Cheese and Onion Sandwich Recipe: British Classic


This is the recipe for the best cheese and onion sandwich. The one we will focus on in this article is a British variation of the cheese and onion sandwich, a true classic that is truly delicious. You’ll want to tuck this one away for future reference. And you might even start talking with a wonderful British accent.

onion and cheese sandwich
Onion and Cheese Sandwich. Photo by CookThink

Shopping List

Cheddar Cheese
Red Leicester Cheese
Red Onion
Spring Onion
Black Pepper


Cheese Grater
Cutting Board and Sharp Knife
Medium Mixing Bowl
Large Stirring Spoon

Cheese and Onion Sandwich Filler

As you might have guessed, the filler is the star of the show for this sandwich. You can choose a good bread, but the filling is what makes this sandwich so delicious. With the combination of cheddar and onion, you can’t get tastier than that, but it’s gotta be done!

Cheese and Onion Sandwich Ingredients

1 cup grated Cheddar Cheese
1 cup grated Red Leicester Cheese
½ cup Red Onion, diced very fine
2 large Spring Onions, diced very fine
2/3 cup Mayonnaise
pinch Black Pepper
Butter as needed
Bread slices

To make this classic British cheese and onion sandwich, you’re going to need two kinds of cheese and two kinds of onions.


When purchasing cheese, we typically buy blocks of cheese because it’s less expensive to grate it ourselves and it tastes better if we grate it ourselves. Already grated cheese can include powdered cellulose, which is made from wood pulp and helps to prevent caking. By grating your own cheese, you bypass this byproduct and in turn have better results in the melting aspects of the cheese you select and use.

This recipe calls for Red Leicester Cheese, but it is sometimes difficult to locate a source for it in the area that we live. Don’t spend an hour or two taking a drive just to get this cheese. Instead, you can substitute it with another kind of cheddar or even make the recipe one-hundred percent cheddar. Having two colors of cheese provides a nice variety of flavors and visual appearance, but it just might not always be possible. It is okay to compensate and adjust the recipe accordingly.


We recommend using spring onions or green onions as well as finely diced red onions. Again, this helps to add visual variety of both the green color of the spring onions and the purple color of the red onions. The flavors are also a bit different between the two as well.


The other two ingredients for this tasty dish are mayonnaise and black pepper. If you have black peppercorns and the ability to grind them fresh, that is always best. And using full-fledged whole egg and full fat mayonnaise will give the best results. No substitutes for this baby.

onion and cheese sandwich
Onion and Cheese Sandwich. Photo by CookThink

How to Make a Cheese and Onion Sandwich

Making a cheese and onion sandwich requires a few simple steps that be completed in a matter of just a few minutes. Likely you can put this delicious sandwich together in ten minutes or less. Here are the steps:

1. Grate cheese and dice onion as finely as possible. In a medium mixing bowl add cheese, onion, mayonnaise and a good pinch of black pepper. Mix well then taste test and adjust seasoning as necessary.

2. Butter one side of each slice of bread. Divide filling among 4 slices of bread and spread the filling all the way to the edges. Top with the second slice of buttered bread. Cut in half and enjoy!

What Bread to Use?

White bread works well. Or classically a seeded bread is often used by the British. Whatever you choose, make sure it’s very soft (not toasted) and is medium sized slices.

Let There Be Butter!

Butter is an important aspect of this sandwich, or any sandwich really. It adds a bit of a barrier so that the bread doesn’t turn soggy right away and it also adds moisture to the mix as well as that wonderful flavor. Try adding butter to one side of each slice of bread when you make your onion and cheese sandwich.

Serving A Cheese and Onion Sandwich

If you’re looking at how to serve a cheese and onion sandwich and make it that top notch British classic, we suggest adding salt and vinegar chips as a side, always and forever.

And if you’re considering another side, tomato soup is the other perfect compliment. Did you know that tomato soup is the most frequently served side item with toasted cheese sandwiches? Well, you know this sandwich is not toasted, but you get the idea. It’s the flavors of the bread, cheese and tomato that work so well together. It just makes your taste buds go boing!

Can I Make This Ahead of Time?

You sure can. If you’d like to leave a bit of time for recovery between when you cry your eyes out at the cutting board from finely dicing the onions and when you enjoy the sandwich, then we don’t blame you.

You can make this sandwich filling in advance. Just store it in the refrigerator in an airtight container or cover with plastic wrap and keep for up to three days. Some people think the flavors even meld better after they’ve been prepared and have a chance to sit together and cool overnight.

Cheese and Onion Sandwich Quick Info

Recipe Tips Recap

Your favorite kind of soft bread can be used. White or seeded breads come with the highest recommendations.

Spread butter on one side of each slice of bread to act as a barrier so the bread doesn’t get soggy from the mayonnaise mixture.

Use block cheese and grate it yourself for the best cheese outcome.

Cheddar cheese can be used in place of Red Leicester cheese if Leicester is difficult to find.

Spring onions and green onions can be used interchangeably.

Use regular, full fat mayonnaise for best results.

onion and cheese sandwich
Onion and Cheese Sandwich. Photo by CookThink

Grilled Cheese and Onion Sandwich

This classic cheese and onion sandwich is not a grilled sandwich. It is prepared and eaten cold. But for those of you who can’t resist grilling your sandwich, here are some helpful tips.

What Goes Best With Grilled Cheese?

We have come up with a list of the top 16 items that go best with grilled cheese. You can read about it in our post here. We mention things like soups, salads and other popular sides that are most frequently eaten with a grilled cheese.

Do You Butter Both Sides of Bread for a Toastie?

Well, yes you do in fact butter both sides of bread for a toasted sandwich. The outside gets buttered, so it doesn’t stick to the pan and it helps it turn to that perfect golden crispy brown while cooking. And the inside gets butter, well mainly because we like butter.

Why is My Grilled Cheese Sticking to the Pan?

There could be several reasons that your grilled cheese is sticking to the pan. And having made a few grilled cheese sandwiches in my day, I know it can be a common occurrence.

The most likely culprit could be that it’s sticking because the cheese is oozing out of the sides of the sandwich causing it to stick. Another reason could be that your pan is not a nonstick surface and the bread adheres to it without grease to keep it from sticking. Make sure to use butter or oil on the pan surface to help keep the bread from sticking.

FAQs to Cook Your Cheese and Onion Sandwich

Your Quick Questions Answered

This recipe makes 4 cheese and onion sandwiches.

Cut or pull sandwiches in half to serve.

Sandwich filling can be made ahead by storing in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

This is a super EASY recipe.

Use full fat mayonnaise for the best results.

Have you tried this recipe? Leave us a star rating in the comments below and let us know what you think.

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Cheese and Onion Sandwich Recipe- British Classic
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Sarah is known for her extra fancy yeast breads, melt in your mouth pies, and everything salads. She has won awards as a home cook, and is passionate about helping others feel smarter in the kitchen. Sarah is the cooking genius of the sister duo.

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