Cheese on Toast

published May 10, 2022
Cheese on Toast Recipe

Cheese on toast is a quick, easy bite for any time of day.

Serves1 to 2

Prep5 minutes

Cook8 minutes to 10 minutes

Jump to Recipe
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two pieces of toast with melted cheese on top, and a small bottle of brown sauce on the side.
Credit: Tara Holland

Cheese on toast has been an after-school staple snack for kids (and a post-pub miracle midnight munchie cure for adults) in the United Kingdom for decades, if not longer! This three-ingredient sandwich alternative is not only quick and easy to make, but also it’s gooey, flavorful, and comforting all in one hit. Needless to say, I’ve eaten a lot of cheese on toast in my lifetime, and I don’t intend to stop any time soon.

What Exactly Is Cheese on Toast, and How Does It Compare to Welsh Rarebit?

Cheese on toast is basically an open-faced British version of grilled cheese, but with a generous amount of Worcestershire sauce thrown into the mix (which is what makes this dish, in my opinion!). Welsh Rarebit, although similar in appearance, is a leveled-up version where the toast is topped with a cheese sauce flavored with ale, mustard, and spices before broiling. Both are equally delicious, but cheese on toast is much quicker and easier to make.

Credit: Tara Holland

Variations on the “Correct” Way to Make Cheese on Toast

People can be quite particular on the “correct” way to make cheese on toast, depending on where they are from or how they were taught to make it. Although there are no hard-and-fast rules, here are some of the variations.

Grated vs. sliced cheese: Some people swear by slicing the cheddar cheese, while some insist on grating the cheese (I’m a firm disciple of grating the cheese — and I never use pre-grated, as it doesn’t melt well due to the additives). Using grated cheese creates layers and tiny pockets of air, making it feel lighter and less stodgy.

Mustard vs. no mustard: Some fellow Brits insist on a thin spread of English Colman’s mustard under the cheese before broiling, yet the purists disagree! I’m from Team Mustard Free, as I feel that adding mustard is stepping into Welsh Rarebit territory.

Broil one side vs. broil both sides before adding cheese: Some cheese-on-toast aficionados believe you only need to broil one side of bread and add the cheese to the uncooked side before broiling. I believe you need to have both sides of the bread toasted to make it sturdy enough to hold the melted cheese and give it a firmer texture and bite. I also like to stand my toast upright for a couple of minutes before adding the cheese, which allows it to cool slightly, creating a crisper and less soggy bottom once the cheese has been broiled on top. 

When and how to add Worcestershire sauce: Some might say to toss the grated cheese in Worcestershire sauce before laying on the bread rather than drizzling the sauce on top before broiling. I am indifferent on this, but the latter saves washing up a bowl and I am all about less cleanup. Some don’t add any sauce before broiling, but I always add before and after. Another thing to bear in mind is if you use sliced cheese, the Worcestershire sauce either pools or slides off the cheese, so it is better to add it after broiling the cheese.  

Add-ons and British family quirks: Some British families (my husband’s side of the family included) mix a tablespoon of malt vinegar into the grated cheese and add thinly sliced raw onion to the toast before adding the vinegary cheese. I am partial to adding a thin layer of

Marmite



Despite all these variables and versions, I am keeping my recipe simple and making it how I was taught, but you can use any of these twists and tweaks if you like!

What Is the Best Cheese to Use for Cheese on Toast?

Traditionally a good aged, mature English cheddar cheese is used, but any good-quality melty cheese would also work, such as Gruyère or Monterey Jack.  

Accompaniments for Cheese on Toast

Even though they are not all British (or traditional), here are some tasty recommendations to serve alongside cheese on toast.

Cheese on Toast Recipe

Cheese on toast is a quick, easy bite for any time of day.

Prep time 5 minutes

Cook time 8 minutes to 10 minutes

Serves 1 to 2

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 4 ounces

    sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (about 1 cup)

  • 2 slices

    soft white sandwich bread

  • 4 teaspoons

    homemade or Lea and Perrins Worcestershire sauce, divided, plus more if desired

Instructions

  1. Arrange an oven rack 4 to 6 inches below the broiler, then set the oven to broil on high heat. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. Fit a wire rack inside the baking sheet. Grate 4 ounces sharp cheddar cheese on the large holes of a box grater (about 1 cup).

  2. Place 2 slices white sandwich bread on the rack. Broil until deep golden brown, about 2 minutes. Flip the bread and broil until the second side is deep golden brown, about 2 minutes more.

  3. Remove the baking sheet from oven. Meanwhile, lean the toasts against each other to stand upright on the rack for 2 minutes so they cool down slightly and crisp on both sides. (This yields a less-soggy base once the cheese is melted.)

  4. Lay the toasts flat on the rack. Divide the cheese onto the bread, making sure the edges are completely covered to prevent the crusts from burning (it may look like it is piled high, but it will melt down). Drizzle 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce onto each toast.

  5. Broil until the cheese is bubbly and deep golden-brown in spots, 2 to 4 minutes. If desired, add an additional dash of Worcestershire sauce. Let cool for 1 to 2 minutes before serving.