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A Hot Mess: Grilled Cheese with Sauerkraut and Dijon

Grilled Cheese with Sauerkraut and Dijon | Umami GirlOf course I knew it wasn’t a good idea to search “hot mess” on Urban Dictionary. Maybe it’s because I watched the whole two seasons of Broad City in as many days, but I couldn’t stop myself anyway.

Turns out it wasn’t a good idea. It was a great idea. Here’s what the top entry said:

“No one set of guidelines can perpetually determine what distinguishes a ‘hot mess’ from an above-average train wreck. Regardless of the circumstances, you know it when you see it; because they are typically conspicuous, and obviously they are always awesome.”

I couldn’t say exactly what that means, but I know I like it.

I am totally not comfortable using the term hot mess to describe a person. I’ve tried it a couple times and have discovered what it feels like to loathe and laugh at myself at the same time.

But a grilled cheese? That I can work with.

This one fits the description perfectly: bold flavors of aged cheddar, sauerkraut and Dijon (conspicuous!), a tangle of fermented cabbage and just enough cheese to ooze out beautifully while still basically keeping its shit together. (Obviously always awesome!) Crisp grilled rye. (You know it when you see it, amirite?)

Grilled Cheese with Sauerkraut and Dijon | Umami GirlPlus, unlike some other super-excellent grilled cheese riffs that are a little high-maintenance, this one you can make with minimal effort when you’ve just rolled out of bed.

Like the hot mess that you are.

Nope, still can’t pull off saying that.

See you soon.

 Carolyn xx

Grilled Cheese with Sauerkraut and Dijon

Preparation 00:05 Cook Time 00:05 Total Time 0:10
Serves 1     adjust servings

This is my current favorite grilled cheese, with a high satisfaction to effort ratio. Some extra-special grilled cheeses make kind of a pain in the ass out of what's supposed to be an easy meal (and hey, I cook those sometimes too). But this one has all the panache and minimal fuss.


  • 2 pieces good seeded rye bread
  • Dijon mustard, to taste
  • 2 slices organic American cheese
  • 1 ounce extra-sharp cheddar cheese, sliced thin
  • 1/3 cup sauerkraut
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons salted butter, softened


Spread some mustard on the inside of each slice of bread. Arrange one slice of American and half the cheddar in a single layer on each slice of bread, making sure to distribute the cheddar like a cheese boss who gets what she wants out of every bite. Lay the sauerkraut on the bottom slice and top with the top slice. Spread half the butter over the outside of the top slice of bread.

Place the sandwich buttered side down in a skillet over medium-high heat. Butter the outside of the top slice with the remaining butter. Cook, adjusting heat as necessary, until bread is golden brown and cheese is melted, flipping once halfway through. Cut and serve immediately.


Recipe Notes

My favorite sauerkraut these days is Deep Root Organic, which is all raw and probiotic and studded with magic caraway seeds.

2 reviews



Hi there, I'm Carolyn, and I'm delighted you're here. I'm a NYC-area food, travel, yoga, coffee, wine, running, music making and book obsessive with a great family and a love for sharing it all with you. Grab a drink and come on in. Learn more.