What To Eat With Grilled Cheese: 16 Of The Best Sides


Ooey, Gooey, cheesy and deliciously buttery, with a golden crispy crust done just right. Who doesn’t like grilled cheese! If you like cheese like we do, then you’re sure to appreciate a good classic grilled cheese sandwich. The benefits of grilled cheese are great in our opinion, because to prepare it only requires staples that are usually already on hand anyway, like bread, cheese and butter.

Also, a plain grilled cheese is usually quite economical to make. And I may or may not have lived off grilled cheese for lunch every day for 3 years so that I could pay off debt. So, I am indeed quite passionate and self-proclaimed knowledgeable about grilled cheese and know how adaptable it is. And believe me, I have come up with sides and add-ins to boot to make it such a versatile meal. Here goes our list, What To Eat With Grilled Cheese: 16 of The Best Sides.

what to eat with grilled cheese

What To Eat With Grilled Cheese: 16 Of The Best Sides

1. Tomato Soup

Tomato soup is the number one accompaniment to grilled cheese. This is because the rich, creamy and acidic flavor of the tomato complements the cheese and makes it taste even cheesier.  Stemming from its origin in World War II food service, it is traditionally thought of as the side that goes with it. Grilled cheese and tomato soup go hand in hand, it’s just the way it is.

2. Dill Pickle

At our house, we almost always have a dill pickle with our grilled cheese sandwich. You know those mini Kosher dills? Those are our favorite. The tangy aspect of the pickle as well as the wet and crisp texture, pair well with the sandwich. Taste buds sometimes crave one with the other.  And having them together sort of gives you that upscale deli lunch feeling.

3. Side Salad

When I think of a side salad, I think of a lettuce-based salad with tomato, cucumber and whatever else might be on hand, and consuming it with a favorite salad dressing. Creating a side salad and serving it with a grilled cheese can give it perhaps a desired healthy twist. It also is a lighter combination. One of our all-time favorite homemade salad dressings is Shallot Mustard Vinaigrette and we think it goes well on most any salad.  

4. French Fries

French fries are one of the top 5 sides when it comes to what to eat with grilled cheese. A serving of crispy golden, lightly salted fries is another popular accompaniment with the all-time classic sandwich. Even though grilled cheese is not limited to being kids’ food, it is often found on kids’ menus at restaurants, with a side of fries.

5. Pasta

Noodles are a quick and economical side. Some great pairings include fettuccine alfredo, chilled pasta salad, and noodles with marinara sauce. You might like to go as far as including pasta that has meat too, to give some added protein. Goulash, spaghetti with ground beef, and fettuccine alfredo with chicken are great options too.

6. Pork & Beans

Ah yes, pork and beans adds a wonderful flavor enhancement as a side with grilled cheese. If you’re in a hurry, just pop open a can, warm them and enjoy. And one of our favorite things is to use the sandwich to mop up the juices in the dish from the pork and beans. Mmmm. Delicious!

7. Marinara Sauce

You know when you order pizza and breadsticks as takeout or at the local restaurant, what do the breadsticks (or even pizza sometimes) come with? Yeah, you got it, a side of marinara sauce. Because grilled cheese, being made of bread and cheese has similarities to pizza, also being made of bread and cheese, we think marinara sauce makes a wonderful combo as a side. And there’s something about tomato (like tomato soup) with and cheese working so well together.

8. Jam or Marmalade

So far each of our suggested sides have been more on the savory side of flavors. However, having a grilled cheese with jam or marmalade is actually a real thing. Serving it this way tends to give it more of a gourmet or upscale feeling. Try it and see what you think.

9. Coleslaw

The zingy flavor of the vinegar in the coleslaw is a wonderful melding of tastes to eat with grilled cheese. Whether you’re using store bought coleslaw to save time or you’re making your own, we think coleslaw lightens a meal and is a healthy option that provides nutritional value.

10. Brussels Sprouts

There are many ways to prepare Brussels sprouts and your decision as to how you prepare them will likely be made based on the amount of time you have available to you to spend in the kitchen. Brussels sprouts can be boiled, sautéed, roasted or grilled. Our favorite way is to roast them in olive oil tossed with seasoning salt and garlic salt. Having Brussels sprouts with your grilled cheese gives a healthy option.

11. Chips

Why not! Right? Any kind of chips…potato chips, nacho chips, flavored chips, plain chips, pretzels, wavy chips, smooth chips; they all go great with most any sandwich. And grilled cheese is no exception.  So, feel free to pop open that bag that is sitting on the counter.

