This warm and toasty recipe for sourdough grilled cheese is easy to make with just 3 simple ingredients. Whether you want a quick lunch or a comforting dinner, this grilled cheese on sourdough is sure to satisfy your cravings.
Grilled cheese sandwiches are the quintessential comfort food. Made with butter, cheese, and bread, they combine literally all of the best things into one tasty meal.
I’ve been making grilled cheese sandwiches for many years now, and I have nailed down the technique to getting a perfectly toasted and brown exterior, while achieving a perfectly melted cheesy middle. While many people opt for American cheese, I happen to think a good quality cheddar or gruyere really tastes the best (and offers more satisfying protein).
Today I’m going to show you my most favorite way to make grilled cheese: with sourdough bread. It’s no secret that I love sourdough bread. I mean, I share tons of recipes showing you how to make sourdough versions of your favorite recipes, and I probably make at least 3 loaves a week.
If I have a lot of leftover sourdough bread, I’m probably making something like my sourdough breakfast casserole or a soft-yet-crispy sourdough bread pudding. But on a regular basis? I’m making super easy recipes like this sourdough grilled cheese sandwich. And my son and husband? They absolutely love it.
Reasons to Love This Recipe
- It’s a great way to use up some leftover sourdough bread. In fact, day-old (or older) slices tend to work best!
- You need just 3 simple ingredients: bread, butter, and cheese.
- It makes a tasty and satisfying lunch, or a quick and easy dinner.
- A great way to satisfy your cravings for all things buttery, cheesy, and crispy.
- Sourdough bread: This will need to be sliced about 1/2-3/4″ thick, and can be leftover or day-old bread. In fact, day-old bread works best!
- Butter: You’ll need about 1 1/2 tablespoons of softened butter for every sandwich you want to make. If you prefer, you can substitute mayonnaise instead (I recommend my homemade avocado oil mayo).
- Cheese: A wide variety of cheeses work well with sourdough grilled cheese sandwiches, but I do recommend that you shred the cheese you are working with. This allows it to melt more easily, and distributes better through the whole sandwich. I recommend starting with something like aged cheddar cheese, but gruyere, Swiss, and provolone are all great options too.
Tools and Equipment
- Cast Iron Skillet: This is the most used tool in my kitchen, and makes for a perfectly crisp grilled cheese. I have several, but this Lodge model gets the most use.
- OR Stainless Steel Skillet: If you don’t have a cast iron skillet, you can use a heavy-bottomed stainless steel skillet (like this dreamy one from All-Clad).
- Short-handled Turner: I have tested a lot of spatulas and turners, and I really like a short-handled one for flipping things like fried eggs and sourdough bread. There is so much more control with a shorter handle.
- Serrated Bread Knife: Sourdough bread often has a hard outer crust. A good quality serrated bread knife will help you cut the bread into slices, as well as cut through a crispy sourdough grilled cheese.
How to Make a Grilled Cheese with Sourdough Bread
Once you realize how easy it is to make a grilled cheese with sourdough bread, you’re never going to wonder what to do with your leftover sourdough bread ever again.
It’s an easy recipe that is quick enough for lunch, but satisfying enough to serve for dinner with a side of tomato basil soup. Talk about yummy!
Adding the Bread
Before you get started, place a cast iron skillet or heavy-bottomed stainless steel pan on the element and preheat for about 3-5 minutes, or until heat is radiating from the bottom of the pan.
While you wait for your skillet to heat, cut your sourdough into slices that are approximately 1/2-3/4″ thick.
Spread each slice with softened butter on one side, and set it aside with the buttered side facing up.
Adding the Cheese
Once the skillet is hot enough, place one slide of sourdough bread (buttered side down) into the skillet, and then top with about 1/3 cup of shredded cheese. Try to keep the cheese centered on the slice of bread, but it’s okay if a few shreds fall onto the skillet surface.
Place the other slice of sourdough bread on top, with the buttered side up.
Cook for 2-3 minutes, or until the cheese begins to melt and the bottom begins to get browned and crisp. If your skillet comes with a lid, place it on top for about 1-2 minutes of the cooking time – this will help the cheese melt more quickly.
Once the first side is done, use your hand to hold the top slice in place as you slide a turner under the sandwich and gently flip it over to the other side.
Cook for an additional 2-3 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the bottom is toasty brown.
Once both sides are well browned and the cheese is mostly melted, remove the sourdough grilled cheese sandwich to a cutting board. Use a serrated knife to cut it in half, and serve immediately.
