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9 Gourmet Grilled Cheese Variations to Take for a Spin

A grilled cheese sandwich enhanced with cranberry.
Kolpakova Svetlana/Shutterstock

As a kid, nothing beats American cheese and white bread. But now that you’ve grown up, it’s time for your grilled cheese to grow up too. From melted Burrata to buttery brioche, we’ve got sophisticated grilled cheese variations of all stripes.

There’s nothing wrong with a simple grilled cheese sandwich. Sometimes, though, you might want a more epicurean approach. Maybe you’ll add fresh fruit or use a less-than-traditional cheese.

We think these gourmet options will delight even the most discerning of grilled cheese fanatics.

Mix Up the Breads

foodnetwork grilled cheese
Food Network

Changing up the bread you use for your grilled cheese can change the whole experience. We have some suggestions worth exploring below (you can find even more here):

  • Buttery Brioche Grilled Cheese: As if Brioche bread weren’t enough to create a sophisticated sandwich, this one has three types of cheese, and none of them are American. It’s filling also contains a splash of Prosecco, keeping this adult take on a childhood classic as playful as it is delicious.

Get the Recipe: Food Network’s Brioche Grilled Cheese

  • Ranch Grilled Cheese on Pullman Bread: This one’s a classic made better by thick-sliced Pullman bread. Of course, the homemade ranch dressing doesn’t hurt either.

Get the Recipe: Tasting Table’s Ranch Grilled Cheese

Get Inspired with Your Cheeses

pimento grilled cheese with apple cherry chutney
Alex Lau

You don’t have to use the same cheese every time. Add some variety with the recipes below:

  • Grilled Pimiento Cheese Sandwich with Apple Cherry Chutney: Leave the sliced cheese behind and try out a gourmet cheese spread instead. This one’s pretty easy to put together since the chutney can be made in advance. Plus, it’s not just a dipping sauce for grilled cheese. Leftover apple-cherry chutney is incredible alongside roast turkey or pork.

Get the Recipe: Bon Appetit’s Grilled Pimento Cheese with apple Cherry Chutney

  • Grilled Mascarpone and Roasted Jalapeño-Pistachio-Pesto Grilled Cheese: Mascarpone cheese is like a well-versed, highly educated Italian cousin to American cream cheese. It’s more buttery and less overtly sweet. We love it against spicy jalapeños in this beyond-basic take on the classic sandwich.

Get the Recipe: Bev Cooks- Grilled Marscarpone Sandwich

how sweet eats tomato and burrata grilled cheese
How Sweet Eats
  • Heirloom Tomato and Burrata Grilled Cheese: Burrata is a rich, creamy take on mozzarella, in which fresh cheese is wrapped around creamy curds. The result is magical on its own. But, when layered into a crisp, toasted sandwich packed with fresh heirloom tomatoes, it’s extraordinary.

Get the Recipe: How Sweet Eats Tomato and Burrata Grilled Cheese

Try Fruit for Delicious Variety

Fruit and cheese are frequently paired together when served cold, but what about a little heat and fat in the mix? The warmth, combined with the contrast of flavors in the following recipes really make for a unique grilled cheese experience:

  • Habanero-Jack Grilled Cheese with Pears and Prosciutto: If you want a fall-inspired grilled cheese that’s not lacking in spunk, it’s this one. The pears and prosciutto are decidedly gourmet, but it’s the habanero-jack cheese that stands out. This fruity, spicy take on an otherwise simple sandwich is sure to please the palette.

Get the Recipe: Cooking With Book’s Habanero-Jack Grilled Cheese

  • Pineapple Grilled Cheese Sandwich: Pineapple on pizza, albeit, highly-contested, is a classic. So, is it really that big of a jump to put it on grilled cheese? This mix of sweet pineapples, smoked ham, and swiss cheese creates a gourmet flavor explosion. And it’s one you’ll probably enjoy, whether you consider pineapple on pizza a legitimate option or not.

Get the Recipe: The Cookie Rookie’s Hawaiian Pizza Grilled Cheese

Veggie-Loaded Options? Yes, Please!

Heather Christo's Portobello Gouda and Kale Pesto Grilled Cheese
Heather Christo

Not sold on the idea of introducing fruit or want something a little more savory? Try these veggie-packed grilled cheese options:

  • Portobello, Gouda, and Kale Pesto Grilled Cheese: If you haven’t tried pesto on a grilled cheese sandwich, you’ve been missing out. The tangy, nuttiness that every pesto provides is delicious alongside melted cheese and toasted bread. Making it with kale adds all sorts of vitamins and minerals too, so what’s not to love?

Get the Recipe: Heather Christo’s Portobello, Gouda & Kale Grilled Cheese

  • Zucchini Waffle Grilled Cheese: Just because you’re gluten-free and low carb, doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice grilled cheese. This gourmet take on the classic features a homemade zucchini fritter in place of the bread. Shredded cheddar and parmesan cheese combine to create a grilled cheese so good, you won’t miss the gluten.

Get the Recipe: Delish – Zucchini Fritter Grilled Cheese

Elevating a childhood classic allows you to unleash all sorts of culinary creativity. So, add a sophisticated cheese, like Gouda, or make a sweet chutney spread from scratch. Whatever you decide, we’re sure you’ll savor every bite of your gourmet grilled cheese.

While you’re mixing things up, be sure to take a peek at our unconventional grilled cheese tips and tricks to really elevate your experience.

Lauren Sakiyama Lauren Sakiyama
Lauren Sakiyama is a freelance writer with over a decade of experience in the hospitality industry. She has managed restaurants, country clubs, and large-scale event operations, but her passion has always been about the food. Read Full Bio »
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