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Grilled cheese and tomato soup is the quintessential cold-weather comfort food combination! This quick, easy tomato soup recipe whips up in a matter of minutes and pairs perfectly with a gooey 4-cheese grilled cheese sandwich.

4 cheese grilled cheese with easy tomto soup

Grilled cheese with tomato soup is an iconic combination. It’s a great lunch for a chilly day, or a rainy day, or a snowstorm (I’m speaking from experience there!). Or it’s a good option for a fast dinner when you want a hot dish with minimal effort. And it’s an easy meal if you’re sick or feeling under the weather.

For a lot of us, this meal is completely nostalgic. I grew up with grilled cheese sandwiches made with American cheese and Campbell’s tomato soup from a can, whether it was at home or a hot lunch at school! (Side Note: I remember we just about always had a can of tomato soup in the pantry. My dad would randomly get a craving for tomato soup with macaroni, which the rest of us refused to eat. He always said it was more for him, lol!)

This version of that classic is elevated, but still packs a punch of nostalgia.

top view of bowl of creamy tomato soup with mozzarella grilled cheese sandwich

Instead of canned tomato soup, we whip up an easy creamy tomato soup in less than 10 minutes with ingredients you might already have on hand.

There are a few tricks to flavorful tomato soup:

  1. Don’t skimp on the garlic.
  2. Use a good quality chicken stock (or a good vegetable stock to keep it vegetarian).
  3. Add a little dried basil or oregano.
  4. Don’t skip the sugar because it helps cut the tomato’s acidity and creates a balanced flavor profile.

Here we’re swapping out the American cheese for a 4-cheese blend. We use a combination of parmesan, mozzarella, havarti, and Swiss cheeses. This creates the perfect balance of sharp and buttery cheese flavor. Not to mention, this cheese blend melts into gooey oblivion!

dipping toasted cheese sandwich into tomato bisque

Grilled Cheese with Tomato Soup Ingredients and Substitutions

Ingredients Explained

In this section I explain the ingredients and give substitution ideas where applicable. For the full recipe (including the ingredient amounts), see the recipe card below.

4-Cheese Grilled Cheese Ingredients

4 cheese grilled cheese sandwich ingredients
  • Salted butter – Make sure the butter is at room temperature so it spreads well onto the bread.
  • Sourdough bread – I like the tangy flavor of sourdough for grilled cheese sandwiches, but you can use any kind of bread you like. (Feel free to use paleo bread or keto bread; whatever fits into your lifestyle will work fine!)
  • Freshly-grated parmesan cheese – This sharp cheese packs a punch, and it ties the flavor of our sandwiches together with the flavor profile of the tomato soup.
  • Swiss cheese – Swiss cheese melts well and also adds a sharp, nutty flavor.
  • Havarati cheese – This buttery cheese adds a ton of richness.
  • Mozzarella cheese – For the ooey-gooey, stretchy cheese pull that mozzarella is loved for!

Quick Tomato Soup Ingredients

homemade tomato soup ingredients
  • Extra-virgin olive oil – We use olive oil to sauté the garlic.
  • Garlic – For the best flavor, go for fresh garlic here, not the pre-minced stuff in the jar.
  • Canned fire-roasted tomatoes – Use diced tomatoes instead of crushed if you like a more rustic soup (or what you might call “tomato bisque”) with some larger chunks of tomato. Using fire-roasted tomatoes adds a slightly smoky char flavor that gives our soup even more depth. However, your soup will still be delicious if you only have regular crushed or diced tomatoes.
  • Chicken stock – I love using chicken stock as a base for soup because it adds a ton of flavor! However, you can use vegetable stock to keep this soup vegetarian.
  • Sugar – We add a bit of sugar to our simple tomato soup to help balance the tomato’s acidity.
  • Salt and pepper – These basic spices add a ton of flavor.
  • Dried basil – You can use dried basil or dried oregano, and then garnish with the fresh version of whichever herb you added to the soup.
  • Parmesan cheese – For the best flavor and texture, get a block of parmesan and shred it yourself. We add a little to the soup, and use a bit more for garnish. Freshly-grated parmesan not only adds a ton of flavor to our tomato soup, but it also ties the flavor profile in with the grilled cheese sandwich that we serve with it.
  • Heavy whipping cream – The cream is optional. Just a little splash of cream helps cut the tomato’s acidity, and creates a pretty blush color.

Instructions

How to Make Gooey 4-Cheese Grilled Cheese

how to make 4 cheese grilled cheese sandwiches
  1. Butter 1 side of each piece of bread. Place 4 slices of bread (butter-side-down) onto a griddle or skillet over low heat. (I love using my cast-iron griddle for this!)
  2. Divide the cheese between the 4 slices of bread.
  3. Place the remaining 4 slices of bread on top of the cheese (butter-side-up). Cover the sandwiches (use a lid or tent a piece of aluminum foil) to help the cheese melt, and cook until they’re golden on both sides and the cheese is melted in the center, flipping once halfway through.
  4. It generally takes about 4 to 5 minutes per side on low heat, but this varies depending on how browned you like your sandwich and the skillet you use.