12. Fruit

Eating fruit with grilled cheese is a favorite for us. In the winter, why not slice up an apple or orange or grab a hand full of grapes. In the summer, a slice of fresh watermelon or cantaloupe, berries from the local farm stand can be a tasty side. Or even throw them all together and make a fruit salad.

13. Veggie Sticks

Vegetable sticks such as celery, carrots, or cucumbers, keep the grilled cheese meal casual, since serving these maintains the consistency of no silverware being needed. You might also like to serve crudités. Read more about them in our post here.

14. Soup

We mentioned tomato soup at the top of our list as the number 1 choice to eat with grilled cheese. However, literally any soup such as chili, potato soup, broccoli soup, vegetable soup would work just fine too.

15. Any Salad

Besides a side salad, any salad such as broccoli salad, loaded potato salad, pea salad, pasta salad would pair well. Or go to our salads and sauces page to see our list of other salads. Salads with grilled cheese are fantastic because it broadens the food groups and adds some other nutrients.

16. Cookies

Everyone likes to top off a meal with a hint of sweet. Why not eat your grilled cheese with a cookie!

Alright, we have to ask: Have you decided what to eat with your grilled cheese? Since you’ve come here to read this article, our goal has been to help you solve a problem – that problem being what to eat with grilled cheese. And hopefully by this point we’ve at least started to get your juices flowing and you’re on your way to making that decision.

what to eat with grilled cheese

From Basic Grilled Cheese To Gourmet Grilled Cheese

And now that you know what to have WITH grilled cheese, let’s think about what to put IN your grilled cheese. And in our opinion, this is where the fun begins. You can literally turn a basic grilled cheese into a delectable gourmet dish by carefully choosing add-ins. Unleash your creativity and see what you come up with. The sky’s the limit! We’d love to hear your ideas in the comments below.

Are you in the mood for a savory grilled cheese, something salty, added sweetness or a healthy combination? Here is our short list of what to put IN your grilled cheese sandwich. And remember, the sky’s the limit!

Grilled Cheese Add-Ins:

Herbs & Veggie Possibilities:

Grilled onions
Green pepper
French fried onions
Roasted tomatoes
Roasted asparagus

Protein Prospects:

Ground beef
Ground Sausage
Honey Roasted Turkey

Fruit Options:


Preserves & Condiment Options:

Fruit jams
Dijon mustard

Cheese Possibilities:

Cheddar, sharp or mild
Colby Jack
Blue Cheese

Bread Types:

Sour dough
White bread
Wheat bread
9 Grain bread
Italian bread
English muffin bread
Rye bread
Brown bread
Potato bread

You might remember that we mentioned that making grilled cheese is wonderful because it is so versatile. Even if you have the same ingredients in your fridge this week as you did last week, you might try adding something new to your sandwich or even simply changing up the bread or the cheese to add a brand new and completely different sandwich. Try combining two or more kinds of cheese, try a new add-in, or even use a different kind of bread. The possibilities are endless.

How To Make The Perfect Grilled Cheese

Achieving the perfect grilled cheese is quite an accomplishment, at least in our opinion. Creating that buttery, golden crispy crust on the outside, with the beloved ooey-gooey cheese on the inside is like no other. It’s all about the crust. Kind of like when you’re roasting marshmallows on the campfire and want to get that perfectly golden, brown outside.

Basic Grilled Cheese:


3 tbsp butter, softened, divided
2 slices sourdough bread (the sourdough bread from Aldi is one of our favorites)
1 c. shredded cheddar cheese


1. Spread 1 tbsp of butter on one side of each slice of bread.

2. With butter side down, add cheese and then fold the sandwich closed, leaving the cheese on the inside and butter on the outside.

3. In a skillet over medium heat, melt ½ tbsp of butter. Reduce heat to medium-low and add the sandwich. Cook for about 2 minutes, however the key is to attend to the sandwich closely to achieve perfection.

4. Flip the sandwich to toast the reverse side once the cheese begins to melt and the down facing side begins to brown.

Serve while warm. Enjoy!
What are your thoughts about What To Eat With Grilled Cheese: 16 of The Best Sides.? Do you have more ideas that are constants in your family? Please share with us in the comments below.

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What To Eat With Grilled Cheese: 16 of The Best Sides

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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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