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May 15, 2019

The Frisco Burger

The Frisco Burger is a cheeseburger sandwiched between two toasted Parmesan sourdough slices and topped with an extra tangy doctored up 1000 Island dressing (Frisco sauce) filled with sweet pickle relish.

The Frisco Burger

What distinguishes a Frisco burger is that, instead of a bun, the burger sits between two slices of grilled sourdough bread. In addition, the burger sports two kinds of cheese and a delicious "Frisco sauce," which is comprised of 1000 Island dressing, French dressing, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, and an extra dollop of sweet pickle relish.

Frisco burgers have been around for a long time. I believe (because I'm not quite sure) that the first time I had a Frisco burger was at Marie Callender's, way back when it was run by the original owners. I fell in love with the crunchy Parmesan sourdough, which was so much better than a hamburger bun.

The Frisco Burger with Frisco Sauce

Who Invented the Frisco Burger?

While I have no proof, I suspect the Frisco burger originated in Southern California many years ago, probably at some diner. After all, we are the home of In-N-Out Burger, Original Tommy's World Famous Burgers, Twohey's, and Pie'n Burger.

In fact, Pasadena, my original hometown, claims to be the city where cheeseburgers were invented. I'm pretty sure this gives me authority. They even have an annual cheeseburger week.

My theory is that this burger was invented during a time when sourdough bread was rediscovered. San Francisco was the home of many bakeries that kept the sourdough tradition alive, and the city was known for its bread.

Just so you know, there is no way in my theoretical world that this burger was invented in San Francisco. First, no self respecting San Francisco resident would utter the word "Frisco." Ever. Like never. Unless you want to offend the natives. And while you're at it, don't ever say "San Fran." Ever. The natives might not say anything, but they will be silently judging you. Big time.

The only nickname you can use to refer to San Francisco is "The City." As in, "I'm going into 'the city' for dinner tonight."

P.S. While I can't prove it, I believe that neither Hardees (Carls Jr.) nor Steak and Shake invented the Frisco burger. If you are a burger historian, please contact me, because I need to know! This is serious burger business!

The Frisco Burger with Frisco Sauce and cheese

How to make a Frisco Burger:

To make this burger, first you grill one side of the sourdough bread on a griddle, and then set it aside. Next, you cook the seasoned hamburger patty on the griddle. Butter the other side of the bread slices, sprinkle them with Parmesan, and place them on the griddle. 

Spread the Frisco sauce on the bread slices, and move the hamburger patty onto one of the bread slices and top the meat with the cheese. Once the cheese has melted and the bread is browned, move the burger to a plate and top with lettuce and tomato. 

For this burger, I also added some caramelized onion jam to add a little sweetness and make this burger my own. 

Plus, I made my own sourdough bread just for this burger. Yes.. I never miss a chance to make a loaf of sourdough bread. 

Sourdough bread for The Frisco Burger with Frisco Sauce and cheese

I wanted a sourdough that has a tight enough crumb that the special sauce wouldn't leak but still has just enough tang. I ended up using this basic sourdough recipe, which also includes some commercial yeast. It has a slightly tighter crumb. 

I added a bit of extra water and baked the loaf in this long clay baker

Of course, you can use your favorite artisan sourdough bread for this burger. 

The Frisco Burger is a cheeseburger sandwiched between two toasted Parmesan sourdough slices and topped with an extra tangy doctored up 1000 Island dressing (Frisco sauce) filled with sweet pickle relish.

The Frisco Burger Recipe

Yield: 4 burgers


For the Frisco Sauce
  • 1/2 cup thousand island dressing
  • 1/4 cup French dressing
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sweet pickle relish
  • Dash of sriracha sauce
For the Burgers
  • 1 pound 85% fat ground beef
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon granulated onion
  • 8 slices of sourdough bread
  • 4 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 4 slices American cheese
  • 4 slices Swiss cheese
  • 2 tablespoons caramelized onion jam (optional)
  • 4 lettuce leaves
  • 8 slices Roma tomatoes


How to cook The Frisco Burger Recipe

  1. Mix the Frisco sauce ingredients together. Cover, and refrigerate until ready to use. 
  2. Form the ground beef into four patties and season with the salt, pepper, granulated garlic, and granulated onion. Set aside. 
  3. Spread one side of the bread slices with some of the butter. Heat your griddle and grill the bread slices until browned. 
  4. Remove the bread slices from the griddle and spread the other side of the bread with the rest of the butter. Sprinkle evenly with the Parmesan. 
  5. Grill the burgers on the griddle, about 4 minutes a side, until cooked through. 
  6. Remove the meat from the griddle to a plate and set aside. 
  7. Place the ungrilled side of the bread onto the griddle. Spread the Frisco sauce over all of the bread slices. Place the four cooked hamburger patties on four of the bread slices. Top each patty with a slice of American and Swiss cheese. 
  8. Top the cheese with the caramelized onions. 
  9. Cook until the cheese has melted and the bread has browned. 
  10. Serve with the lettuce and tomato. 
burgers, hamburgers, Frisco burgers
Burgers, lunch
Created using The Recipes Generator

Would you like to comment?

  1. That looks delicious. And, of course, you baked your own sourdough! I've always called that a patty melt. Never heard of a Frisco burger.

    1. Yep. It's basically a patty melt but with sourdough instead of rye and a fancy name.

  2. I have never heard of a frisco burger but it sounds amazing and I'm always in the market for new burger recipes. Thanks

    1. It must be a southern California thing! I do love my sourdough.

  3. Karen I love this sourdough Bread Frisco Burger, I am bookmarking this recipe.

  4. So I learned something new today! Had never heard of Frisco burger, sounds amazing to me, including the interesting sauce....

    and the bread, what a great twist, I always find traditional burger buns too massive and doughy, making the whole experience of eating a burger too heavy. This version is perfect!

    1. And you can slice it as thinly as you want!

  5. Have lived around the San Francisco area for over 40 years and never heard of this burger, but it looks delicious and with your own sourdough it would be outstanding!

    1. Thanks! I'm pretty sure it would be banned up there with "Frisco" in the name.

  6. Steak 'n Shake has a Frisco patty melt and it's one of our favorites! Yours looks way better than their version ;)

  7. This is definitely so interesting! I had myself stretching my hand only to realize it was onscreen... I would love a burger like this, easier to eat, than the one with buns... hehe...

  8. If interested, I believe the origin of The Frisco come from the 50s from a spot 8n Austin called, of course, The Frisco. The Famous Frisco was a weekly treat for me. This list is to the menu.,rc_f:nav,rc_ludocids:6827559272468668140,rc_q:The%2520Frisco%2520Shop,ru_q:The%2520Frisco%2520Shop,trex_id:Gp8gwb

    1. Interesting! After all, there is Frisco Texas, right?

  9. Displaying an ad on top of the instructions is very frustrating.

    1. I'm sorry that happened. It's not supposed to. If you use the Print key, it will remove the ad.


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