The classic grilled cheese sandwich: beloved by toddlers and college students alike. The standard grilled cheese is a slice of American cheese between two slices of toasted white bread. While this is delicious, it’s a little plain for most adults. If you want a more exciting grilled cheese, you have two options: order a gourmet, comforting melt from Grilled Cheese Society or put in the time and effort to make it yourself at home.
At Grilled Cheese Society, we love sharing our deep passion for elevated grilled cheeses. They are a simple, satisfying, quick weeknight meal that the whole family will love. In this article, the chefs of Grilled Cheese Society share their wealth of knowledge to give you some of their secret and simple hacks that will take your grilled cheese to the next level.
Elevate Your Cheese Choice
It’s no secret that people love their cheese. When making grilled cheese, it’s tempting to go the easy route and slap on a Kraft single. But by taking a little more care when choosing your cheese, you’ll create a gourmet grilled cheese sandwich that melts in your mouth.
There are so many wonderful types of cheese in the world, many of which will melt beautifully on a grilled cheese sandwich. Your cheese choice will depend on your flavor preferences and
the other ingredients you plan to include in your sandwich.
There are thousands of different types of cheddar cheese being made all over the world. When looking for a cheddar at the supermarket or at your local cheese store, look for a sharp white cheddar to give your sandwich a tang. Or, you can try out some flavored cheddars, like smoked cheddar, jalapeño cheddar, or wine-soaked cheddar. Ingredients that pair well with cheddar are apples, bacon, turkey, egg, mustard, and pickles.
Gruyere is a type of Swiss cheese that is sharp and sweet and is a great melting cheese, making it perfect for a grilled cheese sandwich.
It’s difficult to go wrong when selecting a Gruyere since most varieties are intended for melting. Flavors that pair well with Gruyere are caramelized onion, mustard, pear, ham, and sauteed mushroom.
Brie is a soft cheese that originated in France, and it has an extremely smooth, buttery flavor. Brie is soft at room temperature but becomes extremely melty and smooth when heated, making it ideal for a grilled cheese. You can choose to include the rind or do without; it all depends on your preference.
Brie has a mild, smooth flavor that pairs well with almost any ingredient, but it works particularly nicely with berries, fruit spreads, avocado, turkey, pesto, figs, apples, and pears.
Blue cheese is a sharp, salty cheese that has a pungent smell and strong flavor. It’s definitely an acquired taste, but people who love blue cheese really love it.
Blue cheese melts extremely well and can add an umami kick to your grilled cheese. It also works well well combined with another milder cheese, like cheddar or American. One of the most popular applications for blue cheese in the U.S. is to pair it with buffalo chicken. Blue cheese also works well with bacon, honey, dried fruit, apple, cranberry, and walnuts (hint: The Thursday sandwich from Grilled Cheese Society combines blue cheese with turkey, bacon, muenster cheese, and avocado).
Manchego is a firm, semi-hard Spanish cheese made from goat’s milk. It becomes sharper with age and has a salty, zesty flavor. Manchego is firm when sliced but melts wonderfully. Since it’s a Spanish cheese, it pairs well with traditional Spanish flavors, like serrano ham, chorizo, tomato, and olives.
Gouda is a mild, soft, subtly sweet cheese that originated in the Netherlands. As it ages, it becomes harder and has a buttery, nutty flavor. Young or old gouda makes a great choice for grilled cheese, but be careful with smoked gouda, as smoking can sometimes affect its ability to melt smoothly. Gouda pairs well with fruits, mustard, roasted peppers, mushrooms, onions, and apples.
Use Condiments With Confidence
While a grilled cheese feels like it falls into a category of its own, at the end of the day, it’s still a sandwich. And what is a sandwich without condiments?
Many people stick to simple ones, like mustard and ketchup, but there are so many wonderful condiment options to explore. Try grape jelly, strawberry jelly, apricot preserves, fig jam, honey, red pepper jelly, honey mustard, cranberry relish, pesto, buffalo sauce, or BBQ sauce. The sky’s the limit! Condiments add extra moisture to your sandwich, not to mention a big kick of flavor.
Speaking of condiments, mayonnaise is the secret ingredient to making a perfect, crisp, moist grilled cheese every single time. Next time you make a grilled cheese, try using mayo in place of butter. Mayo has a higher smoke point than butter, meaning you can cook it longer and hotter without burning. Spread mayo on both sides of your bread slices for a crisp outside and a moist, gooey interior.
Add Fruits and Veggies
Putting veggies on your grilled cheese helps add some nutritional value, make it more filling, and they’re really delicious. Avocado, caramelized onions, mushrooms, tomatoes, peppers, and spinach all work wonderfully.
Fruit also adds a lovely contrast to the grilled cheese, adding sweet notes to balance out the savory. Apples, pears, strawberries, figs, peaches, and kiwis work wonderfully with mild cheeses like cheddar or brie. Even dried fruits, like raisins and dried cranberries, can add an exciting element to grilled cheese.
Fresh or Dried Herbs
Many people forget to add seasonings to their sandwiches, but they’re missing out on an opportunity for extra flavor. Adding fresh basil, tarragon, rosemary, or parsley adds excitement and flavor to any sandwich.
If you don’t have fresh, use dried! Mix it into your condiment spread, or simply sprinkle it on top of other toppings.
Grilled Cheese For Dessert
If you’re bored of grilled cheese for dinner, why not try it for dessert? This may sound weird to some, but many sweet desserts already use cheese as an ingredient, like cheesecake and cannolis. Use a sweet, mild cheese, like ricotta or cream cheese, and add sweet ingredients like chocolate sauce, fruit, honey, maple syrup, or peanut butter.
Change Up The Cooking Method
Don’t be afraid to change up the way you cook your grilled cheese. While pan-frying is what most people are familiar with, other methods can provide big changes in texture and flavor. Try using a panini press or leaving your grilled cheese open-faced and sticking it in the oven. If you want to get even more creative, you can deep fry it or dredge the whole sandwich in egg and flour and fry it like a Monte Cristo. The possibilities are truly endless.
To get you inspired, here are some amazing, elevated grilled cheese ingredient combinations you’re sure to love.
- Buffalo Chicken: Cream cheese, blue cheese, muenster, ranch dressing, hot sauce, and chicken
- Brie and Pear: brie, Gruyere, sliced pear, fresh thyme, and honey
- Cheesesteak Grilled Cheese: Sliced steak, sauteed onions and mushrooms, cheddar, American cheese
- Pesto Bacon: Pesto, mozzarella, tomato, bacon, gorgonzola
- Spinach Dip Grilled Cheese: Olive oil, garlic, wilted spinach, mozzarella, parmesan
- Goat Cheese and Honey: Goat cheese, cheddar, red pepper, honey
- Italian Grilled Cheese: Prosciutto, salami, pepperoni, mozzarella, tomato, pesto, and garlic
Grilled cheese sandwiches are an amazing, quick meal that the whole family can enjoy, making it a popular dinner choice for young families, college students, and busy working adults. While we’ve given you the tools to create your own favorite recipe, you can also choose to kick back and relax while we make our favorite specials for you and have them delivered straight to your door!
To learn more about Grilled Cheese Society, visit us online here.