Vegan Patty Melt

Perfectly toasted bread, melted cheese, sweet caramelized onions, and a thin plant-based patty—all dripping in tangy Thousand Island dressing. Make this vegan patty melt recipe stat!

Halved Vegan Patty Melt with Pickles on a Plate over a Table Napkin

Simply Recipes / Alison Bickel

There is something about a patty melt that is inherently comforting. The toasted bread, gooey melted cheese, and caramelized onions are what make it a classic dish. It’s got that crispy, crunchy, melt-in-your-mouth magic.

While we weren’t always patty melt gals, we had a change of heart after eating one of the best burgers we’ve ever had at a trendy cocktail bar and bistro in St. Petersburg, Florida. We were there for the drinks but found ourselves ordering their vegan patty melt with a side of pickles.

It exceeded all expectations; every bite was satisfyingly rich. This recreation encompasses everything we love about that sandwich, plus pickles and a homemade vegan Thousand Island dressing. It’s the fixings that make this vegan patty melt shine. 

Pro tip: serve with french fries so you have another vehicle for the homemade Thousand Island.

What Makes This Recipe Vegan?

The main vegan swaps are the plant-based burger patty, vegan cheese, and vegan mayo. Working with certain plant-based meat alternatives is very similar to working with ground beef, and you can form the patties to your liking. 

The vegan cheese requires a bit more time to melt but ends up being perfectly gooey. Vegan mayo in the dressing is an easy swap—any brand will do!

If you’re vegetarian but not vegan, you can swap the vegan cheese and vegan mayo for the dairy versions. Skip microwaving the bread and cheese since dairy cheese is easier to melt.

Halved Vegan Patty Melt with Pickles on a Plate over a Table Napkin

Simply Recipes / Alison Bickel

What Plant-Based Burger Patties Can You Use?

You can use any plant-based patty that you like. We recommend using an option that is not sold pre-cooked because it allows you to thin out the patty and shape it to fit your bread. 

Here are four plant-based patties we tested with this recipe:

  • Impossible Burger Patties: Our favorite! If you purchase the patties or ground “beef” frozen, thaw in the refrigerator overnight. The patties are easy to work with, cook quickly, and have the best flavor and texture. They’re rich, fatty, and the thin patty melts in your mouth.
  • Beyond Burger Patties: The patties are thicker to begin with so they require a little more shaping for a patty melt. The cooked patty is juicy and very meaty. The texture is a little tougher than Impossible and it has what we call the “classic Beyond flavor” that we can never quite pinpoint. Still very delicious!
  • Dr. Praeger’s Perfect Burger: It’s cooked from frozen so it can’t be formed to fit your bread. Other than that, it’s a good option. It has a meaty flavor but is less rich and fatty than Beyond or Impossible.
  • Gardein Ultimate Burger: Also cooked from frozen but a thinner patty than Dr. Praeger’s. This was our least favorite because it had a chargrilled flavor that distracted from the patty melt. It was also much tougher and lacked the rich, meaty texture of the other burgers.

Choosing The Right Cheese

You really can’t go wrong here if you’re choosing a sliced cheese that you like! We enjoy using a smoky cheese like Violife’s Smoked Provolone or Smoked Gouda slices. Daiya’s Cheddar or Swiss slices are also delicious in this recipe. 

Just make sure to use our tip—microwaving the cheese and bread for 10 seconds—to ensure the cheese fully melts.

Vegan Patty Melt with Fries on a Plate over a Table Napkin, and in the Background, Another Plate with More

Simply Recipes / Alison Bickel

Vegan Comfort Food Recipes

Vegan Patty Melt

Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 40 mins
Servings 2 servings
Yield 2/3 cup dressing, 2 patty melts

You can substitute sweet relish for dill relish in the Thousand Island dressing. You can also use apple cider vinegar instead of pickle juice. 

If your burger patties are frozen, thaw them before cooking. Alternatively, use plant-based ground meat and form your own patties.


For the caramelized onions

  • 1 large white or yellow onion

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

For the vegan Thousand Island dressing

  • 1/2 cup vegan mayonnaise

  • 2 tablespoons ketchup

  • 1 tablespoon dill relish

  • 1/2 teaspoon pickle juice

  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon sweet paprika

  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

For the sandwiches

  • 2 Impossible Burger Patties or other plant-based burger patties, thawed overnight in the refrigerator if frozen

  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard, optional

  • 1 tablespoon salted vegan butter or olive oil

  • 4 slices rye bread

  • 4 slices smoked provolone, Swiss, or cheddar vegan cheese

  • 2 tablespoons vegan Thousand Island, divided

  • 1/2 cup caramelized onions, divided

  • Sliced pickles, optional


  1. Cut the onion into half moons:

    Cut off the ends of the onion and peel back the skin. Slice it lengthwise from root to end. Then thinly slice each of the halves so that you have half moons. Use your hands to break them up. Finely dice 1 tablespoon of the onion for the sauce and set it aside.

