Grilled Cheese Vs Melt – What’s The Difference?

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Grilled cheese and a melt are two popular hot sandwiches. As both are made with cheese, people are often confused about them being the same thing. 

What are the differences between grilled cheese and a melt? The main difference between these two sandwiches is that grilled cheese is made with bread and cheese while a melt sandwich contains other ingredients too, such as tuna, turkey, chicken, vegetables and greens, etc. 

In this article, we have compared these two sandwiches to find out what makes them similar and what are some differences they have. 

What Is A Grilled Cheese And What Is A Melt?

Grilled cheese is one of the most popular sandwiches in the US. Made with only two simple ingredients, this sandwich is a favorite meal of many people. It is made by heating cheese between two slices of bread. 

A melt is another hot sandwich that contains cheese. However, unlike grilled cheese, it contains other ingredients too. In fact, some people consider a melt to be a grilled cheese sandwich variation. 

What Are The Differences Between Grilled Cheese And Melt?

As you can already tell, grilled cheese and a melt are quite similar. Let’s do a thorough comparison of these two sandwiches to see what makes them different. 

Type Of Sandwich 

Sandwiches can be classified based on different criteria. Depending on how they are served, sandwiches can be hot or cold. Both grilled cheese and a melt sandwiches are hot sandwiches. 

Another classification of sandwiches is based on how they are built. In general, sandwiches can be open-faced or closed.

Open-faced sandwiches consist of a slice of bread with toppings while closed sandwiches means putting the ingredients between two slices of bread. 

Both grilled cheese and melt sandwiches are closed sandwiches as melting the cheese between two slices of bread is a lot more convenient. 

With this said, grilled cheese and a melt can be served as open sandwiches too. While the open-faced version of grilled cheese is not as popular, it even has a name. 

Cheese dream is the name of the open-faced version of grilled cheese. It originated during the Great Depression in the 1930s and contains a few simple ingredients.

The simplest version of the cheese dream sandwich is made with a slice of bread and American cheese

While the closed variations of grilled cheese and a melt are widely popular, you can make them with a single slice of bread if you are trying to cut down on bread. You can make open-faced cheese sandwiches in the oven or on the stovetop. 

When making an open-faced grilled cheese or melt sandwich in the pan, make sure to cover the pan with the lid to create steam in the pan and melt the cheese. 


Grilled cheese and melts have many ingredients in common. In fact, everything you need to make grilled cheese makes part of any melt sandwich recipe: cheese, bread, and a spread like butter and mayonnaise

You may add other ingredients to your grilled cheese sandwich. So long as you keep the focus on the cheese, your sandwich will be considered a grilled cheese sandwich. 

A melt sandwich, on the other hand, should contain added ingredients to be considered a melt sandwich.

Common ingredients used in melt sandwiches include tuna, ham, roast beef, chicken, turkey, various vegetables, pickles, mustard, etc. 

Taste And Texture

Grilled cheese is pretty much cheese and bread. So, it is easy to imagine what it tastes like.

But melting the cheese and toasting the bread with butter surely turns this combination of simple ingredients into something decadent and flavorful.

You can enrich the flavor of your grilled cheese sandwich by using a few cheese varieties. 

As for the texture, it is key to get it right for grilled cheese. The perfect grilled cheese sandwich should be evenly cooked and golden brown on the outside.

Crunchy bread and fully melted cheese—this is what you should aim for a perfect grilled cheese sandwich. 

As for a melt sandwich, its texture and flavor largely depend on the ingredients you put in it.

With this said, similar to grilled cheese, you should get the bread of the melt sandwich toasty and crispy and make sure the cheese is melted. 

Cooking Methods And Preparation

The preparation of grilled cheese and melt sandwiches is very similar. In both cases, you need to butter one side of the bread slices to achieve a nice golden brown color as you cook the sandwich. 

Another similarity is that the same cooking methods can be used for both sandwiches. Here’s what you can use to cook grilled cheese and melt sandwiches. 

