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.
3 Steps to Grilled Cheese Greatness
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Watch Everyday Food host Sarah Carey break down how to perfect grilled cheese and tomato soup: