Have you ever wondered how to up grilled cheese? This gourmet grilled cheese sandwich is the grown-up version of the good ol' sandwich we all love so much. Expect a dreamy combination of cheddar, brie, and apple slices. The center is ooey-gooey and creamy, and every bite is delicious. Bread choice? Sourdough sandwich bread, of course!
Best cheese combos
Although American cheese is absolutely the best cheese for classic grilled cheese, I recommend trying your favorite cheese sandwich with a combination of different types of cheese to make a fancy grown-up grilled cheese. I love the combination of cheddar and brie as they both have different qualities in terms of melting point and taste. The earthy taste of the brie goes perfectly with the sharp taste of the cheddar.
But you can combine any cheeses you like. I recommend combining hard or semi-hard with soft cheese. Monterey Jack and blue cheese is also one of my favorite combinations.
Grated cheese vs. cheese slices
I'm a fan of using cheese slices instead of grated cheese, but I'm sure you'll hear conflicting recommendations depending on who you ask. Using grated cheese makes it unnecessarily complicated for me to fill the sandwich, and there is always some cheese falling out of the sandwich. The argument for grated cheese is that it melts faster than slices.
But I can tell you from experience that cheese slices melt just as wonderfully. All you have to do is cook the sandwich over medium-low heat and slow. If you prefer grated cheese, I recommend freshly grated cheese, as pre-grated cheese often contains additional coating ingredients that prevent the cheese from clumping.
Sourdough bread is without a doubt the best choice for this gourmet sandwich. You can either use a soft and mild sourdough sandwich or a crusty artisan sourdough bread. However, any kind of sliced bread will work well. Whatever bread you use, be sure to cut it about ½" (1.3cm) thin so the cheese can melt nicely. I don't recommend thinner slices of bread as this can result in soggy grilled cheese.
Mayo vs. butter
I'm sure you will hear mixed answers about what is the better spread for the outside of the bread depending on who you ask. I'm on team mayo and absolutely love how golden, crispy, and delicious the bread is when using mayo and the tang of the mayo cuts the richness of the cheese. As you cook the sandwich in butter, you still have the light buttery taste without buttering the bread slices. Another advantage of using mayo is also that you don't have to soften the butter for the bread. But feel free to use butter if you prefer.
How to do it? Spread one side of your sandwich with mayo, then place it mayo-side down in the pan, and spread the second side. This is the easiest method as you don't have to worry about mayo sticking to a plate or your hands.
How to avoid burning the sandwich
The key is to cook it low and slowly. Medium-low heat is more than enough to make cheese toast. My secret to gooey, melted cheese centers without overcooking the bread, is to cover the pan with a lid (but not completely closed or it will get soggy) so that the cheese melts faster and the sandwich cooks more evenly.
How and when to flip
The easiest way to flip grilled cheese sandwich is to use two spatulas. Before flipping, lightly squish the grilled cheese with a spatula so that the cheese adheres to the bread. Then push one spatula underneath the sandwich and place a second spatula on top of the sandwich. Gently squeeze the bread together with the two spatulas so that you have a good grip of the sandwich, turn it over and place it back in the pan.
You'll know when it's time to turn it when the cheese is beginning to show signs of melting and the bottom crust is golden brown and crispy.
Feel free to replace some toppings like the apple slices, try different types of cheese, and experiment with different gourmet toppings. There are too many delicious toppings to choose from to stick with just one gourmet grilled cheese forever. Some of our favorite toppings are as follows:
- Caramelized onions
- Crispy cooked or glazed bacon
- Grilled mushrooms
- Fresh thyme
What condiments go well with it
I love to serve this sandwich with cranberry sauce as it is goes perfectly with the brie. Other than that, any kind of fruit jam, chutney, or honey are wonderful. According to my family, the perfect side is lamb's lettuce with honey mustard sauce.
Storing and reheating
Gourmet grilled cheese is best when eaten fresh and warm. I don't recommend freezing the cooked sandwich as the apple and brie don't freeze well and would make a watery and unappealing center. I recommend storing leftovers in the fridge for up to 1 day and then re-grilling it in the pan or in the air fryer.
Place the cheddar slices on one slice of bread. Top with the apple slices to cover the cheddar.
Then place the brie on top to cover the apples and cheddar.
Place the second slice of bread on top and press lightly with your hand. Spread half of the mayonnaise on top of the top bread layer.
Melt butter in a cast iron skillet over medium-low heat and place the sandwich mayo-side down in the pan.
Spread the rest of the mayo on top of the bread. Cover with a lid placed slightly offset so that it doesn't close completely. Cook for about 5-6 minutes until the cheese shows first signs of melting and the bottom is golden and toasted.
Turn over and cook for another 4-5 minutes until the cheese is melted and the bread golden and toasted to your liking. Serve immediately.
More comfort food recipes to try
If you love comfort food for lunch or dinner, you've come to the right place. I'm sure you will love the following recipes too.
- Bacon Pretzel Burger
- Classic Cheeseburger
- Beef Burritos
- Warm Connecticut Lobster Roll
- Maine Lobster Salad Rolls
- Air Fryer Hot Dogs
Gourmet Grilled Cheese Sandwich
- 2 slices sourdough sandwich, ½" (1.3cm) thick
- 2 slices cheddar
- 5 slices apple, peeled, about ⅛" (3mm) thick
- 1.5 oz brie cheese, cut into a three slices
- 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- Place the cheddar slices on one slice of bread. Top with the apple slices to cover the cheddar. Then place the brie on top to cover the apples and cheddar. Place the second slice of bread on top and press lightly with your hand. Spread half of the mayonnaise on top of the top bread layer.
- Melt the butter in a cast iron skillet over medium-low heat.
- Place the sandwich mayo-side down in the pan. Spread the rest of the mayo on top of the bread. Cover with a lid placed slightly offset so that it doesn't close completely.
- Cook for about 5-6 minutes until the cheese shows first signs of melting and the bottom is golden and toasted.
- Lightly squish the sandwich with a spatula so that the cheese adheres to the bread. Push a spatula underneath the sandwich and place a second spatula on top. Then press lightly together so that you have a good grip of the sandwich, turn over and place back in the pan.
- Cook for another 4-5 minutes until the cheese is melted and the bread golden and toasted to your liking.
- Serve immediately with cranberry sauce, salad, or your favorite condiments.
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