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/ Source: TODAY
By Lauren Salkeld

Is there a better combination than toasted bread and melted cheese? We’re talking about grilled cheese, the classic sandwich you loved as a kid and likely still enjoy today. And though there’s nothing wrong with the original white bread and American cheese version, there are simply too many bread, cheese and add-in possibilities not to experiment.

These seven recipes offer easy ways to rediscover your love for grilled cheese. Each one makes two sandwiches, but the recipes can be scaled up or down as needed. Toasting does wonders for lackluster bread and can even revive a stale loaf, but do yourself a favor, and use good bread. If your loaf is oval shaped or particularly large, you may want to increase the ingredient quantities, especially the cheese—you want enough cheese to cover the surface of the bread.

These sandwiches are cooked in a skillet on the stove; nonstick and cast-iron pans work particularly well here. There’s no need to butter or oil the pan. Instead, spread one tablespoon of butter (total) on the sides of the bread that will be toasted in the pan. If you want a pressed sandwich effect, set a heavy pan on top of the grilled cheese while it’s cooking, or use a panini press.

1. Ham, Swiss cheese and whole-grain mustard on sourdough bread:

Lauren Salkeld
  • Spread 1 tablespoon of butter on 1 side of 4 slices of sourdough bread, then spread whole-grain mustard on the other sides.
  • Place 1-2 slices of Swiss cheese on the mustard side of 1 slice of bread, then top with 1-2 slices of ham, 1-2 more slices of cheese and a second slice of bread (buttered side up).
  • Repeat to make a second sandwich. In a large sauté pan over medium heat, cook both sandwiches, flipping once, until the bread is toasted and the cheese is melted, 3-4 minutes per side.

2. Brussels sprouts with onion and cheddar on pumpernickel bread:

  • In a medium sauté pan, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat.
  • Add ½ thinly sliced onion and sauté 5 minutes.
  • Add ½ teaspoon smoked paprika and sauté 5 minutes more.
  • Add 2 cups thinly sliced Brussels sprouts and sauté until softened and golden, 12-15 minutes.
  • Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Spread 1 tablespoon of butter on 1 side of 4 slices of pumpernickel bread.
  • Place 1-2 slices sharp cheddar cheese on the plain side of 1 slice of bread, then top with ½ cup of the Brussels sprouts mixture, 1-2 mores slices of cheese, and a second slice of bread (buttered side up).
  • Repeat to make a second sandwich.
  • In a large sauté pan over medium heat, cook both sandwiches, flipping once, until the bread is toasted and the cheese is melted, 3-4 minutes per side.

3. Kale with roasted grapes, fontina and blue cheese on sourdough bread:

Lauren Salkeld
  • In a small baking dish, toss 25-30 red seedless grapes with olive oil, salt and pepper.
  • Roast in a 350°F oven until shriveled, 25-30 minutes.
  • Spread 1 tablespoon of butter on 1 side of 4 slices of sourdough bread.
  • Place 2-3 thin slices of fontina cheese on the plain side of 1 slice of bread, then top with half the roasted grapes, 1 tablespoon crumbled blue cheese, a small handful of baby kale and a second slice of bread (buttered side up).
  • Repeat to make a second sandwich.
  • In a large sauté pan over medium heat, cook both sandwiches, flipping once, until the bread is toasted and the cheese is melted, 3-4 minutes per side.

4. Tomatoes, mozzarella, prosciutto and basil on Italian bread:

  • Spread 1 tablespoon of butter on 1 side of 4 slices of rustic Italian bread.
  • Place 2-3 thin slices of mozzarella on the plain side of 1 slice of bread, then top with 1-2 slices of prosciutto, 2-3 thin slices of tomato, several fresh basil leaves, 2-3 more thin slices of mozzarella and a second slice of bread (buttered side up).
  • Repeat to make a second sandwich.
  • In a large sauté pan over medium heat, cook both sandwiches, flipping once, until the bread is toasted and the cheese is melted, 3-4 minutes per side.

5. Bacon, jalapeño and Monterey jack cheese on white bread:

Lauren Salkeld
  • Cook 4 slices of bacon until crispy, then let cool and cut in half lengthwise.
  • Cut a jalapeño in half lengthwise; remove the seeds and stem.
  • Broil, cut-side-down and 3-4 inches from the flame, until the skin is charred, 3-4 minutes.
  • Transfer to a bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and let cool.
  • Remove the skins and then finely chop the jalapeño. Spread 1 tablespoon of butter on 1 side of 4 slices of white bread.
  • Place 1-2 slices of Monterey jack cheese on the plain side of 1 slice of bread, then top with half the bacon, half the jalapeño, 1-2 more slices of cheese and a second slice of bread (buttered side up).
  • Repeat to make a second sandwich.
  • In a large sauté pan over medium heat, cook both sandwiches, flipping once, until the bread is toasted and the cheese is melted, 3-4 minutes per side.

6. Mushrooms and fontina on whole-grain bread:

  • In a medium sauté pan, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat.
  • Add 1 minced garlic clove and sauté 1 minute.
  • Add 2 cups thinly sliced mushrooms and sauté until softened, 5-7 minutes; season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Spread 1 tablespoon of butter on 1 side of 4 slices of whole-grain bread.
  • Place 2-3 thin slices of fontina on the plain side of 1 slice of bread, then top with half the mushrooms and a second slice of bread (buttered side up).
  • Repeat to make a second sandwich.
  • In a large sauté pan over medium heat, cook both sandwiches, flipping once, until the bread is toasted and the cheese is melted, 3-4 minutes per side.

7. Apples, walnuts, honey and cheddar on whole-grain bread

Lauran Salkeld
  • Spread 1 tablespoon of butter on 1 side of 4 slices of whole-grain bread.
  • Place 1-2 slices of sharp cheddar cheese on the plain side of 1 slice of bread, then top with several thin apple slices.
  • Sprinkle with 1-2 tablespoons toasted, chopped walnuts and drizzle with honey, then top with 1-2 more slices of cheese and a second slice of bread (buttered side up).
  • Repeat to make a second sandwich. In a large sauté pan over medium heat, cook both sandwiches, flipping once, until the bread is toasted and the cheese is melted, 3-4 minutes per side.