No sandwich satisfies quite like crispy, cheesy, comforting grilled cheese. That’s true whether you use white bread and American singles or artisan cheese and gourmet ingredients like parsley pesto and squash blossoms.
But some breads work better than others, and their flavors and textures pair well with certain cheeses, condiments, and preparation methods. Here are the best breads to use for your next grilled cheese.
Slices of crusty, tangy, naturally leavened bread make an excellent foil for rich, melty artisan cheese. Sourdough is incredibly versatile, but we love it in an amped-up take on the classic grilled cheese with a blend of mild and extra sharp cheddar.
Airy, buttery brioche makes for an extra-decadent grilled cheese sandwich. Try it with a mild, melty young Gouda or even thin slices of Brie with raspberry jam.
Tender, typically white Pullman loaves are naturally associated with sandwiches thanks to their long, rectangular shape, which makes for perfect square slices. Top this bread with your favorite cheddar and a few slices of juicy ripe tomato and crispy bacon before griddling.
This classic sliced bread, spiked with fragrant caraway seeds (and sometimes a swirl of pumpernickel), shows off savory add-ins well. Melt some Swiss or smoked Gouda between two slices with ham or sauerkraut (or both!).
Pumpernickel bread is made with molasses and brown sugar, giving each loaf its characteristic deep brown color, sweetness, and soft texture. Make a grilled cheese on pumpernickel with an Alpine cheese like Gruyere or Emmental (or a blend), sliced cornichons, and plenty of whole-grain mustard—or pair a mild cheese like young cheddar or Colby with thin slices of tart apple.
Thick slices of nutty multigrain bread boost fiber and flavor in your grilled cheese sandwich. Hearty multigrain stands up to a variety of cheeses, from gooey mozzarella with tomatoes and basil to pungent, creamy blue cheese set off with sweet fig jam.
What to do with day-old baguettes? Make gourmet grilled cheese! Slice the baguette horizontally down the middle, then griddle cut side out for the best crispy, golden-brown exterior. Melt Camembert and jam or Alpine cheese with caramelized onions in between.
Similar to a baguette, ciabatta’s crusty exterior and bubbly interior make it a great candidate for an outside-in grilled cheese. Stuff split ciabatta with fresh mozzarella, slices of tomato, and a dollop of pesto.
Give stale focaccia a new life by turning it into bread for a grilled cheese. Depending on the thickness of your loaf, you can use two separate slices or split an extra-tall focaccia horizontally and stuff fillings like smooth Fontina, roasted red peppers, olives, and fresh herbs inside before griddling.
These tender, craggy morning breads make great grilled cheese sandwiches, too. For the most nook-and-cranny goodness, split the muffins down the middle, then grill them inside-out with your choice of cheese (and maybe a few slices of breakfast meat or cooked sausage patties) in between.
Sliced White Bread
There’s a reason the iconic grilled cheese sandwich is made with thinly sliced soft white bread and gooey, perfectly meltable American singles. Plenty of folks grew up eating this classic combo because it’s accessible, simple, and easy to make at home—a reminder that just about any bread or cheese you have on hand can be turned into a delicious and satisfying grilled cheese.
What are your favorite kinds of bread to use for grilled cheese? Tag us @cheesegrotto on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter and let us know!