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Cheese-Crusted Grilled Cheese With Ham and Spicy Honey

Cheese-Crusted Grilled Cheese With Ham and Spicy Honey 4.000

Scott Suchman for the Washington Post/food styling by Lisa Cherkasky for The Washington Post

Jun 14, 2021

Look for a soft rye for this sandwich, but you can also use white bread or whole wheat. If you prefer, make it with all cheddar cheese or all American. You’ll want thin, square slices of cheese that cover at least three-quarters of the bread’s surface, so buy cheese that's already sliced or get it freshly sliced from the deli. Depending on how big your slices of ham are, they might only hang over two edges or not hang out at all. If you can’t find Calabrian chiles, Bomba Calabrese works great, as would most chile things, such as sambal oelek. Or, go savory with a little pesto on the side.

Total time: 35 mins

Storage Notes: These sandwiches taste best when freshly made. Leftovers can be tightly wrapped and refrigerated for up to 1 day. To reheat, warm in a 350-degree oven or toaster oven for 5 to 10 minutes.


When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 4 servings; 1 sandwich

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 8 slices (about 6 ounces) sharp cheddar cheese
  • 8 slices soft rye bread
  • 8 slices (about 4 ounces) American cheese
  • 8 slices (about 5 ounces) thinly sliced ham
  • 1/4 cup honey, optional
  • 1 tablespoon crushed Calabrian chiles in oil, or more to taste, optional


Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 200 degrees. You’re going to make the sandwiches one at a time, transfer them to a large, rimmed baking sheet and keep them warm in the oven.

In a well-seasoned cast-iron or nonstick skillet over medium-low heat, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter until it bubbles. Add two slices of cheddar cheese side by side, then add a slice of the bread on top of each one. (If slicing the cheddar into thinner strips from a block, make sure that the cheese covers about three-quarters of the bread’s surface.)

Add a slice of American cheese to each slice of bread, then add two of the ham slices to one of the bread slices so that the ham hangs 2 inches or so over the edges. Cook until the bottom of the bread slices are brown and crisped, about 2 minutes.

Slide a thin spatula underneath and carefully flip the ham-less slice onto the ham-heavy one. Continue cooking, flipping the sandwich occasionally, until the cheese on the inside has melted, the cheese on the outside has formed a crisp crust, and the ham has slightly browned at the edges, 3 to 4 minutes more.

Transfer the sandwich to a large, rimmed baking sheet and place in the oven to stay warm while you repeat to make the remaining sandwiches. (As you make the sandwiches, you may find you need a bit less butter due to the residual butter left in the pan.)

In a small bowl, stir together honey and the chiles. Serve the sandwiches with the chile honey for dipping or drizzling.

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Recipe Source

Recipe from food writer and cookbook author JJ Goode.

Tested by Ann Maloney.

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Nutritional Facts

Calories per serving: 576

% Daily Values*

Total Fat: 38g 58%

Saturated Fat: 22g 110%

Cholesterol: 118mg 39%

Sodium: 1288mg 54%

Total Carbohydrates: 27g 9%

Dietary Fiber: 3g 12%

Sugar: 2g

Protein: 28g

*Percent Daily Value based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Total Fat: Less than 65g

Saturated Fat: Less than 20g

Cholesterol: Less than 300mg

Sodium: Less than 2,400mg

Total Carbohydrates: 300g

Dietary Fiber: 25g

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