Gallery: The Art of the Perfect Grilled Cheese (Plus 20 Variations to Shake Things Up)

  • Grilled Cheese With Kimchi

    Vicky Wasik

    It may sound strange, but spicy, garlicky kimchi and melty cheese are a natural pair. Just ask anyone who's had cheesy kimchi ramen, or a kimchi quesadilla from a Korean taco truck.

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    Buffalo Chicken Grilled Cheese

    Vicky Wasik

    Blue cheese, shredded chicken, and Frank's RedHot are straddled by two melty layers of Monterey Jack—all the spicy, meaty, funky, cheesy flavors of the sports-bar classic, translated into the ultimate comfort food.

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    Classic Grilled Cheese

    J. Kenji López-Alt

    This is the one we all know and love. Buttery, golden-brown bread and oozy, gooey, melty American cheese. The trick to perfecting it? Griddling the bread on both sides for maximum crispness.

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    Potato Chip Grilled Cheese

    Potato Chip Grilled Cheese
    Vicky Wasik

    Four words: Potato. Chips. In. The. Sandwich. Okay, five words. Still just as tasty.

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    Caprese Grilled Cheese

    Vicky Wasik

    Fresh mozzarella, sweet-tart tomatoes, basil leaves, and a drizzle of olive oil. It's part refreshing and light, part hearty, melty comfort food.

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    Jalapeño Popper Grilled Cheese

    Vicky Wasik

    All the elements of a jalapeño popper—the crisp crust, the heat from the peppers, the gooey-and-melty cream cheese—shoved into a grilled cheese sandwich. Oh, right. Plus bacon.

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    Chili Cheese Dog Grilled Cheese

    J. Kenji López-Alt

    This'll take you right back to the ballpark. Thinly slice a single hot dog, fry it up on a hot skillet, then lay it on top of a slice of bread lined with American cheese. Spoon on some chili, add another slice of cheese, then close 'er up and grill in the fat rendered out of the hot dog. Not big enough? A double dog'll do ya!

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    Guacamole Grilled Cheese

    J. Kenji López-Alt

    If you're one of those people who gag at the idea of warm avocado, this recipe just might change your mind. This sandwich combines the warm, gooey, crisp, buttery comfort of a grilled cheese with the creamy tang of guacamole. I'm not a betting man, but if I were, I'd place good odds on this being one of the best things ever.

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    Muffuletta Grilled Cheese

    J. Kenji López-Alt

    Yeah, we like our muffulettas up in here. This grilled cheese variation gets piled with cold cuts and olive salad before being griddled in hot butter until melty.

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    Grilled Cheese With Roasted Pineapple, Ham, and Swiss

    J. Kenji López-Alt

    Grilled cheese by way of Hawaii—that is, assuming they really eat a lot of ham and pineapple in Hawaii (which, of course, they do). Roasting the pineapple beforehand makes it extra sweet.

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    Grilled Cheese With Bacon, Tomato, and Avocado

    J. Kenji López-Alt

    It's like a B.L.T. sandwich, except the lettuce is a bit ooier, gooier, meltier, saltier, and, well, made of cheese. We also throw in some avocado for good measure. Don't do bacon? Just sub in our mushroom "bacon" from this vegan B.L.A.T. sandwich!

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    Faux Cubano Grilled Cheese

    J. Kenji López-Alt

    It's not quite a Cubano without the roast pork or Cuban bread, but in many ways, it's even better. For one thing, sliced bread is better for soaking up butter and cooking up golden brown. For another, it takes a fraction of the time. A fair tradeoff, in my estimation.

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    Brussels Sprouts Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

    J. Kenji López-Alt

    Caramelized onions, sautéed shredded Brussels sprouts, and sharp Vermont cheddar cheese combine on a buttery-crisp French loaf for a hearty but elegant take on the classic.

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    French Melt

    J. Kenji López-Alt

    A big ol' pile of sweet caramelized onions (see here for an easy technique to speed up the process), melted with a fat slab of Comté cheese. It's like French onion soup in an easy-to-pick-up, extra-buttery package.

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    Cemita-Style Grilled Cheese

    Vicky Wasik

    A grilled cheese inspired by cemitas—the Pueblan sandwich specialty. Stringy Oaxacan cheese surrounds a spicy, creamy mash of avocado and chipotles in adobo, while a layer of whole papalo leaves adds an herbal pop. This sandwich may not have the beef and onion or the trademark roll, but it still manages to capture the bold, fiery flavors of the original.

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    Crisp Grilled Cheese

    Vicky Wasik

    In this version, we've upped our standard grilled cheese game by adding a layer of crispy browned Parmesan cheese to the exteriors of our sandwiches. Meta grilled cheese?

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    The Grilled Cheese Eggsplosion

    Vicky Wasik

    One of my favorite breakfasts: Cut a hole out of a slice of bread, cook in butter, break an egg into the hole. Well, we wondered what would happen if we built a grilled cheese out of two of those bad boys. We did it, and deliciousness ensued.

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    Fatty Melt

    Robyn Lee

    A monstrous creation whose origins are unknown, but it deserves worldwide infamy. What is it, you ask? Only a hamburger with two grilled cheese sandwiches as its bun. Yeah. Shove that on your griddle and fry it.

    Bacon Fatty Melt

    Robyn Lee

    Yeah...you can add bacon to this bad boy, too. NBD.

    Double Bacon Fatty Melt

    Robyn Lee

    Want to go one step further? How about the Double Bacon Burger Fatty Melt? Two burgers, 12 slices of bacon, seven slices of cheese, six slices of bread, and one hell of a grilled cheese coma.

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    Brie and Nutella Grilled Cheese

    Vicky Wasik

    Nutella makes most things better, and toasting things in butter makes better things even...more better. So why not combine two great concepts and apply them to the greatest food ever? It makes for one seriously delicious mess of a sandwich.

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