How To Throw a Grilled Cheese Party
This past Sunday, I did something totally different for our usual Sunday dinner – a grilled cheese party! On Saturday, when I shared my Sunday dinner menu, so many of you commented wanting to know more about how I was going to do a grilled cheese bar that I most definitely owed you a special post :)
When I asked my husband last week if there was anything he was particularly hungry for on Sunday, he thought for a bit and said grilled cheese sandwiches. I immediately thought of doing a big grilled cheese bar, similar to the pizza bar I set up for our parents on New Year’s Eve. Below are all of the details you need to throw your own grilled cheese party because, really, there are few things that define comfort food more than grilled cheese sandwiches!
Step 1: Choose Your Bread
The amount of people you are having will likely determine how many loaves of bread you need. I was only making sandwiches for six on Sunday, so I stuck to two loaves of bread. As a general rule of thumb, I would plan on one loaf of bread per 4 people.
Types of Bread to Consider: White or Italian, Sourdough, Multi-Grain, Challah, Ciabatta
Since we were a small group and I had a good idea of what everyone likes, I went with one loaf of Italian and one of sourdough.
Step 2: Pick the CHEESE!
This is the most important part of the entire sandwich, right?! You want wonderfully melty, gooey cheese, so I go with softer cheeses that melt easily for my grilled cheese sandwiches.
Cheese Options: American, Swiss/Gruyere, Cheddar, Mozzarella, Smoked Gouda, Brie
I had American, Swiss, cheddar, mozzarella and smoked gouda on hand for our sandwiches on Sunday.
Step 3: Toppings, Toppings and More Toppings
This is where you can really go wild and get creative. The size of your crowd will largely determine how many different options you want to include, but here are some ideas:
Meats: Prosciutto, Pepperoni, Salami/Sopressata, Bacon, Traditional Lunchmeat
Veggies: Caramelized Onions, Sautéed Mushrooms, Arugula, Basil, Roasted Red Peppers, Banana Peppers, Tomatoes, Avocado (fruit? veggie?)
Fruit: Pears, Apples
Condiments: Fig Spread, Stone Ground Mustard, Mayonnaise, Sriracha, Pizza Sauce
Step 4: Putting It All Together
You can offer up suggestions for sandwiches, or let your guests peruse all of the options and come up with their own combinations. These are a few of the ones we made on Sunday:
- Italian Bread, Fresh Mozzarella, Roasted Red Peppers, Basil
- Italian Bread, Prosciutto, American Cheese & Smoked Gouda
- Sourdough Bread, American Cheese, Smoked Gouda, Bacon, Tomato, Avocado, Sriracha
Below are some suggestions based on sandwiches I’ve had in the past that have totally knocked my socks off!
- Sourdough, Brie, Prosciutto, Pears and Fig Spread
- White Bread, Apple, Bacon and Cheddar
- Italian Bread, Caramelized Onion and Gruyere (a faux French onion soup sandwich!)
- Italian Bread, Prosciutto, Fresh Mozzarella and Basil
- Italian Bread, Mozzarella, Pepperoni and Pizza Sauce
Step 5: Cook!
Since we had a small group, I took everyone’s sandwich order, assembled them and cooked them myself. I used my 10-inch cast iron skillet (I was able to cook two sandwiches at once) on medium-low heat and generously buttered both sides of the sandwich so that they browned nicely with a gorgeous crust. I typically cover the pan with a lid to speed up the cheese melting process and each batch takes less than 5 minutes to cook. With a small amount of people, this was an easy way to do it. However, if you have a large crowd, you may want to let everyone assemble their own sandwiches and then have an assembly line with a panini press or a large griddle.
That’s it! Everyone enjoyed the change of pace from a big, multi-course dinner on Sunday and, most importantly, they LOVED their personalized sandwiches!
What are your favorite grilled cheese sandwich combinations?
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the bran and germ, which is why whole wheat flour produces heavier, denser baked goods.
I have a huge affinity for sweet red pepper jelly. It is also delicious on Turkey sandwiches.
Oh, how fun! I hold a regular dinner with friends and this has inspired me! I have a sandwich press as well so could do several batches at once…
If you love Grilled Cheese sandwiches you need to take a weekend trip to Cleveland. There is a restaurant that now has 4 sites that just does grilled cheese. Some of their sandwiches have veggies, some have mushrooms, and every month they have a special combo. It’s called Melt. You can look up their menu for additional inspiration of unique combinations.
Hi Kathy, I’ve heard of that place! If I find myself in Cleveland, I definitely plan on checking it out!
I feed the youth group on Sunday nights. We recently had grilled cheese sandwiches. They loved it!! Such a wonderful comfort food.
