• Sweet & Spicy Caramelized Onion BBQ Grilled Cheese

    by  • October 23, 2012 • Food & Recipes • 89 Comments

    There are a lot of over-exaggerators in this world. They live in superlatives and make it seem like each day is the new best day of their lives, spewing half-truths like:

    “That was the best weekend ever.” Really? Out of all the weekends?
    or “Switching to Sprint was the best decision I ever made.” Right. I’m sure it was. And now I just feel sorry for you.

    So let me assure you that I am not one of those people. In fact, I’d like to punch all of those people in the face. On a Tuesday. Just so I can ruin the best fucking Tuesday of their lives.

    But I need to tell you something.

    This is the best grilled cheese sandwich I have ever had.

    And now that you know how I feel about people who bullshit these things, you can totally trust me. I really don’t come out and say superlatives often, unless it’s extremely specific, like “that was the best Monday evening of September 2010.” Because I’m not a dirty liar.

    So yeah, this sandwich is the best hunk of cheese to ever enter my mouth. And you’d better believe there has been a lot of cheese stuffed in there over the years.

    This is not a joke. This is not a drill. This is the best fucking sandwich in the whole world and if you don’t believe me, I dare you to prove me wrong.

    The point is that you want this sandwich in your mouth. In your stomach. On your face. In your pan. Wherever. You want it. So make it. You are welcome.

    Sweet and Spicy Caramelized Onion & BBQ Grilled Cheese, serves 4


    8 slices challah bread
    4 slices sharp cheddar
    4 slices pepper jack or other spicy cheese
    1 large red onion, thinly sliced
    3 Tbsp butter
    2-4 Tbsp BBQ sauce, depending on how much you love BBQ (I used Stubb’s Sweet Hot, and it was perfect)


    Melt 1 tbsp of butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the sliced red onion and stir occasionally until color changes to slightly brown and taste is sweet, about 10-15 minutes. Remove onions from skillet and set aside.

    Spread 1 Tbsp of the remaining butter onto one side of each slice of bread.Divide BBQ sauce evenly among 4 of the slices, and spread evenly opposite the butter side. Lay cheddar cheese on top of sauce. Divide caramelized onion among the sandwiches, then top with pepper jack. Finish assembly by placing remaining bread slices on top. The butter sides of the bread should both be on the outside of the sandwiches.

    Melt the remaining butter in the skillet on medium-low. Cook sandwiches two at a time, flipping when bread is golden brown on one side and cheese begins to melt. If cheese is not melting quickly enough, place a lid over the pan or use a heavy skillet to place on top and press the sandwiches down. Now devour.


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    89 Responses to Sweet & Spicy Caramelized Onion BBQ Grilled Cheese

    1. October 23, 2012 at 2:56 pm

      I believe you. I might have to throw a fried egg on top when I try it.

      • Ring Finger Tan Line
        October 29, 2012 at 4:52 pm

        YUM. Eggs just might be the next food kick I go on. I’m thinking maybe a hash? Or baked eggs? Mmmmm….

        • michael reeves
          August 23, 2013 at 5:27 pm

          Girl you are hilarious. I’m on a cheese experiment kick currently

    2. Meg
      October 24, 2012 at 8:51 pm

      Cheese, cheese, cheese . . . looks amazing! And I’m glad to know you don’t take your superlatives lightly. I don’t, either. I mean, saying something is the best? That carries some serious responsibility.

      • Ring Finger Tan Line
        October 29, 2012 at 4:53 pm

        Yes! I just don’t like so much sugar coating. It makes it seem like you’re not a real person. Like, STOP IT. THAT WAS NOT THE BEST NAP YOU EVER TOOK. OR PHONE CALL YOU EVER HAD!

        • November 10, 2012 at 9:43 pm

          I concur, but do I take it too far when I vowed in elementary school to no longer use the term “best friend”?

        • Ring Finger Tan Line
          November 15, 2012 at 3:11 pm

          Haha, debatable. I still think people probably shouldn’t rank friends, right?

    3. CeLynn
      October 25, 2012 at 8:55 pm

      Sounds and looks like the real deal,going to make it and see for myself. Thanks for sharing.

      • Ring Finger Tan Line
        October 29, 2012 at 4:54 pm

        Anytime! Let me know how it turns out :)

    4. Claire
      October 26, 2012 at 1:16 am

      In South Africa we enjoy our “braais” (read “barbecues” in US English) and we have a little treat called “braaibroodjies” (little barbecue sandwiches) that we like to include with our braais. These are sandwiches grilled over hot coals filled with cheese, tomato and onion (raw onion – yuk!) and various MSG-laden condiments. They don’t particularly thrill me and I’m wracked with lack-of-patriotism guilt :(

      But you, my dear, have elevated the uninspired braaibroodjie tradition. I shall be building a little fire this weekend. And once that pyromanic urge has subsided, I shall grill and devour as instructed.

      • Ring Finger Tan Line
        October 29, 2012 at 4:54 pm

        Glad to change up the tradition in a way that you like! Enjoy!!

