Thomas Keller's Grilled Cheese Sandwich

You've all heard of Chef Thomas Keller. He's received just about every award possible, now owns 8 restaurants and is the only American-born chef to hold multiple three star ratings in the Michelin Guide. His French Laundry Cookbook continues to inspire many a chef but personally, I always felt it was a cookbook for professionals and not home cooks. Don't get me wrong, I love it, it's gorgeous, but I've never made a single thing in it.

Ad Hoc at Home is Keller's latest cookbook offering. It was on my Christmas wish list and Santa was good to me this year.

The book's inspiration was one of Keller's newer restaurants, Ad Hoc, a restaurant serving family style meals. And that is what Keller wanted to present in this cookbook. Family style, rustic meals. Here he is speaking about the cookbook:

Paula Forbes (click HERE to see her full review) said: "These are recipes Keller actually makes for his friends, family, and the patrons of his restaurant, and thus they aren't always as simple, or accessible, as one might hope."
Nonetheless, she continues on to give the book a rave review. Deservedly. After reading it myself, I had a severe case of cookbook love. These recipes are not as intimidating as The French Laundry cookbook recipes; it's not geared as much for professional chefs as for talented home chefs. I mean, any of us can make these recipes, they just aren't a walk in the park.

After the holidays I decided to try a recipe out of each of my Christmas cookbooks and post them. This is my second. I admit I was hard-pressed to find one in Ad Hoc at Home that would translate nicely to a blog posting during Super Bowl weekend. After all, how complicated do we want a recipe to be this week? And yes, I can't wait to make the chicken soup with dumplings ( a time-consuming labor of love where, among other things, the veggies had to each be blanched separately and the dumplings shaped with two spoons into quenelles) but I gleaned onto a familiar and rather surprising recipe near the end of the book: The Grilled Cheese Sandwich. How simple is that? Foolproof. And Super Bowl material.

We've all been eating this sandwich for years. Keller presents us with the perfect grilled cheese: Gruyère  on broiche. He serves his grilled cheese with sweet potato chips (homemade of course) and instead of the old standby Campbell's tomato soup, he suggests his Tomato Gazpacho, another recipe I intend to try. You can see what I mean about this cookbook; something as simple as a grilled cheese has the Keller touch with homemade Brioche, homemade sweet potato chips and homemade gazpacho. Not an impossible feat, but how many of us will take the time? No matter. I'll eventually get around to both the gazpacho and the chips (and perhaps the Brioche). Just not today.

The Grilled Cheese Sandwich
From Ad Hoc at Home by Thomas Keller


Twelve 1/2-inch thick slices Brioche
8 to 10 ounces thinly sliced Gruyère  (Keller suggests Roth Käse reserve Gruyère )
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
Sweet potato chips


Preheat your oven to 350°.
Lay 6 slices of bread on your work surface and divide the cheese among them. Top with the remaining pieces of bread.
Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons butter and cook to brown the butter. Add half the sandwiches and cook until browned on the first side, about 1-1/2 minutes.

Flip the sandwiches and cook on the other side for another 30 to 45 seconds. Place on a sheet pan and spread 1 teaspoon of butter over the top of each sandwich. Repeat with the other sandwiches. Put the baking sheet in the oven for 2-5 minutes. Serves 6.

Note: Keller suggest cutting the crusts off  just before serving. I thought that would make a cheesy mess, so I cut the crusts off  before I put them in the frying pan.


  1. I got this cookbook for Christmas too. I've not had alot of time to sit down and really study it.

    Thanks for the review and sharing that sandwich.

  2. That Cookbook is still on my list! I'll pick it up one day soon. As for the recipe choice you can never go wrong with Grilled Cheese... Love Gruyere.

  3. I love that cook book, it is on my wish list too!!! I am so glad you like it, I was wondering about if it would be like his other book, but sometimes I like to have them just to look at and enjoy!
    Margaret B

  4. I have tried his fried chicken... he makes even the most commonplace into the rare... thanks for sharing... grilled cheese and tomato soup are favorites of mine... guess I need to get one more cookbook!!!
    Your sandwich and chips look perfect!!!

  5. I'm just dying for this cookbook. I even looked on Amazon recently and it's on back order! I've seen so many fabulous posts about recipes from it, yours being yet another I want to make and eat!

  6. Wow, I love this post. First cause I am interested in this book, and second because i read about this grilled cheese sandwich (i adore them) and wanted to try it too. Its so easy, but y i never thought to put them in the oven to finish off, I dont know, its inspired.
    *kisses* HH

  7. I must live in a cave because I haven't heard of the book or about the grilled cheese sandwich. How have I not thought of putting them in the oven!

