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This Is the Best Cheese for the Ultimate Grilled Cheese Goodness

What's the best cheese for grilled cheese? To find the answer, I ate more grilled cheese than anyone should.

Gif of 7 Grilled Cheeses
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Crispy, golden bread. A tantalizing cheese pull. Is there anything better than biting into a gourmet grilled cheese? It’s the ultimate home-cooked comfort food. But what is the best cheese for grilled cheese, and what should you pair it with for the best sandwich?

With the help of the HelloFresh marketplace, I tried seven different grilled cheese recipes to find the ultimate winner. These recipes definitely take it up a notch from American cheese on white bread! With HelloFresh, all the ingredients came pre-portioned to make exactly the right amount of grilled cheese, with sourdough bread and all the different toppings you could ask for. You could order a couple recipes, arm yourself with cheese puns and throw a grilled cheese party—or you could hoard all the grilled cheese for yourself. No judgment here.

To find the best recipe, I grabbed some taste-testers and ate more grilled cheese than any person should. Good thing cheese is actually good for you, right? In order from “mouthwatering” to “meh,” these were our favorites.

Truffle Grilled Cheese
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1. White Cheddar and Truffle Grilled Cheese with Mushrooms

This sandwich was the fanciest, and also the favorite across my taste-testers. The sourdough is slathered in deliciously aromatic truffle butter, then covered with a melty layer of shredded white cheddar and topped with sautéed mushrooms and onions. It’s rich, with a nice depth of flavor and a perfect cheesy ooze.

It made the kitchen smell amazing—you’ll have your guests asking how much longer till they can eat. It takes some work to slice and sauté the mushrooms, but it’s oh-so worth it.

I’m a huge fan of sharp white cheddar in general, and particularly on this sandwich. It was a fun inversion of the classic cheddar grilled cheese, and the sharper cheddar paired perfectly with the butter-sautéed mushrooms. The shredded cheese melted easily and didn’t make a mess. If you want a sharp, flavorful take on a classic, I’d say white cheddar is the best cheese for grilled cheese—particularly if you can pair it with truffle-flavored anything!

French Onion Grilled Cheese
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2. French Onion Grilled Cheese with Gouda

This grilled cheese was another fan favorite, tied with the truffle grilled cheese. Sweet, melty gouda is the base for a thick layer of mouthwatering caramelized onions, cooked in beef stock and herb butter until jammy. A swipe of herb butter across the sourdough and a beautiful golden crust complete this delicious sandwich. Strings of silky onion drip out as you eat it, making for a messy but luxurious bite.

The only downside is that this sandwich took the longest to make of all the recipes. Caramelizing onions is an exercise in patience when your stomach is rumbling. It’s worth it for the end result, but it takes some discipline to actually assemble the grilled cheese rather than just eat the onions with a fork. Ultimately, we found gouda to be a versatile cheese option: It’s great with toppings or on its own, and it strikes a nice balance of sweet and savory.

Cheddar Cranberry Grilled Cheese
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3. Cheddar and Cranberry Jam Grilled Cheese

Cheddar is widely regarded as the best cheese for grilled cheese. It’s a classic for a reason! But a predictable cheese choice can also leave your grilled cheese lacking some oomph.

Enter the cranberry grilled cheese: classic cheddar elevated with a tart and fruity twist. It’s just a cheddar grilled cheese with a layer of cranberry jam. But for such a simple recipe, this grilled cheese really punches above its weight. The tartness of the cranberry helps cut the buttery cheddar, making a really delicious and well-balanced sandwich. It’s not too fruity, not too cheesy, and works really well with the crispy sourdough for a bit of texture.

The recommendation to use two to three slices of cheddar means a gooey center and a guaranteed cheese pull when you bite. Compared with some of the more involved recipes, easy prep made this an everyday winner.

If you love fruit-and-cheese combos, you can also learn how to pair cheese like an expert for more inspiration.

Pickle Ranch Grilled Cheese
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4. Ranch Grilled Cheese with Dill Pickles

This sandwich isn’t what you think of when you think grilled cheese, but it is delicious. The sourdough is spread with a mixture of cream cheese, ranch dressing and shredded monterey jack, then topped with dill pickle slices. Grilled cheese can sometimes be one note, so my taste-testers and I loved the mix of flavors in this sandwich, where both the ranch and the pickle shine through for a savory-tangy bite.

It’s a soft cheese spread, so you won’t get any cheese pulls; if that’s an important factor for you, you won’t find this mix to be the best cheese for grilled cheese. But it has a delicious creamy texture that contrasts nicely with the crunch of the pickles, making it a delight to eat. Bonus: You can horrify your guests with egregious pickle puns.

Classic Cheddar Grilled Cheese
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5. Cheddar Herb Grilled Cheese

Cheddar grilled cheese is a classic, and this was an enhanced version of the standard comfort food. Herb butter gave it an extra umami, while the sourdough bread provided a nice counterpoint to the cheddar.

This grilled cheese has a nice cheese pull and a comforting flavor with no surprises. It’s ranked a little lower on this list because it wasn’t as fun as some of the other flavors. But it’s a solid sandwich to have with some tomato soup on a rainy day.

 Medi Orange Grilled Cheese
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6. Medi Grilled Cheese with Sundried Tomatoes

Flavor-wise, this grilled cheese ranks above the classic cheddar for me. A mix of feta and shredded mozzarella pairs with sun-dried tomatoes and herb butter for a Mediterranean-inspired sandwich. Personally, I’m a big feta fan. My taste-testers also appreciated the different flavor profile, which was fresher than some of the other, more butter-forward recipes. Sun-dried tomatoes add a nice pop of color and flavor too.

However, feta isn’t melty, which makes it not the best cheese for grilled cheese. It made the sandwich difficult to adhere to itself, and a fair amount of the loose filling spilled out into the pan while I cooked. The end result was tasty, but I can’t recommend feta as the best grilled cheese choice.

Cherry And Mozz Grilled Cheese
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7. Cherry and Mozz Grilled Cheese with Pickled Shallot

This was the least favorite recipe across my taste-testers. The premise is interesting: slices of fresh mozzarella nestled between cherry jam and quick pickled shallot. But the cherry jam tasted like a tart, Door County–style bing cherry rather than a sweet cherry. The tart jam and the vinegar shallots were too similar in flavor profile, making a one-note, sour sandwich.

But the biggest issue I had was with the fresh mozzarella. It was difficult to melt, even when sliced thinly, which meant a chewy and lukewarm inside. I made this one twice to try to perfect my technique. Both times I needed to microwave it at the end to melt the cheese without burning the bread, despite cooking it low and slow on the griddle. Fresh mozzarella is delicious, but definitely far from the best cheese for grilled cheese—I’d rather save it for a caprese salad.

Which grilled cheese will you make? Next, learn what your favorite cheese says about your personality.

Sarah Vincent
Sarah Vincent is an associate editor for Reader’s Digest, covering digital lifestyle stories. She has also worked as a culture journalist, and you can find her published in America, National Catholic Reporter and Sojourners. In her free time, she loves crafting, cooking, traveling and learning (or forgetting!) Japanese.