Brave Little Toaster – How to Make Grilled Cheese in a Toaster

I’ve always had big dreams for my toaster. Well sort of. I know it might sound strange, but ever since I saw The Brave Little Toaster when I was like five, I’ve had a soft spot for old appliances and a weird habit of calling my toaster slot-head. Remember the suicide-nightmare scene when Toaster is depressed because Master ditched him and dreams about falling into a bathtub to her (his? I could never tell) death? Horrifying, right? 
Well yeah, I guess you can say it sort of stuck with me. Maybe that’s why I can’t seem to toss the jenky old toaster that was given to me when I moved to New York two years ago. I mean, it probably cost like ten bucks at CVS but I’ve put like thirty bucks into revamping it so it’s not going anywhere. Yes, I’ve just announced that I’ve given my toaster a facelift a few times. Yes, I’m weird and spray paint my kitchen appliances so they look cute. Yes, you should too, it’s so easy and Montana Gold spray paint works perfectly.  
But I digress. This is about grilled cheese making! So let me tell you about this grilled cheese that’s made with my slot-head a toaster.

Here’s whatchaaaa need…


– 2 slices of muenster cheese
– 2 slices of white bread
– four thinly shaved pieces of speck
– 1 tbsp of good and evil pickles
  (or any sweet and spicy pickles)
– 1 toaster

Now before you begin – please take these necessary precautions and pay attention to these slightly horrifying important parts.


Basically just pop a piece of bread in there to see if you have any hotspots. These are areas that burn quicker than the rest of your bread. If you have a new toaster, you probably won’t have this issue. But if you’ve got them you need to be aware and take extra steps before you start to toast the cheesed up pieces. Of course, my crappy old toaster had one really bad hotspot; in the back of the top slot which caused instant burnt toast once it was flipped on its side. I’ll tell you how I remedied this later on in the post.

Another point that I need to mention is that when I was doing the research for this post, I found that quite a few people had toasters that had these metal gates that sort of gripped the bread while it was being toasted. My hand-me-down vintage toaster is probably about 8 years old, so it doesn’t have any fancy metalwork. But some do, and if yours does, this method won’t work for ya. SORRY! The heated metal prongs will press into the cheese and start a smoky mess and maybe even start a fire which is not a lawsuit I’d like to deal with. So yeah, give up now if that’s what’s going on in your kitchen. Come back next week and I’ll have a new method just for you!

So when you use the whole “toaster technique” you’re going to want to use a super flat slice of cheese.  Using shredded cheese would be an absolute mess and would definitely fill your house with the smell of burnt cheese. No bueno.

So yeah, stick to the sliced stuff and lay one slice on each piece of bread.

Also, now that you’re aware of your hot spots and are ready to start to melt some cheese, go ahead and gently press down your toasting lever and watch the magic unfold.

I let mine toast for about two and a half minutes on the “low” setting. And because of my toaster’s hot spot, I made sure to rotate my bread half way through so the back wouldn’t get all burnt up and cause my house to smell like death. Yes, death. It’s awful, but not as awful as burnt hair. That’s the worst.

And here’s another tricky part, if your toaster is anything like mine, it will projectile-launch your toast four feet across the room when it decides it’s “done”. This is a serious issue. Cheese burns are no fun and they seriously feel like molten lava if they just so happen to launch out and hit you in the stomach while you’re wearing a bikini*.

Make sure to gently pop your toast out, and have a shirt on, please, please, please take my advice and have a shirt on.

*True story, lesson learned. Don’t ever cook in a bikini.

Now this is the part when you need to work quickly. After the cheese has melted, take your toast out and start piling on the good stuff.

I threw on some speck, which is like a juniper flavored version of prosciutto. It’s super yummy and salty and good, and I actually like it about 300 times more than regular ole’ prosciutto.

Then I piled a couple of these delicious sweet and spicy pickles that my friend Bev mailed me from Florida. They’re called good and evil pickles and they’re made by the wonderful people at Mercier Orchards. Basically it’s equal parts whole garlic cloves, sliced jalapenos, and cucumber rounds. They’re super spicy but it’s not overwhelming because the sweetness masks the burning which in turn, forces you to keep eating them so that you maintain this equilibrium of hot-to-not-so-hot balance.

Am i the only one that experiences this vicious and sometimes fattening cycle? I think that’s why I always eat way too much chips and salsa at Mexican restaurants. Sorry, back to the point.

Once your fillings are all in, place the other piece of cheesy toast on top. If you’re not afraid of a few hundred calories more, smear some butter all over the toast to make it more grilled cheese-ish. I felt really weird about not putting butter all over this sandwich but I’m going back to Florida for a visit next week and i might have to be in a bathing suit, so i figured I could go without it… even if i felt like a traitor.

Now slice it down the middle and serve immediately!

In conclusion, this is definitely a method that should be used only in desperate situations. To be honest, I’ll probably never do the toaster technique again, but at least we all know that it can be done without the tricks of cable television! I mean, it’s not that bad, just a little dry and anxiety provoking (totally didn’t even think about cleaning out the crumbs before I did a test run which was a bad idea).

And of course, I’ll be back next week with a new and exciting grilled cheese cooking method, so stay tuned!




  1. That is an adorable toaster, a delicious-looking sandwich, and thank you thank you for referencing a movie that doesn't get enough attention! haha (And it wasn't until now that I saw that toaster suicide scene as anything other than normal. SO CRAZY!)

  2. I used to make this sorta thing in college when our stove wouldn't work. I'd get day old “fancy” bread (some kind of Italian stuff with garlic cloves baked into it) then I'd toast it in the toaster. While they were still hot I'd put a good ol' fashioned Kraft Single in the middle of the two slices and wait impatiently for them to melt. My heart still smiles at the thought of those Ghetto Grilled Cheese.

