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Tomato Soup & Fried Cheese Sourdough

The crispiest take on grilled cheese & tomato soup, and oh so satisfying on a cold winter night. The homemade tomato soup is such an easy recipe and the entire meal is done in under 30 minutes. Perfect for a night you'd rather cozy up under a blanket than spend it in the kitchen... or like us, needing to assemble a mountain of Christmas toys for your children.

I started this fried cheese bread when I didn’t have enough sourdough for everyone to have a grilled cheese sandwich. I stretched the leftover loaf out, and everyone loved it. Frankly, it's easier for the kids to handle and use the soup as a 'dip'.

Throw all the ingredients in a saucepan and let it do its magic. I usually simmer for 20-30 minutes, while stirring every few. This allows it to reduce a bit and the flavors to marry.

There is no better bread than sourdough. Especially homemade.

As for cheese, start with a block of sharp cheddar. NOT pre-shredded. It contains additives that keep it from melted and molding together to make this fried cheese what it is meant to be. Always choose the block of cheese!

Be generous with the butter!

The cast iron MUST BE HOT. If the butter doesn’t sizzle immediately when you fry the butter, its not hot enough. If it burns the bread quickly, obviously its running too hot. I found a low-medium was the sweet spot, but you know your stove.

I fry the butter on both sides first, then set aside. Then I do the cheese. I recommend using a cast iron that can hold a couple or few pieces to make this process efficient.

When frying the cheese, it doesn’t take much. A single thin layer is all you need. This will allow it to get crisp and stick to the bread. It might take a piece or two to get the hang of it. You’ll get there… its so worth it.

Scrape under the cheese halfway through...encourage it to stick to the bread. It will make flipping much easier. And look like this.



Soup Ingredients

  • 24 oz tomato sauce, homemade or store-bought {spaghetti sauce will work}

  • 1/2 cup cream

  • 1 cup chicken stock

  • 1 heaping tablespoon of basil pesto {KEY}

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano

  • 1 teaspoon basil

  • 1 teaspoon sugar

Fried Cheese Sourdough

  • Sourdough bread, sliced to desired thickness

  • Stick of butter, softened

  • 1.5 - 2 cups of fresh shredded sharp cheddar cheese, depending how many slices to fry

The Steps

Make the soup:

Place all ingredients in a medium sized heavy duty saucepan. Bring to a light simmer while you make the cheese bread. I like to reduce it a bit to make the soup thicker. Stir every few minutes.

The Fried Cheese Bread

  1. Heat a cast iron skillet to low-medium heat.

  2. Butter the soughdough on both sides, then fry on both sides.

  3. Set aside.

  4. Place a small handful of cheese in a thin layer about the size of the bread on the cast iron. It should immediately sizzle, but not burn. Place the bread on top of the cheese and lightly press down the bread with a spatula to help the two mold together. Halfway through, scrape under the fried cheese to loosen it a bit. It will flip better this way. Once its fried up, lift the bread, place some more cheese on the cast iron, and fry the other side.

  5. Let rest a few minutes, the cheese hardens and gets crispy! Then slice in half, in thin strips for dunking, or small pieces of crunchy fried sourdough croutons.



This soup keeps really well. However the fried cheese bread does not. It makes for easy leftovers when you only have to reheat the soup and fry up some cheese bread to go with.

If you're looking to strengthen the tomato flavor, add a few tablespoons of tomato paste.

Enjoy friends!

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