How many carbs is an average grilled cheese?

A grilled cheese sandwich is a classic comfort food made by grilling bread and cheese. It’s a simple but delicious sandwich that is loved by many. But when counting carbs, especially for low-carb or keto diets, it’s important to know how many carbs are in an average grilled cheese sandwich.

The Main Carb Sources in Grilled Cheese

The two main sources of carbs in a basic grilled cheese sandwich are:

  • Bread – Sliced bread provides the bulk of carbs from a grilled cheese. The type of bread can range widely in carb content.
  • Cheese – Even though cheese is high in fat and protein, most cheeses also contain some carbs.

Factors like the type and amount of bread and cheese used affect the total carb count. Additional ingredients added to the sandwich, such as butter or mayonnaise, can also contribute small amounts of carbs.

Carb Counts by Bread Type

The table below shows approximate carb counts for one slice of different bread types typically used for grilled cheese:

Bread Type Grams of Carbs Per Slice
White bread 15 grams
Sourdough bread 15 grams
Rye bread 15 grams
Wheat bread 15 grams
Multigrain bread 15 grams
Sliced bread 15 grams
Brioche bread 15 grams
Pumpernickel bread 15 grams
Gluten-free bread 15 grams
Keto bread 4 grams

As you can see, traditional wheat and white bread slices contain around 15 grams of carbs each. Gluten-free and keto bread options are significantly lower in carbs.

Carb Amounts in Cheese

Now let’s look at the carb content of popular cheese choices:

Cheese Type Grams of Carbs Per Ounce
Cheddar cheese 0.4 grams
Swiss cheese 0.4 grams
Gouda cheese 0.4 grams
Havarti cheese 0.4 grams
Monterey Jack cheese 0.4 grams
Mozzarella cheese 0.8 grams
Provolone cheese 0.4 grams
American cheese 1.6 grams

Most cheeses contain about 0.5 grams of carbs per ounce. The exception is American cheese, which has around 1.6 grams of carbs per ounce.

So in a 1-ounce slice of cheddar cheese there would be only a negligible amount of carbs. But because a grilled cheese often uses 2-3 slices of cheese or more, the carb contribution from cheese starts adding up.

Calculating Carbs for a Basic Grilled Cheese

Putting together the bread and cheese elements, here’s a breakdown for a basic grilled cheese made with:

  • 2 slices of white bread (30 grams carb)
  • 2 ounces cheddar cheese (0.8 grams carb)

The total adds up to **30.8 grams of carbs** for one grilled cheese sandwich with white bread and cheddar cheese.

If made with a lower carb keto bread option that’s just 4 grams per slice, the carb count would be only **5.6 grams.**

And using a slice of American cheese instead of cheddar would increase the carb count slightly to **32.4 grams.**

As a general rule, a grilled cheese on regular bread will have about **30-35 grams** of net carbs. But you can reduce the carbs by choosing low-carb bread options and watching your cheese portions.

Factors That Impact Carb Content

Some factors that can raise or lower the carb counts for grilled cheese include:

  • Type of bread – Carb range is 15 grams for regular bread down to 4 grams for keto bread.
  • Size and slices of bread – More or thicker slices add more carbs.
  • Amount of cheese – More cheese means more carbs.
  • Type of cheese used – Cheddar has less carbs than American cheese.
  • Added ingredients like butter or mayonnaise contribute some carbs.
  • Low-carb adjustments like lettuce wraps instead of bread substantially reduce carbs.

Monitoring portion sizes of bread and cheese is key. Overall the more bread and cheese that is piled on, the more the carb count will increase.

Tips for Lower Carb Grilled Cheese

If you’re aiming for a lower carb grilled cheese, here are some tips:

  • Use a keto or low-carb bread option like ThinSlim Foods, Aldi Zero Net Carb, or homemade cloud bread.
  • Opt for just one slice of bread instead of two.
  • Load up on fillings like tomato, bacon, avocado that add flavor without carbs.
  • Use lower carb cheese options like cheddar, Swiss, or mozzarella.
  • Watch your portions on cheese.
  • Consider lettuce wraps instead of bread to slash carbs.
  • Add healthy fats like olive oil, avocado oil, or butter to increase satisfaction.

With some simple substitutions and smart carb counting, you can still enjoy grilled cheese sandwiches even on lower carb eating plans.

Comparing Grilled Cheese to Other Sandwiches

How does a grilled cheese sandwich compare carb-wise to some other popular sandwiches?