What to Serve with Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
If you just want a quick and easy lunch, a simple grilled cheese sandwich with hearty sourdough bread and quality cheese is plenty satisfying (along with a glass of cold milk, of course).
If you want to serve this easy option for dinner, you may want to try serving it with some sides. Here are a few of my favorites:
- Tomato basil soup
- Veggies and dip
- Garden salad
- Sliced tomatoes and cucumbers
- Potato soup
- Cottage cheese with fruit
- Sliced cheese
- Roasted potatoes
- Baked potatoes
Preheating the Skillet
- An essential step in cooking in general, but especially if you are using cast iron, is to preheat the skillet.
- This is done by adding the skillet to the element and setting it to the desired heat (low-medium in this case).
- Once the pan heats up and is radiating heat from the bottom (but not smoking), your skillet is hot enough to start cooking.
- The preheating stage generally takes about 3-5 minutes, depending on the size of your skillet and the heat that you select.
- Cast iron takes a bit longer than stainless, but both need to be heated in order to get the best results.
- If you are using a thin skillet or a non-stick skillet, preheating for just a minute or so may be the best option.
Frequently Asked Questions
Almost any cheese goes well with sourdough bread, although aged cheeses tend to compliment the tangy flavor of sourdough best. If you are making a grilled cheese, aged cheddar, Swiss, provolone, and gruyere are all great options.
The secret to a good grilled cheese sandwich is getting the outside toasty and brown, with a melted cheese interior. The best way to get this is by using freshly shredded cheese instead of sliced, and preheating the skillet so the buttered bread begins to cook as soon as it is placed inside of the pan.
If you prefer, you can substitute mayonnaise in place of butter when making a grilled cheese sandwich. Instead of spreading softened butter on one side of each of the slices of bread, spread some mayonnaise instead. This will brown the bread well, and won’t taste like mayonnaise at all. Use a homemade avocado oil mayonnaise if you want to avoid seed oils.
More Recipes Using Sourdough Bread
- Sourdough Bread Pudding
- Sourdough Breakfast Casserole
- Homemade Sourdough Croutons
- Sourdough Tuna Melts
- Sourdough Pizza Toast
- 2 slices sourdough bread (1/2-3/4" thick)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons softened butter
- 1/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- Preheat a cast iron or heavy bottomed stainless steel skillet to low-medium heat for 3-5 minutes, or until heat radiates from the bottom of the pan.
- Slice your sourdough bread into slices that are 1/2-3/4" thick.
- Spread softened butter on one side of each of your slices of sourdough bread and set aside, unbuttered side down.
- Once the skillet has been preheated, add one slice of sourdough bread to the pan, buttered side down.
- Top the bread with the shredded cheese, aiming to keep it on the bread, although it's okay if a few shreds fall down onto the pan.
- Top the shredded cheese layer with the other slice of sourdough bread, with the buttered side facing up (towards you).
- Cook for 2-3 minutes, or until the bottom is toasty and crisp. If you have a lid for your skillet, place it on top for 1-2 minutes to help melt the cheese.
- Gently flip the sandwich to the other side, using your hand to hold the top slice in place as you flip.
- Cook for an additional 2-3 minutes, or until the cheese is mostly melted and the bottom slice is toasty brown.
- Remove the sourdough grilled cheese from the skillet and place on a cutting board.
- Use a serrated knife to slice the sandwich in half and serve immediately.
Using Shredded Cheese: Since sourdough bread is thicker and more dense than many standard sandwich breads, it takes a bit more effort to get the cheese to melt without overcooking the bread. Using shredded cheese makes for a smooth, melty middle without needed to use a lid (although you can use one if you have one available).
Best cheeses for Grilled Cheese:
I like to use a standard cheddar (or aged white cheddar) for most of my grilled cheese sandwiches, but you can use any cheese that melts well. If possible, grate the cheese, but slices work fine too.
Here are a few of the best cheeses for making grilled cheese sandwiches:
- Aged white cheddar
- Pepper jack (or Monterey Jack)
Cast Iron and Stainless Skillets: In my experience cast iron pans hold heat much better than stainless ones, so I recommend using a low-medium heat for cast iron pans, which is a dial that is a little closer to low than it is to medium. For a stainless pan (so long as it is heavy-bottomed), you may need to increase the heat just a smidge to get a nice toasty bread, although not by much. A true medium-low (halfway between low and medium) should do the trick.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 1 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 651Total Fat: 33gSaturated Fat: 19gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 83mgSodium: 1151mgCarbohydrates: 68gFiber: 3gSugar: 6gProtein: 22g
Nutrition information is an estimate only.
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