How to Make Rustic Tomato Soup – That’s Packed with Flavor!

how to make easy tomato soup from scratch
  1. Add the olive oil to a 3-quart pot over medium heat. Once hot, add the garlic and cook 1 minute, stirring constantly.
  2. Add the canned tomatoes, chicken stock, sugar, salt, dried basil, and black pepper, and bring up to a boil.
  3. Give it a stir. Turn the heat down slightly and let it simmer (uncovered) for 5 minutes.
  4. Remove from the heat and stir in 2 tablespoons grated parmesan and the cream.

Variations

  • Pesto. Spread pesto on the inside of one piece of bread.
  • Chutney. Same deal as the pesto, but with your favorite chutney! Mango chutney and sharp white cheddar is one of my personal favorite combinations.
  • Jam. If you like cheese Danish pastries, this is the sandwich for you! Try my strawberry grilled cheese, or go with raspberry preserves and camembert cheese.
  • Tomato. I remember one of my dad’s favorite ways to make grilled cheese was with a thick slice of fresh tomato added. You could also go with finely chopped sun-dried tomato.
  • Apple slices. The sweet crispness of fresh sliced apple is a lovely addition to a grilled cheese sandwich. Try it with sharp cheddar, brie, or gouda. Or with sliced pear and gorgonzola!
grilled cheese and tomato soup

Storage and Reheating

Both the soup and sandwich will last covered in the fridge for up to 4 days. This means that this meal is a good choice for meal prep!

You can reheat tomato soup in the microwave or on the stovetop.

If you want to re-crisp your toasted cheese sandwich, use one of the following methods. Make sure to flip the sandwich halfway through reheating no matter which method you use.

  • Oven – 350F for about 10 minutes
  • Air fryer – 350F for about 3 to 4 minutes
  • Stovetop – medium heat for 5 to 6 minutes (covered with foil to help the cheese re-melt)
gooey cheese melt with bowl of soup

Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup FAQs

When Did Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese Become a Thing?

There is a bit of mystery regarding the origin of the grilled cheese sandwich and soup combination here in the U.S.

It’s thought that J.L. Kraft’s processed cheese being brought to market in 1916 and Otto Frederick Rohwedder’s invention of the bread slicer in the 1920’s contributed to the popularity of grilled cheese sandwiches.

This sandwich then became a Great Depression dinner staple during the 1930’s. Processed cheese was a natural choice because it was inexpensive and had a much longer shelf life.

And then during World War II, grilled cheese sandwiches were popular among U.S. military forces, and were mentioned in government-issued cookbooks state-side. After the war, this sandwich made its way to school cafeterias in the United States for lunch where it was frequently paired with tomato soup for the added vitamin C. From there, this pairing became a comfort food icon of American cuisine.

You can read more about the history of grilled cheese with tomato soup on Time Travel Kitchen, Mashed, and Times Colonist.

And this food pairing that had such humble beginnings is still a comfort food classic today. Although it’s come a long way from processed cheese and canned soup! Now you’ll find gourmet versions of both on the menu at trendy restaurants.

classic grilled cheese and tomato soup

What is Another Name for Grilled Cheese?

The original name for a grilled cheese sandwich in the United States was a toasted cheese sandwich. This type of sandwich also goes by the name “melts”, as in a tuna melt or a patty melt.

In the U.K. you’ll find grilled cheese sandwiches called cheese toasties, and in Australia they’re called jaffles. A panini is a similar sandwich in Italy that’s usually toasted or grilled, and in France it’s a croque monsieur.

What is the Secret to a Good Grilled Cheese Sandwich?

There are two secrets to a great grilled cheese sandwich:

  1. Use the right type of cheese(s). I like to use a combination of melty cheese + sharp cheese for the best texture and flavor. However, if you want to go with just one type of cheese, your best bet is comté, raclette, gruyère, or any good Swiss cheese, which are all flavorful and melt well.
  2. Make sure the outside doesn’t burn before the cheese melts. There’s nothing worse than a grilled cheese sandwich that’s burned outside with cold, unmelted cheese inside! To avoid this problem, do two things: 1) cook your sandwich over low heat, and 2) cover it with a lid or piece of aluminum foil.
overhead view of table with cast iron griddle grilled cheese sandwiches and rustic tomato soup

What Cheese is Best for Grilled Cheese?

When you’re crafting your perfect cheese toastie, it’s not just about flavor! It’s important to think about how well the cheese melts.

If I’m using a blend of several different cheeses to make a grilled cheese, I like to pick at least one or two that melt well.

