Michael Schlow Burger with Crispy Onions

A Michael Schlow burger topped with cheese and caramelized onions on a white plate with a serving of slaw on the side.

I chose to make this onion-topped, horseradish-slathered “fat boy” Schlow Burger, created by Boston chef Michael Schlow, because it’s the best burger I know how to make. It’s also fairly simple to do at home. I guess the crowd loved it because I won the People’s Choice Award, the top honor of the evening. Grab a cold beer or iced tea with this one and get ready to make a mess—this is not a dainty meal!–Lee Brian Schrager

LC Talking with Your Mouth Full Note

Um, we’d say something, but our mouths are too full of grilled burger dripping with cheese. You understand.

Michael Schlow Burger

  • Quick Glance
  • (1)
  • 20 M
  • 35 M
  • Serves 2
5/5 - 1 reviews
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  • For the crispy onions
  • For the Michael Schlow burgers


Make the crispy onions

Pour the oil into a small, deep pot, add the onion, and bring to a boil (yes, a boil) over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and cook at a very low simmer, turning the onions with a fork every 30 seconds until golden brown, 30 to 40 minutes. Adjust the heat as needed to maintain a low simmer. At this point the onions won’t be crispy. Rest assured, your patience will be rewarded.

Remove the onions from the oil with a slotted spoon and place them in a single layer on paper towels. I promise you that after a few minutes, as the caramelized sugars cool and harden, the onions will become deliciously crisp.

Make the Michael Schlow burgers

Combine the meat and the oil in a bowl. Season with salt and plenty of black pepper. Divide the meat into two 9-ounce portions and form them into burgers. Cover the burgers and refrigerate until ready to use or up to 1 hour.

In a mixing bowl, combine the mayonnaise, lemon juice, and horseradish and season with pepper. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Heat a grill to high. Remove the burgers from the refrigerator and let them stand at room temperature for 5 to 7 minutes before grilling. Grill until the burgers retain grill marks, at least 1 1/2 minutes. Give the burgers a quarter turn to mark them and cook for 1 1/2 minutes more. Flip the burgers and cook for another 1 1/2 minutes. Rotate another quarter turn and cook for 1 1/2 minutes more. Transfer the burgers to the top shelf of a gas grill or to a cooler section on a charcoal grill, and cover each with a slice of cheese. If using a gas grill, turn off the heat. Cover the grill. Cook for 4 minutes more, or until the cheese has melted and the hamburgers are rare to medium-rare. (For anything beyond medium-rare, let the burgers sit over indirect heat for longer.)

Spread some of the horseradish sauce on each burger. Top each burger with some crispy onions. Season with pepper and then, if you dare, slather more sauce on the top half of the bun and place it on top of the hamburger. Serve the Schlow burgers with the coleslaw on the side.

Print RecipeBuy the South Beach Wine & Food Festival Cookbook cookbook

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Recipe Testers' Reviews

This is definitely one to please your family and friends. The burger is simple–juicy and delicious. The toppings, of course, make it special. The crispy onions add a nice and sweet crunch, the coleslaw is sweet and tangy and bring a different crunch, and the horseradish sauce is creamy and spicy to balance the sweetness of everything else. I would make sure that the cheese is an extra-thick slice, otherwise you don’t really get much flavor. I used an English Cheddar (which was pretty sharp) and barely noticed it was there. In addition, the horseradish sauce calls for the juice of 1/2 lemon and it would be better to indicate how many tablespoons. (My lemon was average size and I bet I got 3 tablespoons of juice, which was too much for the mayo and horseradish.) All together, it was fabulous! I will certainly make this again for my family and for guests. The coleslaw recipe is a keeper on its own.

I’ve never mixed olive oil into hamburger meat before, but it made the mixture nice and smooth, which helped form neater patties. It didn’t change the flavor any, and I can’t say if it added any moisture to the finished burger, but it did help get a nice seared crust to the patty. I’d probably add a couple swirls of olive oil whenever I’m making burgers again. I’d rather just make caramelized onions. The horseradish mayo, though, was delicious and went perfectly with the burger and cheese. Definitely slather that sauce everywhere.


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  1. Substitute the plain cheddar with naturally apple-smoked cheddar and you get one extra step of flavor here. Good recipe.

  2. Made these last night on a grill pan and they were fantastic! I was skeptical about the onions, but they didn’t disappoint and that horseradish sauce with the lemon juice really complements the beef. This simple burger with olive oil added has now become the standard by which all my future burgers will be made. You’ve got a fan in me! Thanks

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