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
Cheese sandwich with greens, cut on the horizontal
Main ingredients Cheese, bread
Ingredients generally used Butter, Margerine, Mayonnaise
Variations Grilled cheese, Cheese dream, Cheese toastie
Cookbook: Cheese sandwich  Media: Cheese sandwich
A basic open-faced cheese sandwich topped with sliced chili pepper

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

Popular British sandwiches include the cheese and pickle sandwich, the cheese and tomato sandwich and the cheese and onion 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 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 an electric toaster, or using a pie iron in order to toast the bread and melt the cheese. Cheddar is the most common cheese used in a toastie,[citation needed] and butter is almost never used.[citation needed] It is usually served as a snack, or as a (usually lunchtime) meal, in most cases 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 readily available.[citation needed] The cheese dream, an open-faced grilled cheese sandwich, became popular in the U.S. during the Great Depression.[1]

U.S. government cookbooks describe Navy cooks broiling "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 U.S. and internationally.

In the United States, grilled cheese sandwiches are often served with soup (usually tomato soup), and may be served as a whole meal in the United Sates and other countries.


Cross section of a grilled cheese sandwich

A grilled cheese sandwich is assembled by creating a cheese filling between two slices of bread, which is then heated until the bread crisps and the cheese melts. It is 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 last 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 the bread, or butter or oil may be applied to the cooking surface.[citation needed] An alternative technique is to toast or grill each half of the sandwich separately, then combine them.[citation needed] Another method sometimes referred as an "inside out" grilled cheese has an extra layer of cheese put on the outside of each side of bread before being cooked, causing the cheese to caramelize into a crispy outer layer.[citation needed]

When using butter, best results are achieved by using medium heat on the stove. This prevents the milk solids in butter from burning, and it allows sufficient time for heat to thoroughly penetrate the sandwich and melt the cheese without burning the bread. A crispy golden-brown, but not black, outer crust with a gooey melted cheese center is one commonly preferred level of preparation. Cooking times may vary depending on the pan dimensions, one's ability to control the intensity of the heat source, bread and cheese types, and overall thickness of the 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.