Here are a few types of cheese that melt great, which makes them some of the best cheese options for grilled cheese sandwiches:

  • Mozzarella – This is the OG of melty gooey cheese, which is why I love adding it to a grilled cheese sammy. If you’re going for a stretchy cheese pull, mozzarella will deliver! However, I don’t use it on its own because mozzarella can be a little bit bland. It’s lacking the sharp bite that other cheeses have, so I like to pair it with a more flavorful cheese.
  • Comté/Raclette/Gruyère – These are Alpine-style cheeses, and they’re almost the best of both worlds. They melt incredibly well, and also pack a punch of sharp, delicious cheese flavor. Note that you can substitute with Swiss cheese.
  • Cheddar – A young cheddar will melt into a stretchy cheese pull, while an aged cheddar will melt into a puddle of rich deliciousness. Also note that the longer it’s aged, the sharper the flavor will be. Personally, I like to use a sharp aged cheddar for the flavor paired with something like mozzarella or gruyère for the stretchy cheese pull.
  • Parmesan – Parmesan is a sharp cheese with a nutty, salty flavor. I like to add a little bit to grilled cheese to pack a flavor punch (you can go with aged cheddar instead of parmesan if you prefer).
  • Havarti – Havarti has a buttery flavor and melts really well. Similar to mozzarella, havarti is on the mild side, so I like to pair it with a sharp cheese to add flavor.

This list isn’t all-inclusive! A few other good cheeses for making toasted cheese sandwiches are provolone, gouda, and fontina, to name just a few. And personally, I love a grilled cheese sandwich with American cheese!

More Comfort Foods to Try

hand dipping gooey grilled cheese sandwich into homemade creamy tomato bisque

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Easy Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese Sandwich Recipe

Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time10 minutes
Yields: 4 servings
Grilled cheese and tomato soup is the quintessential cold-weather comfort food combination! This quick, easy tomato soup recipe whips up in a matter of minutes and pairs perfectly with a gooey 4-cheese grilled cheese sandwich.

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Ingredients
 

4-Cheese Grilled Cheese:

  • 4 tablespoons salted butter at room temperature
  • 8 slices sourdough bread
  • 1/4 cup freshly-grated parmesan cheese
  • 4 ounces Swiss cheese in slices or shredded
  • 4 ounces havarti cheese in slices or shredded
  • 4 ounces mozzarella cheese in slices or shredded

Quick Tomato Soup:

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 5 large cloves garlic crushed
  • 28- ounce can crushed or diced fire-roasted tomatoes with juices
  • 1 cup chicken stock or vegetable stock
  • 1 tablespoon granulated white sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil or dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 cup freshly-grated parmesan cheese divided into 2 tablespoons + 2 tablespoons
  • 2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream optional

Optional Garnishes:

  • Fresh basil
  • Freshly-grated parmesan cheese

Instructions
 

For the Grilled Cheese:

  • Butter 1 side of each piece of bread with 1/2 tablespoon butter each. Place 4 slices of bread (butter-side-down) onto a griddle or skillet over low heat. Divide the cheese between the 4 slices of bread, and then place the remaining 4 slices of bread on top of the cheese (butter-side-up).
  • Cover the sandwiches (use a lid or tent a piece of aluminum foil) and cook until they’re golden on both sides and the cheese is melted in the center, flipping once halfway through. It generally takes about 4 to 5 minutes per side on low heat, but this varies depending on how browned you like your sandwich.

For the Tomato Soup:

  • While the grilled cheese cooks on the first side, start the soup.
  • Add the olive oil to a 3-quart pot over medium heat. Once hot, add the garlic and cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add the canned tomatoes, chicken stock, sugar, salt, dried basil, and black pepper, and bring up to a boil. Turn the heat down slightly and let it simmer (uncovered) for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in 2 tablespoons grated parmesan and the cream.

To Serve:

  • Serve the tomato soup garnished with fresh basil and more freshly-grated parmesan, along with the grilled cheese sandwiches for dipping.

Notes

  • Cheese: You aren’t limited by these cheeses, feel free to use whatever you like or have on hand. If you want to go with just one type of cheese, I recommend comté, raclette, gruyère, or any good Swiss cheese, which are all flavorful and melt well.
  • Storage: Both the soup and sandwich will last covered in the fridge for up to 4 days. This means that this meal is a good choice for meal prep!
  • Reheating: You can reheat tomato soup in the microwave or on the stovetop. If you want to re-crisp your toasted cheese sandwich, you can reheat it using one of the following methods. Make sure to flip the sandwich halfway through reheating no matter which method you use.
    • Oven – 350F for about 10 minutes
    • Air fryer – 350F for about 3 to 4 minutes
    • Stovetop – medium heat for 5 to 6 minutes (covered with foil to help the cheese re-melt)

Nutrition

Calories: 963kcal | Carbohydrates: 84g | Protein: 43g | Fat: 51g | Saturated Fat: 27g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 16g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 123mg | Sodium: 2335mg | Potassium: 316mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 15g | Vitamin A: 2007IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 862mg | Iron: 7mg

Nutritional information is automatically calculated and should be used as an approximate.

Course: Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Best Grilled Cheese for Tomato Soup, Easy Tomato Soup, Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup, Grilled Cheese with Tomato Soup, Quick Tomato Soup, Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese, Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese

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Faith, author of An Edible Mosaic.
About Faith

I’m the writer, recipe developer, photographer, and food stylist behind this blog. I love finding the human connection through something we all do every day: eat! Food is a common ground that we can all relate to, and our tables tell a story. It’s my goal to inspire you to get in the kitchen, try something new, and find a favorite you didn’t know you had.

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