Caramelized Onion Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Caramelized Onion Grilled Cheese Sandwich

I have eaten my fair share of grilled cheese sandwiches. For almost 10 years, I followed a vegetarian diet, and grilled cheese sandwiches became a large part of what I ate on a daily basis. They were easy, most restaurants had one on the menu, and they were delicious. There's nothing better than a gooey oozing grilled cheese sandwich on a chilly afternoon.

My favorite way to order a grilled cheese is with added onions. Sometimes it's a few slices of raw red onion, sometimes it's onions cooked on a flat top griddle before they're added to my sandwich. If it's on the menu, caramelized onions are a definite. Sweet, buttery, almost like an onion jam, they just melt into the cheese. Yum!

Thinly slice one sweet onion. Melt two tablespoons of butter in a medium sized skillet and add the onions. Sprinkle with a tablespoon of sugar and add two tablespoons of good balsamic vinegar. Season with salt and pepper.Cook over medium low heat until they practically melt into the pan, about 40 minutes.

You can't rush good caramelized onions. Too much heat and you get sautéed onions, not sweet buttery caramelized goodness. The balsamic vinegar is certainly optional, but I love the extra sweetness with the slight bite of vinegar that it brings to the onions.

To assemble the sandwiches, grate 1 cup of smoked cheese. I'm using Beecher's "No Woman" cheese, a smoked cheese with Jamaican jerk seasoning mixed in. A nice smoked gouda or provolone would work well. The smokiness of the cheese complements the sweetness of the onions.

Butter one side of two slices of bread liberally. I used almost two tablespoons of butter for two sandwiches. You can use less, but I want my grilled cheese super crispy and buttery.

Layer cheese and onions on the bread and cook in a non stick skillet until nicely browned on both sides and the cheese is melted through, about 5-7 minutes per side. Another trick for the perfect grilled cheese is the right kind of heat. Too high and your bread is toasted before the cheese melts, too low and the bread starts to get soggy. I usually cook my grilled cheese over medium to just past medium heat.

Remove the finished sandwiches from the stove and slice on a diagonal. Serve with your favorite soup or salad. There's nothing better than a hot gooey grilled cheese sandwich. I hope you'll try my favorite variation!


Caramelized Onion Grilled Cheese Sandwich

By , April 11, 2015
Prep time: 15 minutes Cook time: 50 minutes Yield: 2 servings
Sweet buttery caramelized onions dress up the classic grilled cheese sandwich. onions, balsamic vinegar, bread, sandwich, cheese


  • 1 sweet onion
  • 4 tablespoons of softened butter, divided
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 cup of grated smoked cheese; gouda or provolone
  • 4 slices of fresh bakery bread


  1. Heat two tablespoons of butter in a medium sized skillet
  2. Thinly slice onion and add to the pan, stir in sugar and balsamic vinegar, season with salt and pepper
  3. Cook onions over medium low heat until caramelized, about 40 minutes
  4. Butter one side of each slice of bread, layer grated cheese and caramelized onions
  5. Cook sandwiches over medium heat until browned and crispy on both sides and cheese is melted, 5-7 minutes per side
  6. Slice on a diagonal and serve with soup or salad

Sharing our culinary adventures in Cascadia with simple, sustainable & satisfying eats. Bon Appétit!