Cheese sandwich

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This article is about the sandwich. For the cheese dish often referred to as "toasted cheese", see Cheese on toast.
"Grilled cheese" redirects here. For other uses, see Grilled cheese (disambiguation).
Cheese sandwich
Cheese sandwich (Rotterdam).jpg
Main ingredients Cheese, bread, butter
Variations Multiple
Cookbook: Cheese sandwich  Media: Cheese sandwich
A basic open-faced cheese sandwich topped with sliced chili pepper

A cheese sandwich is a basic sandwich made generally with one or more varieties of cheese on any sort of bread, such as flat bread or whole wheat bread. In addition to the cheese, it may also include spreads such as butter or mayonnaise. A grilled cheese sandwich is made by toasting a cheese sandwich.

A popular British sandwich is the cheese and pickle sandwich. Cooked meat can be added to cheese sandwiches, a common choice being a ham and cheese sandwich or the bacon, egg and cheese sandwich.

Grilled cheese sandwich[edit]

A grilled cheese sandwich with American cheese, served with tomato soup

Cheese sandwiches can be grilled so that the bread toasts and the cheese melts (a dish referred to as a grilled cheese sandwich or simply grilled cheese). A grilled cheese is often heated by placing the buttered slices of bread, with the cheese between the slices, on a frying pan or griddle. Another form of cooked cheese sandwich is the cheese toastie or simply toastie - a dish, particularly popular in the United Kingdom, that is prepared by either baking or grilling a cheese sandwich in an oven, or toasting bag in electric toaster, or using a pie iron in order to toast the bread and melt the cheese. Cheddar cheese is by far the most common cheese used in this method,[citation needed] and butter is almost never used.[citation needed] It is usually served as a snack, or as a (usually a lunchtime) meal often with a side of salad.

Cooked bread and cheese is an ancient food, according to food historians, popular across the world in many cultures; evidence indicates that in the U.S., the modern version of the grilled cheese sandwich originated in the 1920s when inexpensive sliced bread and American cheese became easily available.[citation needed] The "cheese dream", an open-faced grilled cheese sandwich, became popular in the United States of America during the Great Depression.[1]

U.S. government cookbooks describe Navy cooks broiling[clarification needed] "American cheese filling sandwiches" during World War II.[2] Many versions of the grilled cheese sandwich can now be found on restaurant menus across the United States and internationally.

Grilled cheese sandwiches are often served with soup, usually tomato, in the United States, and served as a whole meal in the United States and other countries.


Cross section of a grilled cheese sandwich

A grilled cheese sandwich is assembled as a cheese filling between two slices of bread, and then heated until the bread crisps and the cheese melts, sometimes combined with an additional ingredient such as peppers, tomatoes, or onions, though many other ingredients may be used.[3] Several different methods of heating the sandwich are used, depending on the region and personal preference. Common methods include being cooked on a griddle, grilled, fried in a pan or made in a panini grill or sandwich toaster (this method is more common in the United Kingdom where the sandwiches are normally called "toasted sandwiches" or "toasties" and in Australia where they are called "jaffles").

When making grilled cheese on an open griddle or pan, one side is cooked first, then the sandwich is flipped and cooked on the other side.[4] The sandwich is finished when both sides are toasted and the cheese has melted. Butter, oil, or mayonnaise may first be spread on either the bread or the cooking surface in the case of butter and oil. An alternative technique is to toast or grill each half of the sandwich separately, then combine them. Another method sometimes referred as an "inside out" grilled cheese has an extra layer of cheese put on the outside of each side and cooked, causing the cheese to caramelize into a crispy outer layer.

When using butter best results are achieved at a medium heat. This prevents the milk solids in butter from burning and allows sufficient time for heat to thoroughly penetrate the sandwich and melt the cheese without burning the bread. A crispy golden-brown crust with a melted cheese center is a commonly preferred level of preparedness. Cooking times can vary depending on pan dimensions, ability to control the intensity of the heat source, bread type, cheese variety and overall thickness of pre-cooked sandwich.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Marty Meitus (January 3, 1999). "OLD FAITHFUL GRILLED CHEESE, A DEPRESSION-ERA STANDBY, HAS RETURNED". Rocky Mountain News. During the Depression, when Sunday Night Suppers became a popular way to entertain, the cheese dream began to appear on dining tables from coast to coast. 
  2. ^ Lynne Olver. "Food Timeline — history notes: sandwiches". Retrieved March 18, 2008. 
  3. ^ "50 Grilled Cheese". Photographs by Andrew Purcell. Food Network. Retrieved May 1, 2016. 
  4. ^ How to Make a Grilled Cheese Sandwich. Retrieved November 24, 2008.