Oven grilled cheese might just change your life. Okay, that might sound a bit dramatic, but this simple method seriously changed mine! For years I toiled at the stove, making grilled cheeses in batches, splattering my stove in the process. No more, my friends. No more. With this method, I can not only make sandwiches for the whole family (or whole party, more on that below) at the SAME TIME, but I can also customize them according to our different tastes. BOOYA! (And yes, I’m a huge dork.) Don’t miss the video below!

Two grilled cheese sandwhich halves, stacked on a serving board.

Sheet pan grilled cheese

Once cooler weather sets in, we make grilled cheeses once a week to pair with a big pot of soup. The kids LOVE the tradition (who am I kidding; I do it because I love the tradition!). Once I started making the sandwiches in the oven it was a huge game changer. No longer did I have to tend to batches on the stovetop. But even better, now we get to all build our own grilled cheeses! I find that one of the best ways to get my kids to devour their dinner is to let them take part in the cooking or plating process. It’s why I wrote Build-a-Bowl, and it’s why I love these grilled cheeses. The kids get to choose what cheeses and fillings (if any) they want, giving them authority over their meal. This shifts their perspective, and dinnertimes becomes more fun and satisfying for them.

Overhead shot of five grilled cheese sandwiches lined up on a sheet pan.

Gourmet grilled cheese sandwich

Also, with this method it’s really easy to make a gourmet grilled cheese (oh la la!). You can stuff the sandwiches with any number of fillings, such as garlicky sautéed greens (one of my favorites), tomatoes and basil (Ella’s go-to), ham or turkey (James’s choice), roasted mushrooms, artichoke hearts, sauerkraut… you get the picture. You can do a single filling or a combination (such as ham and sauerkraut, or greens with sun-dried tomatoes). You can also use any melty cheese (or cheeses) you like, from cheddar cheese, to Gruyere, to Comté, to American. I spread out a few different fillings and let my family and friends build their own.

Oven baked grilled cheese for a crowd

Speaking of friends, if you’ve never made a huge batch of grilled cheeses for a party, then you haven’t lived (oh fine, that might be a bit dramatic). Oven grilled cheese is the perfect way to feed a crowd, either as a casual dinner with a big pot of soup (think game day!), or as an appetizer. For an elegant start to a meal, stuff the grilled cheeses with something fancy, such as caramelized onions and fig jam, then cut the sandwiches into small triangles before serving.

How to make a grilled cheese in the oven

The process is simple. Start with your favorite bread (gluten-free for me, please) and softened butter (check out my tips below for softening butter if you forget to leave it out). Spread the butter over one side of each piece of bread. Arrange half the bread slices, buttered side down, on a foil-lined baking sheet (I spritz the pan with cooking spray to ensure that nothing sticks). 

Process shot divided into four quadrants, showing steps for making oven grilled cheese.

Next, layer on a slice of cheese. From there, you can add fillings if you wish, then finish with another slice or two of cheese and the remaining buttered bread. After a few minutes under the broiler, you’ll have toasty, cheesy, irresistible grilled cheeses.

Grilled cheese sandwich halves stacked on a serving board.

Oven grilled cheese tips:

  • Broiler temperatures differ from oven to oven, so keep an eye on the sandwiches until you get the hang of your oven. Also, white bread tends to toast up faster than whole wheat or gluten-free. 
  • You’ll need a cookie sheet for this recipe. I prefer a heavy, rimmed baking sheet like this
  • If you forget to leave out the butter to soften, microwave it in 5 second intervals, checking after each, until it’s just soft enough to spread. 
  • You can use any melty cheese you like. I prefer cheddar or an Alpine style cheese, such as Emmentaler, Gruyere or Comté, but American works as well!
Hand holding a grilled cheese half, with a bowl of soup in the background.

The best soups to pair with grilled cheese!

For other build-your-own dinner ideas, check out my book, Build-a-Bowl!

Watch the video!

Get the recipe!

DIY Oven Grilled Cheese

This oven grilled cheese recipe can easily be scaled up to feed a crowd (or it can be halved if you’re only feeding a couple people!). Instead of having to tend to individual sandwiches on the stovetop, you can cook an entire sheet pan of sandwiches at the same time. You can either keep things simple with just cheese, or you can make gourmet grilled cheeses by stuffing them with different fillings, such as roasted mushrooms, deli meats or sautéed greens. For a fun build-your-own dinner or party, set out all the add-ins and let your family and friends design their own sandwiches. You can also cut the sandwiches into quarters for an easy appetizer that everybody will love. If you prefer your grilled cheeses extra cheesy, go for another slice (or two!) of cheese.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time5 mins
Total Time15 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: grilled cheese in oven, oven grilled cheese, sheetpan grilled cheese
Servings: 5 people

Ingredients

  • Cooking spray for pan
  • 10 slices bread, regular or gluten-free
  • 4 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 10 slices of cheese (such as cheddar, Emmentaler, Gruyere, Provolone or American), or more to taste
  • Optional add-ins: tomato slices, fresh herbs, sautéed greens, chopped sun-dried tomatoes, chopped roasted red peppers, chopped artichoke hearts, roasted mushrooms, thinly sliced ham or turkey, sauerkraut

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to broil with a rack in the upper third. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray it lightly with cooking spray.
  • Spread butter over one side of each piece of bread. Place 5 slices of bread, buttered sides down, in an even layer on the prepared baking sheet. Place a slice of cheese on each piece of bread. Arrange any add-ins you’re using over the cheese. Top each sandwich with another piece of cheese (if you like it extra cheesy, opt for 2 slices on top), followed by the remaining slices of bread, buttered sides up. Press down on each sandwich lightly.
  • Broil the sandwiches on the prepared rack, rotating them halfway through, until they’re golden and toasted, about 3 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven, flip the sandwiches over, then continue broiling until the sandwiches are toasted on the other side, about 2-3 minutes longer.

Notes

Tips:
  • Broiler temperatures differ from oven to oven, so keep an eye on the sandwiches until you get the hang of your oven. Also, white bread tends to toast up faster than whole wheat or gluten-free. 
  • You’ll need a large sheet pan for this recipe. I prefer a heavy, rimmed baking sheet like this.
  • If you forget to leave out the butter to soften, microwave it in 5 second intervals, checking after each, until it’s just soft enough to spread.
  • You can use any melty cheese you like. I prefer cheddar or an Alpine style cheese, such as Emmentaler, Gruyere or Comté, but American works as well!
  • If you prefer your grilled cheese really cheesy, add more cheese! Go ahead and throw on another slice or two.