|Place of origin||United States|
|Main ingredients||Cheese, bread|
|Ingredients generally used||Butter, margarine, mayonnaise|
|Variations||Grilled cheese, cheese dream, cheese toastie|
|Other information||Sometimes served with tomato soup|
A grilled cheese (sometimes known as a toasted sandwich or cheese toastie) is a hot cheese sandwich typically prepared by heating slices of cheese between slices of bread with a cooking fat such as butter or mayonnaise on a frying pan, griddle, or sandwich toaster, until the bread browns and the cheese melts.
The cheese dream, an open-faced grilled cheese sandwich, became popular in the U.S. during the Great Depression. U.S. government cookbooks describe Navy cooks broiling "American cheese filling sandwiches" during World War II.
A grilled cheese sandwich is made by placing a cheese filling, often cheddar or American cheese, between two slices of bread, which is then heated until the bread browns and the cheese melts. A layer of butter or mayonnaise may be added to the outside of the bread for additional flavor and texture. Alternatives may include additional ingredients, such as meat, peppers, tomatoes, or onions. Methods for heating the sandwich include cooking on a griddle, fried in a pan, or using a panini grill or sandwich toaster, the latter method more common in the United Kingdom, where the sandwiches are normally called "toasted sandwiches" or "toasties", in Australia, where they are called "jaffles" or "cheese toasties", and South Africa, where they are called "snackwiches". Other methods include baking in an oven or toaster oven — or in a toasting bag in an electric toaster.
The sandwich is typically served as a snack or lunchtime meal, often with a side of salad, soup, french fries, or other accompaniment.
Some restaurants, food carts and food trucks in the United States specialize in the grilled cheese sandwich. The Grilled Cheese Grill restaurants were a combination of reclaimed vehicle and food cart restaurants that focused on gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches in Portland, Oregon. The Grilled Cheese Truck is an American food truck company serving gourmet "chef driven" grilled cheese sandwiches. The company started in Los Angeles, California, in 2009, and has since expanded throughout Southern California, Phoenix, San Antonio and Austin. The American Grilled Cheese Kitchen is a restaurant in San Francisco, California, that specializes in the sandwich.
Microwavable frozen toasted sandwiches are available in supermarkets in a variety of locations. One of the earliest examples might be the McCain Micro Toastie, which was launched in supermarkets in the UK in 2002.
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.