Gooey, melty, & crispy grilled cheese made in the microwave is the quick lunch recipe you've been looking for. Only 3 ingredients & 5 minutes for the best microwave grilled cheese sandwich recipe.
Whether you call it grilled cheese or something else like a cheese toastie (UK), jaffle (Australia), panini (Italy), or croque monsieur (France), this hot sandwich is hard to resist. So when the craving hits, succumb to it & microwave a grilled cheese for your enjoyment.
This was inspired by my recipe for Toaster Oven Grilled Cheese. Both are easy ways to make a classic sandwich without a pan, skillet, or griddle. Pair it with some Air Fryer French Fries, Cherry Tomato Soup, or other tasty sides to serve with sandwiches.
- Why You'll Love Making Grilled Cheese in the Microwave
- How to Make a Grilled Cheese Sandwich in the Microwave
- Microwave Grilled Cheese & No Toaster
- Substitutions & Variations
- Equipment Needed
- Storing & Reheating Grilled Cheese
- Top Tips
- Other Sandwich Recipes
- Recipe Pairing Ideas
- Microwave Grilled Cheese
Why You'll Love Making Grilled Cheese in the Microwave
Besides this recipe being melty, cheesy, & delicious, here are all the reasons why a grilled cheese sandwich made in the microwave oven is the recipe you will love.
- No stove, oven, or pans are needed.
- It can be made anywhere there is a toaster & microwave.
- Ideal for a dorm room or office kitchen cooking.
- It's ready in 5 minutes!
- 3 ingredients only.
- So easy that kids can make it.
Ok now that I convinced you this is the fastest way to make a grilled cheese, let's make one or more!
This short-cut grilled cheese recipe uses the traditional 3 ingredients: bread, cheese, & butter. Why mess with perfection?
How many slices of cheese go in a grilled cheese sandwich? To make grilled cheese, 2 slices are best. The bread-to-cheese ratio is just perfect this way. Let's be honest, 1 slice is just not going to cut it.
- Sliced Bread - use your favorite brand or kind; white & wheat are traditional but others work too.
- Sliced Cheese - use your favorite kind; cheddar & American cheeses are the most popular.
- Butter - salted is best.
See the recipe card for quantities.
How to Make a Grilled Cheese Sandwich in the Microwave
There are only a few simple steps to making this microwave sandwich. Here is how to make this grilled cheese.
Begin by gathering all the ingredients you need plus the equipment. I recommend using a spreader knife which can be used to butter the bread & cut the sandwich later. Also, grab a plate or cutting board. Plus an optional paper napkin or parchment/wax sheet.
Toast the two slices of bread to your desired doneness. I recommend toasting the bread 1 setting darker than you are used to. You want the bread pretty crispy since the microwave will soften it later.
When the toast is done, butter one side of each slice. Flip one slice over and top with 2 pieces of cheese. Top with the other piece of toast. The buttered sides should both be facing out.
Place the sandwich on a microwave-safe plate. Or wrap it first in a wax paper sheet, parchment paper towel/napkin. This will help the moisture absorb resulting in a less soggy or soft grilled cheese sandwich after it heats in the microwave.
How Long to Microwave Grilled Cheese
Once the bread is buttered, the cheese is in place and the sandwich is assembled, it is time to microwave it.
Microwave it on High for 20-30 seconds. Depending on the density of the bread and the variety or thickness of the sliced cheese, times will vary slightly.
Some cheese will melt faster such as American, Velvetta, or Kraft singles. Also, thin slices or softer cheeses like Brie will cook quicker. Thick slices of Swiss or cheddar may take longer.
Once it is done, I love cutting it diagonally with my spreader knife. Then grab a half and watch the magical cheese-pull!
Microwave Grilled Cheese & No Toaster
If you still want to make a grilled cheese sandwich in the microwave but you do not have a toaster, no problem. There is a gadget for everything these days and here is the kitchen tool you need, the Microwave Sandwich Maker.
