Average American Eats 36 Grilled Cheese Sandwiches Yearly — And Most Prefer Diagonal Slices!

NEW YORK — Forget burgers and dogs. The U.S. is very clearly a grilled cheese nation, according to a new survey. In fact, America eats enough grilled cheese sandwiches in a year to fill nearly 900 Olympic-sized swimming pools.

The new state-by-state survey of 5,000 American adults finds that a single average person eats 36 grilled cheeses per year. If everyone in the nation’s population were to eat the average amount in a year, it would be enough to cover 29,180 football fields with the classic sandwich.

Grilled cheese sandwiches are the best for quick and easy weekday meals (53%), during cravings (38%) and on rainy days (27%). Three in five (62%) agree that grilled cheese is best made at home, and 40 percent say they prefer eating it for lunch more than any other meal time.

However, Mississippi prefers it as a breakfast option (24%), Kentucky finds it best as an afternoon snack (33%), South Dakota says it’s perfect for dinner (35%), and Oregon claims it’s best as a late-night snack (12%).

infographic on how people like to craft their grilled cheese
(Credit: SWNS)

Commissioned by Pepperidge Farm and conducted by OnePoll, the study reveals what respondents believe the hypothetically “perfect” grilled cheese looks like: two slices of American cheese on white bread, medium toasted, cut diagonally. However, many states disagreed on the intricacies involved in making the perfect grilled cheese sandwich.

Most agreed butter was the preferred condiment to use in the sandwich (70%), but several states argued how it should be used. California (30%), Georgia (40%), New Jersey (32%), North Carolina (28%), Pennsylvania (30%), South Carolina (29%) and Virginia (28%) all prefer to butter just the inside of the sandwich.

Connecticut (31%), Hawaii (33%), Maryland (31%), Mississippi (29%) and Utah (29%) all prefer to butter the inside and outside.

There was also plenty of debate on what goes in their grilled cheese. Ham (38%) and bacon (35%) are most popular throughout most states.  Many were purists, opting to only use cheese: Alabama (34%), Arkansas (42%), Iowa (39%), Kentucky (37%), Minnesota (37%), Ohio (32%), Tennessee (41%) and Wyoming (47%).

Rhode Island stood out for its preference: choosing fresh tomatoes (44%) over everything else.

Over half (58%) agree American cheese is the best option for the sandwich, as well.

a toasted sandwich sitting on top of a black pan
Grilled cheese in a pan (Photo by Gio Bartlett on Unsplash)

“We asked, and America answered: the right bread is crucial in making the best grilled cheese,” says spokesperson Ama Auwarter, Vice President of Bakery Marketing at Campbell Snacks, in a statement. “We couldn’t agree more. A bread that encapsulates that delicious, fresh-from-the-oven taste is bound to elevate every grilled cheese.”

Results also show the specific and important role bread plays in creating the “perfect” grilled cheese. 

While 43 percent say the bread-to-cheese ratio was “the most important component” in the sandwich, bread is the most important in Connecticut (23%), Maryland (22%) and New York (24%). 

Over half (52%) agree the correct way to cut their grilled cheese was diagonal. That’s compared to 21% who slice their sandwich vertically and 10% who go for the horizontal cut. Interestingly 17% don’t cut their grilled cheese at all.

The preferred types of bread to use are white (57%), sourdough (24%) and wheat (23%). Across the board, all states agree white bread is the best to use.

Four in 10 (42%) say they prefer thicker bread over thinner bread, preferred by 33 percent. The preferred bread needs to toast well (57%), have a crispy outside (51%), hold the ingredients together (39%) and have a soft inside (29%).

The level of toastiness is up for some debate, however. Three in four (74%) say bread needs to be “medium” toasted, though states like California (20%), New Mexico (20%) and North Carolina (23%) prefer lightly toasted bread.

Florida and Maine both prefer their bread heavily toasted (15%), though Colorado, Kentucky and Oklahoma all prefer their bread thoroughly burnt (2%).

Survey methodology:

This random double-opt-in survey of 5,000 Americans, 100 from each state was commissioned by Pepperidge Farm between Mar. 8 and Mar. 25, 2024. It was conducted by market research company OnePoll, whose team members are members of the Market Research Society and have corporate membership to the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) and the European Society for Opinion and Marketing Research (ESOMAR).


  1. Just shows how inaccurate and poorly executed polls can be. The writer of the article should have paid more attention in English class as well, for example, ‘Forgot burgers and dogs.’ And the sentence about if everyone in the nations population ate the average amount in a year, well, we do – that’s how we ascertain the average. And cutting a sandwich horizontally would seem difficult ; would you just slice through the cheese, not even cutting the bread, similar to filleting a fish? Anyway, American cheese is gross, white bread is for children, and I strongly doubt the average sandwiches consumed per person per year.

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