How to Make Grilled Cheese Without Butter – Recipe Included

Published Categorized as Journal, Ingredients Tagged

No matter your reasons for wishing to learn how to make grilled cheese without butter, the truth is that there are quite a few ways for you to do this while still achieving a crispy, golden, and delicious crust on the exterior of your grilled cheese, even without the addition of butter. Sound interesting? Keep reading!

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Table of Contents

stick of butter

What Can I Use Instead of Butter For Grilled Cheese?

Surprisingly, there are a few good substitutes for butter for cooking grilled cheese that you likely already have in your pantry.

These include:

  • Eggs
  • Mayo
  • Oil
  • Bacon Grease
  • Margarine
How To Make Grilled Cheese Without Butter

Can You Use Oil Instead of Butter Grilled Cheese?

Yes, you can absolutely use oil for butter in grilled cheese.

When doing so, make sure to pick a neutral-flavored oil such as canola or vegetable oil,. Use only enough to coat your pan to avoid an oily mess. Fry each side of the bread until lightly golden the same way you would cook your grilled cheese with butter. The flavor of your sandwich won’t be nearly as rich, but it will work if you can’t have butter or don’t have butter on hand.

Know that you can typically use a slightly higher temperature when cooking grilled cheese with oil rather than butter because oil has a smoke point that is higher than butter.

Is Mayo or Butter Better For Grilled Cheese?

Whether mayo or butter is better for grilled cheese will depend on your tastebuds. Many like cooking grilled cheese in mayo better than butter because of the extra tang it has, the fact that it doesn’t burn easily, and because mayo can cause your grilled cheese to turn out crispier.

Still, butter tends to be richer and adds more of a traditional velvety flavor. Which is better will largely depend on your personal preference!

Can You Substitute Mayo For Butter on Grilled Cheese?

Mayo can be substituted for butter on grilled cheese at a 1:1 ratio. Because mayo has a higher smoke point you can cook it at a higher temperature than you would with butter. You can even smear a little mayo on the inside of your grilled cheese if you feel adventurous and really like the taste of mayo!

Can You Use Cream Cheese Instead of Butter For Grilled Cheese?

We don’t recommend using cream cheese to cook your sandwich. You can, however, add cream cheese to your grilled cheese sandwich for a unique twist on this traditional favorite.

Can You Make a Grilled Cheese with Pam?

Yes, you can make a grilled cheese sandwich with Pam. Simply use the Pam to lightly coat your pan before and after flipping to keep the pan moist.

Bear in mind that making this substitution may cause your grilled cheese to be a bit drier than it would have been if you were to use butter. It may also be less flavorful.

Still, it is a worthy substitute if all you are looking to do is brown both sides of your sandwich and keep the sandwich from sticking to the pan.

PAM Non Stick Original Cooking Spray, 6 oz

Does Light Mayo Work For Grilled Cheese?

Light mayo isn’t recommended when using it to coat a pan for grilled cheese. That’s because it will obtain less fat and oil to do its job well.

Still, you can add a little light mayo to the inside of your grilled cheese sandwich for added moisture and tang if you wish!

How to Make Grilled Cheese With Olive Oil

In order to make grilled cheese with olive oil, simply coat your pan with enough olive oil to keep the sandwich from sticking, usually about 1-2 tablespoons, the same way you would with butter. You may or may not need to add more oil between flips. Be careful not to use too much oil when cooking your sandwich as this can render the sandwich too oily.

Remember that cooking with olive oil can impart a very potent taste to your sandwich. Use light-tasting olive oil to prevent overpowering your sandwich.

Can You Make Grilled Cheese With Vegetable Oil?

Yes, you can make grilled cheese with vegetable oil.

To do so, coat the pan with enough vegetable oil to keep the sandwich from sticking and cook normally.

The vegetable oil won’t taste nearly as good as using butter or mayo. However, it will do the trick to keep your sandwich from sticking.

Is Butter Necessary For Grilled Cheese?

In general, we would recommend adding butter to a grilled cheese sandwich to enhance flavor, but no, butter is not a must when making grilled cheese. You can easily swap butter out for coconut oil, mayo, margarine, and other types of oils in order to yield a comparable sandwich that may (or may not) be lower in calories, depending on the substitution you choose.

How to Make Grilled Cheese Without Butter

Mayo Grilled Cheese Recipe:


  • 2 Slices of White Bread
  • A Slice of American Cheese
  • 1-1 Tablespoons of Mayonnaise (Full-Fat not Lite)
How to Make Grilled Cheese Without Butter

Making Mayo Grilled Cheese

Ready pan

Heat a skillet or griddle over medium heat.

Mayo up

Spread mayo on one side of your white bread and lay the bread on the preheated skillet mayo side down.

Add cheese

Add to that bread your slice of American cheese. Place on top of that cheese another piece of white bread, this time with the mayo side facing up. 

Brown it

Flip the sandwich once the underside is golden brown.

Cook and serve

Once both sides of the sandwich are fully browned, remove from heat and serve. 

Note: Feel free to play with the temperature of your skillet. If your bread is browning too fast, lower the heat slightly and remove the skillet from the heat completely if you need to to keep your sandwich from burning.

How to Make Grilled Cheese Without Butter


Do you oil a pan for grilled cheese?

Yes, it is typically necessary for you to oil a pan for grilled cheese. The only exception is if you have a high-quality non-stick pan, but even then, not using butter or oil may render your grilled cheese excessively dry. 

How to make grilled cheese healthy?

Making a grilled cheese healthy will depend on what you consider healthy. Because people try so many diets today, the term “healthy” has become somewhat subjective. Still, you can make a grilled cheese a bit healthier by skipping the butter and using light-tasting olive oil instead. Try also using reduced-fat cheese instead of whole cheese and wheat bread instead of white to get added nutrients of whole grain. These alterations will make your grilled cheese a lot healthier, though be advised, that it will also taste much different than what you’re used to! 

Making a Grilled Cheese Without Butter Is Possible!

Making grilled cheese without butter is possible but may taste a little different than what you are used to. Because butter in grilled cheese imparts flavor and helps crisp up and moisturize the exterior of the bread, you may find that most substitutions won’t do this quite as well. Still, mayonnaise may do the trick, as mayonnaise will impart flavor and moisture to your sandwich in much the same way that butter will– and you may like it even better!

Remember that everyone’s taste preference is different and that what substitution one may like, another may not. As always, choose the substitution that works best for you.

Thanks for stopping by!

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By Anna

Anna Brooks, the voice behind, is a seasoned writer and editor with an insatiable love for food. While not a professional chef, her culinary adventures and unique insights have captivated readers for years. Anna believes in the transformative power of food, stating it "feeds the soul." Dive into her writings for a mix of inspiration, entertainment, and culinary wisdom. Author Pinterest Facebook Twitter Instagram YouTube Tumblr Reddit Quora

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