Hint: You can also toast your bread in the oven under the broiler on low before microwaving the cheese sandwich.
Substitutions & Variations
Here are some great recipe variations & ingredient substitutions that can be made. These may help you customize a grilled cheese sandwich into the perfect one for your dietary, health, or personal nutritional preferences. This recipe is already vegetarian & nut-free.
- Bread - instead of white or wheat, use sourdough, rye,
- Cheese - instead of cheddar or American cheese; use Monterey Jack, Edam, Pepper Jack, Havarti, Swiss, or any combination.
- Butter - use mayo instead.
** this recipe is a great way to use frozen cheese slices. Add them still frozen and just cook 10 seconds longer. Cheese lasts a long time in the freezer - even 2-year-old frozen cheese is safe to eat.
Variations for Grilled Cheese
- Ham & Cheese - add 2-3 slices of deli ham with the cheese before microwaving.
- Turkey & Cheese - add 2-3 slices of deli turkey with the cheese before microwaving.
- Italian - use mozzarella & add a slice of fresh tomato.
- Spicy - use pepper jack or add jalapenos.
- Gluten-free - instead of regular bread use your favorite gluten-free bread.
Up your grilled cheese game with unique, gourmet, or fun ingredients like Brie, bacon jam, avocado, or caramelized onions. If you love sweet, salty, & spicy try a Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Fresh Figs & Hot Honey.
For this recipe, you will need a toaster and microwave. I also recommend a few other kitchen tools that help when making this hot sandwich recipe.
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Storing & Reheating Grilled Cheese
Grilled cheese made in the microwave is best enjoyed immediately while it is fresh. If you do have leftovers, place them in a container with a lid, or Ziploc bag, or plate them with plastic wrap around them. Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. I do not recommend freezing it.
To reheat grilled cheese - try one of these methods.
- Microwave in the sandwich maker shared above.
- Warm up in an oven or toaster oven.
- Reheat in an air fryer.
All of these great tips are shared in the post. But these are so good and important they are worth mentioning again so you don't miss them.
- Toast the bread 1 setting higher than you traditionally like it to allow more chance of crispiness after microwaving.
- Wrap in a paper towel or parchment paper to keep the bread crispy.
- Microwave 20-30 seconds: depends on the type/thickness of bread & cheese.
- Use a Microwave Sandwich Maker for best results without a toaster.
- Enjoy it immediately while it is fresh.
Whether you want just plain grilled cheese or a sandwich with cold cuts, yes you can melt cheese in the microwave. See the recipe card below for full details including the time it takes to melt cheese.
Honestly, the best cheese is the one you love the most. Not all cheeses work well such as hard cheeses like parmesan. I recommend semi-soft to semi-hard cheeses like cheddar, American, Kraft Velvetta, Swiss, Jack, Havarti, Colby, Gouda, Provolone, & Gruyere.
Again, use what you love. The most popular & best options are white, wheat, ciabatta, sourdough, rye, multi-grain, and pumpernickel. Pick a sturdy bread that will toast well & not get soggy when the cheese melts. Try to pair bread & cheese flavors that go together well like rye & swiss.
Personally, I do not like mayo so I have not tried this hack. I have several friends that swear by it though. So yes, you can use mayo in place of butter when making grilled cheese.
Microwave Grilled Cheese
- microwave oven
- 2 slices sandwich bread
- 2 slices cheese
- 1 tablespoon butter
- Toast the two slices of bread. I recommend toasting the bread 1 setting darker than you are used to. (helps preserve some crispiness after microwaving)
- When the toast is done, butter one side of each slice.
- To assemble the sandwich; Flip one slice over and top with 2 pieces of cheese. Top with the other piece of toast. The buttered sides should both be facing out.
- Place the sandwich on a microwave-safe plate. Or wrap it first in a wax paper sheet, parchment paper towel/napkin - helps reduce moisture.
- Microwave on HIGH for 20-30 seconds, until cheese is melted & gooey hot.
- Cut diagonally and enjoy immediately.