The 12th of April is Grilled Cheese Day — the day to celebrate grilled cheese sandwiches!
A grilled cheese (actually a fried cheese) sandwich is a sandwich made from two pieces of bread, with cheese in the middle, buttered on the outside, then fried until the bread is toasted and the cheese inside is melted.
In the U.S. and Canada, a grilled cheese sandwich is classic comfort food. The classic ingredients are white bread, butter, and a processed cheese slice, and classic accompaniments are a bowl of tomato soup on the side, and a large dollop of tomato ketchup for dipping the sandwich into.
A grilled cheese can be enjoyed at lunch, or for a quick supper.
On Grilled Cheese Day, restaurants may offer fancy versions of grilled cheeses or other specials related to today’s theme.
See also: Griddle, Grill, Grilled Cheese Sandwiches, Sandwiches, French Dip Day, Hot Pastrami Sandwich Day, Monte Cristo Day, Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich Day
Activities for today
To celebrate the day at home, you could:
- make it a double-decker grilled cheese sandwich, with three slices of bread and two layers of cheese;
- try making one in your air fryer instead of a frying pan;
- use two or three different types of cheeses;
- use grated cheese instead of sliced;
- instead of regular sandwich bread, try sourdough;
- instead of buttering the bread, try mayonnaise, which many people swear by;
- slip some already-cooked bacon inside;
- instead of serving it with ketchup, serve it with ranch dressing as the dip instead.
You may also wish to try to take a grilled cheese sandwich to next-level gourmet with these ideas:
- instead of buttering the bread, try olive oil, maybe even a flavoured oil such as garlic oil;
- brie cheese and sautéed mushroom slices;
- brie cheese and cranberry sauce;
- an Italian cheese such as taleggio with maybe a schmear of pesto inside, and use a chewy Italian crusty bread;
- some sautéed vegetables or slices of fresh tomato inside;
- serve it with a side garnish such as a chutney or caramelized onions.
Here’s some ideas so you can also have a grilled cheese for dessert today:
- try raisin bread or lemon loaf for the bread;
- make a grilled cheese out of a doughnut for a grilled cheese doughnut;
- try a filling of cream cheese swirled with jam;
- or a filling of cream cheese, peanut butter and jelly;
- cream cheese would also pair nicely with fresh strawberry slices or slices of fresh apple;
- camembert cheese and fig jam.
Party ideas to celebrate Grilled Cheese Day with friends:
- invite some friends over, offer a variety of breads and cheeses they can use in making theirs, and have a big pot of soup ready to go with;
- bake the grilled cheese sandwiches on a baking sheet in the oven, flipping as needed, to save futzing over stop-top space for frying pans;
- slice an attached bunch of pull apart rolls horizontally, put cheese in the middle, slather with melted butter, and bake;
- the Food Network has a recipe for a crowd for a grilled cheese loaf: https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchen/giant-grilled-cheese-for-a-crowd-3636833 (link valid as of April 2021);
- side garnishes to offer could include pickles, potato chips, slices of fresh fruit;
- for kids, cut up into fun shapes with cookie cutters;
- for beverages, offer your grown-up guests Bloody Marys or Caesars.
You might also wish to try versions of toasted cheese sandwiches from other cuisines. Welsh Rabbit is bread with a cheese mixture put on it, then toasted. In France, they gussy a grilled cheese sandwich up with a slice of ham inside, turning that into what they call a “Croque Monsieur“. If you add a fried egg on top of that, then you get what is called a “Croque Madame“. Or, use rye bread for the bread, slip some corned beef and sauerkraut inside, butter the outsides of the bread and grill it for a classic American deli sandwich: a Reuben. Or, try a Monte Cristo Sandwich.
Watching calories? For a lighter version of a grilled cheese, try using a lower-fat cheese, and make it as an open-faced grilled cheese sandwich under the broiler, in the toaster oven or in your air fryer.
Grilled Banana-Mayonnaise Sandwich
Grilled Cheese & Pesto Sandwich
Wisconsin Grilled Cheese Championship
The Wisconsin Grilled Cheese Championship also takes place in April each year, in Dodgeville, Wisconsin.
The first print mention of a “Grilled Cheese Day” that CooksInfo is aware of dates from April 2011 in Hartford, Connecticut.
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CBC Life. It’s National Grilled Cheese Day! Celebrate with these easy, cheesy recipes. CBC. 12 April 2019. Accessed March 2021 at https://www.cbc.ca/life/food/it-s-national-grilled-cheese-day-celebrate-with-these-easy-cheesy-recipes-1.4067290
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Oliver, Michelle. How to make an awesome grilled cheese for National Grilled Cheese Day! WDIV-TV Detroit. 9 April 2020. Accessed March 2021 at https://www.clickondetroit.com/live-in-the-d/2020/04/09/how-to-make-an-awesome-grilled-cheese-for-national-grilled-cheese-day/
Park, Colleen. 5 Levels of Grilled Cheese to Make This Month. Food Network. April 2019. Accessed March 2021 at https://www.foodnetwork.com/fn-dish/recipes/2019/4/5-levels-of-grilled-cheese-to-make-this-month
Rewolinski, Elaine. 9 ways to honor National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day on Thursday. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. 11 April 2018. Accessed March 2021 at https://www.jsonline.com/story/life/food/2018/04/11/9-ways-honor-national-grilled-cheese-sandwich-day-thursday/447581002/