Tuesday Tutor: Featuring Portuguese Girl Cooks

French Onion Grilled Cheese Sandwich
French Onion Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Every Tuesday I choose a different friend to be my tutor for a day: I select one of their original recipes, I make the recipe following my friend's instructions, I snap a multitude of pictures, I scarf down as much as my belt-line will permit - and then I share everything I love about my friend's recipe. Learn More

My tutor today is Jessica from Portuguese Girl Cooks, although perhaps a more apt name would be "Portuguese Girl Bakes" as Jessica's blog is packed with creative and beautiful baked goodies from cakes to cookies to puddings and breads. Another apt name might be "Portuguese Girl Photography" - so many gorgeous food-photos that will keep you clicking on one recipe after another, just to see how Jess managed to create such scrumptious bakes.

With so many baked treasures on Portuguese Girl Cooks, perhaps it's surprising I selected this French Onion Grilled Cheese Sandwich. But when I spotted this sandwich a few months back, I knew I had to try it, especially when Jess said it tasted EXACTLY like French Onion Soup. And she's right - this is a must-try sandwich for anyone who loves the classic soup.

About the Author
  1. "I can be very creative when it comes to baking, but have no imagination of savoury food."
  2. "85% percent of what I make never makes it to the blog."
  3. "I'm a stay at home mom. If you told me this would be my life 3 years ago, I would have laughed."
  4. "I love reality TV."
  5. "The food blogging community is amazing, and I love all the friends I have made along the way."
Photo courtesy of Portuguese Girl Cooks

Original recipe courtesy of Portuguese Girl Cooks

3 Tablespoons of Butter in a Large Skillet
Much like any good French Onion Soup, this sandwich is all about the caramelized onions.
Which means starting with a little butter and a big sauté pan. Add the butter to the pan and
heat until the butter is melted and foamy, which takes about 3-5 minutes

2 Medium Onions, Peeled and Halved
While the pan heats, you can prep your onions. This recipe makes two sandwiches, so you will
need two medium onions. If you're making more than 2 sandwiches, add an onion for each
sandwich. Trim and peel your onions - mine had some deformities and bad spots...

Onions, Sliced
Slice the onions into 1/2-inch slices. Don't sorry, these will cook down a LOT during the
saute and caramelization stages, so don't fret if it looks like a lot of onions.

Oil Melted in Pan
The butter should now be ready...

Onions Added to Hot Butter
Add the onions and give them a good stir through the butter to make sure they're all coated.

Onions Sauteed Until Translucent
Saute the onions uncovered over medium heat until translucent. This takes about 3 minutes.

Onions Seasoned with Salt and Pepper
Season with kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper. I used about 1/4 teaspoon pepper
and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt. I might step-up the pepper to 1/2 teaspoon next time

Skillet Covered
Cover the onions and let them cook for 25 minutes over medium heat, stirring every 5 minutes.
If the onions start to burn (or edges turn black) before they caramelize (brown), reduce the heat
and stir more frequently. Just make sure to keep the cover on these onions to prevent loss of
moisture during the cooking process.

Gruyere Cheese to be Grated
While the onions caramelize, you can prepare your cheese. I used Gruyere, but you could use
Swiss or another white cheese of your choice. Jess recommends Gruyere as it is the classic cheese
used with French Onion Soup and I agree with her choice. It's a wonderful flavor pairing with
the caramelized onions

Grating Gruyere Cheese
Grate the cheese

Grated Gruyere Cheese
You will need about 2 cups of un-packed shredded cheese for two sandwiches

Onions Starting to Brown
Don't forget to keep checking your onions. They will begin to change color and continue
to shrink in volume. I set a timer for 5 minute increments just to be sure I don't forget about
the onions while prepping the other ingredients.

Homemade French Bread Boule, Sliced
Slice your bread. Jess recommended sourdough but I have yet to make a good homemade
sourdough bread, so I used a boule of fresh homemade French bread instead

Slices of Bread, Halved
Because of the size of my boule, I only needed 2 slices of bread which I then cut in half

Onions Starting to Caramelize
Check the onions - they will really be developing some color now...

Slices of Bread Spread with Butter
Spread each slice of bread with butter - don't skimp on the butter or your sandwich will
stick terribly to the pan or griddle...

