popular for burgers, they can become a bit messy if you have too many small cubes on top of the burger. Adding the diced onion to the ground meat with garlic powder is a great way to flavor up your burger. Adding diced onions to a sauce will hold all the goodness and flavor in place also.

Grated Onion

Another option is to grate them (use a box grater) , but adding grated onions on top a burger is not so good as they are quite a runny form of onion. I suggest that you only add grated onions to the sauce, for example, Worcestershire sauce with grated white onion is really nice. You can also add grated onions to the burger patty mix.

Or if you use an electric griddle and place the burger on top to be steamed in the onion flavors and place the lid on the griddle or pan.

Pickled Onion

Picked food gives a tangy sharp taste, you either love it or hate it. The pickled onion is one of the best options for a burger topping with grilled cheese or even blue cheese. You can also have them as a burger side dish.

Grilled Onion

The top grillers’ staple onion for burgers is the grilled onion. I like to grill my onion in butter. The onion rings are usually grilled for a few minutes. People tend to grill rings because they are less likely to fall through the grate. However they can be a bit messy and spill of your bbq especially if it is a small electric one, I recommend you buy a grill mat, which makes it much easier to clean up.

Onion Rings

I see onion rings on top of burgers at gourmet burger bars or restaurants. They are easy to make, but it is difficult to cook them on a grill. If you want to try the onion ring on the grill, I’d recommend it on the flat plate. But deep fried in olive oil is the best for me. Also, they make a great topping for french onion soup or an Oklahoma fried onion burger.

Fried Onion

Fried butter onions are a classic on burgers. Frying food on a grill is not easy unless you have an outside hotplate. You can try these if you have an outdoor deep fat fryer or side burner stove. You can either deep fry onions or cook them in a frying pan, until they become less bitter and more delicious. Cooked with the hamburger patty means you get a good onion flavor and do not forget to season with kosher salt and pepper.

Pan Fried Caramelized Onions
Pan Fried Caramelized Onions

Caramelized Onions

Caramelized onions sound restaurant fancy but are a simple burger patty topping. To caramelize them you simply cook slowly until the sugar (I use brown sugar) turns to caramel. The good thing is onions are rich in natural sugar that helps them turn a lovely brown color and form a sweet taste. If you want a little color thinly slice green onion and sprinkle on the top. Some folks use a small amount of balsamic if they do not like them too sweet.

Cook and stirring the onions gently until they release the sugar and turn a brown color. To get a nutty caramel flavor you add a little olive oil and salt.

What kind of onions do you use on burgers?

  • Yellow Onions – sam as Brown Onions.
  • Sweet Onions
  • Red Onions
  • White Onions
  • Spring Onions
  • Raw/Cooked
  • Pickled
  • Grilled
  • Caramelized is best.

Are Red Onions Good On Hamburgers

Red Onions

Are a good raw onion choice for a hamburger because they are mild tasting. They’re also used raw in salads, salsas, and sandwiches.

Do You Put Raw Onion On A Burger

No – it is best to put cooked onions on – because raw onion is very strong in taste.

If you love onions ok – but for kids often just say no raw onion.

Which are the sweetest onions?

Sweet Onions – Walla Walla and Vidalia are the most popular kinds of sweet onions. These onions have a sweeter taste than other onions. They are great served on top of sandwiches or salads.

Lastly if you have leftover burgers – can you refreeze cooked ground beef?