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Grilled cheese. It’s one of our favorite comfort foods, dripping with cheesy goodness, but there’s nothing worse than soggy bread!
To crisp it up and give it some flavor and moisture, many people use butter when making grilled cheese by buttering one side and putting it butter side down in the frying pan.
Without butter helping you to actually fry the grilled cheese, it just becomes cheesy toast, which is an option, but probably not what you’re craving.
But can you make grilled cheese without butter?
And if you can, what should you use instead?
We’ve done the testing and the research to present to you some very popular and very unique butter substitutes for grilled cheese so you can still enjoy everyone’s favorite sandwich even if you don’t have butter on hand.
Can you make grilled cheese without butter?
You can make grilled cheese without butter.
Some of the easiest substitutes are olive oil, mayo, or even coconut oil.
Substitutes for Butter in Grilled Cheese
If you’re digging through your fridge trying to figure out what you can put on your grilled cheese instead of butter, here are some great options for you.
1. Olive Oil
Olive oil is a fantastic substitute for butter on a grilled cheese sandwich.
You can’t spread oil as easily as you can spread butter, so instead, put the olive oil in the pan and heat it up at a medium heat until sizzling.
Then, add your grilled cheese sandwich, and flip every 30 seconds or so until both sides have that crispiness to them.
Olive oil is a bit of a healthier substitute than butter, and will still give you a nice, more mild, flavor.
Ever tried a grilled cheese with mayo?
Mayo is essentially a combination of eggs and oil, and we’ve already learned that oil can be a great substitute for butter on a grilled cheese.
Eggs, too, are often used to help fry bread like in the case of French toast.
Spread some mayonnaise on one side of each slice of bread, like you would the spreadable butter.
Put the mayo side of one piece down in a pan heated to medium heat, then add the cheese and other piece of bread on top (again with the mayo side facing out).
You’ll get a gooey, crispy, delicious tasting grilled cheese!
3. Bacon Fat
Got leftover bacon fat from breakfast?
We keep a jar of bacon fat in the fridge for times we might need it, and this is one of those times!
The bread just needs something to fry in, so use bacon fat as a spread on your bread and enjoy that wonderfully salty and rich taste that complements perfectly with your melted cheese.
If the bacon fat is warm enough, you can spread it directly on the bread like the mayo, or put it in the frying pan and let it heat up before placing the whole sandwich in.
4. Caesar Salad Dressing
Yes, salad dressing.
Typically, salad dressing will have ingredients like oil in it, and the creaminess of a Caesar salad dressing is a fantastic option for a grilled cheese sandwich when you don’t have butter.
It sounds strange, we know, but trust us.
You will definitely get a flavorful taste out of it that will give your grilled cheese a different taste than you’re used to, but not in a bad way whatsoever.
Ghee, which is essentially clarified butter, is a fantastic substitute for butter on a grilled cheese and many people actually choose to use this instead of butter even if they have it.
You’ll get a wonderful crispiness, no sogginess, a butter flavor, and it won’t burn as easily.
It’s a win all around.
6. Coconut Oil
Another type of oil that works well on a grilled cheese is coconut oil.
Typically, coconut oil doesn’t have too strong of a flavor, and it will simply help the bread crisp up.
You don’t have to worry about it tasting like coconut, though it may have a very mild, but pleasant flavor.
Coconut oil is often stored as a solid, so either heat it up in the microwave for 15 seconds and then spread on your bread directly or throw it in the frying pan to heat up and turn into a liquid that can fry your sandwich first.
If you don’t like the sound of any of these butter substitutes, then go ahead and just do the bread dry in the frying pan.
It will turn out more like toast than a grilled cheese, but it’s likely you’ll enjoy it anyway!