    Who Dat!

  8. MMMMMM,...those cheese sandwiches look great!! Yummie,...

  9. Lea Ann: Keller's books take a lot of studying- but enjoyable reading.

    Bryan: It's a lovely cookbook..I like what he tried to do with it.

    Margaret: This one is more accessible than French Laundry.

    Deana: I couldn't imagine a grilled cheese would taste as good as this one did!

    Hungry Dog: Can you get is used? This was a gift so it was new, but I usually buy everything used.

    HH: Absolutely. Putting the sandwiches in the oven is inspired.

    Katherine: I think that about so many things I read online! Why have I missed so much?

    Sophie: They are delicious!

  10. gruyere is my favourite cheese!! my daughter would love that the crusts are cut off too!
    I really like your response to my posting on the meaning of life - thanks!

  11. Thanks for the heads up on this book. After the French Laundry book which I visual love, but haven't cooked from, I haven't paid much attention to Keller's cookbooks. I'll have to check this one out. Your sandwich looks fantastic.

  12. I'm sure the brioche takes it over the top! Rich cheese, rich bread, lots of butter...ohhhh.

  13. mmm...that grilled cheese looks so good...one of my favortie comfort foods....

  14. Looks great, but Havarti is hard to beat in a grilled cheese...

  15. barbara, this sounds like a wonderful little lunch! other than melted chocolate, there's nothing i enjoy seeing more than gooey cheese.
    and hey--good call on cutting the crusts off first. that just makes good sense.

  16. I might just have to check out this cookbook if you give it such rave reviews. I swear I keep amazon in business :P

    The sound of gruyere, melted, on brioche sounds heavenly.

  17. Heather: I'm afraid it was not the deepest answer, but some of your commentors got so involved that I wondered if they were philosophers!

    Mimi: This is a great cookbook, you'll love it. So many things I want to make in it.

    TKW: I know, the butter made things pretty extreme. Had to repeat over and over what Julia Child said about butter.

    Brian: I think it's been everyone's comfort food forever!

    BD: Havarti is nice, but I loved the extra bite of the Gruyere. Keller was right on with his cheese suggestion....and finishing it in the oven. It was delish. (course, all that butter doesn't hurt) Luckily, I was able to find the cheese he recommened at Whole Foods.

    Grace: Thought of you when I saw how the photo turned out- with cheese dripping all over!

    Joanne: I know. But I do usually try to buy any books used. They must love us there. Do you suppose they have us on a special list?

  18. Another cookbook for my list. I've never met a grilled cheese I didn't like.

  19. Sounds like the best grilled cheese sandwich ever! So yummy using brioche!

  20. OH My God Barbara this sandwich look perfect abdolutely perfect and tasty! xx gloria
    Love the idea use brioche!

  21. What a chic grilled cheese sandwich, but what I would expect from Thomas Keller. Years ago he used to be the chef at a small restaurant we like in N. Palm Beach. I would give almost anything to go to the French Laundry.

  22. Chan: You got that right!

    Rebecca and Gloria: It was such a great bread to use that I don't understand why I didn't think of it before! I use it in bread pudding and a lot of other things. Just never thought of it for a grilled cheese.

    Sam: I think they mention the restaurant in Palm Beach. Didn't his mother work there? I haven't been to French Laundry either, worse luck!

  23. Love a very simple sandwich like this grilled sandwich of yours.

  24. Now that's one heck of a grilled cheese sandwich Barbara. I think I'll just have to "grab" this link to include in a post I plan on doing in October for Thomas Keller's birthday!!!

    Thank you so much for sharing...snow storm coming tonight. I need that grilled cheese sandwich, now!!!

    P.S. Uh OH, for some reason I just tried to click the tilte of this post for the entire link and the page disappeared. I also just tried to open the complete link in a new page and it's a no go. Any one else having this problem?

  25. oh love grilled cheese yummy, oh wow that vanilla must have been great

  26. Nothing more fantastic that a great grilled cheese sandwich. Such a comforting dish! Great tip to cut the crusts before frying the sandwich!

  27. Mmmm, sounds delicious! I've never had brioche other than as something sweet, so this sounds like something worth trying. In France we eat a lot of croque monsieur, our version of grilled cheese sandwiches, I guess!

  28. Barbara, this cookbook is on my wish list. I also have French Laundry and don't know if I ever made anything from it. I have heard great things about his new book, and the grilled cheese sandwiches look delicious, I must try 'finishing' in the oven!! I enjoyed his restaurants in Yontville, I wish I could just stroll across the street now to Bouchon Bakery for a coffee and pastry.
    BTW, I tore the recipe out of magazine for TK's caramel sauce, I believe it is in Ad Hoc..looks easy and delicious.

