Breakfast Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Ham, Egg & Apple Butter

Breakfast Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Ham, Poached Egg, Apple Butter -

One thing I love about traveling is that is gives me all sorts of fresh ideas about food and recipes to develop when I return home.  When recently in Old Quebec City, we had a great breakfast that was full of simple twists on ordinary breakfast foods reviving the sense of what breakfast could be, at least for me.

I should pause to confess I often suffer from ‘breakfast boredom’.  Somehow mentally it feels like there are about five things a person should eat for breakfast: cereal, toast or bagels, eggs, pancakes, waffles, oatmeal or hot cereal.  Perhaps a gross over simplification but that’s how it plays out in my mind, certainly on busy weekdays.  I would always personally pick something with more protein for breakfast, both because it’s what I like but also to give me sustained energy for the day.

Breakfast Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Ham, Poached Egg, Apple Butter -

Somehow it seems ‘normal’ to eat breakfast foods for lunch or dinner but weird to do the reverse.  Last year my son picked up a stomach virus, twice in six months, that really left him laid flat.  He missed a week of school each time and after the main symptoms had passed, he really was unable to eat anything comfortably; except grilled cheese sandwiches.  The doctor and I pondered why his body could tolerate that over more bland options but candidly did not care as long as he could eat something.  So grilled cheese sandwiches it was every day before school for about a month.  It stretched my thinking to remember most any food is good for breakfast as long as it’s not loaded with sugar.

Breakfast Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Ham, Poached Egg, Apple Butter -

One of my favorite breakfast options is something we ate daily when traveling in Costa Rica; Gallo Pinto.  Black beans and rice is a local favorite and I was fortunate to get a recipe for an authentic version while in Costa Rica and make it often at home.  Full of meat-free protein that is filling for a great start to the day.

Breakfast Grilled Cheese Sandwich -

While pondering our breakfast choices at the hip Pain Beni restaurant in Old Quebec City, my son spotted is old standby: grilled cheese.  This version was a bit more special with a slice of local ham, a poached egg, a smear of apple butter and made with local Canadian cheddar cheese on raisin bread.  He was over the moon and after taking a bite I knew I needed to make it at home.

Breakfast Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Ham, Poached Egg, Apple Butter -

It is truly a sandwich for any meal of the day with gooey melted cheese, sweetness from the bread and apple butter, salty ham and a perfect poached egg.  The combination is almost unbearably delicious.  After chatting with my local deli-man I used a thick ½ inch slice of a local artisan ham (Tender Belly) that is to die for.  A little less dense than traditional ham, it has an easy bite (no tugging on it like a dog pulling on the other end of a rope toy).

I substituted aged English Cheddar cheese which has a stand-up-and-take note saturation of cheddar flavor.  Purchased Apple Butter may be used or this simple Slow Cooker Apple Butter recipe would work great (and you’ll definitely have lots left for other recipes).  If you aren’t familiar with how to make a poached egg, I’ll share how to make one perfect every time!  Regardless of when you make this, for breakfast, brunch, late after a night on the town, as hangover food or any other time, it’s perfect, plain and simple.

Breakfast Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Ham, Egg & Apple Butter

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 5 minutes

Yield: Ingredients listed for one sandwich, can be multiplied for desired number of sandwich servings

The mix of flavors in this breakfast sandwich meld together for a perfect bite of gooey cheese, sweet raisin bread, salty ham, egg and homey apple butter. Once served the yolk of the egg can be punctured to cover the sandwich and each forkful should add a bit of the apple butter.

The recipe described the ingredients per sandwich and can be multiplied for the number of sandwiches being prepared.


  • 2 slices Cinnamon Raisin Bread (gluten-free or regular; I used Udi's Gluten-Free Cinnamon Raisin Bread)
  • 1 tablespoon of Unsalted Butter (optional if making the sandwich in a skillet)
  • 1/4-1/3 cup grated Aged English Cheddar Cheese (adjust the amount based on the size of the bread you are using and preferred amount of cheese)
  • 1 large Egg
  • White Vinegar
  • 1/2 inch thick slice Ham (can be custom cut in a butcher or deli department); large enough to cover the sandwich
  • Apple Butter (purchased or homemade)


    Preferred method to prepare the grilled cheese sandwich:
  1. In a sandwich maker with griddle plates (smooth) or using the reverse side of waffle plates, heated to 350 degrees, place on slice of the bread on the heated griddle plate, add the cheese and top with the second slice of cheese. Allow to cook until golden brown with all the cheese melted inside.
  2. Alternate cooking method: using a heavy skillet over medium heat, melt the butter and place a slice of the bread in the skillet, cover with cheese, add the second slice of bread on top. Cook until the cheese begins to melt or the bottom slice of bread becomes golden brown. Carefully flip the sandwich over using a spatula and cook until the second slice of bread is golden in color and the cheese is melted.
  3. Poaching the egg:
  4. While the sandwich is cooking bring a small skillet of water to simmering. Add a splash of white vinegar to the water.
  5. Carefully crack the egg and place it in a small bowl or ramekin. Slide the egg gently into the water careful not to break the yolk. Allow the egg to simmer in the water for 3 minutes, spooning some of the cooking water over the top of the egg toward the end. Remove with a slotted spatula or spoon, allowing any excess water to drain back into the pan of water.
  6. Top the prepared grilled cheese sandwich with a slice of the ham and the poached egg on top. Add a dollop of apple butter to the plate and serve immediately.



  1. says

    I’m like your son, grilled cheese always sounds good to me too! This one sounds over the top good though. Love the idea of combining it with apple butter.
    And I totally agree about getting fun new culinary ideas when traveling!

  2. says

    When my oldest was younger, grilled cheese was confused with girl cheese. Now I can’t eat it without a chuckle. Can’t wait to try yours. Do I have to wait until breakfast?

  3. Colleen Cayes says

    The only words that are coming to mind right now are “religious” – OMG, “Oh, Lord.” I can almost taste your photos. I’m seeing this recipe as a perfect brunch for guests, lunch on a rainy day with a cup of tomato soup, or a late dinner with neighbors and a chilled stein of lager or a glass of chianti. Can you tell just how HUNGRY reading this has made me?! Thank you for the inspiration.

  4. says

    I have never had apple butter, but want to try to make it actually. This sounds like a great breakfast! I think the kids would honestly like it a lot, I can’t eat eggs, so I would have to skip that part 🙁

  5. Kristi says

    I am always looking for new breakfast ideas for our kids in the morning. This sounds like a perfect idea. I would probably change it to bacon as I am not sure I can get them to do ham in the morning but would not be against trying it. Looks delicious.

  6. Tracey says

    Never would have thought to try a breakfast grilled cheese but that looks really good! Will try this recipe out sometime this week.

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