Toasted Cheese vs. Grilled Cheese: Know the Differences

Bread is a great vehicle for eating cheese. Many people love cheese sandwiches for lunch, and if you’ve ever wondered what the difference is between toasted cheese and grilled cheese, there are actually several of them.

Grilled cheese is usually eaten as a meal for lunch or dinner and is more common in the U.S., whereas toasted cheese is more common in the U.K. and is usually eaten with breakfast, not served alone.

Toasted Cheese vs. Grilled Cheese

Toasted cheese prepared instead of grilled cheese
Toasted cheese uses a single slice of bread. But Google images might lie to you by showing you a sandwich.

Let’s take a closer look at how to make each of these yummy dishes.

Equipment Needed

For both of these dishes, you’ll need butter or oil, bread, cheese slices and a frying pan. For toasted cheese, you’ll need an oven. For grilled cheese, you’ll use the stovetop. These dishes have different textures and flavors largely due to the different ways they’re cooked.

Preparation Time

Neither of these dishes requires a lot of prep time. In fact, both of them take roughly five minutes to prepare. With a cheese toastie, you’ll be using one slice of bread and buttering only one side of that bread. On the other hand, grilled cheese is essentially a word for cheese sandwiches because it uses two slices of bread. While buttering only one side of each piece of bread is often recommended, a lot of people butter both sides of both pieces of bread to add more buttery flavor to the sandwich.

Cooking Time

Cooking time is short for both of these dishes, but it sometimes takes just a little bit longer for the cheese toast. Why? Because you have to bake the pan in an oven, and the oven cannot be set at a temperature that is too high because the cheese might burn. In fact, most people set their oven to no higher than 350 degrees Fahrenheit because of this. In any case, both of these cheesy dishes should take less than 10 minutes to complete.

Grilled cheese instead of toasted cheese
Grilled cheese usually has more calories than toasted cheese, largely because of that second slice of bread.

Buttering

The key to yummy cheese dishes is to add lots of butter, but cheese toast doesn’t need as much butter as grilled cheese does. This is because you’ll be frying your grilled cheese, and you’ll need a lot of butter to keep the sandwich from sticking. In contrast, cheese toast is baked and only needs a touch of butter to be placed at the bottom of the pan to enhance the flavor.

Texture

Because cheese toast is baked and uses less butter than grilled cheese, it is often a little more moist and often has a less-buttery taste. Grilled cheese typically uses more butter and is fried, so the texture tends to be crispier and a little firmer. Toasted cheese is a little chewier as a general rule.

Calories

Remember that with cheese toast, you’re only using one piece of bread and one slice of cheese. Grilled cheese, on the other hand, uses one or more slices of cheese and two pieces of bread, so naturally it’s usually higher in calories. In fact, these sandwiches tend to be about 600–700 calories, whereas toasted cheese is usually less than 300 calories.

How To Make Toasted Cheese

Cook removing toasted cheese from oven after learning differences between toasted cheese vs. grilled cheese

Cheese on toast is made by placing butter and cheese on one side of the bread, placing the toast in a frying pan, then placing the entire pan in a 300-350 F oven. You’ll have to check the toast constantly to make sure it doesn’t burn, but depending on the temperature of the oven, you can expect to cook the toast in the oven for 5–10 minutes, sometimes a tad longer. You can also use grated cheese for either of these dishes in a pinch, but you’ll likely find that it’s much easier to work with sliced cheese.

How To Make Grilled Cheese

Grilled cheese sandwich prepared after chef learned difference between toasted cheese vs. grilled cheese

Grilling a cheese sandwich requires that you butter each of the pieces of bread and put one or more slices of cheese on each. You’ll combine the two pieces of bread and fry them on both sides of the sandwich, adding butter as needed. While most people use American cheese on this popular sandwich, you can use other types of cheese if you prefer.

Names for Toasted Cheese and Grilled Cheese Around the World

One of the things you’ll notice when researching grilled cheese sandwiches and toasted cheese is that, many times, the two dishes’ names are used interchangeably. That being said, as we’ve just seen, these are two distinct dishes. Cheese toast involves one piece of bread and is baked in the oven. It is also eaten as part of a breakfast. Grilled cheese involves two pieces of bread, is fried in a frying pan, and is usually eaten as a meal, frequently with tomato soup. A grilled cheese sandwich with tomato soup makes for great comfort food.

Another name for cheese toast is a cheese toastie. Grilled cheese can be called cheese bread, a cheese melt, and many other names.

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