  3. You are a genuis! I would have never thought of doing this! Perfect for if you are in a rush and don't have time to use the oven or the stove! 🙂 Thanks so much and I can't wait for next weeks post!!

  4. Now that's a sandwich. This is my first visit to your blog but I'll be back. I really enjoyed the time I spent here today. I hope you have a great day. Blessings…Mary

  5. Oh that looks so good, if I had a toaster in my dorm I'd totally make that. I wonder, could one tweak it to make the sandwich with tin foil and an iron?

    Also, you're awesome for making a “Brave Little Toaster” reference 🙂

  6. YUM! I've never thought about tilting my toaster sideways! So brilliant (and simple!)

    For the record… I ALWAYS thought the brave little toaster was male!

  7. Hi, this is a toasted cheese sandwich, NOT a grilled cheese sandwich. You are TOTALLY missing the main point of a grilled cheese, and that is the butter. *sigh*

  8. We refer to this as “cheese under the broiler”, which is another way of saying “I want the cheese burnt” or “How is it possible that there's no butter in the house!”. When I was little, my sister and I would do cheese under the broiler with a big pile of the shake-out-of-the-can parmesan cheese; delicious to an 8 year old, but made the house smell like feet!

  9. 1) This was on reddit like a month ago
    2) This can be dangerous with some toasters since some are not designed to have have heat go out the side and you can melt the siding or have it catch fire. You're better off just using a griddle or a toaster oven.

  10. I know, I'm a redditor myself and got mad that they didn't link my work with all the front page posts about it. If they would have read my article, they would have seen the safety precautions that I wrote out…

  11. I've seen that picture of your toaster with the melty cheesey bread all over the internet (I think I saw it on and on tumblr.) It seems to have gone semi viral and I was excited to have seen it in its original capactiy!

  12. I broke my toaster and it almost caught fire. Guess I didn't rotate enough? Eek. Kind of dangerous. Might stick back with the stove. Was an interesting idea, though!

  13. This brought chuckles as I remembered all the times I “sort of” cooked with appliances in my past that were not how the “appliance people” meant for anyone to cook with. Thank God, I was being watched over….or, it just was not my time….depends on your viewpoint. Thanks for the walk down memory lane. Ok, now the wiser person in my travels has to speak here…do not leave the cooking area for ANYTIME at all while you do these …”variations”! Bon'a petite (I think that is spelled wrong, sorry.)

  14. This just so made me chuckle. I cook grilled cheese usually in my little toaster oven but never in my actual toaster. Oh am I going to have fun with this. Tomorrow night, dinner is going to be soup and grilled cheese. I can't wait to tell my DH to get the sandwiches out of the toaster. I am certainly not going to forewarn him. Too Fun! But best of all, how much easier could it be!

  15. DO NOT TRY THIS! I didn't even use cheese and the toaster CAUGHT ON FIRE!!! Not just the crumbs, but the whole toaster, big flames reaching up to my cabinets! TIme for a new toaster! 🙁

  16. It got dangerous, when I tried this. Toaster caught fire, and flames gushed out of the top, and some openings in the bottom. Thank God, I was right there to unplug it and rushed it away from the overhead cabinets. I got it into the stainless steel sink without burning my hands… but it sat there until the smoke and flames died out.

    After the fire, I tested the toaster in the upright position, and it seemed to still be working like the manufacturer intended. UPRIGHT POSITION. (No, not a blonde)

  17. Love this idea! Thank you.

    Did you know you can use a small electric coffee pot to heat your chicken noodle soup.

    Did you know you can use your bath tub to house live lobsters until that pot of boiling hot water is ready?

    Did you know you can use a fork as a hair comb when in a cinch to tame those locks!

  18. I had passed this on to a friend and this was her reply: I had received this from another friend a while back. I showed it to my co-workers. One of them tried the grilled cheese in the toaster. I wish we would have had a camera. When it was done toasting (remember that the toaster is on it's side) it shot his bread right out and on to the floor – cheese side up. It was so funny. Definitely too funny!

  19. Memory Lane at work here. I used to use this method after my divorce back in 1980 when all I had left was a toaster and a refrigerator and of coarse no money. The one thing you must do FIRST is dump your crumbs out, then a long glide path helps unless you have a catchers mitt handy. Never did figure out how to keep the slice on the top from landing on the bottom slice upon ejection. God Bless You !

  20. Well what is the good of it if you have the toaster that closes when you put the bread in.
    They don't have the ones that stays open while the bread is in as far as I know anyway.
    But it is one great idea.

  21. Delicious looking sandwich! When I was in the Air Force and living in the dorms we thought we were so clever to make grilled cheese sandwiches using foil and an iron. I wish you'd had lived across the hall from me back in those days. But in those days we weren't co-ed yet.

  22. Gotta try this! Sent to me by my aunt who's kitchen I almost burned down when I was 10. Figured the tooth picks would hold it in place.Did pretty well until the flames turned them into torches. The toaster's last appearance was that of a flaming ball being ejected from the side door of the house. No other harm except to my uncles perception of reality when he heard the story. lol

  23. You explained this very well. At first I thought that I would try this as soon as I would arrive at home. After reading through the last paragraph I'm not so sure anymore. Maybe your method will help me one day when desperate times call for desperate measures.

  24. I can't even test drive this idea because my toaster has this cage type thing inside that 'hugs' the toast when you lower the lever. The cheese would get all stuck to it…that would be one hell of a mess and last time I checked they don't make disposable toasters lol. =P

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