In Honor Of National Grilled Cheese Day

Is there anything more satisfying than layering gooey cheese in between two slices of crisp, buttery bread, and throwing it in a pan (preferably, with more butter)?
The answer here is usually a resounding no. But, we invited some of our amazing culinary contributors for their best iterations of the timeless sammie, and they went a little nuts and added some things like bacon, artichokes, and an entire serving of lasagna. (Can we live?)
Luckily, National Grilled Cheese Day is a real live thing — and it's today! — so we're not asking questions. We don't need to convince you to click through for our favorite recipes, right?
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Photo: Courtesy of The New Potato.
Whitney Port's Blueberry Grilled Cheese

1 slice multigrain bread
Manchego Cheese
Fresh Baby Spinach
1/2 cup frozen blueberries
1 tbs balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 tbs agave nectar
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Photo: Courtesy of The New Potato.
Preheat oven on Broil to 400 degrees.

In a small saucepan combine blueberries, agave and balsamic vinegar. Turn on medium heat and let come to a slow boil. Use a utensil to crush berries as you stir. After boiling for about five minutes, pour mixture into a mesh strainer and the let the juice syrup separate from the solid berries. Save the syrup for cocktails, pancakes or anything else!

Coat a frying pan in a little olive oil. Butter one side of your toast and place in the pan to lightly brown. Once first side is toasted, butter top side and turn over.

Once toast is done spread the blueberries onto bread, top with cheese and place pan in broiler for a couple minutes. Watch so not to burn.

When done, place some of the baby spinach on top, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. ENJOY!

For more recipes from The New Potato, click here.
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Photo: Courtesy of Joy The Baker.
Pepper Jack Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
Makes 2 sandwiches

5 jalapeno peppers
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
3 tablespoons cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
4 slices bread

Let’s first work with the jalapenos. Char jalapeno skins by placing them over a low open flame, and rotating them until blackened all around. You can also place jalapenos under the broiler and toast until blackened on all sides. Remove from the flame (or oven), and allow the peppers to steam. I placed my hot and blackened peppers in a small pot with the lid on. You can also loosely wrap the peppers in foil. After peppers have steamed for about 10 minutes, place on a clean work surface. Use the sharp edge of a knife to scrape the skin off the peppers. Once clean of skin, slice off the top, cup dow the center vertically, and use the knife to scrape out the seeds. Coarsely chop and set aside.

I use a knife to peel and de-seed the jalapenos. It’s best to touch the peppers as little as possible, or wear plastic gloves.

Butter one side of each slice of bread. Flip the bread so the butter is facing down. Spread half of the cream cheese on two slices of the bread. Sprinkle diced jalapenos atop the cream cheese. Divide the shredded cheese atop the jalapenos and cream cheese. Top with remaining bread slice, butter side up.

Grill sandwiches in a non-stick saute pan over medium heat. Flip and cook until golden brown on each side. Slice in half and serve immediately.

For more recipes from Joy The Baker, click here.
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Photo: Courtesy of Tasting Table.
Mushroom And Gruyère Stuffed Baguette
Recipe adapted from Lionel Vatinet, "A Passion for Bread" (Little Brown)
Yield: 2 loaves

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup soy sauce
2 cups sliced cremini mushroom caps
1 1/2 cups shredded Comté or Gruyère cheese, at room temperature
Fresh thyme leaves

3 1/2 cups white bread flour, plus extra as needed
1 1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt
1 1/2 teaspoons instant dry yeast
1 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons warm water (82 to 84 degrees) plus up to 1/4 cup extra if needed

Marinate the mushrooms: In a large, re-sealable bag, combine the balsamic vinegar, soy sauce and mushrooms. Seal the bag and shake to combine. Refrigerate eight hours or overnight.

Make the bread dough: In a large bowl, use your hand to combine the flour, salt and yeast. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the water. Use one hand to mix the dry ingredients into the water, using the other hand to rotate the bowl, stopping often to scrape down the sides of the bowl and your fingers as necessary until the dough comes together into a soft, sticky, wet mass. If the dough seems at all dry, add the remaining water 1 tablespoon at a time until the dough is quite loose and wet.

Transfer the dough to your work surface. (Don't flour it first.) The dough will be very sticky; don't give in to the temptation to add more flour since that will alter the flour ratio of the dough. Hold your hands, palms facing up, at opposite sides of the dough mass that are closest to your body. Slide your fingers, still facing up, under the dough and lift the dough an inch or so from the work surface. Wrap your thumb around an index finger, creating a tight "OK" sign through the dough. While holding the "OK" sign, continue to curl your thumbs and index fingers tightly together to pinch off a portion of dough.

