4 Easy Hacks For Gourmet Grilled Cheese

The grilled cheese is a sandwich classic. This sandwich, in its humblest form, has fueled us from childhood through high school, college, and even into our adult years. Requiring little to no prep and calling for the simplest of ingredients, it has become our tried and true go-to for an affordable, fast, and easy comfort food meal. Although we're more than happy to munch on the pure, classic form of the favorite (i.e., just bread, cheese, and butter), trying a couple of new cheesy hacks never hurt anyone.

If you are stumped on how exactly to spice things up between your buttered bread slices, we have got you covered with four recipes to take your grilled cheese to gourmet levels. From combos like cheddar, bacon, and maple syrup to brie, balsamic glaze, and berries, your relationship with the simple sammy will never be the same.

Click on for the sure-fire formulas that are sure to keep your love affair with this cheesy comfort dish aflame and going strong for years to come — and tell us about your creative concoctions in the comments below!

Gourmet Grilled Cheese Formula For Beginners
Bread + Cheese + Toppings + Sauce
Maple Bacon & Cheddar Grilled Cheese
Makes 1 sandwich

Ingredients
2 thick slices of whole grain bread
2-4 slices of sharp cheddar cheese (depending on how cheesy you like it)
2-4 strips of bacon
1-2 tsp of maple syrup (depending on how saucy you like it)
1-2 tbsp of salted butter

Instructions
1. Heat pan over medium-high heat and cook bacon strips to preferred crispiness. Remove cooked strips from pan and set aside on a paper towel-lined plate.

2. Returning bacon-greased pan to stove, lower heat slightly to medium-low* and add in 1 tbsp of butter. Once butter is melted, place one slice of bread into the pan and cover with half of cheese, bacon, a drizzle of maple syrup, and the rest of the cheese — topping it off with the remaining slice of bread.

3. Firmly press the sandwich down into the pan with a spatula. Once the bottom layer of cheese has sufficiently melted, and the bread has lightly browned (about 4-6 minutes), flip the sandwich to the other side for the same grilling treatment (adding another tbsp of butter, if necessary).

4. Once the cheese has completely melted, and bread has turned golden brown, remove the sandwich from the pan and place on a cutting board or plate to cool slightly before slicing. Once cooled, slice the sandwich in half and enjoy!

*You do not want the bread to burn; slow and steady wins the grilled cheese race!
Sweet Balsamic Brie Grilled Cheese
Makes 1 sandwich

Ingredients
2 thick slices of sourdough bread
2-4 slices of brie cheese (depending on how cheesy you like it)
1/4 cup of thinly sliced or mashed fruit (berries, figs, apples, strawberries, peaches, pears, etc.)
1-2 tsp of balsamic glaze (depending on how saucy you like it)
1-2 tbsp of salted butter

Instructions
1. Melt 1 tbsp of butter in a pan over medium-low heat* — once melted, place one slice of bread into the pan and cover with half of cheese, thinly sliced or mashed fruit, a drizzle of balsamic glaze, and the rest of the cheese — topping it off with the remaining slice of bread.

3. Firmly press the sandwich down into the pan with a spatula. Once the bottom layer of cheese has sufficiently melted, and the bread has lightly browned (about 4-6 minutes), flip the sandwich to the other side for the same grilling treatment (adding another tbsp of butter, if necessary).

4. Once the cheese has completely melted, and bread has turned golden brown, remove the sandwich from the pan and place on a cutting board or plate to cool slightly before slicing. Once cooled, slice the sandwich in half and enjoy!

*You do not want the bread to burn; slow and steady wins the grilled cheese race!
White Pie With Pesto Grilled Cheese
Makes 1 sandwich

Ingredients
2 thick slices of white bread
2-4 slices of mozzarella (depending on how cheesy you like it)
2 tbsp of ricotta cheese
1/2-1 tbsp of pesto (depending on how saucy you like it)
1-2 tbsp of salted butter
Ground pepper or red pepper flakes (if you like spicy), to taste

Instructions
1. Melt 1 tbsp of butter in a pan over medium-low heat*. Once melted, place one slice of bread into the pan and cover with half of mozzarella cheese, dollops of ricotta, pesto sauce, a sprinkling of pepper, and the rest of the mozz, topping it off with the remaining slice of bread.

3. Firmly press the sandwich down into the pan with a spatula. Once the bottom layer of cheese has sufficiently melted, and the bread has lightly browned (about 4-6 minutes), flip the sandwich to the other side for the same grilling treatment (adding another tbsp of butter, if necessary).

4. Once the cheese has completely melted, and bread has turned golden brown, remove the sandwich from the pan and place on a cutting board or plate to cool slightly before slicing. Once cooled, slice the sandwich in half and enjoy!

*You do not want the bread to burn; slow and steady wins the grilled cheese race!
Banana-Mallow & Cookie Butter Grilled "Cheese"
Makes 1 sandwich

Ingredients
2 thick slices of french or sweet bread (e.g., a sliced baguette, Portuguese, or potato roll)
2-4 tbsp of marshmallows, finely chopped (depending on how marshmallowy you like it)
1/2 banana, thinly sliced
1-2 tbsp of crunchy cookie butter (depending on how saucy you like it)
1-2 tbsp of salted butter

Instructions
1. Spread both slices of bread with cookie butter spread. Meanwhile, melt 1 tbsp of butter in a pan over medium-low heat*. Once melted, place one slice of bread into the pan (cookie butter side up) and cover with half of sliced banana and chopped marshmallows, then layer on the rest of the sliced banana and chopped marshmallows, topping it off with the remaining slice of bread (cookie-buttered side down).

3. Firmly press the sandwich down into the pan with a spatula. Once the marshmallows have started melting, and the bread has lightly browned (about 4-6 minutes), flip the sandwich to the other side for the same grilling treatment (adding another tbsp of butter, if necessary).

4. Once the marshmallows have completely melted, and bread has turned golden brown, remove the sandwich from the pan and place on a cutting board or plate to cool slightly before slicing. Once cooled, slice the sandwich in half and enjoy!

*You do not want the bread to burn; slow and steady wins the grilled cheese race!