As one of our recipe testers explained, “We’ve all had this lucky incident happen—cheese oozes out of whatever you’re cooking and drips onto the hot pan creating a small pool of sizzling goodness. You know what I’m talking about—that crusty, ever so slightly chewy, crunchy cheesiness that is its own genre of deliciousness. Imagine a gooey grilled cheese sandwiched between two large shards of it.” Imagine. We captured this indulgent awesomeness in a cheese-crusted grilled cheese sandwich that boasts ooey gooey cheese inside AND crisped cheese outside. It may just ruin the classic grilled cheese for you forever—in the best possible way.

What’s the best cheese to use for grilled cheese?

For the inside of any grilled cheese, you want to use something that will readily melt. Think American, Cheddar, Provolone, Monterey Jack, a young Gouda or Manchego, or virtually anything that melts easily and smoothly. For the outside of this grilled cheese, you want to use an aged cheese with a rich saltiness and a distinct flavor, such as Parmesan, Asiago, or Pecorino.

A cheese crusted grilled cheese sandwich in a skillet.

Cheese-Crusted Grilled Cheese

4.75 / 4 votes
Cheese-crusted grilled cheese is just like what its name implies. It’s a grilled cheese sandwich whose insides are oozing with your favorite cheese while the outside is coated with a crisp, crunchy Parmesan crust. Sigh.
David Leite
Servings2 sandwiches
Calories560 kcal
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time10 minutes
Total Time15 minutes


  • 1 tablespoon (1/2 oz) unsalted butter
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 4 slices white bread
  • 1 cup of your favorite shredded melting cheese, such as Cheddar, American, provolone, Monterey Jack


  • In a 10-inch nonstick skillet over mediun-low heat, melt the butter.
  • Meanwhile, lightly beat the egg in a small bowl. Scatter the Parmesan on a plate.
  • Place all 4 slices bread on your work surface. Lightly brush the top of each slice with the egg and then press each eggy side of the bread into the Parmesan. 
  • Place 2 slices of bread in the skillet, eggy cheesy side down. Cook until the cheese begins to brown. Then sprinkle the melting cheese on the bread slices in the skillet, divvying the cheese up evenly among the bread. Top with the remaining bread, eggy-cheese side up.
  • Continue to cook, flipping each sandwich as necessary to keep it from overbrowning, until the cheese on the outside is crisp and melted and the cheese on the inside is gooey and melted, 2 to 3 minutes. Devour immediately. Originally published April 18, 2018.
Comfort and Joy Cooking for Two Cookbook

Adapted From

Comfort and Joy

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Serving: 1 portionCalories: 560 kcalCarbohydrates: 29 gProtein: 28 gFat: 36 gSaturated Fat: 20 gMonounsaturated Fat: 9 gTrans Fat: 0.3 gCholesterol: 187 mgSodium: 1082 mgFiber: 1 gSugar: 3 g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2015 Christina Lane. Photo © 2015 Christina Lane. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

We’ve all had this lucky incident happen—cheese oozes out of whatever you’re cooking and drips onto the hot pan creating a small pool of sizzling goodness. You know what I’m talking about—that crusty, ever so slightly chewy, crunchy cheesiness that is its own genre of deliciousness. Imagine a gooey grilled cheese sandwiched between two large shards of it. This cheese-crusted grilled cheese is exactly that. Heaven, I know.

To complement the salty Parmesan, I chose Havarti for the melting cheese. It’s milder and creamier than Parmesan. Be generous when brushing the bread with the egg so that the Parmesan sticks to the entire surface and stays there. The grilled cheese took 4 minutes per side to brown, and I knew to take the instruction “serve immediately” to heart.

I ate mine right away, standing by the stove. Heaven. (Did I already say that?) This grilled cheese was truly delicious. This is making me hungry for it again, even though I just had lunch. Guess we know what I’m having for dinner tonight.

A grilled cheese with more cheese is never a bad idea, and in this case, it’s a great idea. This grilled cheese crusted with cheese was so good you could open a food truck and have a long line waiting each day! The crust that is made by the egg and Parmesan coating is not just crispy and crunchy but also adds an incredible flavor because it is on the exterior and you taste it immediately adding an entirely new flavor profile to the sandwich. This is our new standard way of making grilled cheese.

It’s important not to rush this treasure, keep the heat low so you don’t burn the bread while waiting for the cheese to melt and the crust to become golden brown. We used a sourdough boule. We selected Manchego cheese. For those of you who’ve never tried Manchego, the flavor is milder than Swiss but bolder than mozzarella or provolone and has excellent texture and flavor when melted. It’s difficult to cut Manchego but easy to grate so this is a perfect use of the cheese. The oiliness of the cheese when melting adds to the butter you’re already using and helps to give a wonderful crust and the little bits that fell out of the sandwich while melting, added an extra crispy bonus. Pairing this sandwich with a cup or bowl of tomato soup would be delightful!

How could I go wrong with a cheese-crusted grilled cheese sandwich that has cheese inside AND out? It was very popular at my house and quickly disappeared. Everyone enjoyed the crusty, cheesy outside of sandwich as much as the gooey cheesy middle.

I used a pre-sliced baguette for my grilled cheese. Because my loaf was a little smaller in circumference than a traditional loaf of bread, I was able to make 3 sandwiches instead of 2. For the cheese filling, I used a blend of Gouda and Havarti. To ensure I had enough Parmesan to coat 1 side of each slice of bread, I divided the 1/2 cup Parmesan into two 1/4 cups. The prep time is quick and simple. I pressed the first 3 egg-brushed slices in the first 1/4 cup Parmesan and the second 3 egg brushed slices in the other 1/4 cup of grated Parmesan. I placed the Parmesan-dusted side down in the melted butter then placed the melting cheese on the plain side of the bread. Then I topped the Gouda and Havarti blend with a second slice of bread with the Parmesan side up towards me.

Next time I’ll add pesto or brown mustard to the un-cheesed side of the bread.

My daughter is an avid lover of the grilled cheese sandwich and tries to find it on every menu, whether at a family diner or at a gastronomique experience of a restaurant. This cheese-crusted grilled cheese was great to test on her. I used brioche and Gouda. It took half a minute for the cheese to brown on medium-high fire. I poured the leftover egg on the pan and covered the sandwich with the “egg” blanket for my daughter. I was flipping the sandwich every 20 seconds to not let it burn yet make it toasty. My daughter loved it. Great recipe!

About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    The sky’s the limit when it comes to fillings for grilled cheese sandwiches, but the coating for this one is the star. I added a bit of chopped fresh parsley and garlic to the Parmesan and used a homemade seeded bread. Cooking slowly is key so that the crust doesn’t get too brown before the cheese melts. A delicious treat to brighten a dismal winter’s day.

    1. I’m drooling over your photo, Sadie! You’re right. This is a perfect meal for a dismal winter’s day.

  2. 5 stars
    Snowing here and sad about losing my dad this year. Turning to food for comfort and entertainment. I made Ina Garten’s creamy tomato soup (not on this site), and this amazing grilled cheese cut as croutons! So yummy!! Made Ultimate Chocolate Chip cookies from this site. I should stop but I plan to search now for one more dessert on this site that I have all the ingredients in the house…being snowed-in is so much fun!!

    1. We’re so sorry for your loss, Lori, but we’re happy to help you find comfort in so much delicious food. Stay safe and warm!