  29. Barbara, thought you might find this link interesting--another great chef's take on grilled cheese!


  30. Barbara, nothing says "comfort" like a grill cheese sandwich. I have been a fan since my wee days going to the local drugstore lunch counter and ordering a grill cheese & fountain coke.

    Thomas Keller has a great view of how food should be prepared, served & enjoyed. I'll have to get his cookbook. Many thanks...

  31. I have the book on back order, and I'm patiently waiting, but maybe not so patient any more after seeing your delicious grilled cheese! and the great review, I can't wait for the book to arrive!

  32. Elra: Thanks!

    Louise: I think it's a blogger problem- we have been trying to correct it since it happened. Still working on it!

    Rebecca: We loved using all that vanilla. Long gone, now. My sugar container is filled with empty pods!

    Trissa: I know. Wasn't that odd he chose to cut them off after? Cheese would be all over the cutting board!

    Lucie: This is the first time I've tried it brioche too.

    George: It's always been my favorite too. I loved his idea of putting it into the oven.

    Dishes: I was really lucky that someone pre-ordered it for me so I got in on the first batch!

  33. To me, there is nothing better than a good grilled cheese sandwich, and this one sounds AMAZING!!

  34. oh my goodness, now THAT is how you do a grilled cheese sandwich! outstanding!!

  35. I'll have to check that cookbook out. Sounds like it has some awesome recipes in it!

    That grilled cheese looks amazing!

  36. They look so good! Toasted sandwiches are heavenly!



  37. Great blog! I was fortunate enough to get that book for Christmas as well. I haven't made anything out of it yet but I think this recipe would be a great place to start & the photos look so yummy:)He is a genius and I've had the pleasure of dining at Bouchon and Per Se and hope to make it to French Laundry someday... Maybe when I'm finally done with "Savor the Moment"...cheers!

  38. I think I need to order this cookbook - those are some fantastic grilled cheese sandwiches. I love Keller.

  39. I always love adding cookbooks to my wish list -- this one is definitely going on there! Grilled cheese on brioche sounds absolutley fantastic! Great idea to finish them off in the oven -- sometimes my bread toasts before my cheese melts completely so finishing them off in the oven is the perfect solution!

  40. Lucky you, Barbara! Fianlly, you got your favourite book. And the cheese toast looks simply yummy.

  41. Grilled cheese sandwiches are always good! Love it.

  42. Oh yum! That looks fantastic. Thank you for stopping by my blog and I am VERY happy to have found you as well....except I am now hungry:)

  43. Mmmm...cheese. That's such a good idea to try out a recipe from each book present! Sounds like a fabulous book too, another one for the wish list then :)

  44. Wow! That looks fantastic!!!!I have to look for that cookbook.

  45. I really want a grilled cheese now. Perfect for this cold weather.

    Oh, and don't worry about Clementine Jane. You'll like her in the next edition.

  46. Barbara, you have the extraordinary ability to make the commonplace appear special. This looks wonderful. I hope you are having a wonderful day. Blessings...Mary

  47. owwwwwwhhhh...it pains me to look at those sandwiches! I wld die for them right now!!!! so lusciously divine!!!
    the bread perfctly grilled, the cheese perfectly melting....OMG!!

  48. Deb and Teresa: Thanks! You'll love Keller's book.

    Karly: I have a whole bunch bookmarked to try!

    Rosa: Yes, they're comfort food!

    Stephanie: I agree completely. Lucky you, to have gone to two of his restaurants!

    Chef Aimee: It's worth every penny.

    Faith: I know- my cheese never melts all the way through before the bread starts to burn. Finishing in the oven was a brilliant idea.

    Kristy: I know. My darling daughter has great taste in cookbooks.

    Sook: I agree!

    Brocantess: EVerytime I look at my photos my mouth starts to water just remembering what they tasted like!

    Shaz: I love reading cookbooks, don't you?

    Erica: It's great!

    Duck: I'm relieved!

    Mary: Thanks, but it's all due to Keller!

    Zurin: They are divine!

  49. Barbara this recipe looks divine, I'm not convinced I could master his others but this I could do. I was amazed by how much Gruyere has gone up in price in our markets, but it's oh so good. Have a tasty & fun Super Bowl Sunday Barbara xx

  50. I wished I liked brioche....I know. Am I human? Well, maybe if I made mine, life would change but.....I ♥ cheese so may try this with some other kind of bread!

