19 Ways to Make an Ordinary Grilled Cheese Extraordinary

Extraordinary Grilled Cheese


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Extraordinary Grilled Cheese

A Toast to Grilled Cheese

A feel-good classic, the grilled cheese sandwich can be simple, elaborate, or totally offbeat. At its core are two slices of bread, sliced or grated cheese, and a little butter. The basic steps: Butter each slice of bread on one side, place in a nonstick pan butter side down, top with cheese, cover the pan, and cook over medium heat until the cheese starts to melt and bubble. Flip one slice of bread on top of the other, press them gently together, flip the sandwich over, and it's done. Here are 19 ways to make this iconic comfort food even better.

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Incredible Bread
Pizza Style


While a grilled cheese sandwich is not a pizza, these two favorites do share common elements: cheese and dough. To amp up the similarity, add a little tomato sauce, some pepperoni sausage, onions, and a little olive oil to your grilled cheese creation.

Related: The Craziest Pizzas in Every State

Cobb Melt

Cobb Melt

A popular variation on the grilled cheese sandwich theme is the "melt." While both have bread and cheese, a melt puts the focus on the other ingredients. A Cobb melt, popularized by Dave Danhi's Grilled Cheese Truck (driven until recently around the streets of Los Angeles), combines traditional grilled cheese sandwich and Cobb salad ingredients –some combination of hard-boiled egg, chicken, bacon, avocado, blue cheese, chives, and cherry tomatoes.

Related: 22 Quick and Easy Cold Salads for People Who Hate Lettuce

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Not only can you experiment with different kinds of bread, you can take bread right out of the mix: Consider swapping it out for waffles. You'll get a whole new set of tastes and textures, no matter what combination of cheese and extras you put inside.

Related: 25 Places to Find Amazing Waffles Across the Country



What's a TBACO? A turkey bacon, avocado, cheese, and onion sandwich. Additions such as tomato spoil the fun of the name but make the sandwich even better. Add some spinach or basil leaves and you have a healthier version of a BLT that's dripping with goodness. Also consider using a little balsamic dressing — and mozzarella as the cheese.

Related: 25 Amazing Sandwiches From Around the World

A Little Brie

A Little Brie

There's something wonderful about having sweet and creamy cheese flavors in a sandwich. Consider using slices of brie cheese on thick-sliced bread — sourdough or another artisanal bread would be a good choice — with unsalted butter and a dab of sweet mango chutney. It will be gooey, but good.

Related: The Funkiest Cheeses in the World

Sweet Basil

Sweet Basil

Two slices of whole wheat bread with sliced, fresh tomatoes, a couple of basil leaves, havarti cheese, and a little honey make a really sweet grilled cheese sandwich. That's the recommendation of the blog Oh, Sweet Basil, which includes pictures of the Oprah-endorsed final product that will leave your mouth watering.

Related: How to Grow Plants and Vegetables From Kitchen Scraps

Keep Caramelized Onions on Hand

Sweet Onion

To add both sweetness and vegetable goodness, consider cooking onions to add to the sandwich. Just sauté sliced onions in butter until soft, then add them to the sandwich as the cheese is melting. Not only will the sandwich taste more delicious, but the kitchen will smell wonderful.

Related: 15 Simple, Tasty Sandwiches That Cost $1 or Less to Make

Fine and Fancy
Dijon Mustard
Jalapeño Popper Grilled Cheese

Hot and Spicy

The Grilled Cheese Grill also offers a jalapeño popper version that includes grilled jalapeños, Colby Jack cheese, cream cheese, and corn tortilla chips on sourdough bread. There's the option of adding grilled ham to this already hearty combination for more protein.

Related: Can You Handle These 15 Hot and Spicy Dishes?

Sinful Sandwich

A Sinful Sandwich

There's a sandwich from the Grilled Cheese Grill that's equal measures of funny and indulgent. "You may want to eat this in private," owner Matthew Breslow says on his menu about the sandwich he calls "The Jaime." The cheese is cream cheese, and it's complemented with grilled banana and Nutella on cinnamon swirl bread.

Related: You Have to Try These Famous Sandwiches in Every State

Marmite Sandwich

Mighty Marmite

One of the great tricks for making a unique grilled cheese sandwich is to offset the often smooth and creamy taste of the cheese with something sharp. Marmite, the flavorful spread made from yeast extract that has been popular in Britain for than a century, is one tasty option. Just spread a little on the non-buttered side of each slice of bread before adding the cheese. Don't use too much — it's powerful stuff!

Related: Where to Find a Good, Cheap Sandwich in Every State

Loaded Veggie

Loaded Veggie

No list of grilled cheese sandwich options would be complete without mentioning mushrooms. A sandwich recipe from the blog The Dreaming Foodie includes everything from spinach to tomatoes to onions to mushrooms — all brought together within the loving embrace of cheese and bread.

Jeff Wasserman/shutterstock


The Grilled Cheese Grill (now closed) in Portland, Oregon, offered a few fun ideas. One was that merely by cutting off the crusts, you can take someone back to their preschool days. Just add a juice box, and they'll be in full nostalgia mode.

Related: 50 Super Easy Back-to-School Lunches

Extra Cheesy

Extra Cheesy

There's no rule that says you have to add a ton of extra ingredients to make a brilliant grilled cheese sandwich. Sometimes you really want only bread and cheese. One way to make that more fun is to try different combinations of cheese, as each brings a different flavor to the sandwich. Consider combining mozzarella, cheddar, and havarti, for example.

Lightened Up

Lightened Up

If you're counting calories, you may want to find ways to cut down on the cheese in your sandwich. Using less than an ounce of cheese — and adding solid and tasty extras such as onions, celery, or even thinly sliced apple — is one approach; you can also use lower-calorie bread and swap out butter for a low-calorie margarine. Be aware, however, that you may need to cook the sandwich longer and at lower heat.

Olga Miltsova/shutterstock


Can you even make a grilled cheese sandwich without cheese? There are quite a few ways to do it using vegan cheese substitute products. The blog It Doesn't Taste Like Chicken offers a recipe for a vegetable-filled grilled cheese sandwich using a vegan nacho cheese substitute.

Cheesecake Style
Oleksandra Yurchenko/istockphoto


There's a reason cheesecake is served with berries. If you love the combination of sweet and savory, think about adding some berries to a grilled cheese sandwich. Blackberries, blueberries, and a variety of dried fruits are all fair game. You may want to start with a sweeter cheese, such as cream cheese.

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