Working as quickly and smoothly as you can, continue lifting and pinching the dough mass using the same technique, moving up the dough in approximately five to seven times until you have gone through the entire dough mass. You should begin to feel the dough coming together. Turn the dough a quarter turn and continue lifting, pinching and turning the dough until it begins to take on an identifiable shape and is less and less sticky. This can take anywhere from five to 15 minutes.

Using both hands, lift the dough up and fold it over onto itself in one swift motion, quickly dropping it down on the work surface. Repeat this process four to five times until a ball forms. Touch the dough with the back of your hand to make sure that it is no longer sticky; if it is sticky, use the "OK" sign pinching method to knead up and down the dough once or twice more, quickly folding the dough over itself four to five times.

Lightly dust a large bowl with flour. Transfer the ball to the bowl, smooth side up, taking care to retain the round shape. Cover the bowl loosely with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm, draft-free place until the dough has doubled in volume, about an hour.

Remove the marinated mushrooms from the refrigerator and drain them in a fine-mesh sieve.

Lightly dust the work surface with flour. Transfer the dough to the floured work surface. If the dough is very sticky, flour your hands. Carefully and without ripping or tearing it, lift the dough and set it back down to see if it sticks. If it is, dust the work surface with more flour. Use the palm of your hand to press the dough into a 12-inch by 9-inch rectangle. Gently lift the dough to make sure it's not sticking; if it sticks, dust the underside with more flour. Divide the dough in half so you have two 6-inch by 9-inch rectangles. Lift the dough again to ensure it isn't sticking.

Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Turn the dough so the long side faces you. Layer half of the drained mushrooms down the center of the dough. Sprinkle half of the grated cheese over the mushrooms, then sprinkle with fresh thyme leaves. Using both hands, pick up each corner of the side of the dough closest to you. Very lightly pulling on the dough, fold it in, horizontally to the center of the rectangle, covering the mushroom-cheese stuffing. Using the heel of your hand, press down to firmly seal.

Using your fingertips, pick up the far side of the dough and fold it halfway up and over the first fold, again with a very light pull on the dough. Using the heel of your hand, again press down firmly to seal. Gently pick up the dough and place it so the seam is on the side. Using the heel of your hand, firmly press the seam against the work surface to flatten and to create tension in the dough.

Transfer the shaped dough to a prepared baking sheet, seam side down. Fill and shape the remaining piece of dough in the same way and place it on the other baking sheet, seam side down. Cover each baking sheet with a clean linen towel followed by plastic wrap.

Set the baking sheets in a warm, draft-free place until your finger leaves a small indentation that slowly and evenly disappears, about 1 hour. Adjust an oven rack to the lowest position, place a baking stone on the rack and preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Cut three 1-inch long lines on the surface of each loaf, just barely breaking through the skin and cutting about 1/8 inch into the surface of the dough. Place one sheet pan in the refrigerator. Slide the other loaf and the parchment paper onto the center of the stone, taking care not to touch the hot surface. Cover the loaf with a stainless steel mixing bowl and immediately close the oven door. Bake 10 minutes, then use a paring knife to carefully lift the edge of the bowl and use oven mitts to remove the bowl from the oven.

Continue to bake until the bread is deep golden-brown with a crisp crust and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom, 10 to 15 minutes more. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the bread from the bottom should register between 185 and 210 degrees. Transfer the loaf to a cooling rack and cool for at least 1 hour before slicing and serving. In the meantime, bake off the remaining loaf.

For more recipes from Tasting Table, click here.
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Photo: Courtesy of Joy The Baker.
Spinach And Artichoke Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
Makes 2 sandwiches

Splash of olive oil
1 small clove garlic
3 cups (or 3 big handfuls) baby spinach
4 slices bread (I used sourdough)
About 2 tablespoons cream cheese
1/3-1/2 cup grated or crumbled jack cheese
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup coarsely chopped canned artichoke hearts, drained
1 heaping tablespoon sour cream
1/2 to 1 teaspoon sriracha
Large pinch of sea salt
1 tablespoon butter, for grilling the sandwiches

Sandwiches are very personal so the ingredients above are entirely flexible and up to you!

In a small skillet, heat olive oil over medium-low heat. Add garlic and saute for 30 seconds. Add spinach leaves and saute until wilted. This should happen quickly. Spinach just wilts in a hot pan. Remove spinach from skillet, place in a medium bowl and set aside.

Spread each slice of bread with a bit of cream cheese. You don’t need much. We’re using it as edible sandwich glue.

