14 April 2021

The Ultimate Grilled Cheese Sandwich "Glow Up"

Grilled cheese is a tried-and-true meal for many families. Everyone has a go-to grilled cheese sandwich recipe for quick lunches, but the same old sandwich can get boring. Try a new grilled cheese recipe with a twist to give this stand-by a new lease on life.

In Search of the Perfect Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Whether you prefer cheddar or swiss cheese, go beyond toasting buttered bread and cheese in a skillet for a grilled cheese sandwich glow-up. Changing the way your sandwich is grilled, trying a new type of bread, using a different type of cheese, or adding something unexpected to your favorite recipe can give your sandwich the glow-up it needs to stay interesting.

Start experimenting, and soon you will have a wide variety of new grilled cheese sandwich recipes to choose from.

Luke Zahm, a James Beard-Nominated Chef, Owner of Driftless Cafe, and TV host of Wisconsin Foodie, shares some of his favorite grilled cheese varieties that go beyond the traditional cheddars, muensters, and mozzarellas!

Toast the Bread and Cheese Separately

Tip #1: For the best grilled cheese sandwich, start by toasting the bread in butter without the cheese. For a delicious, gooey grilled cheese by adding cheese, slice by slice, to the skillet on its own next to the bread. Once the cheese has melted, add it on top of the toasted and buttered bread keeping the buttered side down.  This unconventional method of grilling used by the pros will get you a gorgeous, pull-apart grilled cheese all kids love and is a fool-proof recipe for a perfect grilled cheese sandwich every time! Add a slice or two of tomato just before serving. Total time for making grilled cheese this way may be faster since the cheese will melt more quickly in the skillet than on a slice of bread.

Get Creative With Your Cheeses

The easiest way to get a grilled cheese glow-up is to vary the type of cheese in your grilled cheese sandwiches. Consider cheeses you don’t usually have for a gourmet grilled cheese at home. Many kids don’t like pepper jack on its own, but like the slight bite this cheese gives to grilled cheese sandwiches. Try a specialty Wisconsin Cheese, a three-cheese blend, Havarti, Gruyère, provolone, or mix up slices of whatever you have on hand. Experimenting with different types of cheeses is a great way to make a grown-up grilled cheese, even if your kids prefer more mild cheeses like cheddar or American cheese. The same goes for the type of bread you use. Instead of boring white bread, choose a thick slice of sourdough or a dark whole-wheat, and be sure to slather your bread slices with plenty of butter for decadent-tasting grilled cheese!

Fancy Grilled Cheese and Jelly Sandwich

The perfect sweet twist on the classic cheese sandwich.

4.8 from 4 votes


6 mins


6 mins


12 mins


Main Course




1 people


471.0 kcal


  • 2


    sourdough bread

    Any bread works! Don't be afraid to experiment!

  • 1


    brie (about 50g/2 oz should be enough)

    Try any cheese you like!

  • 2


    raspberry preserves

    Any jelly or preserves works! Use what you have or experiment with different kinds like hot pepper or apricot.


    1. Butter bread.

      Spread 2 pieces of bread with butter.

    2. Brown bread.

      Place 1 piece of bread, butter side down, in a skillet over medium heat and top with cheese.

    3. Spread jelly and assemble.

      Spread the unbuttered side of the other piece of bread with some jelly. Put it jelly side down on top of the cheese.

    4. Brown and flip.

      When the first side is browned (about 3 minutes) flip and cook until the other side has browned (about another 3 minutes). Serve warm.



140.0 mg


471.0 kcal


62.0 g


37.0 mg


17.0 g


2.0 g


199.0 mg


19.0 g

Saturated Fat:

10.0 g

Serving Amount:


Serving Unit:



19.0 g

Break Out the Jams

Use jelly or jam on a grilled cheese sandwich to break out of your grilled cheese rut. Top your regular grilled cheese with your favorite jam or jelly spread on top of the toasted bread. After your grilled cheese is gooey, spread some jam inside your grilled cheese sandwich to update an old standby. Get creative and try an apple butter, jalapeño jam, or mint jelly! There are endless possibilities for creating new sandwich recipes with ingredients you probably already have on hand. Experiment with different cheese and jams until you find a new recipe you love.

Add Fruity Favorites to Your Grilled Cheese

Add some fruit to your grilled cheese! Everyone already knows that tomato and melted cheese make great grilled cheese sandwiches. For a change, try sliced grapes or thin slices of green apple on your grilled cheese for a twist!  For more adventurous grilled cheese lovers, try making some skillet caramelized onions. Any of these additions add to the complexity of the cheese to shine through by adding a sweet taste. This type of grilled cheese also looks pretty when served as an open-faced sandwich.

Quick Grilling

A regular skillet is fine for cooking most types of grilled cheese sandwiches, but you can make even standard grilled cheese taste more like it came from a restaurant with a George Forman Grill. Even though this grill is non-stick, add butter to the outside of the bread to get a classic grilled cheese sandwich taste. This is a great option for when you don't have time to make a more complex grilled cheese recipe. Sandwiches cook in about three minutes using this method. As a bonus, this grill is completely smoke-free grilling and a very simple clean-up.

The Perfect Grilled Cheese Sandwich Combination

Most grilled cheese recipes stand on their own, but a classic tomato soup is always a good addition. For a twist, cut up grilled cheese sandwiches into small squares and add them to the tomato soup like croutons. Using thick, golden-brown grilled bread slices works well for this variation on the classic combo. Warm grilled cheese and tomato soup is the ultimate comfort food! This is perfect for when you are craving grilled cheese but want a little more than a simple sandwich.

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