Most grilled cheese recipes call for the outward faces of bread to be buttered, while the inside faces have the cheese inserted.

However, this tends to cause your hands to become very oily when eating them. What's the motivation behind buttering the outside, as opposed to the inside with the cheese?

  • 1
    As an alternative, I've got things called "toasta bags" that are non-stick pouches. You use them in a pop-up toaster (one with fairly wide slots) and don't need to butter the outside
    – Chris H
    Commented Jan 3, 2023 at 16:34
  • ...and now I want a cheese toastie....
    – Criggie
    Commented Jan 3, 2023 at 20:48
  • it's not.. you can use oil as well, don't worry about it.. but butter tastes better. The reason of course why it is buttered is obvious.. not everyone has brand new non-stick pans, and, even if they did it would still taste better buttered. And of course as people point out, the texture/taste is different. You could always try to make them in a sandwich maker without butter or oil, but those are an entirely different species of cheese sandwich I'd argue.
    – ycomp
    Commented Jan 3, 2023 at 21:30
  • 2
    Buttering the actual bread is too much for me to handle, at least - too greasy. I just throw some butter in the pan and a little more when flipping.
    – RIanGillis
    Commented Jan 3, 2023 at 23:06
  • I butter both sides and fry/toast/etc. both sides - even better taste/texture!
    – Joe M
    Commented Jan 4, 2023 at 0:38

1 Answer 1


The part that is buttered is the part that comes into contact with the cooking surface (a pan or a toastie maker). By adding fat the surface of the bread is fried rather than merely toasted, giving a different flavour and texture.

  • 11
    And the butter makes the toast maker surface more "non-sticky" so that the bread doesn't stick it to it when cooking, and we get perfect sandwcihes instead of broken ones.
    – sfxedit
    Commented Jan 2, 2023 at 16:58
  • 6
    @M.K it's still be fried, just not deep fried which specifically refers to submersing your food in cooking oil.
    – Nils O
    Commented Jan 3, 2023 at 13:31
  • 5
    @M.K (in the UK) it's common to use "spread" (AKA margarine) rather than butter here as well as in sandwiches, baking, stopping cakes sticking to their tins, etc. This isn't really thick cooking oil, but it might as well be in this context, and is easier to apply (if using a toastie maker, it might be easier to brush oil on the relevant surfaces of the machine instead of the bread). BTW the verb is still "butter" even if using margarine
    – Chris H
    Commented Jan 3, 2023 at 16:33
  • 1
    Mayonnaise also works quite well and is convenient if you did not have the foresight to leave some butter out to become soft.
    – vir
    Commented Jan 4, 2023 at 18:55
  • 1
    @M.K That's interesting. No worries though. It's not strict rule, by any sense. But if someone invites you over and says they are 'grilling' it means they are going to be outside. It's not uncommon for a large flat metal surface to be called a 'grill' in a restaurant, though. Spanish is a lot more logical than English, IMO.
    – JimmyJames
    Commented Jan 4, 2023 at 21:42

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