    5. October 27, 2012 at 1:13 pm

      Thanks. Going to try this tomorrow; wonder if using olive oil will work out?…must buy some butter…

      • Ring Finger Tan Line
        October 29, 2012 at 4:57 pm

        I’m sure you could use either – but butter is classic for a grilled cheese!

    6. October 27, 2012 at 3:44 pm

      A picture isn’t always worth a million words, but these pictures are. You know what? They might be worth a billion. I’m drooling over here staring at these grilled cheese sandwiches. Needless to say, I believe that this is the best grilled cheese sandwich you have ever eaten (and soon it will be the best I have ever eaten).

      • Ring Finger Tan Line
        October 29, 2012 at 4:57 pm

        Thanks, let me know how yours turns out! :)

    7. Niesha
      October 28, 2012 at 9:54 pm

      I’m not sure that I can get Challah bread in my small town. What would be a good substitution?

      • Ring Finger Tan Line
        October 29, 2012 at 5:00 pm

        Any type of bread will work, but challah is nice because it’s soft, a little sweet, and crisps well on the edges. Perhaps brioche could provide the same effect?

        • Niesha
          October 29, 2012 at 5:13 pm

          Thank you for the excellent suggestion. I am so excited to try these tonight.

    8. Amber
      October 29, 2012 at 4:47 pm


    9. November 2, 2012 at 9:45 am

      not to superlativize, but this is by far the most sexual reaction i have ever had to a picture of food. i might be in something of a panty predicament at work now. thanks.

      • Ring Finger Tan Line
        November 4, 2012 at 2:40 pm

        Hahaha, you should make it for dinner. I promise it’s even better than it looks.

        • November 6, 2012 at 9:34 am

          i was probably eating this AS you typed your reply. holy freaking toesocks, this thing was SEXY in the mouth. my husband and i BOTH had two. he had the temerity to suggest changing it…by adding bacon. while the sandwich is perfection as-is, bacon might be the only thing i would allow on this paragon of oral hedonism. i cant imagine pigflesh making anything less-good. thank you a million times for this the sandwich most likely to succeed in dropping my panties. . (p.s. if youre keeping an excel spreadsheet, we used black wax cheddar and jalepeno havarti).

    10. Sarallica
      November 3, 2012 at 7:19 pm

      I tried this, now we call it Breadzza. Simply delicious thx.

      • Ring Finger Tan Line
        November 4, 2012 at 2:49 pm

        Anytime! :) Glad you liked it

    11. Gabby
      November 4, 2012 at 5:07 am

      This looks soooooooo good! I have to try this. Could I use any type of onion or is it best with the red onion?

      • Ring Finger Tan Line
        November 4, 2012 at 2:55 pm

        I like red onion, but any type will work :) Just caramelize according to the same directions!

    12. Laurie
      November 6, 2012 at 8:59 am

      Looks delish! Gotta try this!

    13. April
      November 6, 2012 at 4:59 pm

      Made this for supper tonight, super quick and easy……and it was ORGASMIC!!! You should change the name to Better Than Sex Grilled Cheese!!

      • Ring Finger Tan Line
        November 15, 2012 at 3:10 pm

        so glad you loved it!!

    14. November 8, 2012 at 1:07 pm

      Oh your funny! Sandwich looks great too!

    15. November 12, 2012 at 9:59 pm

      I NEED THIS.

      • Ring Finger Tan Line
        November 15, 2012 at 3:15 pm

        Yes, you do!!

    16. Chelsea
      November 14, 2012 at 2:04 pm

      What is challah bread? And I think I may add bacon, lol

      • Ring Finger Tan Line
        November 15, 2012 at 3:19 pm

        Not a bad idea! And challah is a traditional Jewish bread that is sold at places like Whole Foods. It’s incredible!

    17. Carla
      November 14, 2012 at 5:28 pm

      I made these tonight, but grated three different cheeses. They were fantastic! Will be cooking these a lot!

      • Ring Finger Tan Line
        November 15, 2012 at 3:19 pm

        Glad to hear! Enjoy! :)

    18. Sharon
      November 15, 2012 at 7:56 pm

      The sandwich looks wonderful. Thank you for sharing it.

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    20. Maria
      November 26, 2012 at 2:02 pm

      OMG, I’ve tried it, I think I love you. Wait, I DO LOVE YOU.

    21. Tracy
      November 28, 2012 at 5:18 pm

      This was so good!! We loved it! Thank you!

    22. Claire
      November 30, 2012 at 6:47 pm

      Okay. So my onion was not red…but I caramelized it to perfection. I did not have challah bread, but I used leftover scali bread and it worked out fine. My biggest problem was that my refrigerator broke recently and I had no BBQ sauce on hand (very sad)…but in spite of the missing sauce, this sandwich was the best I’ve ever eaten. I can’t wait to make it again with the BBQ sauce! Thank you!

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    25. December 12, 2012 at 7:19 pm

      Oh man, this seriously was the best grilled cheese ever! I made mine in my panini press and it was to die for. I shared it on a recent meal plan on my blog, thank you!

