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Put Down the White Bread: 5 Better Grilled Cheese Alternatives

Someone slicing through a loaf of bread with a a serrated knife.
Master1305/Shutterstock

Sure, you can use white bread on your grilled cheese. But with a vast world of delicious and unique loaves out there, isn’t it time you branched out? Set down the basic sandwich bread, and give one of these grilled-cheese-ready options a chance.

Picking out bread for your grilled cheese is both an art and a science. You need something that will match up flavor-wise to the cheese you want to use. And, you need something sturdy enough to make it through the cooking process.

Most artisan breads, with their lofty holes and airy structure, are giant no’s in this scenario. But, that doesn’t mean you need to settle for standard white bread. Instead, give one of these loaves a try. They’re sure to take your grilled cheese from a basic after-school snack to an utterly sophisticated sandwich. And if you’re in the mood to mix up more than just the bread, check out our favorite grill cheese tips to supercharge the whole experience.

Sourdough

Arguably, sourdough is the best bread for any grilled cheese. It’s got just enough flavor, and it’s typically very sturdy, especially when toasted. No giant holes allow for cheese leakage, and it does well with any cheese flavor. It might still come off a bit simplistic, though, so let’s look at some other, more creative options.

Pumpernickel

Pumpernickel is a close cousin to sourdough. It, too, relies on a wild yeast starter for its rise. And, it also has a solid sturdy surface. However, the flavor on pumpernickel is much more pronounced. It’s made with rye flour and dark brown sugar, lending deep, rich, and sweet flavors to the final bread. So, it should be reserved for cheese that can give a contrasting bite. Try provolone or swiss for your pumpernickel grilled cheese, and enjoy it alongside pickles or sauerkraut for an extra zing.

The Inverted Baguette

bobbi lin inverted baguette
Bobbi Lin

We’re calling it, the inverted baguette is the best thing to happen to grilled cheese since presliced bread. Usually, a baguette would be too crusty and too round to make a decent grilled cheese. But, inverted, it becomes a cheese-griller’s perfect vessel.

The next time you have a slightly stale baguette leftover on the kitchen counter, you have to try it! Just slice it lengthwise, as you would for a sub sandwich, then flip the bread inside-out to make your grilled cheese. The outside becomes crispy, toasted perfection, and the inverted crust becomes the perfect carrier for those golden, melted, cheese strands. If you want more detailed instructions, check out this article by Food52, which gives a step-by-step inverted baguette tutorial.

Pullman

Pullman bread is really just a fancy version of white bread. There’s no distinctive flavor or enhancement to pay attention, too. But, it’s classically thick slices, and decently sturdy crust make for a perfect grilled cheese sandwich. It will win over a regular sandwich loaf every time, even amongst grilled-cheese purists. But, it’s not going to get you any brownie points for creativity, like say, pumpernickel or ciabatta might.

Ciabatta

Ciabatta is well-known for its quadrilateral shape. It just so happens that cheese is often sliced into squares as well. Talk about a perfect pair! Plus, ciabatta toasts beautifully and has no problem holding in melted cheese shreds. Try it with classic cheddar cheese, or be a bit more adventurous by using pesto, mozzarella, and thinly sliced tomatoes.


Be it ciabatta or an inverted baguette, you can do a thousand times better than that presliced grocery-store loaf. So, save the boring white bread for croutons or PB& J’s. Make a great grilled cheese with one of these inspired options instead. We promise you won’t regret it!

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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