Have you ever tried to make a grilled cheese sandwich using a hamburger bun? It might seem like an odd notion, but it’s actually not a bad combination.
Most hamburger buns are hearty enough to stand up to your favorite gooey melted cheese, and they taste great, too. Here’s a primer on how to make the ultimate hamburger bun grilled cheese sandwich.
Hamburger Bun Grilled Cheese
When you make a grilled cheese using a hamburger bun, butter the insides of the bun halves so that they lie flat against the hot surface. The cheese and any other fillings should go on the “outsides” of the bun. This will give the sandwich a more traditional appearance and ensure that the bread toasts evenly.
Why Make a Hamburger Bun Grilled Cheese?
We get it—hamburgers are delicious, especially when cooked on the grill. So why would you want to waste the bun by making it into a grilled cheese instead of a juicy burger?
For one thing, you might be left with more buns than ground beef patties. Hamburger and hot dog buns are typically sold in packs of 8 to 12, though this may vary. That often means buying several packs at once, and your bun-to-burger ratio won’t always line up.
There’s also a chance that one or more people at your party won’t be interested in eating a burger (surprising though that may be). Whether it’s a vegetarian or a picky young child in the crowd, it’s always good to have an alternate option in mind.
How To Make a Hamburger Bun Grilled Cheese
The best way to make a grilled cheese sandwich out of a hamburger bun is to turn the bun inside out. That is to say, the cheese should be sandwiched between the more presentable “outsides” of the bun, so that the flat sides are the ones meeting the griddle.
There are a couple of reasons behind this. First of all, it just looks better when the flat sides are facing outward. If you were to butter and toast the rounded sides, the sandwich would have an odd appearance.
Aesthetics aside, this configuration makes more sense on a practical level. The flat ends of the bun will press evenly against the hot surface, whereas the rounded top half would be charred in the center and still soft around the edges.
To assemble the grilled cheese, split the bun in half. Butter the flat insides, then invert the bun and put your chosen cheese and other ingredients (see sections below) on the unbuttered side of the bottom half.
Press the round side of the top half of the bun against the cheese so that the buttered side is facing out. Repeat as needed.
Heat a flat-top griddle or skillet, using the medium setting. When the cooking surface is sufficiently hot, arrange the prepared sandwich (or sandwiches) on top.
Cook until the bread is golden brown and the cheese is beginning to melt, about 2 minutes. Flip the sandwich over and repeat on the other side for another 2 minutes. You might have to adjust the heat to medium-low to avoid scorching the second side.
When the sandwiches are done, remove them from the heat. Let them sit for a minute or two before serving. You can cut them into halves if you desire, but that might not be necessary depending on the size of the bun.
Best Cheese Options
You might already have a go-to cheese that you use whenever you make a grilled cheese sandwich. But if you need a couple of suggestions, here are our favorites.
With its rich, almost tart flavor, cheddar is a standout in the world of cheese. It also melts like a dream, making it ideal for grilled cheese. Opt for medium cheddar, as it has a creamy texture and a milder taste than sharp cheddar.
The term raclette refers to a dish made with melted cheese, but it’s also a word for a specific type of cheese that hails from Switzerland. With its aromatic creaminess, it will elevate your sandwich to gourmet status.
Want something a little spicier? Jack cheese blended with hot peppers will melt beautifully between the two halves of the burger bun. You can kick things up another notch with some pickled jalapenos or hot capicola (see below).
With a hearty, almost yeasty flavor and a silky-smooth texture, taleggio can seem more like a rich custard than a cheese. If you’re worried about the humble nature of your bread choice, this elegant selection will help to even things out.
Who doesn’t love the nutty, savory flavor of Gruyère? A fondue classic, this is also one of the two cheeses (Emmantal being the other) that’s commonly used to make croque monsieur.
Additions to Hamburger Bun Grilled Cheese
There’s something to be said for the simple pleasure of perfectly melted cheese sandwiched between buttery, toasted bread slices. Still, the grilled cheese is a classic template that can benefit from various add-ons.
Fruits and Veggies
- Sliced Apples: Try tucking these into a grilled cheese made with cheddar. It’s even better if you grill the apple slices beforehand.
- Sauteed Mushrooms and/or Onions: These go especially well with taleggio and Gruyère.
- Peppers: Pickled jalapenos or sliced bell pepper will brighten up the flavors and provide a pop of color.
- Sundried Tomatoes: A chic variation on the standard sliced tomato.
- Artichoke Hearts: A great addition if you’re using fontina or taleggio as your base.
- Broccoli: Excellent with cheddar, this ingredient also provides fiber and nutrients.
Assuming that you’re making the sandwich for a meat eater, you can get even more creative with these additions.
- Bacon: Excellent with any type of cheese, it offers a savory hit of flavor and a nice crispness.
- Ham: A slice or two of deli ham transforms your sandwich into a hearty meal with very little effort.
- Capicola: Essentially a cross between prosciutto and sausage, this is a type of ham seasoned with delectable herbs and spices. Like sausage, it’s available in sweet and hot varieties.
- Olive Tapenade: This will give the sandwich a salty kick.
- Fig Jam: Offers a hint of sweetness. This goes especially well with nutty cheeses like raclette and gruyere.
- Dijon Mustard: Try this if you’re adding ham to the sandwich as well.
What To Serve on the Side
Tomato soup is a standard accompaniment, but there’s no reason why you can’t shake things up from time to time. What else goes well with grilled cheese? Almost anything, but we can narrow it down to a select few side dishes.
- Cream of Broccoli Soup
- Sweet Potato Fries
- Caesar Salad
- Italian Rotini Salad
- Potato Salad
- Rippled Potato Chips
- Dill Pickle Spear
The Bottom Line
There’s a reason why grilled cheese is an enduring classic: It’s comfort food that can be made using basic ingredients. Unless you’re vegan, lactose intolerant, or avoid dairy for any other reason, grilled cheese makes an ideal lunch or light supper.
The next time you’re wondering what to do with all those leftover hamburger buns, consider whipping up a few grilled cheese sandwiches. You’re bound to be impressed with the results.
Best of luck, and happy grilling!