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Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup: How to Get This Classic Combo Just Right

It is possible to improve upon grilled cheese and tomato soup, with our tricks.

grilled cheese with tomato soup
Photography by: Sidney Bensimon

Who knew tomato soup and grilled cheese could get better? This dynamic duo is our fall go-to. Crisp, golden bread; melted cheese; and a velvety tomato-basil side—talk about a great meal. To make this classic really sing, the secret formula is a good spread of butter and mayo, cheddar and American inside, low heat, and our transcendent soup recipe. The cream-free soup gets its richness from a butter-and-flour roux. Serve it with basil leaves, freshly ground pepper, and a swirl of olive oil.


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Get the Creamy Tomato Soup Recipe



3 Steps to Grilled Cheese Greatness

wooden spoons with butter
Photography by: Sidney Bensimon

1. Put the Spread on Bread

To make 4 servings, arrange 8 slices of sourdough sandwich bread in a single layer on a clean work surface. Stir together 3 tablespoons each room-temperature unsalted butter (for flavor) and mayonnaise (for crunch). Spread mixture evenly onto one side of every slice.

cheese on bread slices
Photography by: Sidney Bensimon

2. Add the Cheeses

Heat a large skillet, preferably cast iron, over medium. Meanwhile, shred cheddar; flip over bread on work surface (so it’s plain-side up). Place 11/2 slices American cheese on half of slices, and 1/4 cup cheddar on remaining 4. Carefully sandwich together.

grilled cheese in pan with lid
Photography by: Sidney Bensimon

3. Press and Flip

Place sandwiches in skillet (in two batches, if needed). Reduce heat to medium-low; gently top sandwiches with a lid slightly smaller than skillet for even cooking. Cook, flipping halfway, until crisp and golden on both sides and cheese is melted, 7 to 9 minutes. Serve immediately.


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bread butter cheese and tomatoes on cutting board
Photography by: Sidney Bensimon

2 More Ideas for Grilled Cheese

Ready to go beyond the classic? Time to explore other breads, cheeses, and condiments, and even add in fresh ingredients.

close up plated grilled cheese
Photography by: Sidney Bensimon

1. Grilled Gruyère with Onion Jam

Follow step 1 above, but on 8 slices of seeded rye bread. In step 2, spread 3 teaspoons Dijon mustard evenly onto 4 slices, and 1/4 cup onion jam or chutney onto the other 4 slices; then top evenly with 2 cups shredded Gruyère. Cover sandwiches; cook per instructions in step 3.


Get the Grilled Gruyere Sandwich with Onion Jam Recipe
plated grilled cheese with tomato
Photography by: Sidney Bensimon

2. Grilled Taleggio with Tomato and Basil

Spread butter-mayonnaise mixture on 8 slices of country white bread. Flip over 4 slices; divide 6 ounces thinly sliced Taleggio among them. Top each with a 1/4-inch-thick large heirloom or beefsteak tomato slice; season generously with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. Place 2 large basil leaves on top of each. Cover sandwiches and cook per instructions in step 3.


Get the Grilled Taleggio Sandwich with Tomato and Basil Recipe

Watch Everyday Food host Sarah Carey break down how to perfect grilled cheese and tomato soup: