How to Make the Perfect Grilled Cheese Sandwich — and 12 Ways to Make It Even Better from How to Make the Perfect Grilled Cheese Sandwich — and 12 Ways to Make It Even Better

How to Make the Perfect Grilled Cheese Sandwich — and 12 Ways to Make It Even Better

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How to Make the Perfect Grilled Cheese Sandwich — and 12 Ways to Make It Even Better

Shutterstock

How to Make the Perfect Grilled Cheese Sandwich — and 12 Ways to Make It Even Better

These grilled cheeses aren’t going to be like the Wonder Bread and Kraft singles you first learned how to make as a kid — they are better — and they will help you rethink just how good a grilled cheese can taste.

From no-brainer additions, like bacon, pesto, and artisanal cheeses, to unconventional twists, like mango, jam, and maple syrup, these grilled cheeses play on our palates with sweet, salty, tangy, and even umami taste-bud triggers.

Of course, a strong foundation of grilled cheese skills will go a long way in making these jazzed-up versions taste their best, which is why we have assembled a crash course in grilled-cheese making, so you can make the perfect grilled cheese, like our Ultimate Grilled Cheese recipe here.

There are a couple important things to consider before we start: the bread and the cheese(s). Nothing melts like American cheese, which may explain why it is a longstanding favorite for cheeseburgers and grilled cheeses, but its bland, sometimes rubbery taste leaves a lot to be desired. Here, we’ve combined American cheese with sharp Cheddar for the perfect pairing of cheesy flavor and gooey American cheese.

A spread of equal parts mayonnaise and softened butter on both sides of the bread, for flavor and perfectly browned bread, will do the trick. Then, heat your skillet, add a half tablespoon of vegetable oil, and place both pieces of bread in the pan. Top each piece with half of the cheese, and allow to brown for a minute or two. Then, stack the bread together (cheeses in the middle, of course), and butter the edges of the bread lightly with the butter/mayonnaise spread. Continue to brown for another minute or two. Once the cheese is melted, remove the sandwich from your skillet, slice in half, and serve.

For some sweet, salty, and other ways to jazz up this classic sandwich, check out our round up of 12 grilled cheese sandwiches with a little more than cheese between the bread.

Bacon Grilled Cheese

Thinkstock

Bacon Grilled Cheese

Add some streaky bacon to your grilled cheese sandwich to add a little extra salty flavor and crunch. — Serusha Govender

For the Bacon Grilled Cheese recipe, click here.

Blue Cheese and Apple Grilled Cheese

Jane Bruce

Blue Cheese and Apple Grilled Cheese

Mix things up by adding blue cheese, sliced apples, and fig jam to your grilled cheese sandwich. — Emily Jacobs

For the Blue Cheese and Apple Grilled Cheese recipe, click here.

Brie and Balsamic Strawberries Grilled Cheese

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Brie and Balsamic Strawberries Grilled Cheese

Sweet, savory, and tangy, this balsamic grilled cheese with fresh strawberries is a delicious twist on a grilled cheese sandwich.

For the Brie and Balsamic Strawberries Grilled Cheese recipe, click here.

Fontina, Mushroom, and Truffle Grilled Cheese

Snapware

Fontina, Mushroom, and Truffle Grilled Cheese

Prosciutto, mushrooms, and truffled cheese make for an upscale version your childhood favorite grilled cheese sandwiches. — Emeril Lagasse

For the Fontina, Mushroom, and Truffle Grilled Cheese recipe, click here.

Hybrid PB&J Grilled Cheese

South Water Kitchen

Hybrid PB&J Grilled Cheese

Fresh pear, blueberry jam, and creamy Brie make this grilled cheese standout in a crowd.

For the Hybrid PB&J Grilled Cheese recipe, click here.

Mango and Brie-Stuffed Grilled Cheese on Challah Bread

Jane Bruce

Mango and Brie-Stuffed Grilled Cheese on Challah Bread

Mango and Brie give this grilled cheese a sweet and creamy flavor, and the thick challah holds it all together. — Haley Willard

For the Mango and Brie-Stuffed Grilled Cheese on Challah Bread recipe, click here.

Maple Grilled Cheese

Erica Schroeder

Maple Grilled Cheese

Crispy, crunchy, gooey, cheesy, and sweet; this grilled cheese is sandwich genius. — Abbey Crain

For the Maple Grilled Cheese recipe, click here.

Marinated Tomato and Mozzarella Grilled Cheese

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Marinated Tomato and Mozzarella Grilled Cheese

Marinate your tomatoes and fresh mozzarella with fresh basil, garlic, and olive oil for two hours before grilling between sourdough bread for a delicious Italian-accented grilled cheese.

For the Marinated Tomato and Mozzarella Grilled Cheese recipe, click here.

Parmesan-Crusted Pesto-Gruyère Grilled Cheese

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Parmesan-Crusted Pesto-Gruyère Grilled Cheese

Pesto makes everything better, so spread a generous dollop on this grilled cheese sandwich that's crusted with Parmesan and filled with Gruyère. — Haley Willard

For the Parmesan-Crusted Pesto-Gruyère Grilled Cheese recipe, click here.

Pesto Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Go Go Squeez

Pesto Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Proof that grilled cheese isn’t just cold-weather food, this delicious version, courtesy of GoGo squeeZ, uses juicy tomatoes and basil pesto. — GoGo squeeze

For the Pesto Grilled Cheese Sandwich recipe, click here.

Pimento Grilled Cheese

Patricia Stagich

Pimento Grilled Cheese

Toss shredded Cheddar with pickle juice, pimentos, mayonnaise, and a dash of hot sauce before grilling between two pieces of soft bread. The result is tangy, crunchy, and delicious.

For the Pimento Grilled Cheese recipe, click here.

Sweet n’ Savory Grilled Cheese

Shasha Kimmelman

Sweet n’ Savory Grilled Cheese

A grilled cheese for that moment when you can't decide whether you want sweet or savory. Creamy, tangy chèvre with mild Cheddar play opposite sweet honey and fig preserves for an explosion of flavor that will make you forget about plain grilled cheese. There are no amounts listed because it's totally up to you, depending how sweet or cheesy you want it. — Dana Kimmelman

For the Sweet n’ Savory Grilled Cheese recipe, click here.

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How to Make the Perfect Grilled Cheese Sandwich — and 12 Ways to Make It Even Better

How to Make the Perfect Grilled Cheese Sandwich — and 12 Ways to Make It Even Better