Onions Nearly Caramelized
Check the onions again...look at all that marvelous caramelization!

Heating Oiled Cast Iron Griddle
If you're using a cast iron pan or griddle to make your sandwiches, now would be the time
to begin pre-heating this element. I used this double-burner cast iron griddle to make my
sandwiches because I like grill marks on my grilled cheese.

Caramelized Onions Ready to be Deglazed
When your onions have reached this stage of caramelization, they're done.

White Wine
Now it's time for the white wine to de-glaze the pan and work loose all the caramelized sugars
from the bottom of the pan. Pick a white wine you enjoy drinking because it will flavor the
onions (and therefore the final sandwich)...

White Wine Added to Deglaze Pan
Add 3 Tablespoons of your white wine to the pan. Give the onions a good stir, scraping up
the bits of sticky caramelized onions on the bottom of the pan. 

Onions Absorbing White Wine
Let the onions continue to cook uncovered over medium-high heat for another 1-2 minutes
until the onions have absorbed all the wine and are a sweet and sticky mess as shown...

Slice of Bread Placed on Hot Griddle
You're ready to grill the sandwiches. Add one piece of buttered bread to the hot griddle or
pan, buttered side down

Layering Gruyere Cheese on Slice of Bread
Add a layer of cheese...

Gruyere Cheese Added to Slice of Bread
...and try to keep most of the cheese on the bread!

Caramelized Onions Added on Top of Cheese
...add a layer of caramelized onions....

Gruyere Cheese Added Over Onions
...and another layer of cheese...

Second Slice of Bread Atop Sandwich
...and finally top with the second slice of bread, buttered side facing up. Grill the sandwich
on one side for 3-5 minutes

Flipped Sandwich to Grill Second Side
Then flip the sandwich and grill for another 3-5 minutes. Be gentle when working the sandwich
loose from the griddle or pan or you may end up tearing the sandwich apart in your haste
to eat this sandwich =) If you're using a griddle like the one pictured, you can grill both
sandwiches simultaneously, otherwise you will need to repeat the same steps for the second
sandwich. Just make sure the pan or griddle stays hot during for both sandwiches...

French Onion Grilled Cheese Sandwich Overhead
This made an amazing meal - although 1 sandwich per person is plenty! I could have kept
eating sandwich after sandwich because I loved the flavors and textures, so it was a good thing
my boyfriend was around to eat the second sandwich before I got to it ;)

French Onion Grilled Cheese Sandwich Profile
This sandwich is for all French Onion Soup lovers who just want a sandwich instead.
Amazing and a definite keeper on my list of grilled cheese sandwiches...

Thoughts while scarfing...
  • If you love French Onion Soup, you will love this sandwich - the same comforting flavors, the same richness, the same aromas. Only there's even more bread, less liquid, and you can scarf this down with just your fingers!
  • You really need to be patient with your onions and let them caramelized for a full 25 minutes. Don't rush this or the onions won't develop their sweet, rich caramelized flavor that is so classic with French Onion Soup. If the onions start to burn before they caramelized, reduce the heat (but keep on sauteeing)
  • If you're not a fan of Gruyere cheese, I recommend trying this with Swiss. My boyfriend isn't a Gruyere cheese fan and when I make this again, I'll be making his with Swiss instead. Swiss doesn't have quite the same bite as Gruyere, but it's still a wonderful melting cheese and a little less fattening...
  • If you use a cast-iron griddle like the one pictured here, make sure you grease it well with oil or shortening before heating. Otherwise, the sandwiches will stick mercilessly to the griddle and you'll end up tearing them apart trying to get them off...


  1. I love this recipe and her website is really good. Very professional indeed!

  2. OH, I am a big fan of French Onion Soup but making the broth takes too long if you really want to get it right. :) This looks like an excellent solution to that problem! Great tutorial and thanks for turning us on to this sandwich and to Jessica. I didn't know her before now!

  3. Beautiful recipe and very nice explained! Food looks great on photos!

  4. Thank you so much for all your kind words and for featuring me…you are too sweet. Your sandwich turned out amazing! p.s sorry it took so long to comment…:) Have a great day!!



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