Squeeze or press as much liquid as possible out of the canned artichoke hearts using a paper towel.

To the bowl of sautéed spinach add, jack cheese, Parmesan cheese, chopped artichoke hearts, sour cream, Sriracha, and salt. Stir until combined.

Top two slices of bread with spinach and artichoke filling. Make sandwiches with the two remaining slices of bread.

Heat butter in a skillet over medium-low heat. Add sandwiches and grill until each side is golden and the insides are melty warm. Serve immediately.

For more recipes from Joy The Baker, click here.
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Photo: Courtesy of Tasting Table.
Bacon-Boosted Patty Melt
Yield: 2 sandwiches

2 bacon strips, sliced crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces
1 1/2 teaspoons caraway seeds
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1 medium yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced lengthwise
2 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
3/4 pound 85% lean ground beef
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
4 slices rye bread
4 slices Swiss cheese

On a small plate, freeze the sliced bacon for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, toast the caraway seeds: To a large skillet set over medium heat, add the caraway seeds and cook, stirring often, until golden and fragrant, about two minutes. Transfer to a small plate and set aside. To the skillet, add 1 1/2 tablespoons of the butter. Increase the heat to medium-high and once the butter is melted, add the onion and cook until it is slightly browned and soft, three to five minutes. Stir in 1 1/4 teaspoons of salt, reduce the heat to medium-low, and continue to cook until the onion is caramelized and very soft, about 10 minutes longer. Transfer the onion to a medium plate.

Remove the bacon from the freezer and place it in the bowl of a food processor. Process the bacon until it is finely ground and crumbly, five to six seconds. In a medium bowl, add the ground bacon, toasted caraway seeds, ground beef, Worcestershire, Dijon mustard, garlic powder, the remaining 1 teaspoon of salt and the black pepper and mix to combine.

Shape the beef mixture into two half-inch-thick patties, each about the size of the sliced rye bread. Set the large skillet back over medium-high heat. Add the remaining ½ tablespoon of butter and once melted, add the beef patties. Cook until browned on both sides, five to six minutes total, then transfer to a plate. Clean out the skillet and return it to the stovetop.

Spread the mayonnaise over one side of all four bread slices, then turn the slices over. Top each of the four bread slices with a cheese slice. Add a burger patty to two of the cheese-topped bread slices. Divide the onions over the burger patties and flip the remaining 2 bread slices onto the onions so the mayonnaise-coated side faces up.

Set the clean skillet over medium heat. Place the sandwiches in the skillet and cook until golden, four to five minutes. Use a spatula to carefully turn the sandwiches over and brown the other side, four to five minutes longer. Transfer the patty melts to a cutting board, slice on a bias and serve.

For more recipes from Tasting Table, click here.
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Photo: Courtesy of Con Poulos/Food & Wine.
Inside-Out Grilled Ham-and-Cheese Sandwiches
Serves 4

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
8 slices of bakery Pullman bread
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1/2 pound sliced Swiss cheese, preferably Gruyère
8 ounces thinly sliced ham
Dill pickle slices (optional)
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/4 cup apricot preserves

Butter each slice of bread and sprinkle with Parmigiano, pressing to help it adhere. Invert the slices onto a work surface, cheese side down. Top four of the slices with the Swiss cheese, ham and pickles. Mix the mustard and preserves and spread on the remaining four slices of bread.

Close the sandwiches and griddle over moderate heat, turning, until golden, crisp on the outside and melted inside, about three minutes. Cut in half and serve right away.

For more recipes from Food & Wine, click here.
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Photo: Courtesy of Joy The Baker.
Lasagna Grilled Cheese
Makes 2 sandwiches

4 slices of bread that you love
2 tablespoons unsalted butter with a dash of olive oil
1/2 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
Salt and pepper to taste
One 14-ounce can cherry tomatoes (you’ll have extra tomatoes left over)
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
Extra salt and pepper for seasoning

Lay out bread slices.

In a medium skillet or nonstick pan, melt butter over medium-low heat.

In a small bowl stir together ricotta, basil, salt and pepper.

Top each slice of bread with a bit of mozzarella cheese. Top two of the bread slices with a few smashed cherry tomatoes. Sprinkle with a bit of salt and pepper. On the remaining two slices of bread, dollop and spread the ricotta cheese.

Combine the sandwich halves and place in the warmed skillet. Grill on each side until golden. Remove from the pan and allow to rest for three minutes before slicing in half and serving. Dang that’s good!

For more recipes from Joy The Baker, click here.