When it comes to comfort food, there’s almost nothing better than warm melted cheese sandwiched between two buttery slices of bread. But are there certain cheeses in grilled cheese recipes that make for a better melt? I asked a handful of cheese experts to find out what it takes to make the ultimate grilled cheese sandwich. If you’re ready for an over-the-top cheesetastic experience, then you’ll love these grilled cheese recipes that pay homage to fromage.
1.) Heaven in Vermont (with Sharp Cheddar)
“My absolute favorite out of all grilled cheese recipes is called Heaven in Vermont. The combination of sharp cheddar and sweet maple syrup with salty bacon is irresistible! It’s a New England favorite. Cabot’s Seriously Sharp cheddar has the amazing bite of high-end cheddar but melts like a dream for grilled cheese and mac & cheese, too.” – Candace Karu, Favorite Foodie for Cabot Creamery Cooperative
- 1 tablespoon Cabot salted butter
- 4 slices whole wheat bread, preferably organic
- 4 ounces Cabot Seriously Sharp Cheddar, sliced
- 6 slices applewood smoked bacon, cooked until crisp
- 2 teaspoons maple syrup
Melt butter in large skillet over medium-low heat.
Top two bread slices with cheese and bacon. Drizzle with maple syrup and press remaining bread slices on top.
Transfer to skillet and cook slowly until golden on underside, reducing heat if needed. Turn and cook until sandwiches are golden on second side and cheese is melted.
Makes: 2 sandwiches
2.) The Californian (with Humboldt Fog)
“California is known for its agricultural bounty, and this sandwich reflects that. The California raisin and almond crops are the biggest in the country. Goat cheese got on the national map because of California producer Laura Chenel, and Monterey Jack was invented in California. The chile reflects the vibrant and vital Mexican culture and also adds great flavor. Combined in a grilled cheese sandwich, these ingredients, including the iconic Humboldt Fog cheese, create a memorable sandwich and a true taste of the Golden State.” – Laura Werlin, Cheese Expert & Author of “Grilled Cheese, Please! 50 Scrumptiously Cheesy Recipes”
- 4 ounces Humboldt Fog cheese, at room temperature—or use any bloomy-rind or fresh goat cheese
- 1 canned chipotle chile en adobo, finely chopped
- 3 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
- 8 slices cinnamon-raisin bread
- 2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons sliced almonds
- 8 ounces Monterey Jack cheese
In a small bowl, mash the cheese and chile together.
Spread butter on one side of each of the bread slices. Carefully but firmly press the almonds onto the butter. Place 4 slices of bread, buttered side down on your work surface. Spread the goat cheese mixture on each slice of bread. Follow with the Monterey Jack. Use your hands to compress it if necessary. Top with the remaining breadslices, buttered side up.
Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat for 2 minutes. Put the sandwiches into the pan, cover, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until golden brown.
Turn the sandwiches, pressing each one firmly with a spatula to flatten slightly. Cover and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until the undersides are well browned. Turn the sandwiches once more, press firmly with the spatula again, cook for 1 minute and remove from the pan.
Let cool for 5 minutes. Cut in half and serve.
Makes: 4 sandwiches
3.) Pork Loin & Brie Melt
“When I crave a grilled cheese it’s usually for comfort. Let’s face it: the iconic sandwich is the epitome of comfort food. That said, when I hunker down for a grilled cheese moment, Brie is usually my “go to” cheese. When it comes to its “meltability” it can’t be beat! It pairs up with so many other components and can be made to be as a savory or sweet experience. My favorite Brie Melt we’ve done on the truck brings in my love of pork. A double cream brie with smoked pork loin, peach preserves and fresh thyme on black peppercorn bread. The balance of the creamy brie with the sweet of the peach preserves against the pork is wonderful. The black peppercorn bread has just enough kick to play off of the sweet apricots and combines with the smoky pork perfectly!” – Dave Danhi, President/Founder/Chef of The Grilled Cheese Truck.
- 16 slices black peppercorn bread
- 12 tablespoons butter, softened to room temperature
- 12 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 8 ounces thinly sliced smoked pork loin
- 4 ounces peach preserves
- 1 tablespoon fresh picked thyme, chopped
- 24 ounces triple cream brie, sliced into 24 ¼ inch thick slices, the length of the bread’s width
In a mixer, put butter and mayonnaise and beat with the paddle attachment until well mixed. Be sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl to incorporate all butter as it may stick to the bowl.
