Krystal Copycat Burger

Copycat Krystal Burgers

These familiar looking little burgers are just as delicious as you remember, and just as greasy. No need in running to buy a bag when you get a craving – you can make a batch of Copycat Krystal Burgers right at home and save your gas.

Copycat Krystal Burgers

Does the name “Krystal” ring a bell? I’ve known the name and the little burgers in a box since I can remember. Especially during my teenage years. Late, late teenage years.

If you grew up in the South, you’ll know what I’m talking about.

If you didn’t, you really missed out. Now, if you’re in another part of the country, (and some of these places are indeed in the south) you might know these as White Castle burgers or sliders.

These things are like crack in a little greasy box.

So, if you’ve gone your whole life without experiencing Krystal burgers, I’m about to get you up to speed.

If you’re familiar, these little itty bitty burgers were a very welcome sight for you about 2 am after a few too many Miller Genuine Drafts.

Or it could have been some sort of booze concoction in a fish bowl made by your teenage friends, that made you violently vomit while your friends held your hair.

After all the fun, someone would inevitably say ‘Let’s go to Krystal!’. And, of course, you would end up ordering more than you could ever eat in one lifetime.

Why are Krystal burgers so adored?

These little things are served up in cardboard boxes, the sides are a bit on the greasy side. Well, ok, they were damn greasy, but it was part of the allure.

The buns are generously dotted with tiny little onions, that are absolutely necessary. There’s always some cheese sticking out of the top on at least one corner, and sometimes a glimpse of a pickle

The cheese is half ass melted, and there’s a squeeze of regular mustard  in the middle.

The perfect amount. 

Copycat Krystal Burgers

These little burgers were definitely a staple, and as nasty as anybody wants to say they are – because they do – they’re absolutely, absurdly, fantastically delicious. 

Copycat Krystal Burgers
Greasy little tiny onions and all.

I’ve found the secret – it’s NO seasoning. Like, seriously, nothing except salt and pepper. I tried splashing some Worcestershire on a batch of them and it ruined the entire Krystal taste. Y’all, I’m not even exaggerating. Read again:

The burger has to be unseasoned.

Unseasoned AF.

I suppose that makes sense?? Maybe. It doesn’t even matter, that’s part of the science behind it.

So, here’s the method. You start by spreading ground beef out very thin using a rolling pin in between wax paper. Salt and pepper it, slice it into squares and throw it in the freezer. It’s so much easier than I thought it would be.

I used my counter top grill, and it worked perfectly.

Another quirky little thing about this is adding the diced onions on the raw side of the burger and then flipping it over and adding the bun on top for a minute.

It absolutely works!

Just don’t waste any time, now because it’s a method that is flowing and you want the bun to hit just right, the cheese to halfway kinda sorta melt, and to get that greasiness on the bottom just the way they’re served.

Copycat Krystal Burgers

However, I still cannot get the unseasoned thing out of my mind. I guess it doesn’t matter when all of the elements are in place. This is a a very, very close Krystal burger recipe. Close enough that the nostalgia came back immediately with one bite.

All of these come together to give us that nostalgic taste-

  •  The plain ass ground beef
  •  Greasy little soft bun (greasy from the beef)
  •  Little, kinda caramelized, tiny onions
  •  American processed cheese slice, melted about ¼ of the way
  •  One squirt of mustard 
  •  One, sometimes two, pickles that are highly, highly essential

Again, no matter WHAT, DO NOT forget the pickle. 

Here’s your printable –

Krystal Copycat Burger

Copycat Krystal Burgers

Yield: 12
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes

Krystal's like you know them - thin burger, tiny diced onions, grease on the inside of the bun, cheese, mustard and a pickle!


  • 1 lb. ground chuck or round
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 tbsp salted butter
  • 1 cup white onions, finely diced
  • Mild cheddar or American cheese slices
  • Pickle slices
  • Mustard
  • 1 package square slider buns, or dinner rolls


Roll ground beef out flat on parchment paper, almost paper thin, then transfer to baking sheet on parchment paper. Carefully cut or score the beef into 2"x2" squares using a pizza roller, but do NOT separate.

Sprinkle with salt and pepper and place in freezer for at least 30 minutes, but no more than overnight.

Melt butter on a flattop griddle or large frying pan over medium high heat and add onions, saute until translucent, about 3-5 minutes; remove from heat.

Add burgers straight from the freezer, a few at a time, to griddle.

Sear each for 1-2 minutes, then flip, add a spoonful of onions on top, top with bottom part of bun, then top that with top part of bun. Let them grill for about 1 minute.

