It's Time To Give That Leftover Mac And Cheese The Grilled Cheese Treatment

Whether you're enjoying it fresh off the block or cooking it into Tex-Mex queso for dipping, cheese reigns supreme in the food world. With myriad varieties worldwide, there's not one we wouldn't try. In fact, if we could, we'd take them all and melt them down into one of our favorite cheese-based dishes — either macaroni and cheese, or a grilled cheese sandwich. But wait, why not combine them into one show-stopping, cheese chart-topping mega meal? Next time you have a pot of leftover mac and cheese, don't let it go to waste. Smother a heaping spoonful between two slices of your favorite bread and transform it into a grilled mac and cheese sandwich.

When two comfort food classics unite, it doubles the indulgence and satisfies in equal measure. The creamy, lush texture of mac and cheese provides a delicate contrast to the crispy, buttery exterior of a grilled cheese sandwich, giving regular grilled cheeses a run for their money. Mac and cheese is typically made with various types of cheese, which can lead to a grilled cheese sandwich dripping with more flavor variation compared to traditional grilled cheeses.

Tips for making a grilled mac and cheese sandwich

Grilled cheeses are easy to make, but when you use mac and cheese as the epicenter of the sandwich, things can get a bit trickier. You'll want to reheat the leftover mac and cheese on the stove to ensure there are no cold spots. Although the mac and cheese will warm up once it's sandwiched between the slices of bread and searing on the stove, preheating the pasta ensures thorough heat distribution and optimal meltiness.

Opt for sturdy bread that can withstand the weight of the mac and cheese filling. Sourdough, Italian bread, or thick slices of Texas toast are great options. Make sure to butter the sides that will serve as the sandwich's exterior before you put them on the grill to achieve the perfect char. Slowly and carefully introduce the mac and cheese to the first slice of bread to prevent spillage, and add the top slice of bread once the mac and cheese is ooey and deliciously gooey. Flip your sandwich with care to prevent any pasta from spilling out — using a binding agent like mayo on the interior side of the bread can help hold the pasta together. Finally, cooking on low to medium heat prevents the bread from burning, and while this might take longer than cooking on high heat, it's worth it!

Jazzing up a grilled mac and cheese sandwich

A grilled mac and cheese sandwich is a masterpiece in and of itself, but why not make it even better? Just a few extra ingredients can enhance the texture, flavor, and overall allure of this unique sandwich.

A grilled mac and cheese sandwich is decadent, lush, and creamy. Swap out the bread for burger buns for a hint of sesame. To add an interior crunch for textural contrast, consider incorporating crispy bacon, which also doubles as a hit of savory protein. For a vegetarian option, fried onion strings are a solid alternative, imparting a delightful allium aroma. To balance the ultra-rich flavor, peppery green onions, fresh arugula, or sliced jalapeños are bright, flavorful add-ons that bring a vegetal twist to the dairy-centric sandwich. While the melty cheese can double as a sauce, smothering your grilled mac and cheese sandwich with a generous helping of herbed aioli, Buffalo sauce, or roasted garlic marinara can make it even more drippy and delicious.

Next time you have leftover mac and cheese, spare your garbage can! After all, who doesn't want to try a grilled mac and cheese sandwich at least once in their lifetime?