  51. I definitely need to go to Ad Hoc while I'm still in California. I LOVE grilled cheese, and this fancy version sounds great. Homemade chips and brioche sound a bit daunting, but also delicious. I'll be looking out for your posts on those... :)

  52. Deborah: Doubt very much that Keller takes price into consideration the way we do!

    Kitchen Butterfly: I like brioche in my bread pudding but had never made a grilled cheese with it.

    MSMeanie: Not sure when I'll get around to the brioche because I just made some brioche dulce de leche rolls (haven't posted yet), so will not be in a rush to do more. However, the chips sound great as does the gazpacho.

  53. That looks like a fun cookbook. I don't own that one! The Grilled cheese looks like a upscale Gourmet GC! Yum thanks for sharing the recipe too!

  54. Hi, Barbara - you always leave such sweet comments on my site I left you a little sunshine to give you a smile! Stop by my blog and pick it up when you get a minute!

  55. I will have to buy this cookbook! Thanks for voting!

  56. That cookbook is still on my list.The sandwiches look wonderful:)

  57. What a great looking grilled cheese sandwich! and you are right about cutting the crusts off before grilling.

  58. Grilled Cheese...my all time favourite sandwich ever..and this one looks amazing. Thank you so much for sharing.

  59. Holy macaron Barbara! That looks so tempting! I fry the outside of my cheese sandwiches too and my husband loves them. I sometimes even get away with serving him that for dinner with some soup as he loves it so much! :D

  60. Flourchild: Yes, there are so many recipes I want to try in this book!

    Susan: Thank you so much for the sunshiny award!

    Teacher Cooks: I love your Thursday posts!

    Nina: A simple grilled cheese is always good so it was fun doing one with gruyere.

    Lynda: I really don't mind the crusts, but my kids sure liked me to cut them off!

    Koralee: Thanks!

    Lorraine: I used to serve them for dinner all the time!

  61. I totally want this book!
    Great looking sammie - now I am craving one.

  62. Barbara, nothing like a simple grilled cheese...yummie! By the way I have an award for you, please feel free to sop by and pick it up ;-)

  63. Suc a great post! I grew up with good old grilled cheese sandwiches so the twist on this is right up my street. Yours are such a perfect square shape too, although I must say these pictures are the equivalent of food porn and you're always feeding my addiction ;-)

  64. Ad Hoc at Home is on my wishlist. I'm waiting till I move before purchasing though....I can't imagine a better recipe to entice me more than grilled cheese!

  65. I think I was reading about this guy in the New Yorker recently. Did you make the chips? I've never been able to get them crispy. My neighbor tells me I have to use white potatoes, slice them, and pat them dry before tossing them in the frying pan. Still, mine always come out soggy.

  66. Natashya: It's a super cookbook!

    Juliana: Thank you again for the award!

    Vanessa: I actually cut the bread with scissors!

    Jessica: The only thing I wish is that it were an easier shape to handle. His books are so big.

    Francesca: I haven't made them yet, but I know they have to be patted really dry. I can get white potatoes nice and crisp. Just have not tried with sweet potatoes.

  67. What a fabulous golden, crispy and delicious cheese sandwich! Perfection!

  68. Oh, grilled cheese sandwiches...nature's most perfect invention since the kitten.

    These look so yummy - and fairly simple as well!

  69. omg, I just died and went to grilled cheese heaven. This reminds me so much of the Devil Wears Prada..and when Anna Hathaway's boyfriend makes the most awesome looking grilled cheese sandwich.

  70. OMg. Grilled cheese sandwiches has to be one of my favorite food ever. Is there anything more comforting than a good grilled cheese? Particularly yours, with that fluffy, rich brioche and the nutty gruyere!!! Ooh la la~

  71. Barbara: I agree-nothing like a grilled cheese for comfort!

    Phoenix: Love kittens!

    Vickys: OMG. Forgot about that scene. It was a drool worthy sandwich!

    Sophia: Thanks!

  72. This looks so delicious! Tasty blog you've got. I'll be back!

  73. Oozing cheese...with brioche...now that is comfort food!

    Thanks for sharing!


  74. Finally! An American Grilled Cheese Sandwich recipe I can use.

    Bless you for sharing in the ambrosianic pleasure of melted cheese, X.

  75. Now that's a grilled sandwich! I'd have eaten grilled cheese before if they were made like yours.

  76. Lucky you to have received this cookbook for Christmas. This looks like an excellent and simple recipe.

  77. There is something about cheese that appeals to so many people, especially when it is oozing cheese. What a taste treat!

    I haven't eaten breakfast yet and this is tempting me so much, just maybe, maybe, maybe ---I have to leave and eat something delicious.

    Thanks for linking this to My Meatless Mondays.



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