MTT: American Grilled Cheese Sandwich

America is fascinating to me. It blows my mind how huge the place is, how the cultures within this one country are so poles (and time zones) apart, and how hugely we in our small England differ from the USA even though we speak the same language. I love the fact that America’s history is so different to ours, how everything is so new and man made, but most of all I love the FOOD.

My friend Kirsty is working in New York City at the moment and it was really interesting speaking to her at the weekend about the differences between how she consumes food in London and across the Atlantic (yes, really). She eats so many more takeaways than she ever did at home, but she blames this on the fact that there are no supermarket or chain-type shops in the city. If she wants to do a big grocery shop then she is at the mercy of the prices of Whole Foods or a similar organic independant. And once you’ve shopped there you may as well have paid to eat out.

She also says that the American’s takeaway culture is so different to ours – she often has brown rice with stir fried veg for dinner, for example, and it’s fresh and healthy rather than greasy and fatty as it may well be from a UK takeaway. The New York City takeaway choices are many and varied and aren’t just one of fish & chips, chinese, indian or pizza.

Anyway, I may find this fascinating but I digress, as I expect most don’t.

I love to read blogs containing American recipes, especially ones like Kara‘s as she cooks normal family food. There’s a definite difference in the meals we eat: I cook loosely based on the meat and two veg principle (bar pasta, but even with asian influenced dishes I will often add in an extra side of veg) and Kara’s food is more varied in terms of origin, spices and other ingredients.

One thing I know the Americans beat us hands-down at is their Grilled Cheese Sandwich. Not a cheese toastie, but grilled cheese, which is a bit misleading as it isn’t actually grilled but cooked in a frying pan. I craved these lots at the start of my pregnancy and when I was feeling at my worst they were very easy to whip up in minutes.

I believe it’s common in the US to serve these with soup, but I like mine on their own or with coleslaw bought from the deli, eaten lying down on the sofa in front of the TV. Elfie is also a fan though due to the high fat content of the sandwich and lack of other nutrients I try to give these to her on special occasions only.

To get the proper American feel to this sandwich I use Red Leicester cheese (love that luminous colour) and buy uniformly-sliced white bread.

5.0 from 2 reviews
American Grilled Cheese Sandwich
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Makes one sandwich, though I challenge you to stop at just one.
Recipe type: Main
Serves: 1
  • 25g cheese, such as Cheddar or Red Leicester, grated
  • 2 pieces sliced white bread
  • 2 tbsp butter
  1. Melt the first tablespoon of butter in a large frying pan on a medium heat. Place the first piece of bread in the pan and the grated cheese on top.
  2. Put the second piece of bread on top and push down nice and hard.
  3. When the first piece of bread is golden underneath add the second tablespoon of butter to the pan.
  4. Flip the sandwich and cook until the bread is golden and the cheese is melted.
  5. Slice and serve

PS: The lovely Jamie Klingler advises¬†using soft butter on the outside of the bread, adding two slices of ripe tomato, and sprinkling with garlic salt. She’s a real American, so she should know.


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  1. Kara wrote:

    Thanks for the shoutout! We used to cook very traditional like a meat with two sides, but Matt and I got so tired of that. I definitely still do some dinners that are like chicken with green beans and roasted potatoes though. I just don’t post them on my blog… :)

    Saw your tweet about H&M pregnancy jeans. They really ARE the best!

    Posted 3.7.12 Reply
    • alice wrote:

      They’re soooo comfy. I can’t believe I’ve only just discovered them – am going to have to have a third baby so I get to wear them even longer…

      Posted 3.8.12 Reply
  2. Hayley wrote:

    Ha! I used to make these all the time at home because toasties from a maker just don’t taste *right* I fill a saucepan with water, put a bit of tin foil on top of my butty to keep it clean and use the saucepan to press it down.
    Damn I want one now.

    Posted 3.7.12 Reply
    • alice wrote:

      this is such a good idea!! Will be trying it out next time I make grilled cheese.

      Posted 3.8.12 Reply
  3. Gilly wrote:

    Yum! I first learnt the american way to make grilled cheese from playing Sims 2 where it’s one of the things they can cook. I’m not sure where I picked it up but I now spread mayonnaise on the outside of the bread and cook them in a dry pan. I usually eat them with lots of ketchup to dip into.

    Posted 3.7.12 Reply
    • alice wrote:

      Hehe, that’s funny! I love mayo with everything so will try this out, and the ketchup too!

      Posted 3.8.12 Reply
  4. deepa wrote:

    I love these with cream of tomato soup, its a bit like trashy french onion soup and gruyere croutons ;)

    Posted 3.7.12 Reply
    • alice wrote:

      Mmmm onion soup & gruyere croutons is another comfort food favourite! Will have to try the grilled cheese with tomato soup!

      Posted 3.8.12 Reply
  5. K wrote:

    Yum! We ate these nearly every Sunday growing up (in Canada; sorta kinda like America.) I love mine dipped in loads of Heinz ketchup. ;)

    Posted 3.8.12 Reply
    • alice wrote:

      DEFINITELY going to try them in ketchup next time!!

      Posted 3.8.12 Reply
  6. Helen wrote:

    Oh Alice WHAT are you trying to do to me?!? I now need at least 12 of these immediately.

    Posted 3.8.12 Reply
    • alice wrote:

      In that case I’d like to advise you not to come back here for a week: I’m going to post my beef and mushroom stroganoff recipe and it’s SO GOOD that I’ve had it twice in the last three days. Though Will is dieting and he’s allowed to have it (with spinach, not a big fat jacket potato like meeee, muaahaha).

      Posted 3.8.12 Reply
  7. I make grilled cheese all the time, definitely a bit of the States that makes a regular appearance in our lives. And it’s so so so easy and so much better than a cheese toastie :) And yea, definitely butter the outsides of the bread too!

    Posted 3.12.12 Reply
    • alice wrote:

      I will definitely be buttering the outside of the bread next time!!

      Posted 3.13.12 Reply
  8. Always butter on the bread, Alice. Always.

    And Deepa’s right – it’s great with tomato soup – specifically to dip it in :)

    My grandma always used to give me chocolate milk with it too. I still do that even today.

    Posted 3.29.12 Reply
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    Posted 6.21.13 Reply
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    Posted 7.13.13 Reply