5 recipes + 25 inspired ideas

I’ve eaten a lot of grilled cheese sandwiches in my years on Earth, and I still feel a childlike glee at the sight of their melty, gooey texture as I pull apart those triangles (yes, they have to be cut diagonally) to reveal the perfect, golden, shiny strands of warm cheese that stretch between them. I love a traditional grilled cheese sandwich—you can never go wrong with a classic that you can come back to again and again.

And while it’s hard to beat perfection, I think we’ve achieved it with our creative grilled cheese sandwiches. They appeal to my more adult palate (I’m still not a fan of broccoli) while still providing all the gooey, melty goodness I fell in love with as a kid. Give our delicious grilled cheese sandwich ideas a try. We bet you’ll find a new favorite, too.

LauriPatterson / E+ via Getty Images

With its salty ham and creamy brie, this sandwich is ridiculously decadent. But we think you deserve it.

Ingredients

  • 2 slices of your favorite bread

  • Several slices of brie (enough to cover the bread)

  • 2 slices prosciutto, thinly sliced

  • 4 to 6 fresh basil leaves

  • 2 tablespoons melted butter

Directions

  1. On a slice of bread, place the brie. Garnish with prosciutto and basil leaves.

  2. Cover with the second slice of bread.

  3. Brush the outside of both slices of bread with the melted butter and place them in a cold skillet. Turn the skillet on to medium heat.

  4. Cook until golden brown on both sides and melted inside.

Cheese Croque-Cheese with Pear, Bacon and Brie

LauriPatterson / E+ via Getty Images

Okay, so let’s be clear, I love brie on my grilled cheese sandwich. It’s just so… melty. This crispy-on-the-outside, soft-on-the-inside sandwich is the perfect combination of salty, creamy, and sweet.

Ingredients

  • 2 slices of your favorite bread

  • Several slices of brie cheese

  • 3 slices of crispy, cooked bacon

  • 2 slices of pear

  • 2 tablespoons melted butter

Directions

  1. On a slice of bread, add the brie, then the bacon, then the pear.

  2. Cover with the second piece of bread.

  3. Brush the outside of both slices of bread with the melted butter and place them in a cold skillet. Turn the skillet on to medium heat. Cook until both sides are golden brown and the insides are melted.

grilled macaroni and cheese

LauriPatterson / E+ via Getty Images

And now, a sandwich that doesn’t need a reason. It has its own reason for being. And if you do need a reason, it’s a great way to use up leftover mac and cheese.

Ingredients

  • 2 slices of your favorite bread

  • ¼ cup shredded cheddar cheese, divided

  • ¼ cup macaroni and cheese, warmed

  • 2 tablespoons melted butter

Directions

  1. On a slice of bread, sprinkle half of the cheese.

  2. Top with macaroni, remaining cheese and second slice of bread.

  3. Brush the outside of both slices of bread with the melted butter and place them in a cold skillet. Turn the skillet on to medium heat.

  4. Cook until golden brown on both sides and melted inside.

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LauriPatterson / E+ via Getty Images

grilled cheese with tomato pesto

emrah_oztas / iStock / Getty Images Plus via Getty Images

I love the flavors of a caprese salad with fresh mozzarella, fragrant basil, and juicy heirloom tomatoes. This is the super gooey version of that.

Ingredients

  • 2 slices of bread

  • 3 tablespoons prepared pesto

  • 2 thick slices of fresh mozzarella cheese

  • 2 large slices of old tomatoes

  • 2 tablespoons melted butter

Directions

  1. Spread both slices of bread with the pesto.

  2. Top one slice of bread with mozzarella and heirloom tomatoes. Place the other slice of bread on top.

  3. Brush the outside of both slices of bread with the melted butter and place them in a cold skillet. Turn the skillet on to medium heat.

  4. Cook until golden brown on both sides and melted inside.

Grilled Cheese and Mushroom Sandwich

Mrs. Emil / iStock via Getty Images

This delicious umami cheese sandwich is about as delicious as gouda. I’ll make it myself.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 2 ounces sliced ​​mushrooms

  • ¼ cup thinly sliced ​​onions

  • Pinch of salt

  • Pinch of dried thyme

  • 2 slices of your favorite bread

  • ¼ cup grated gouda cheese

  • 2 tablespoons melted butter

Directions

  1. In a skillet, heat the olive oil until shimmering. Add the mushrooms, onions, salt and thyme.

  2. Cook, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms and onions are golden brown and tender.

  3. On a slice of bread, place the cheese. Pour the mushroom mixture on top.

  4. Add the second slice of bread.

  5. Brush the outside of both slices of bread with the melted butter and place them in a cold skillet. Turn the skillet on to medium heat.

  6. Cook until golden brown on both sides and melted inside.

Now that your creativity is at its peak, we have a few more ideas for you to try. Try them out as a starting point for your own unique creations.

  • Brie and apple

  • Strong Cheddar and Bacon

  • Blue cheese and pear

  • Havarti & avocado

  • Gruyère & caramelized onions

  • Cream Cheese, Jalapeno and Red Pepper Jelly

  • Goat cheese and spinach

  • Feta and olive tapenade

  • Asiago and roasted red pepper

  • Swiss and ham

  • Fontina & ham

  • Manchego and chorizo

  • Camembert and fig jam

  • Muenster and roast beef

  • Ricotta and honey

  • Chilli Cheese Spread with Potato Chips

  • Buffalo Chicken and Blue Cheese

  • Boursin & crab

  • Gorgonzola and pear

  • Sharp Cheddar and Apple Butter

  • Smoked Salmon and Dill Cream Cheese

  • Roast Beef, Chimichurri and Cream Cheese

  • Spinach and Artichoke Dip with Parmesan

  • Sliced ​​figs and brie

  • Monterey Jack and chutney

We know you’ve probably figured this out already, but we thought we’d give you some tips just in case.

  • Brush the outside of the bread with melted butter: this will give you perfectly golden sandwiches.

  • Shredded cheese works best in grilled cheese because it melts better than slices.

  • Any ingredients that aren’t cheese or spreads should be chopped very thinly so they heat through quickly and don’t prevent the cheese from melting.

  • Start cooking the sandwich in a cold skillet and let it heat over medium heat so the cheese has time to melt while the bread toasts.

  • If you’re using a crumbly cheese like gorgonzola or blue cheese, add a little melty cheese like cream cheese or Monterey Jack to get that delicious gooey melted cheese.

Some people swear by mayonnaise on the outside of sandwiches rather than melted butter. We recommend experimenting and seeing what you prefer.

Here’s what you need to know about the grilled cheese sandwich. While it’s perfect in its simplest form, it’s also perfect when you mix it up and try other ingredients. Don’t forget to cut it into triangles. Trust me, it’s even better that way.

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