I went to a baby shower that featured a grilled cheese bar, and it was so fabulous! They had laid out all the possible breads, cheese, and various toppings. We assembled our own sandwiches and stuck these cute toothpicks in with our name on it, and set it on the counter. They fried them up and called out our name when our sandwich was up. So fun. I have to do this for my family.
I really like sourdough with American cheese and grilled turkey (especially leftover turkey after Thanksgiving).
Turkey, cheddar, bacon and a schmear of apple butter on sour dough. And I also have started using mayo instead of butter as the “toasting” agent on the bread. Works really well and my family can’t tell the difference. So please don’t tell them my secret. :)
In college, we had a sandwich bar at lunch and dinner, complete with panini presses. I LOVED to make grilled cheese sandwiches there with rye bread, provolone cheese, and thinly sliced red onion. Simple, but so good.
I was recently introduced to another combo that I’m head-over-heels for: sourdough bread, white cheddar or Gouda, bacon, and thinly sliced Granny Smith apple. Yum.
I’ve never really experimented with grilled cheese…now I definitely plan to! These are great ideas and I would never have thought of using some of these items on grilled cheese. Thanks!
Love this idea! What a great way to entertain…
We have a fabulous grilled cheese food truck in Boston. My favorite is called “The Green Munster” : Munster cheese, applewood smoked bacon, and avocado. They use a good quality white bread, probably Pepperidge farm. SO GOOD!
My husband and I love grilled cheese, so I decided to have it for lunch one day when I’d invited a couple of gal friends over. They ate it VERY sedately, and when they brought lunch the next time, it was a nice healthy salad, and I felt pretty chastened. :) I guess make sure you know your party is the grilled cheese type of person!
Thank you for this. I teach children how to cook and have taught several party type classes, I think I’ll add this one to the list.
LOVE the idea of a grilled cheese bar and letting people pick out there own toppings!!
I made a bunch of grilled cheese sandwiches for a party one time, and baked them so they would all finish cooking at the same time. (450* for approx. 7 minutes per side). I would imagine that cooking them under the broiler would work pretty well too!
Last summer I had the most amazing grilled cheese at a pub in Leesburg, VA. It was on sourdough with Havarti cheese, smoked Virgina ham sliced very thin and mango chutney. I have made it several times since then and it is amazing. I’ve also tried the pizza version…messy, gooey, yummy!
My husband loves it when I make him grilled cheese. I love doing a little fig spread, thinly sliced apples, turkey, and provolone. He likes turkey, tomato, and sharp cheddar. I also will sprinkle a little Brady Street Cheese Sprinkle (from Penzey’s Spices) on the buttered side of the bread. It makes it a little extra special!
Oh! I love this idea! Can’t go wrong with grilled cheese, in my opinion, and I love how everyone can create their own sandwich. So fun!
I’m a nurse and back when I worked the day shift, one of the cafeterias (it is a very large hospital with 4 different dining places!!). offered a grilled cheese bar once a week. My favorite was made with one of those heavy whole grain breads that has like whole seeds and little nuts in it. The filling was Swiss and cheddar cheese, bacon,spinach and a delicious raspberry jam. On how I miss those sandwiches. I might be heading to the store in a few minutes to get the ingredients for lunch for the rest of the week and weekend. Thanks for the reminder!!
love bacon and tomato on my grilled cheese
Thanks for sharing that. I confess when I think grilled cheese, it tends to be the original, but no reason we can’t shake it up now and then.
What a fun idea! I can’t wait to try this at the next potluck :) Thanks for sharing!
A grilled cheese bar sounds like so much fun! At our house we have been into grilled brie sandwiches with a little cheddar and raspberry jam included. Another favorite is grilled caprese sandwiches with mozzarella, tomato and pesto. Both are so delicious. And both go nicely with homemade tomato soup. And I like to use a good rustic Italian bread for both, but I think sourdough would work nicely as well. And of course on the grilled brie, French bread works wonderfully well and is SO good!. Thanks for this great post today; I loved reading it and will definitely store it for a future grilled cheese party of my own :)
a me piace tutto tranne mescolare dolce con salato, la frutta con i salumi e i formaggi non li gradisco,grazie per questo spettacolo di goduria
This is such a great idea! I love grilled cheese so this is definitely up my alley and I love that one can add any toppings to it making it a gourmet grilled cheese sandwich :)
Try a thin layer of mayo rather than butter. It gets nice and crisp and has a wonderful flavor. My favorite grilled cheese is muenster on potato bread paired with tomato soup.
I’ve heard of the mayonnaise in lieu of butter thing, but I’ve never tried it. Thanks for reminding me of potato bread! My mom used to buy it when I was in high school and I loved a plain cheese sandwich with it!