  • Pan or skillet 
  • Oven
  • Air fryer 
  • Toaster oven 

Despite the cooking method you are using, whether you are making a grilled cheese sandwich or a melt, your goal is to melt the cheese and make the bread slices on top and bottom golden brown. 

How To Make A Grilled Cheese Sandwich

There is a myriad of recipes for grilled cheese and multiple cooking methods. If this classic sandwich is one of your go-to’s, you surely have found your favorite way of making it, including the type of bread and cheese you like using. 

But in case you haven’t, we recommend that you first decide on the type of bread and cheese you will be using for the sandwich. If you don’t have any favorites, choose some hearty bread and a cheese variety that melts well. 

Here are step-by-step instructions for making grilled cheese on the stovetop. 

  1. Take two slices of your favorite bread and spread around a tablespoon of butter on each of them. 
  2. Place a skillet over low to medium heat and place the bread slices in it with the buttered side down. 
  3. Put grated cheese on the slices. You can use cheddar, gouda, American cheese, or any cheese of your choice that melts well. 
  4. Cook until the bread turns golden brown and the cheese starts to melt. After 2 minutes, flip one slice of bread over the other. 
  5. Continue flipping and cooking the sandwich until the cheese melts and the bread gets all nice and toasty. 
  6. Cut the sandwich in half on the diagonal and serve warm. 

How To Make A Melt Sandwich

As mentioned earlier in this article, melt sandwiches always contain added ingredients. If it didn’t, it would be a simple grilled cheese sandwich. 

The tuna melt sandwich is one of the most popular variations of this sandwich. You can, of course, use turkey, chicken, ham, and other ingredients instead of tuna. You can even make it vegan. 

Here’s how you make a melt sandwich in a pan:

  1. Prepare the sandwich fillings. If you are making a tuna melt sandwich, first combine the canned tuna fish with some mayonnaise, mustard, chopped celery and onion, herbs, and salt and pepper. 
  2. Next, prepare two slices of bread for the sandwich. Similar to making a grilled cheese sandwich, you need to butter one side of each slice. 
  3. Layer the ingredients in-between the bread slices making sure to keep the buttered side on the outside. You can use lettuce and tomato slices along with the tuna mix. And don’t forget the cheese. Any cheese that melts well will work. 
  4. Put the sandwich on a preheated skillet. Cook for around 2 minutes on each side until the bread gets toasty and the cheese inside melts. 

Pairings And Serving

As grilled cheeses and melts are hot sandwiches, it is always best to serve them hot while the cheese is gooey and soft. 

You can serve grilled cheese and melt sandwiches as a side dish for soups. We all know the tomato soup and grilled cheese combo.

However, there are cases when these sandwiches are the star of the show and you need something to go with your sandwich. 

Here are some side dishes that will go well with both sandwiches.

  • Fresh green salad
  • Coleslaw
  • Fries
  • Fruit salad
  • Fried eggs
  • Pickles

When it comes to side dishes, you have more options for grilled cheese as you can pair it with dishes containing various proteins. 

In the case of a melt sandwich, it all depends on the ingredients. If your melt sandwich already contains protein, such as tuna, chicken, and turkey, you better go with a side dish that isn’t as high in protein. 

Which One Is Healthier: Grilled Cheese Or A Melt Sandwich?

Grilled cheese is not the healthiest sandwich. It is high in calories, fat, and sodium.

However, it should be noted that depending on the type of cheese you use, a grilled cheese sandwich may also be a source of protein and calcium.

You can also choose healthy bread to make your grilled cheese sandwich as healthy as possible. 

A melt sandwich, on the other hand, may offer a better nutritional value compared to grilled cheese.

You can add healthy ingredients to your melt sandwiches, including vegetables and greens, as well as a healthy source of protein, such as tuna, beef, chicken, or turkey. 

If you’re interested in making your next grilled cheese as good as it can be, check out this video from Joshua Weissman!

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