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Vegan Bacon Grilled Cheese

  • Author: Liz Madsen
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 2 Sandwiches 1x
  • Diet: Vegan


Gooey, cheesy, and really easy, this incredible Vegan Grilled Cheese with Bacon is the epic warm and toasty sandwich you've been longing for.


Units Scale
  • 4 slices sandwich bread (we used thick-sliced sourdough)
  • 4 tablespoons vegan mayo or vegan butter, or more, as need (we prefer vegan mayo)
  • 1-2 cups vegan cheese shreds (see note 2 for brand recommendations + substitutions)
  • 1-2 cups vegan bacon (we used homemade soy curl bacon, but see note 3 for substitutions)
  • 2 thin slices beefsteak tomato or large heirloom tomato (or any tomato), optional
  • 4-8 ice cubes, as needed (see step 7)


  1. Prepare tomato: If you are using tomato, slice your tomatoes thinly and lay them on a doubled paper towel and wrap them loosely so both sides of the tomato are covered in two layers of paper towel. Allow to sit for about 10 minutes while you do other prep work. This is an optional step but it really helps reduce the liquid in the tomato slice which, if left in the tomato, can make your sandwich soggy.
  2. Prepare bread:​ Using a small spatula or a butter knife, add an even layer (not too thin) of vegan mayo or vegan butter on one side of each slice of bread.
  3. Heat the skillet: Place a large nonstick skillet (one that you have a lid for) on a burner and let it heat on medium heat (if you are on a power burner, you may want to go slightly lower than this) for about a minute or two.
  4. A Note about the vegan bacon, if using: If you are using previously refrigerated soy curl bacon OR store bought vegan bacon, you will want to heat it up (or cook according to package instructions if you bought your vegan bacon from a store). Adding cold vegan bacon to the grilled cheese will inhibit cheese melting.
  5. Note: Cook one sandwich at a time. We've tried to save time by cooking two sandwiches at once and it usually ends in disaster as these are big and rather full sandwiches, making them a little challenging to flip. We also need room in the pan for the ice.
  6. Assemble the vegan grilled cheese: Construct your sandwich on the hot pan. Place down one piece of bread (butter side down), followed by a heavy sprinkling of vegan cheese shreds (or 1-2 slices, which if you are using, sometimes spraying each side with a mist of oil can help with melting). Then add the heated soy curl bacon in a single layer. Place a slice of tomato on top, if using. Try and keep everything as level as possible. Then place another layer of vegan cheese on top and finally the second slice of bread, butter side up this time.
  7. Use the ice cubes: This step really helps melt the vegan cheese. Add one ice cube on either side of the sandwich (it can be further away from the sandwich, that's fine) and quickly place the lid on the pan. This does two things: first, the steam will envelop the whole sandwich, allowing the cheese to melt faster; and second, it will cool the bottom of the pan, preventing the sandwich from burning while the vegan cheese melts. 
  8. Cook the sandwich: Allow the sandwich to cook for a few minutes. As it cooks, lift the lid periodically to check the edges of the sandwich for the amount of cheese melting. If the ice cubes have fully melted, add more (only two at a time, don't add too much ice or your sandwich may get soggy on the bottom) and quickly place the lid back on. This way the cheese in the center of the sandwich will also melt. One way to test if the sandwich is ready is to give the top of the sandwich a light poke with the spatula or your finger. If everything is melted, the cheese should be fused with the vegan bacon, tomato, and bread. If done correctly, the bottom of the sandwich should only be lightly cooked. So long as the cheese has fused everything together, you're ready to flip.
  9. Flip the sandwich: Using a wide and thin nonstick spatula, carefully use one hand to swiftly slide the spatula under the sandwich and one hand to press down the top and flip the sandwich in one fluid motion. You can cook without ice now, and cook for about 2-4 minutes more to brown the other side of the bread. Once you have a golden brown crust on the sandwich, you're done with this sandwich.
  10. Repeat steps 6-9: If making a second vegan bacon grilled cheese, repeat steps 6 through 9 with new ice. Note that your pan may be hotter now, so it may go quicker and you may want to lower the heat just a tad.
  11. Serve:​ Once your sandwich is cooked to desired crispness, you can plate it and enjoy. 
  12. Storage: We recommend enjoying vegan bacon grilled cheese fresh, but if you do have leftovers, wait till they cool and store in an airtight container in the fridge. Reheat in a heated nonstick skillet on both sides until thoroughly warmed.


  • Note 1: Ideally you want to use a vegan mayo or vegan butter made with oil as that is what will help really crisp the bread. Earth Balance Original Vegan Butter is great as are most store bought vegan mayo brands.
  • Note 2: We used Violife Vegan Cheddar Shreds in this recipe and we feel this is the best vegan cheese for this recipe, but others will work. We've also made this recipe with Daiya shreds with success as well. We've tried a LOT of different brands of vegan cheese, and what we've found is that shreds work better than slices. But with our techniques, most vegan cheeses should work, and you pick what flavor works best for you, whether that's mozzarella style, cheddar style, or something more unique (some brands make a vegan gouda which is delicious in a vegan grilled cheese!). If you prefer to make some cheese, try my 5-minute melty vegan cheddar or melty vegan mozzarella. They're delicious, a lot healthier, and easy to make since they're basically a super thick and stretchy vegan cheese sauce.
  • Note 3: This recipe calls for my homemade soy curl bacon, which can be made fresh or made up to 4 days in advance. Or you can make it way in advance and freeze it! Just make sure that any cold vegan bacon is reheated in a pan before making your vegan grilled cheese. You can use my vegan bacon bits (made with TVP or soy curl "crumbs" OR my portobello bacon as other homemade vegan bacon options. You can also just buy vegan bacon at the store and cook it separately according to package instructions, then just use it when my recipe calls for the vegan bacon. You can also omit it if you'd just like to make a regular vegan grilled cheese.
  • Note 4: Don't want to use vegan bacon or tomato? That's fine, ignore them and follow the recipe steps, even with the ice cubes. I promise, it makes for much better melty vegan grilled cheese sandwiches!
  • Note 5: This vegan grilled cheese recipe makes two sandwiches, so you'll need 4 pieces of bread. Of course, you can easily increase or decrease the recipe based on how many sandwiches you'd like to make.
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Category: Entree
  • Method: Stove top
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Vegan Grilled Cheese, Vegan Sandwich