      • Ring Finger Tan Line
        December 13, 2012 at 10:09 am

        so glad you loved it!

    26. December 14, 2012 at 9:48 am

      Seriously – drooling. I think I have to make this this weekend!!

    27. Courtney Cunningham
      December 14, 2012 at 12:57 pm


    28. December 16, 2012 at 4:20 pm

      ! !! !!! !!!! Trying hard not to overdo it but seriously, this is killer.

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    31. Mark
      December 23, 2012 at 12:36 pm

      I added some yellow peppers to the onions…YUMMY!

    32. Debbie Nieves Santiago
      December 31, 2012 at 1:56 pm

      I just had this for lunch and it is the best grilled cheese I have ever eaten.

    33. Allyson
      January 15, 2013 at 3:11 pm

      Do you know if its just as tasty made in a panini maker?

      • Ring Finger Tan Line
        January 15, 2013 at 7:11 pm

        never tried it, but i am sure that is good as well! I might try a sturdier bread if it’s going to be pressed down – perhaps sourdough?

    34. Audra
      January 25, 2013 at 11:28 am

      I am going to go home from work at noon today and try this sandwich!! OMG it does look like the best fucking sandwich ever… and i am pretty sure i was a mouse in another life so cheese is very near and dear to my heart along with buttery bread. LOVE your blog… LOVE that you say what you think!

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    36. February 21, 2013 at 9:52 am

      This sandwich just reminded my husband and I that we are, in fact soul mates. I said “Oh, you know what that sand…..” and he said “bacon!” Yes…it does need bacon!

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    38. sarino
      March 3, 2013 at 2:13 pm

      trying kill me?

    39. Jen
      March 26, 2013 at 6:00 pm

      You are awesome.

      I just read your blog post. All of it. And during the entire time I just thought of America.

      Cause, Fuck yeah, Murrica!


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    47. Olivia
      June 19, 2013 at 7:20 pm

      This grilled cheese is downright awesome. I love every aspect. I ‘healthied’ it up a bit by only using one slice of cheese and not using any butter and it toasted up just fine! The only adjustment I would make next time would be to use more onion- I found that I didn’t have enough one it cooked down. But great recipe!

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    51. Valerie
      September 5, 2013 at 8:50 pm

      This is easily one of THE BEST food blog posts I’ve ever read. I was laughing so hard. And the recipe was pretty damn good too. And I just so happen to keep Sweet Heat on stock at all times. Praise the lord for that delicious sauce.

    52. September 15, 2013 at 7:32 pm

      BAM! Yea this is really good! We made it with Provolone and Swiss, can’t wait to try it with other combos. Definitely in our rotation of really good recipes. Even my daughter, who is not a fan of onions, asked for onions after trying a bite of my sandwich. That says it all :) Thanks!

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    54. Nadia
      October 4, 2013 at 12:54 pm

      OH MY WORD!!!! Made this for dinner tonight!! This was FANFRIKKENTASTIC!

      • Nadia
        October 4, 2013 at 12:58 pm

        Oh, I used a French loaf because in South Africa I don’t think we have challah bread here!

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    57. November 10, 2013 at 5:00 pm

      Just made this for dinner. I used Carolina BBQ sauce. Sooooo delicious!

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    60. January 8, 2014 at 10:01 am

      I have been making this grilled cheese almost every week for the past few months because my girlfriend and I can’t stop thinking about it. It really and truly is the best grilled cheese, ever.

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    62. Rebecca
      February 16, 2014 at 9:12 pm

      I may or may not try the sandwich, but your commentary convinced me to follow you. Love it!

    63. Jessie
      February 21, 2014 at 1:30 pm

      I am not a sandwich person at all, but am trying to venture out and try new things. I saw this on Pinterest this morning and decided to get crazy and make it for myself and my kids for lunch. Caramelized onion is pretty much my love language so I figured it had to be good. I made it with what I had on hand, sharp cheddar, muenster, sweet yellow onion, KC Masterpiece BBQ sauce, and French bread. And OMG!!!!!!!!! We freaking LOVED it. My 3 year old was licking her plate. So was I. We will definitely be making these again soon. Thanks for a great recipe, especially one that uses stuff I already keep on hand!

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    66. Peechus
      July 31, 2014 at 9:00 pm

      Call me a purist, but when it comes to grilled cheese; there are only three edible items involved: cheeses, bread, butter. And if anything is added, then only bacon is allowed if you want to still call it a grilled cheese sandwich. That’s it. Adding other stuff makes your sandwich a grilled onion sammy, grilled tomato sammich, etc., but then it’s no longer a grilled cheese sandwich. However, my manifesto states that adding bacon to any food simply converts the food to an incentive (read requirement) for seconds. 😉

      If you said you added bacon (instead of onions) to the grilled cheese and then called it “the best,” I would wholeheartedly believe you. Please note that I’m not calling you a liar, but maybe farfetched, and I’m not an onion hater. No hard feelings :)

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