Some say it's a lunchtime tradition at Duke. Others say you're not a real Duke student until you've craved one. In the end, we can all agree the Divinity Cafe grilled cheese is truly something that is unique to Duke and only Duke. 

Mouth-watering Goodness

This Divinity Cafe entree is the perfect amount of crispy sweet bread, ooey-gooey salty cheese, and stringy texture.

You may ask: what's so special about this grilled cheese? I've had other grilled cheese across the country and at home that just don't quite compare to this simple sandwich. 

Until you've have had a Divinity Cafe grilled cheese for lunch after a nasty chemistry midterm or a rainy morning, you'll never understand the lure of its buttery goodness. This grilled cheese is undoubtedly different from all the others, and it's not just because it's a home-y comfort food.

The Secret Ingredient

The key to the Divinity Cafe grilled cheese is clarified butter.

What is Clarified Butter?

Clarified butter is butter that has been heated such that the milk solids and water have been separated from the butterfat. 

Less milk solids correlate to a higher smoke-point, which contributes to a higher temperature you can fry the bread. As a result, the bread will be crisper without the burnt taste of over-heated butter.

Looking at the big picture, the Divinity Cafe's grilled cheese could be described as the perfect amount of contrast between the light, crispiness of the honey wheat toasted bread and the liquid golden saltiness of the cheese. 

Now that we've discussed the food science of this famous grilled cheese, get the taste anywhere with this recipe:

THE Divinity Cafe Grilled Cheese

  • Prep Time:5 secs
  • Cook Time:10 secs
  • Total Time:15 secs
  • Servings:1
  • Easy


  • 2 Slices Honey Wheat Bread
  • 4 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
  • 2 Slices Sharp Cheddar Cheese
  • 1 Slice Provolone Cheese
bread, toast, sweet, grilled cheese sandwich, pastry, cake, honey, butter
Christin Urso
  • Step 1

    In a saucepan, add the butter and melt over low heat, making sure not to boil the butter.
    Heat until white solids have risen to the top of the liquid.
    Strain through a double cheesecloth and store for up to 1 month.
    (It's better to use a large amount of butter to create a large batch of clarified butter because it'll be easier to strain a larger amount.)

    dairy, butter, dairy product, milk, cheese
    Caroline Ingalls
  • Step 2

    Pre-heat a large frying pan until it is hot to the touch.
    Once the butter has been solidified, spread approximately two tablespoons of the clarified butter on one side of each slice of bread.

    toast, wheat, bread, cereal, rye, flour, sandwich, wheat bread
    Christin Urso
  • Step 3

    In the frying pan, lay down each slice of bread (butter side down).
    Do not touch for 2 minutes.

    wheat, bread, toast, cereal, rye, flour, wheat bread, crust, sandwich, brown bread
    Jocelyn Hsu
  • Step 4

    Lay down the two slices of cheddar and single slice of provolone on one slice of bread.

    cheddar, dairy product, dairy, milk, cheese
    Caroline Ingalls
  • Step 5

    Once the edges of the cheese have melted such that the corners at drooping toward the pan, put the non-cheesed slice of bread on the cheese slice, soft-side down. Flip!

    spatula, spork, ladle
    Jocelyn Hsu
  • Step 6

    Keep toasting until browned to taste.
    Once satisfied with the color of the toasted bread, remove the glorious grilled cheese from the pan and replace into a plate.

    toast, sweet, bread, butter, grilled cheese sandwich, cake, honey, pastry, cheese
    Christin Urso
  • Step 7

    Cut a photogenic cross-section and marvel at the sex you just created on the stove. Dig in!

    toast, bread, sweet, cheese, honey, grilled cheese sandwich, butter
    Christin Urso

Clarified butter - Glossary - How to cook". BBC Good Food. Retrieved 2010-06-07.