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Vegan White Castle Sliders

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These Vegan White Castle Sliders are better than the Original, no contest! Perfect for a snack or full meal, and freezer friendly too!

Love ’em or hate ’em the White Castle Slider is an iconic burger with a long history. Created in 1921, it’s regarded as the First Fast Food Burger. The good news is, these Vegan White Castle Sliders are easier to make and better than the original!

And yes, I had White Castle about 20 years ago in New York. I was very drunk and it was very cold outside, and they totally hit the spot. I have to admit, I totally dug them. However, I know that to a lot of folks, they can be kinda underwhelming and not that great. And if you’re not a drunk 25 year old, I agree!

But lucky for you, I’ve run a few tests and made them a few different ways, so let’s go over some Hamburger History and make some White Castle and figure out what’s the best method!

How Do They Make White Castle Sliders?

Since 1954, White Castle has cooked their sliders with a very interesting and unique method developed to quickly make a massive amount of burgers.

Forming the Patties

First they form their patties into squares. You can do this by simply adding some plant-based meat (like Impossible or Beyond Meat) to some parchment paper and then topping it with another piece of parchment paper. Then use a rolling pin to roll it out to a rectangle shape.

However, I find it’s best to line an 1/8 sheet with parchment paper. Then press down about 6 oz. of plant based meat. This will be enough to make 6 sliders.

It’s important to keep the patties thin so they’ll cook through without burning the onions.

Use another sheet or parchment on top, then another 1/8 sheet to press down and flatten the meat further.

Next we’ll transfer the meat to a cutting board. This is made easier if you leave a bit of parchment on the ends to pick them up.

Next slice the burgers into six squares (ignore the fact that they are already cut in the photo above lol!) Cut it in half long ways, then in thirds width ways. I recommend a pizza slicer if you got one.

Then punch out 5 holes in a domino pattern on each patty. Use something like a chopstick to punch them out. These holes will allow the burgers to cook through as they steam on top of the onions later.

Transfer them back to the baking sheet and freeze for about 30 minutes (you can also freeze them until needed if you want to prep these in advance, just add them to a freezer safe container after 30 minutes).

What Kind of Onions Does White Castle Use?

White Castle uses dehydrated onions these days. This is because they are shelf-stable and are cheaper.

For 6 sliders about 1/4 cup of onions should be good. Rehydrate them in about 1/2 cup of water for 10 – 15 minutes.

How to Cook White Castle Sliders

On a griddle over medium heat, add the onions and lay them out into a rectangle shape. It’s okay if they still have some water in the bowl, that extra moisture will help them steam the burgers and keep them from drying out.

Lay your burger patties directly on top of the onions. Then lay the bottom bun on top of the patty along with the top bun. And yes, this is how they do it, the bread touches the raw meat, but they all get cooked and steamed through so it’s ok!

I don’t think White Castle seasons their burgers but feel free to do that.

Cook them until you no longer see any pink. Since the patties are so thin this shouldn’t take long. Maybe 4 minutes or so. Make sure the heat isn’t too high or you’ll burn the onions.

You can check to see if the burgers are done by just taking the buns off. They should look like the burger pictured below.

Once they are cooked through, scoop them off the griddle. You can add cheese if you please but since vegan cheese hates melting without a lot of help, I decided against it. Dress the slider with pickles and ketchup and or mustard (or whatever you want!)

Are White Castle Sliders Any Good?

So after all that, are they any good? Well, while I do admire the ingenuity of this method to cook a bunch of burgers quickly, I have to say the flavor and texture leaves a lot to be desired.

While I do enjoy the onion flavor from the steaming process, there is no sear at all. And as we all know, the searing is one of the best parts of a burger. Plus, we can get onion flavor from seasoning the patty, or simply using grilled onions.

My other issue is the patty is so thin, the amount of bread overwhelms it, and they are both very soft. They only thing providing a textural contrast is the crunch of the pickles.

Ironically, the way they made their burgers before 1954 solves all these problems!

How Did They Make White Castle Sliders in 1921?

When White Castle first opened way back in 1921, they made their sliders a bit differently than they did today.

First, they didn’t use dehydrated onions, but fresh onions that they grilled on the griddle.

They also didn’t use the iconic square patty, but a round patty. You can form this by simply smashing a 2 oz. ball of plant meat in between two pieces of parchment or burger paper.

Then season and sear the patties directly on the grill.

Then they melt some cheese on each patty. Just add a little water to the griddle and cover and steam to melt the cheese.

Lastly they topped the burger with pickles, lettuce and tomato. It’s basically a mini-cheeseburger!

So how are they? Well like I said, the original White Castle Slider from 1921 solves all the problems with the version they developed in 1954. Of course, since some places value quantity over quality, I can see why they adopted the steamed hams process.

That said, while I think this is a major improvement, my only complaint was that I wasn’t a huge fan of the lettuce and tomato. They overwhelm the burger and in my opinion add too much unnecessary moisture and volume.

So naturally, I made a mashup of the 1921 and 1954 White Castle Slider and that seems to be a happy medium!

