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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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!