16 ways with grilled cheese

Give in to our mouthwatering variations on the classic comfort food

Classic Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Annabelle Breakey

Basic Grilled Cheese

You can make a fantastic sandwich with just great bread, fresh butter, and your favorite cheese:

1. Butter bread slices on 1 side. Turn them over. Lay 2 cheese slices on 1 bread slice. Top with the other bread slice, buttered side up.

2. Heat a medium frying pan over medium heat. Flick a drop of water into the pan; if it sizzles and evaporates, the pan is hot enough.

3. Put sandwich, buttered side down, in pan. Let it cook 3 to 4 minutes, or until golden and crunchy underneath. Turn and let cook another 3 to 4 minutes, or until golden and crunchy.

Choose a cheese that melts well, such as cheddar, jack, Colby, gruyère, Swiss, fontina, provolone, or brie.

But why stop there? 

Golden Gate Grilled Cheese

Annabelle Breakey

Golden Gate Grilled Cheese 

This version is like a Monte Cristo ― only better. The parmesan crust is pure genius.

Recipe:  Golden Gate Grilled Cheese

From Britta Glade, Orinda, CA

Grilled Pastrami, Swiss, and Sweet Onion Marmalade on Rye

Annabelle Breakey

Grilled Pastrami, Swiss, and Sweet Onion Marmalade on Rye 

Make the marmalade ahead so you can whip these babies out in just a few minutes. Leftover marmalade is terrific on pork chops and roast beef.

Recipe:  Grilled Pastrami, Swiss, and Sweet Onion Marmalade on Rye

From Jennifer Brumfield, Bellingham, WA

Crab and Avocado Grilled Cheese on Sourdough

Thomas J. Story

Crab and Avocado Grilled Cheese on Sourdough

This sandwich is also great served open faced, using toasted bread. Lynn Blair invented it one day when she was trying to figure out what to do with leftover crab.

Recipe:  Crab and Avocado Grilled Cheese on Sourdough 

Single Girl’s Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Artichokes, Tomato, and Black Olives

Thomas J. Story

Single Girl’s Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Artichokes, Tomato, and Black Olives 

This sandwich was Kimberly Feltz's comfort food when she was in her 20s, living on her own. "I put all of my favorite foods on it ― it's my 'Treat Yourself Special' grilled cheese sandwich."

Recipe:  Single Girl's Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Artichokes, Tomato, and Black Olives 

Grilled Fresh Mozzarella and Apricot on Sourdough

Annabelle Breaky

Grilled Fresh Mozzarella and Apricot on Sourdough 

Gaines invented this delicious, tangy-sweet sandwich to use the plentiful apricots from his neighbor's tree, which hung over the property line. "He told us we could have all the fruit on our side of the fence," Gaines explains.

Recipe:  Grilled Fresh Mozzarella and Apricot on Sourdough

From Bill Gaines, Manteca, CA

Roast Beef and Two-Chile Grilled Cheese on Onion Rolls

Annabelle Breakey

Roast Beef and Two-Chile Grilled Cheese on Onion Rolls

We love how spicy this sandwich is, but if you prefer less heat, cut back on the chipotle mayo and the green chiles.

Recipe:  Roast Beef and Two-Chile Grilled Cheese on Onion Rolls

From Alicia Lopez, Boise, ID

Hazelnut-crusted Grilled Cheese Sandwiches with Figs

Thomas J. Story

Hazelnut-crusted Grilled Cheese Sandwiches with Figs 

The flavors of a good a cheese plate ― salty, sweet, nutty ― mingle in this sandwich. We loved its hazelnut crust, and also enjoyed the sandwich just as much with ripe teleme cheese from California.

Recipe:  Hazelnut-crusted Grilled Cheese Sandwiches with Figs

Tarragon Vegetable Grilled Cheese on Sourdough

Thomas J. Story

Tarragon Vegetable Grilled Cheese on Sourdough 

Karen Kadlec uses a slice of regular sharp cheddar and a slice of black pepper cheddar, but the second cheese isn't widely available. If you can find it, by all means try it, but then skip the final sprinkle of black pepper.

Recipe:  Tarragon Vegetable Grilled Cheese on Sourdough 

Grilled Cheese Sandwiches with Bacon, Spinach, Tomatoes, and Fried Eggs

Thomas J. Story

Grilled Cheese Sandwiches with Bacon, Spinach, Tomatoes, and Fried Eggs

Esi Impraim's inspiration: chef Thomas Keller's cheesy fried-egg BLT, featured in the 2004 movie Spanglish. Impraim's version is quite different from the original ― and just as delicious.

Recipe:  Grilled Cheese Sandwiches with Bacon, Spinach, Tomatoes, and Fried Eggs

Grilled Eggplant and Brie Sandwiches with Olive Tapenade

Thomas J. Story

Grilled Eggplant and Brie Sandwiches with Olive Tapenade 

Charis Janda had trouble finding a restaurant that made eggplant sandwiches, so she invented this very tasty one. If you don't have time to make the tapenade, just substitute your favorite store-bought kind.

Recipe:  Grilled Eggplant and Brie Sandwiches with Olive Tapenade

Tomatillo Grilled Cheese and Bacon Sandwiches

Alex Farnum

Tomatillo Grilled Cheese and Bacon Sandwiches

The tartness of tomatillos add the same flavor profile of a green apple, which is a natural pairing with cheddar cheese. We added bacon because… well, why not?

Recipe: Tomatillo Grilled Cheese and Bacon Sandwiches

Simple, Classic Grilled Cheese

Thomas J. Story

Simple, Classic Grilled Cheese

“You can make this recipe with any kind of cheese,” says Peggy Smith of Northern California's Cowgirl Creamery. The key is to use a variety of different-textured cheeses—moist with dry, elastic with hard. The recipe is based on one in Cowgirl Creamery Cooks.

Recipe: Simple, Classic Grilled Cheese

Cheryl’s Grilled Cheese with Asian Pear

Thomas J. Story

Cheryl’s Grilled Cheese with Asian Pear

This variation on grilled cheese will satisfy lovers of a sweet-and-savory combo.

Recipe: Cheryl's Grilled Cheese with Asian Pear

Nan’s Grilled Mozzarella and Olive Sandwich

Thomas J. Story

Nan’s Grilled Mozzarella and Olive Sandwich 

This tasty variation on classic grilled cheese will delight any olive fan.

Recipe: Nan’s Grilled Mozzarella and Olive Sandwich

 

Kate’s Grilley

Thomas J. Story

Kate’s Grilley 

Cowgirl Creamery created this variation on their classic grilled cheese recipe in honor of their British friend Kate Arding, cofounder of the cheese magazine Culture. It features Wagon Wheel, one of the Cowgirls’ most delicious creations—a melty cow’s-milk cheese.

Recipe: Kate’s Grilley

 

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