Remove from pan; remove top part of bun, flip over and add slice of cheese, a squeeze of mustard and pickle slice.

Top with top part of bun and serve.

Try not to eat 10.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 322Total Fat: 22gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 90mgSodium: 307mgCarbohydrates: 7gFiber: 1gSugar: 2gProtein: 23g

The provided nutrition calculated may not always be accurate.

Did you make this recipe?

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  • Shea

    Shea Goldstein is a writer and the voice behind Dixie Chik Cooks. She's also a recipe developer and brand ambassador. She has been published in several media platforms such as Redbook, Parade, Food Blogger Magazine and more. She has been developing recipes and writing since 2009. Shea is a Southern Belle Who's Thinking About What's For Dinner While Eating Lunch

This Post Has 26 Comments

  1. Victoria

    Ah if you want the true Krystal taste you need to do 2 other things. When you freeze the burger it needs to have small holes in it – Krystal has 5 but you choose. When the frozen burger is placed on a flat grill (a flat grill or griddle is necessary to steam the meat, not grill it) and the bun added, the steam and grease come thru the holes into the bun. Oh and dehydrated onions, not raw.

    2nd you need to hijack a Flowers bread truck. They make the Krystal buns and that particular bun is not available for sale to any other customer. We were able to get a bag (it’s best you don’t ask how) and yeah it makes a difference.

  2. Jeff

    Made this for the family,
    . Loved it!!

  3. chefwes

    Having worked at Krystal’s, there is NO butter. The onions are dried, minced onions, then rehydrated (I would say that this is to keep from having to mince a bunch of onions, and to keep from having them go bad!) Onto the heated grill top (in Krystal’s it is divided into 24 different sections, in a set amount of time, you add the Onions, then the burger patties (which ARE seasoned with salt and pepper! but, they are pre-seasoned at the factory). Then you put the top down let them cook for a set amount of time, then they are all flipped over and the bottom bun added, then topped by the top bun (again, all in a set amount of time) then steamed for another set amount of time, after which they are “held” for another set amount of time, if not used immediately) Then pulled off the grill, topped with Mustard and ketchup and cheese (if desired for all of them) and 2 pickles. No butter, ever because they are steamed, with the water coiming from the rehydrated onions!

  4. Cary

    I worked in Krystal back in the 70’s. The secret is to use hydrated Dried Onions.

  5. Paula Lewis

    How many burgers does this recipe make?

  6. Krystal Connoisseur

    This is the first recipe I’ve seen, that actually looks spot on. So many other recipes have thicker patties- true Krystal’s have patties that are VERY thin.

  7. Michele

    I did’t grow up in the South, and I really believe I’ve missed out because of that… But I love my Midwest like crazy, and will happily serve these babies up anytime!!

    1. Shea

      Thank you Michele!

  8. Christine


    1. Shea

      They are definitely delish!!

  9. I love this recipe and can’t wait to try it! … Just one question: It says “1/2 white onions” … does that mean 1/2 cup white onions or 1/2 of a white onion … or is it just as many chopped onions as you feel like you need? Personally I would go with the latter, but I wanted to ask.

    1. Shea

      1/2 cup! I fixed it – I’m so SORRY Ann! But, I agree with you, give me lots of onions 🙂

  10. Claudia

    Wow how awesome you recreated one of the tastiest hamburgers on the planet and they look fabulous!

    1. Shea

      Thanks Claudia – they’re not difficult at all.

  11. ally

    Just give me this entire plate…want all three…and I love love classic yellow mustard…I mean why mess up a burger w/so many accessories!! I want the burger experience…pickles, onions, mustard, lettuce and ‘mater! xo

    1. Shea

      Thank you, Ally! You would adore these!

  12. JR

    Back in the day we had a Coral Castle in Miami.

  13. Michele @ Bacon Fatte

    I’d love a big plate of these sliders right now… They look SO good! We don’t have Krystal here in the Midwest, but I know we’re going to enjoy your Copycat Krystal Burgers very soon!

    1. Shea

      Abbe, you must make these!

  14. Lynn Elliott Vining

    We don’t have a Krystal’s here, but I have made a version of this and it was a HUGE hit! Love it!

    1. Shea

      Thank you Ann 🙂

  15. Adam J. Holland

    I know you’re excited about this. I think my wife is also excited (since Krystal and White Castle are basically the same thing). All I have to say is, y’all are some drunk sumbitches to be eating this stuff. Still, I understand, and this recipe is spot on.

    1. Shea

      Thank you Holland!!

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