Grilled cheese sandwiches are comfort food at their finest. Here are 12 ways to take a basic grilled cheese sandwich and turn it into something gourmet and fabulous.
Grilled cheese sandwiches are a comfort food classic. They’re warm, delicious, gooey, and familiar – often bringing back memories of being a kid.
They’re simple, too: cheese, bread, and butter is all you need to make a grilled cheese sandwich.
If you’re in the mood for an upgrade to this old favorite, why not go for a gourmet spin on the classic grilled cheese?
Here are 12 ways to make your grilled cheese sandwich stand out from the rest.
1. Use gourmet cheese.
A good grilled cheese sandwich starts with great cheese. Gourmet cheeses have been aged longer and have more complex flavors than your average grocery store cheese.
Visit your local cheese shop or deli counter for high quality cheese. You can even include more than one type of cheese to get the flavor you want.
- Cheddar is sharp and tangy.
- Swiss is nutty and sweet.
- Mozzarella is smooth and mild.
- Gruyere is rich and creamy.
- Feta is tangy and salty.
2. Add some fruit.
Fruit and cheese aren’t always the first pairing that comes to mind, but they can work together beautifully. They balance each other out perfectly – the sweetness and acidity of the fruit cutting through the richness of the cheese.
Sweeten up your grilled cheese by adding in some thinly sliced fruit like apples or pears. You can add raw slices for a bit of crunch or cook them down with some sugar to make a caramelized topping.
Try combinations like:
- Strawberry and cheddar
- Pear and feta
- Apple and swiss
3. Swap the butter.
Butter is incredible, but it’s always fun to change it up when you’re creating a twist on a recipe. Try using a different fat to grill your sandwich.
You can use mayonnaise instead of butter on the outside of your sandwich before grilling. The mayo will create a crispy and golden brown exterior.
You can also use one of many other fats for the perfect flavor:
- Avocado oil: mild, rich flavor
- Coconut oil: tropical, nutty flavor
- Olive oil: fruity, earthy flavor
- Bacon fat: smoky, salty flavor
4. Go green.
Add some color and nutrients to your grilled cheese by including leafy greens like spinach or arugula. If you want to keep your sandwich gooey and not too chewy, you can finely chop the greens before adding them to your sandwich.
Fresh herbs are another choice and will add a ton of flavor to your sandwich. Include herbs like basil, dill, thyme, or chives depending on the flavor you want. You can garnish your sandwich with herbs to create a beautiful presentation as well.
5. Get saucy.
Give your grilled cheese an extra zing by adding in a flavorful sauce or salsa. Many of your favorite condiments will be delicious on grilled cheese.
- Ranch dressing
- Barbecue sauce
- Sweet chili sauce
6. Make it meaty.
Add some protein to your sandwich with thinly sliced meats. The finer the cuts of meat you use, the more “gourmet” the impact will be. Try something like:
- finely sliced prime rib
- Sliced ham or smoked turkey
- pulled pork
- smoked salmon
You don’t want the meat to steal the show – it is a grilled cheese after all. Just a small amount for flavor will work perfectly. Since you’re not using a lot, you can choose a more high quality cut.
7. Add crunch.
Texture contrast always makes an impact in food. Since a classic grilled cheese is soft and gooey, try adding some crunch if you want to switch it up.
You can add crunch to your sandwich in a number of ways. Try adding in crunch fillings like:
- chopped nuts
- crispy bacon bits
- finely diced celery
- shredded carrot
- French fried onions or jalapenos
8. Include a dipping sauce.
Nothing goes with the childhood classic like something to dip it in. Adding a gourmet dip is one of the simplest ways to upgrade your grilled cheese sandwich.
Here are some ideas:
9. Think outside the bread.
The bread makes the sandwich, so putting a spin on it really makes an impact. Get creative with your bread choice by using something different than the usual plain sandwich bread, such as:
- artisan breads
- ciabatta rolls
- a flatbread or tortilla
10. Take it outside.
Take your grilled cheese to the next level by using a grill pan or outdoor grill.
You’ll get a smoky flavor that just makes everything more special.
11. Add sauteed vegetables.
Flavorful sautéed vegetables are a great way to add some gourmet flair to your grilled cheese.
Here are some ideas:
- sweet peppers
12. Make it stuffed.
Hollow out the inside of your grilled cheese sandwich with a small glass and fill it with a gourmet side, like:
- roasted potatoes
- blackened corn
- gourmet pickles
It’s just an upgraded presentation for your grilled cheese that makes all the difference.
For an ultimate grilled cheese, try making turkey grilled cheese sliders with pesto and cranberries. They are so full of texture and flavor. Or check out the collection of our favorite hot sandwiches for more tasty inspiration.
What’s your favorite way to make a grilled cheese sandwich? Let us know in the comments below!