Generously butter one side of each slice of bread with the butter/mayo mixture. Be sure to butter to the very edges! On unbuttered side, spread ½ ounces of peach preserves (each slice).
Next, lay two slices of the brie side by side with about an inch between the slices. Top the cheese with two ounces of sliced pork loin. Sprinkle with ¼ tablespoon of chopped thyme.
Top with two slices of brie and the buttered bread, butter side out.
Heat griddle to about 350°F. Place all sandwiches on griddle and allow it to cook slowly. If your heat is too high it will burn the bread and the inside will not be hot. Once golden brown, gently flip and repeat until cheese is melted and hot. If the bread browns prior to the inside being hot, place pan with sandwiches in oven at 450°F to allow it to finish.
Makes: 8 sandwiches
4.) The Champ (with Taleggio)
“My favorite of the grilled cheese recipes is Taleggio, a washed rind and smear-ripened Italian cheese that is named after Val Taleggio, a valley in the Italian region of Lombardy.” – Eric Greenspan, Owner/Chef of The Foundry, TV Food Personality.
- 15 dried apricots
- 1 tablespoon nonpareil capers
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 8 slices dark raisin bread
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 5 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
- 4 small handfuls arugula
- 8 ounces Taleggio cheese, rind removed, at room temperature
- 4 pinches fleur de sel
Place apricots in a small saucepan and add water just to cover. Bring to full boil and immediately remove from heat. Mix in capers, mustard and olive oil. Pulse in blender to chunky consistency; set aside.
Spread one side of each bread slice evenly (to the edges) with 1/2 tablespoon butter. With buttered sides down, top four slices with 2 tablespoons of apricot mixture, a handful of arugula and equal portions of cheese. Top with remaining slices, buttered side up.
Place large skillet over high heat and melt remaining 1 tablespoon of butter. Reduce heat to low and add sandwiches. Cook until browned and crisp on both sides, about 2 minutes each side. Transfer to a platter lined with paper towels, and sprinkle each with a pinch of fleur de sel. Cut in half, serve and eat!
Makes: 4 sandwiches
5.) Pigs in a Blanket of Cheese (with Vintage White Extra Sharp Cheddar)
“Working at Tillamook I’ve had my fair share of delicious grilled cheese sandwiches, but none compare to my own favorite, Pigs in a Blanket…of cheese! I think the best cheese to use in any grilled cheese sandwich is Vintage White Extra Sharp Cheddar for its smooth and creamy texture and a Pepper Jack for its sweet and spicy flavor. I personally prefer them together. The contrast of sharp and spicy cheeses with a mellow ham just can’t be beat. I know there are a ton of different breads to choose from, but my favorite bread for a grilled cheese is good ol’ white bread”. – Dale Baumgartner, Head Cheesemaker at Tillamook.
- 4 tablespoons Tillamook salted butter
- 8 slices Tillamook Pepper Jack Cheese
- 12 slices Tillamook Vintage White Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese
- 8 ounces of your favorite ham
- 8 slices of your favorite bread
Assembly & Cooking
Butter one side of each piece of bread and put it on the grill butter side down on medium heat.
For each sandwich place 2 slices of Vintage White Extra Sharp Cheddar and 1 slice of Pepper Jack on a slice of bread and 1 slice of Vintage White Extra Sharp Cheddar and 1 slice of Pepper Jack on the other slice of bread.
Next to the bread and cheese put a couple pieces of ham on the grill, just long enough to warm them. Warming the ham makes for a little better texture and consistency while pulling the sandwich together.
Melt the cheese on the bread gently, but don’t burn the bread. If you’re burning the bread you can lower heat or place the lid of a cooking pot over the bread to make the cheese melt faster.
Put the ham onto 1 slice of bread per sandwich and put the 2 slices of bread together when they have reached desired gooey goodness level.
Remove the sandwiches from heat, put them on a paper plate, and eat with some chips and an ice-cold root beer!
Makes: 4 sandwiches