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7 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About White Castle Burgers

Updated: Apr. 29, 2024

Those tiny sliders have quite a bit of history to them. Here's everything you need to know about the crave-worthy bites.

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white castle original slider
Courtesy White Castle

There are holes in the meat patties

The crave-worthy sliders have five holes in the patties. According to CBS News, this is so the burger can be thoroughly cooked through faster without having to flip it over. The idea to incorporate these holes came from an employee suggestion back in 1954. Burger flipper Earl Howell theorized that doing so would help speed up production and help the booming stores meet the burger demand. Plus, doing so enhances the onion flavor on the steamed-grilled patties.

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BLOOMINGTON, MN/USA - JUNE 21, 2014: White Castle restuarant exterior. White Castle is a fast food restaurant chain and generally credited as the first fast food chain in the United States.
Ken Wolter/Shutterstock

The original owner reportedly invented lots of fast food firsts

White Castle Co-founder Walter Anderson started a burger revolution when he smashed down his meatballs on his griddle, creating a square flat patty. He did so to make the food easier to handle, although others also claim they created this product. Anderson is also typically credited with inventing the hamburger bun and the fast-food assembly line.

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white castle
Ken Wolter/Shutterstock

Lots of similar chains tried to knock them off

Imitation burgers and fast food chains sprouted up thanks to the success of White Castle. This includes White Fortress, White Hut, White Mana, White Tower, Blue Castle, Red Castle, Royal Castle, Silver Castle, and Blue Bell. Speaking of restaurant names, here are restaurant name changes you never knew about.

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Hand shaping burger patty with vinyl gloves for hygiene
Ari N/Shutterstock

Beef had a bad rep for a time—leading to the iconic name of the chain

The name White Castle has nothing to do with storybooks or medieval times. Co-founders Anderson and Edgar Ingram wanted to emphasize the cleanliness of the restaurant. According to Time, white-colored White Castle facilities let customers watch the meat grinding process, too. Thanks to Upton Sinclair’s novel, The Jungle, Americans were concerned with the cleanliness and healthiness of beef. So Anderson and Ingram made it a point to clean up the beef world reputation, literally and figuratively.

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white castle frive thru
James R. Martin/Shutterstock

It also led to funding “research” on the benefits of burgers

Part of the cleanup involved funding research on the benefits of burgers. In 1930, the company commissioned a study from the University of Minnesota tracking the health of a college student eating only White Castle burgers. At the end of the test, the subject was in good health after eating nothing but sliders and water for 13 weeks. White Castle did make a few slight changes to their recipe afterward to offer a more balanced burger, per the research from the study.

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Parcel in cardboard box left on door step (it's not real QR code)
Africa Studio/Shutterstock

White Castle delivered sliders

A White Castle program in the 1980s delivered frozen burgers anywhere in the United States within 24 hours. The “Hamburgers to Fly” program was uber successful and capitalized on a trend in the 1940s when customers shipped their own burgers on dry ice across the country, according to Consumerist. Now, White Castle sells their burgers in the frozen food aisle instead.

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white castle

There are vegetarian slider options

Vegetarians rejoice! White Castle introduced meat-free veggie sliders in December 2014. But their most recent foray is the Impossible slider. The patties have a similar look and texture to meat, in comparison to the chunky, vegetable patty alternatives. These meatless burgers are available at other burger joints and in some supermarkets too. White Castle started selling them in certain locations in April 2018, according to Eater. They are now available nationwide. Next, check out fast food “facts” that are actually false.