I use olive oil, not butter, when making a grilled cheese sandwich. Am I alone?

For years I held to what my parents taught me.

Like a fool - when I wanted a proper grilled cheese sandwich I would butter two pieces of bread, place cheese between them, then cook on the stove at medium heat.

Results were typically - OK. Not great. Often the bread would burn a bit. To avoid this I would have to re-butter each side maybe once or twice during cooking. Buttering a cold and dry piece of bread also frequently made the slice of bread tear.

A few years past, I really wanted a grilled cheese. I was out of butter. On a crazy whim, I decided to see what would happen if I just filled the pan with olive oil.

Surprise! The result was far better than the original.

  1. The bread didn’t burn nearly as regularly
  2. The bread was crisp, not greasy as it usually was with butter
  3. The taste (to my preferences) was improved

A quick google search tells me I’m not the only one to prefer grilled cheese sandwiches by way of olive oil. Any other converts?

Makes sense. I often substitute olive oil for butter. Never thought to do what you did but it sounds good and I was thinking of making a grilled cheese sandwich so I’ll be trying it this week.

I often make toast points with olive oil, rosemary, basil and a tiny amount of oregano. I even bought an olive oil sprayer (allows you to pump it up to pressurize it). Hamburger buns work great for anyone who tries this and can’t find good toasting bread.

I never know what to expect when I cook anything with olive oil. What sort of flavor does it impart? I think the reason folks never consider it is that they, like me, think that their grilled cheese sandwich will taste like grilled cheese and olives…

Put the butter in a warm skillet, let it melt, THEN put the sammich in the skillet. When it’s time to flip, put more butter in the skillet, and flip the sandwich on top of it, and move the bread around a bit, so that the butter will coat the bread evenly as it melts. The bread will not tear, and it won’t get greasy, as long as you use a reasonable amount of butter.

I really don’t care for the taste of olive oil in some foods. I don’t like it in scrambled or fried eggs, for instance. I vastly prefer butter.

This sounds good to me, and I’ll try it. BTW, it’s important with grilled cheese not to have the temp too high or you will burn the bread and not really melt the cheese.

I have been doing it that way as well lately. But I changed due to the health benefits of olive oil over butter. I have to say, I much prefer the butter taste.

To change the topic a little bit, I much prefer olive oil when making an omelet – both in taste and in the way the omelet comes out.

I use a variation on this. I use a basting brush to brush the oil onto the bread before I place it on the skillet. Way easier than trying to spread cold butter onto bread. Even if it’s wheat bread.

Butter tastes better and it takes like ten seconds to melt some in a microwave before brushing it onto the bread.

You should also put both bread slices on the griddle side by side, put a slice of cheese on both sides, then sandwich them together when the cheese is melted. It’s faster than grilling and flipping over the whole sandwich.

I make grilled cheese sandwiches without any added grease or oil. Just toast one side of the slices on the dry skillet, flip, add the cheese on the already toasted side, and dry toast the other side.

Yeah, as Lynn said, I too always melt the butter in the skillet first. Olive oil might interesting, I’ll give it a try but while I love olive oil some things just need butter. Brushing it on the bread would probably work well, too, but then it means I have to wash the brush, and the vessel in which I melted the butter–I prefer the efficiency* of just melting it right where I’m going to use it.


You can make pretty good grilled cheese sandwiches on a Foreman grill too.

I use mayo! Adds a nice tangyness to it. And none of that filthy-ass Miracle Whip.

If you want to be a bit healthier, but still want the butter flavor, soften a cube of butter, then whip it together with half as much light olive oil (as opposed to fruity) and refrigerate it. Use it for your grilled cheese or anything else you use butter for.

It doesn’t really taste like olives, but olive oil is fairly wide-ranging in taste. My favorites–Frantoia and, recently since my grocer stopped carrying Frantoia, Coluccio–tend to be bright and fruity in flavor, with perhaps a peppery finish. Other olive oils will have a heavier flavor that can overwhelm certain foods. I find the cheaper brands tend to be a bit “muddy” and rough in their flavor. I’m not an expert in olive oil, by any stretch, but once I found a couple of brands I really liked, I stick to them.

For cheap olive oil that’s a good place to start, I think Goya’s extra virgin is fantastic value, as well as Colavita.

Me too. I just don’t let my kids see me do it. They love my GCS, although I personally am not a big fan.

Me too! Delicious and it is easy to spread!

I haven’t made actual grilled cheese in years–I just place cheese on both slices of bread, stick 'em in the toaster oven until the cheese melts, and slap 'em together. Yum. The cheese itself provides all the fat I need!

I use a mixture of 50/50 butter and olive oil, fry up a bunch of red onions until they’re nice and caramelized, then brush it onto thin slices of dark rye bread with the onions, some nice Gruyere, and German mustard and stick the sandwiches in the Foreman grill for four minutes. It is to die for.

There is no greater fan of olive oil on this planet than me–I have maybe 9 different kinds, up to $30 for a 6 ounce can (no, you can’t have any)–but you’ll never get me to substitute for butter on a GCS.

A GCS is a cholesterol high. Using olive oil would be an experience in denial.

HERE’S how you make a GCS: Two slices of freshly baked bread, at least half an inch thick each. Butter one side of each with too much butter. Fry butter side down till golden. While frying, butter the upper side of each slice. When golden, flip one piece, and cover the fried side with the best grade of medium cheddar or colby cheese you can afford. Layering a little sharp cheddar or gouda for tang can be nice too. Place second slice of bread fried side down. Flip the whole sandwich when bottom slice is golden. When second side is golden, put it on a plate, lock the door, and snarl viciously at anyone who comes near you while you eat it. Optional dipping materials: Homemade tomato soup*, Heinz ketchup, canned chili.

*Ask me for the easiest recipe ever.

I have never tried olive oil for my grilled cheese sandwiches, but I do use it to make eggs occasionally.

If I’m making breakfast eggs, I use butter (unless there is bacon involved - then I use bacon grease). If I’m making dinner eggs, then I use olive oil.

For dinner eggs I like to mix some pecorino romano cheese in with the beaten eggs, and then make a nice fluffy omelet topped with a little mozzarella. I think the olive oil makes the eggs fluffier.

Next time I make a grilled cheese, I am going to try it with olive oil.