The best toasties

Our top cheese toastie recipes

The ultimate in comfort food, a toasted sandwich is so much more than the sum of its parts. Even a scraping of melted cheese — from tangy Cheddar or milky mozzarella to rich, creamy Stilton — can transform store cupboard ingredients, elevating your lunchtime sarnie into something special

Got a tin of tuna, a chunk of hard cheese and a salad onion? Make a classic tuna melt pepped up with a little Dijon mustard. Found some kale at the bottom of the veg drawer? Pair it with blue cheese and mushrooms, or caramelised onions and Comté. And when it comes to the bread, think beyond sliced white: wraps, naans, ciabatta, focaccia and even brioche can form the base for all manner of fillings. Here’s our pick of the bunch along with some expert tips from our food editors so you can make an indulgent toasted cheese sandwich with the ingredients you have to hand

Mushroom, cavolo and blue cheese toasties

Bubbling with blue cheese, these make a quick and comforting midweek lunch or supper. If you don’t have cavolo nero, try kale, Swiss chard or baby spinach

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Pickled cherry, Brie, ham & cavolo nero toastie

Creamy Brie and wafer-thin ham are taken to new heights with the addition of zingy pickled cherries. Frozen pitted cherries will work here if you can’t find fresh. Just leave time to defrost them before pickling.

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Cook’s tips: master the art of making toasties

  • Don’t have a sandwich press or toastie maker? Use a heavy-based frying pan or grill instead. A cast-iron griddle will give you the classic grill lines and a slightly charred flavour.
  • Always butter the outside of the bread before placing in the sandwich maker or frying pan. Keep a knob of butter at room temperature for easy spreading.
  • If using a frying pan, make sure the heat isn’t too high ­– you want the inside to be melting and piping hot by the time the bread has toasted.
  • Use a mix of cheeses for great flavour and a good melt, eg Cheddar with mozzarella, or Gruyère with Taleggio
  • Cut back on calories by dry-frying wraps, quesadilla-style — there’s no need to add any oil.
  • Toasties are a great way to use up leftovers so shred the last of the Sunday roast or scrape out the chutney or pesto jar.

Chilli cheese sourdough toasted sandwich

The addition of chilli places this simple toastie in the premier league; a pinch of chilli flakes can be used in place of fresh. Gruyère is a great melting cheese with a slightly salty, subtly nutty flavour; good alternatives include Emmental, Comté, Jarlsberg or raclette.

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Taleggio & fig melt

The fruity tang of creamy Taleggio pairs beautifully with fresh figs although Camembert is a good substitute. You can replace the figs with semi- or sun-dried tomatoes or even dried cherries.

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Gammon and cheese toasties with chilli pineapple relish

Love the retro combo of gammon and pineapple? Why not try it in a sandwich. These toasties are a great way to use up leftover gammon although any thick-sliced ham will do. You can make the chilli-spiked relish with tinned pineapple if you don’t have fresh.

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Toasted cheese and
pulled pork sandwiches

Best enjoyed with an ice-cold beer and hot pickled peppers, these full-blown sarnies are the perfect weekend indulgence. Any red chilli paste will do; use half the amount if you want to dial down the heat. To make them meat-free, use Linda McCartney’s Vegetarian Pulled Pork instead.

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Herefordshire rarebit
 

No toasted sandwich round-up is complete without a classic rarebit. This one uses the usual ale, but you can use cider. The Worcestershire sauce, on the other hand, is non-negotiable.

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