I get nostalgic for the grilled cheese my mom used to throw together. White bread, butter, Kraft cheese. I can still taste it. It’s probably always going to be my favorite. However, the internet has opened my eyes to a wide range of gooey deliciousness I was blind to. The old grilled cheese mom used to make takes me back, but I can confidently say it’s not the best grilled cheese I’ve ever had.
It’s not even close. Sorry, mom.
The great thing about grilled cheese is that it’s basically a blank canvas, like a pizza or a taco. It can be whatever you want it to be. Whatever you’re in the mood for.
You are only limited by your imagination and tastebuds.
This list will give you ideas you probably never considered.
Let’s get started.
Who Invented The Grilled Cheese
When I started reading up on grilled cheese sandwiches, I found mention of a recipe for them discovered in an ancient Roman cookbook.
Although I didn’t find the exact recipe, it’s interesting that during the reign of the Roman Empire they were dining on a simple fare, probably not much different from what we grew up on.
Since I’m not a food historian (although I kind of wish I was) I will not trace the lineage of the venerable sandwich from Julius Caesar to us today.
But, we have some history of the delectable sandwich in the United States, so let’s focus on that.
The most rudimentary grilled cheese has two ingredients: sliced bread and cheese.
Obviously, people have been cutting bread for centuries alongside cheese.
In 1916, James L. Kraft developed a method of pasteurizing cheese. This was important because it slowed the spoiling process and allowed the cheese to be shipped across the country. He opened his first factory in Stockton, Illinois.
In 1927, Otto Fredrick Rohwedder of Davenport, Iowa, invented a bread slicing machine that would slice the loaf of bread and then wrap it.
During The Great Depression, the “cheese sandwich” became popular among struggling Americans because the ingredients were affordable.
In the thick of World War II, U.S. Navy cooks made countless “American cheese filling sandwiches” for their ship’s crew.
No one referred to these sandwiches as grilled cheese, like we do today. They were often called “melted cheese” or “toasted cheese”.
What Is The Best Bread For Grilled Cheese
The best bread for your recipe comes down to preference. I love good, crunchy sourdough.
I won’t turn down one wheat bread or good old-fashioned white bread.
My one condition is that it has to be toasted and crunchy. I will not entertain any argument to the contrary. None.
It has to be crunchy. For me, there simply has to be a contrast between crunchy and the melted goodness on the inside.
If you are looking for other options, Food and Wine suggest trying Ciabatta, multi-grain, English muffins, Pullman bread, and Pumpernickel.
Again, you are only limited by your imagination and taste buds.
What Is The Best Cheese For Grilled Cheese
Opinions on the best cheese for grilled cheese are wide and varied.
Use whatever you like, but don’t be afraid to take chances.
Step out of your comfort zone and give something different a try.
One thing is non-negotiable. The cheese must be melted and stretchy.
So if you like the old basic American Cheese or enjoy Gruyere or Brie, all that works.
Also, don’t be afraid to mix cheeses together so you get different tastes.
Cheddar and gruyere work well together. So does provolone and Monterrey jack.
Remember, it’s a blank canvas.
Go crazy when it comes to cheeses for grilled cheese.
Why Do Grilled Cheese And Tomato Soup Go Together So Well?
Why are grilled cheese and tomato soup a match made in heaven? Is it just by chance?
Who thought peanut butter and jelly would work so well together? What about bacon and eggs, salt and pepper and macaroni and cheese?
I’ve read that the combo had similar origins to the grilled cheese. It was easy for the military and later school districts to feed people cheaply.
The tomato soup is also an excellent source of Vitamin C, potassium and Folates.
Adding tomato soup to meals makes mom and dad feel better about getting vegetables into their kid’s bodies.
Plus, and this is probably the most important point, you can dip the grilled cheese into the soup.
Just thinking about it makes me hungry.
Best Grilled Cheese Sandwiches – Outside The Box Recipes
These recipes will run the gamut of ingredients and combinations.
Grilled Cheese and Sauteed Mushrooms
Our first entry comes from Serious Eats. Perfectly sauteed mushrooms with herbs and shallots between melted taleggio cheese.
Better go ahead and make me two just to be safe.
Spinach and Artichoke
I don’t know why spinach and artichokes go so well together. But they do.
Joy The Baker decided not to mess with a perfect match and instead stick it between two pieces of bread.
Strawberry, Brie and Chocolate
How about a sweet grilled cheese instead? We’ve talked about this being a blank canvas and HowSweets says to add chocolate to that canvas.
I respect it.
Delish combined two things that remind me of my youth. Thank you Delish. I didn’t even realize I wanted this until I saw it. Can we even call it a grilled cheese if there’s no cheese?
Let’s stick with the childhood nostalgia theme, shall we? This time with a sandwich that’s more savory than sweet.
BunsInMyOven upgrades the good old’ sloppy joe.
Now we’re talking. As a stay at home dad, this sandwich is speaking my stressed out language.
The best part is that my wife will never be the wiser.
Mac and Cheese
This is just a no-brainer. Kirbie’sCravings agrees.
Mac and cheese, good.
Grilled cheese, good.
Bacon and Pickle
Bacon and pickles are two of my favorite things in the world. I love them. Cook them between cheese and I’m sold. Delish does it again.
Salami and Pickle
Let’s stick with the meat, pickle and cheese theme, shall we? This one from Bon Appetit combines 3 kinds of cheese, salami, dill pickles, and sourdough.
Cauliflower Grilled Cheese
Bacon, Egg and Hash Browns
Breakfast on a bun. Great for a bite on the way to work. From BrownEyedBaker.
Gourmet Grilled Cheese Recipes
Let’s get a little fancier.
Most of these ingredients you have at home or you can find at the grocery store. These sandwiches are just elevated a bit.
If you’re looking to step up to a gourmet grilled cheese, these are where you should start.
4 Cheeses with Arugula and Garlic Confit
This is what we’re talking about. You probably don’t eat a lot of garlic confit, do you? You should, it’s amazing. Mix 4 kinds of cheese and some baby arugula and now you’re talking. Good job Food and Style.
Pumpkin with Apples and Cheddar
Cheese and pumpkin and apples, this sandwich feels like autumn.
Another example of an elevated grilled cheese. Sure you could put just bacon on grilled cheese and it would be great. But if you make a bacon jam, it sounds cooler, and it’s a distinct taste.
Gimme Delicious made a chipotle chicken grilled cheese. Spend a little more time and make a sandwich better.
The Grown-Up Grilled Cheese
A healthier version? Is such a thing even possible? I never even considered it, but Modern Honey did.
Roasted Broccoli & Red Peppers
This one is a little more involved. But if you have the time, why not? Cookie and Kate say it takes about 40 minutes for this masterpiece.
I always associate Caprese with an appetizer. Cooking Classy says you don’t have to.
Frico is cheese on the outside. Cheese, bread, cheese, bread, cheese. Got it?
Pizza, good. How Sweet Eats doesn’t overthink it.
Pulled Pork & Sriracha Guacamole
I can just imagine how savory and creamy this sandwich is. Guacamole is good on just about everything. Life’s Ambrosia’s recipe.
Reddit Grilled Cheese
Reddit’s grilled cheese subreddit is one of the best resources in the world for recipe ideas.
Here’s what makes it so great. It comprises over 175,000 contributors from all over the world posting pictures and recipes daily.
It’s perfect to peruse and get ideas for your next grilled cheese. It’s a treasure trove for grilled cheese enthusiasts. Glance at it.