The Best Condiments and Add-Ins for Grilled Cheese

We’re all about experiencing cheese to the fullest, including cooking with cheese. One of our favorite ways to enjoy American artisan cheeses is in a delicious grilled cheese sandwich made with great bread and flavorful additions. 

Just about any accompaniment that would go well on a cheese board can also be incorporated into a grilled cheese recipe, but the possibilities don’t end there. Here are our favorite add-ins and condiments to use on a hot, crispy, melty grilled cheese. 

Veggies and Mushrooms

mozzarella kale mushroom grilled cheese

Want to make your grilled cheese sandwich healthier and even more delicious? Raid your fridge for leftover veggies—kale sauteed with garlic, roasted mushrooms or winter squash, or caramelized onions—and encase them in melty bread and cheese. You can also make veggie-ful grilled cheeses from scratch, like our recipe for grilled cheese stuffed with fried mozzarella squash blossom dumplings and parsley pesto

Mustard

Spread your favorite mustard on a grilled cheese featuring sharp cheddar or Alpine cheeses like Gruyere and Emmental. We recommend Dijon, spicy brown, or whole grain mustard.

Hot Sauce

 You can finish just about any savory grilled cheese with a few lashings of hot sauce just before serving, but tangy, spicy hot sauces are also tasty inside the sandwich. You can try this with sriracha, sambal, harissa, and other hot pepper-based condiments, too. 

Fruit Preserves

strawberry bacon jam with burrata grilled cheese

The sweet, tart, and fruity flavors of jam, jelly, fruit butter, and other preserves offset cheeses beautifully, from mild types like chevre to pungent blues. Match intensities so the preserves don’t overwhelm the cheese and vice versa. 

Fresh Fruit

grilled cheese with sliced apple

Seasonal fruits are also a great source of sweetness in grilled cheese sandwiches. Thinly sliced apple and pear are classic options, but you can also use figs, peaches, berries, and other fleshy fruits. 

Fresh Herbs

pesto grilled cheese

The next time you want to make a gourmet grilled cheese recipe, reach for fresh herbs like basil, thyme, and oregano to add serious flavor. Herbs can also be blended into compound butters, infused oils, and sauces like pesto.

Bacon and Cured Meats

It just makes sense to take inspiration from a charcuterie board when building a fancy grilled cheese. Sliced cured meats like prosciutto, speck, country ham, and soppressata all make tasty additions to grilled cheese, as do crispy, savory slices of bacon or even simple deli ham. 

Pickles and Olives

grilled cheese with pickles

The acidity of pickles—garlicky dills, tart little cornichons, dilly beans, and even pickled blueberries—cuts through cheese’s richness while accenting its flavor. Olives, including thick, flavorful spreads like olive tapenade, also make a great source of umami in grilled cheese sandwiches. 

What are your favorite add-ins to include in a grilled cheese sandwich? Tag us @cheesegrotto on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter and let us know! 

Alexandra Jones is a writer, cheesemonger, and food educator who has been working with farmers and artisans in Pennsylvania for the past eight years. She has written for publications like Food & Wine, USA Today, The Counter, Civil Eats, Thrillist, and the Philadelphia Inquirer and is one-third of the team behind Collective Creamery, a women-powered artisan cheese subscription based in southeast Pennsylvania. Alexandra leads cheese tastings and teaches cheesemaking classes in and around Philadelphia, and we are honored to have her on our team.

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