Here is an overview:

Sandwich Type Total Carbs
Grilled cheese on white bread with cheddar 30 grams
Grilled cheese on keto bread with cheddar 5 grams
Peanut butter and jelly on white bread 45 grams
Ham and cheese on white bread 30 grams
Chicken salad sandwich on wheat bread 30 grams
BLT sandwich on white bread 30 grams
Tuna melt on English muffin 45 grams

A grilled cheese made with regular bread has a similar carb count to other basic sandwiches made with deli meats, tuna salad, chicken salad, or BLT fillings. Switching to a lower carb bread can reduce the carbs significantly.

Going without the bread altogether in a lettuce wrap sandwich also slashes the carbs substantially for any filling.

Low Carb Grilled Cheese Alternatives

In addition to the lettuce wrap option, some other ideas for low carb grilled cheese substitutes include:

  • Grilled cheese on portobello mushroom caps instead of bread
  • Grilled cheese made with sliced eggplant or zucchini instead of bread
  • Grilled cheese made with sliced bell peppers instead of bread
  • Cheese melted between two slices of tomato
  • Cheese melted on a chicken breast

With these creative approaches, you can transform grilled cheese into a low carb meal while keeping the cheesy goodness.

Keto Grilled Cheese Options

For keto diets that strictly limit carbs to 20-50 grams per day, a traditional grilled cheese sandwich won’t fit the plan.

But there are still ways to make keto-friendly grilled cheese options, such as:

  • Using cloud bread, flax bread, or chaffles for the “bun”
  • Lettuce wrap grilled cheese
  • Portobello mushroom cap grilled cheese
  • Zucchini slice grilled cheese
  • Bell pepper grilled cheese
  • Eggplant grilled cheese

With protein-rich fillings like turkey, ham, or chicken breast along with the cheese, these can make satisfying low carb meals.

Adding in sliced tomatoes, pickles, bacon, avocado, or other keto-approved toppings boosts nutrition while keeping carbs negligible.

Low Carb Grilled Cheese Recipes

To take your low carb grilled cheese to the next level, try some of these tasty recipe ideas:

Jalapeño Popper Grilled Cheese

  • Cheddar cheese slices
  • Cream cheese
  • Sliced jalapeños
  • Bacon or ham slices
  • On keto bread or cloud bread

The cream cheese adds creaminess while the jalapeños and bacon provide a spicy, crunchy texture.

Italian Grilled Cheese

  • Mozzarella cheese slices
  • Sliced cherry tomatoes
  • Fresh basil
  • Sliced prosciutto or salami
  • Balsamic glaze drizzle

This sandwich is like a caprese grilled cheese with an Italian flair.

Buffalo Chicken Grilled Cheese

  • Shredded rotisserie chicken
  • Buffalo hot sauce
  • Blue cheese crumbles
  • Lettuce wrap or low-carb bread

The classic flavors of buffalo chicken wings in grilled cheese form.

Reuben Grilled Cheese

  • Sliced corned beef
  • Sauerkraut
  • Thousand Island dressing
  • Swiss cheese slices
  • Rye or low-carb bread

All the elements of a Reuben sandwich toasted into an open-faced grilled cheese.

Caprese Grilled Cheese

  • Fresh mozzarella cheese slices
  • Slices of tomato
  • Fresh basil leaves
  • Balsamic glaze
  • Low-carb bread or portobello bun

Simple ingredients inspired by the classic Caprese salad.

Should You Eat Grilled Cheese on a Low Carb Diet?

Grilled cheese sandwiches are a comfort food favorite for many people. On a strict low carb, ketogenic diet bread-based sandwiches don’t fit due to the high carb count.

But there are still ways to enjoy melty grilled cheese while reducing the carbs by:

  • Choosing low carb bread options
  • Watching portion sizes of cheese
  • Using lettuce wraps or vegetable slices instead of bread
  • Adding low carb toppings like meat, veggies, or avocado

It comes down to mindful carb counting and getting creative with ingredient swaps. For most people following a low carb lifestyle, an occasional indulgence in grilled cheese in moderation may be acceptable as long as it fits their daily macros.

With some simple modifications, grilled cheese can be transformed into a gut-satisfying, low carb meal.

The Bottom Line

Here is a quick recap on how many carbs are in grilled cheese:

  • A basic grilled cheese sandwich on white bread with American cheese has about 32 grams of carbs.
  • On keto bread with cheddar cheese it may have only 5 grams of carbs.
  • Bread type and portion size has the biggest impact on total carbs.
  • Opting for low carb alternatives like lettuce wraps or using vegetable slices instead of bread can reduce carbs substantially.
  • Additions like meat, avocado, and veggies can make grilled cheese more of a low carb complete meal.

While traditional grilled cheese is high in carbs, there are many techniques to enjoy this classic comfort food while reducing carbs by making smart swaps. With creativity and carb-conscious ingredient choices, you can still satisfy cravings for melty grilled cheese even when limiting carbs.

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