    Onions Sliced on a Cutting Board for Vegan Patty Melt Recipe

    Simply Recipes / Alison Bickel

  2. Cook the onions:

    Add the oil to a large skillet over medium heat. Once it is shimmering, add the onions and stir to coat them in oil. Cook them until they are translucent and golden brown, stirring frequently to keep them from burning, about 15 minutes. (If needed, adjust the heat so that they don’t brown too much.) Add the apple cider vinegar in the last minute and stir to deglaze the pan. 

    Remove the onions from the heat and set aside. Leave the pan to cool.

    Onions Slices Cooking in a Skillet for Vegan Patty Melt Recipe

    Simply Recipes / Alison Bickel

    Caramelized Onions in a Skillet for How to Make a Vegan Patty Melt

    Simply Recipes / Alison Bickel

  3. While the onions are cooking, make the sauce:

    In a small bowl, whisk together the vegan mayonnaise, ketchup, dill relish, pickle juice, reserved diced onion, garlic powder, paprika, salt, and pepper. Set aside.

    Bowl of Vegan Thousand Island Dressing for Patty Melt Vegan Recipe

    Simply Recipes / Alison Bickel

  4. Cook the plant-based patty:

    Wipe out the pan you used to cook the onions. 

    Using your hands, flatten the patties a little and shape them to fit your bread. 

    For a mustard-grilled patty, spread a dollop of Dijon mustard on one side of the patty before placing it mustard-side down in the pan to cook. 

    Cook the patties according to the package instructions. You can shorten the cook time by 1 minute on the second side since the patties are thinner; it’s okay if they are a little pink in the center. Remove the patties and let the pan cool a bit before wiping it out.

    Impossible Burger on a Piece of Parchment on a Cutting Board, and Next to It, Two Slices of Rye Bread for Vegan Patty Melt Recipe

    Simply Recipes / Alison Bickel

    Dijon Mustard Added to Impossible Burger Patty, and Next to It, Two Pieces of Rye Bread for Vegan Patty Melt

    Simply Recipes / Alison Bickel

    Impossible Burger Patty Cooking in Skillet for Vegan Patty Melt Recipe

    Simply Recipes / Alison Bickel

  5. Toast the bread and cheese:

    Place a slice of vegan cheese on each piece of rye bread. 

    Simple Tip!

    Vegan cheese takes a bit longer to melt. To ensure it gets nice and gooey in the pan, microwave the bread and cheese before cooking on the stovetop, just until the cheese is no longer cold and stiff, 10 to 15 seconds. 

    Place the pan over medium heat and add the butter. Once it melts, add the pieces of bread cheese side up. Lower the heat to medium-low, cover, and cook until the cheese starts to melt, about 5 minutes.

    Rye Bread Slices Topped with Vegan Cheese on a Heated Skillet for Vegan Patty Melt Recipe

    Simply Recipes / Alison Bickel

    Two Slices of Rye Bread with Melted Cheese in a Skillet for Vegan Patty Melt

    Simply Recipes / Alison Bickel

  6. Assemble the sandwich:

    Remove the cover and assemble your sandwiches. On 2 slices of bread, stack 1/4 cup caramelized onions, one tablespoon of Thousand Island sauce, the cooked patty, and a few pickle slices (if using). Place the remaining 2 pieces of bread on top. 

    Turn the heat up to medium and use a spatula to press down your patty melt and let it cook for a few more minutes, or until the cheese fully melts and the bread is toasty but not burnt.

    Caramelized Onions and Impossible Burger Patties Added to Sliced Bread with Cheese in Skillet for Vegan Patty Melt Recipe

    Simply Recipes / Alison Bickel

  7. Serve:

    Remove the sandwiches from the pan and cut them in half. Serve with more vegan Thousand Island dressing. 

    You can store extra dressing or caramelized onions in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 5 days.

    Love the recipe? Leave us stars below!

    Vegan Patty Melt with Fries on a Plate over a Table Napkin, and in the Background, Another Plate with Another Serving

    Simply Recipes / Alison Bickel

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
868 Calories
61g Fat
32g Carbs
47g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 2
Amount per serving
Calories 868
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 61g 78%
Saturated Fat 22g 108%
Cholesterol 160mg 53%
Sodium 894mg 39%
Total Carbohydrate 32g 11%
Dietary Fiber 3g 12%
Total Sugars 8g
Protein 47g
Vitamin C 3mg 17%
Calcium 463mg 36%
Iron 4mg 23%
Potassium 552mg 12%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. In cases where multiple ingredient alternatives are given, the first listed is calculated for nutrition. Garnishes and optional ingredients are not included.