The Best Way to Make a Vegan White Castle Slider

My preferred method for making Vegan White Castle sliders is as follows!

I will press down 12 oz. (or a whole pack of Impossible Meat) in an 1/8 sheet pan. This will give us 2 oz. per patty instead of the usual 1 for a thicker patty. Then cut them into 6 square patties. No need to punch 5 holes.

I’ll toast the buns on the griddle, then simply grill some fresh onions. Season and sear the burger patty. Make sure to add cheese and melt it! Top the patty with onions after the cheese melts.

Then I dress it with some pickles and mustard and that’s it!

To me this version is the best of both worlds. You get the seared patty and the grilled onions of the 1921 version, and the compact and simple package of the 1954 version.

But you should make it however you like! There’s really no wrong way to make one of these, so I hope that this post has inspired you to experiment and try these out. I will leave a detailed recipe for my version below as well!

Ingredients for Vegan White Castle Sliders

Meat – Use your favorite store-bought vegan meat like Impossible or Beyond, or you can make homemade patties with my TVP BURGER RECIPE!

Rolls – I use a 12 pack of dinner rolls for these as White Castle does. The Ralphs / Kroger and Whole Foods brands are plant-based from what I can tell. You can also just use regular slider buns too!

Cheese – You’ll wanna cut your cheese slices to match the size of the patties. You will be left with some cheese scraps. Just use those in your next batch of nachos, mac n’ cheese or whatever! You can totally still top a burger or make a grilled cheese with ’em too, so they won’t go to waste.

Onions – Are mandatory in my book. You can use either fresh or dehydrated onions. I prefer fresh, but the dried onions have a great flavor too. Plus they are shelf stable so you can always have some on hand.

Pickles & Mustard – In my opinion these little sliders only need pickles and mustard, but top it however you like!

EDIT: So a lot of folks on the East Coast have informed me that mustard does not go on White Castle, however it’s common in the midwest. I guess ketchup is common in New York and Jersey, but yeah I’m gonna skip the ketchup, I’m a mustard man!

How to Make Freezer Friendly White Castle Sliders

Making these for the Freezer is EASY! And I gotta say, the other night I went to a Rock n’ Roll show and had a few drinks. I definitely had the Midnight Munchies. I popped one of these in the microwave when I got home and it hit the spot as good as anything I’ve ever had in such a state!

All you need to do is cook your patties. Don’t melt any cheese on them though. Then let them cool to room temp.

Then add the patty to a roll, top it with a slice of cheese, and some onions. I used some of the dried onions for this, but fresh onions work fine too. Don’t add any condiments or pickles.

After that wrap each slider in some parchment or deli paper. Then wrap it in some foil. Store them in the freezer for up to 1 month.

When the Munchies hit, unwrap the foil, but keep them in the paper. This will steam the burger, which will melt the cheese and soften the buns. Microwave them for 60 – 90 seconds.

Then you can add pickles and any condiment you like. Honestly, these are some of my favorite things to eat late at night or as a quick snack / meal these days!

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Vegan White Castle Sliders

Thee Burger Dude
These are my preferred way to make White Castle Sliders at home. If you want to make them the steamed & traditional way, or the 1921 way, check the blog for instructions!
4.60 from 15 votes

Ingredients
  

  • 6 dinner rolls or slider buns
  • 12 ounces of plant based meat like Impossible or Beyond or my Burger Patty Recipe*
  • 1 cup 110g diced onion
  • 6 slices vegan cheese cut to match slider buns
  • Dill pickle slices
  • Ketchup or mustard whatever you want is good!
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Instructions
 

  • To form the patties, you have two options – weigh out 3 oz. of plant based meat. Roll into a ball. Then smash between two pieces of burger or parchment paper to about 3/8 inch thickness. Use a dinner roll as a guide to cut off the excess to form a square burger patty. Repeat for the other patties.
  • Or line an 1/8 sheet pan with parchment paper. Press down the meat so that it takes up the entire pan. Lay another piece of parchment paper on top, and then another 1/8 sheet pan. Press the pan down to flatten the meat. Take off the top sheet pan and parchment paper. Move the meat to a cutting board and slice it in half lengthwise. Then cut it into thirds widthwise. You can add them back to the sheet pan and freeze for 15 – 20 minutes to firm up if you like as well.
  • Grill your diced onions over medium heat until done to your liking, season to taste and set aside.
  • Cut the dinner rolls in half and toast on a griddle or pan over medium heat until lightly browned. Set aside on a wire rack.
  • Grill burger patties for 2-3 minutes per side over medium high heat. Season with salt and pepper. After flipping, add a piece of vegan american cheese, and some of the onions. Add a few drops of water to the pan, then cover to steam and melt the cheese.
  • Assemble sliders from top to bottom: Slider Bun, Cheeseburger patty with onions, pickles, mustard, top bun. ENJOY!

Notes

If you want to make these with homemade meat, check my BURGER PATTY RECIPE!
Keyword vegan sliders, vegan white castle, vegan white castle sliders
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