How to Cook the Perfect Vegan Grilled Cheese (and 9 Twists You Have to Try)

How to Cook the Perfect Vegan Grilled Cheese (and 9 Twists You Have to Try)

For many of us, a classic, crispy-on-the-outside, gooey-in-the-middle grilled cheese sandwich is at the top of our comfort food list. And while it’s not a difficult sandwich to make, some subtle tips—and being aware of common mistakes—can make that grilled cheese sammy go from good to delectable. 

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How to make a vegan grilled cheese

A successful vegan grilled cheese has but a few requirements. “It should have bread that’s just slightly browned and cheese that’s melted throughout and is slightly greasy and slightly salty,” says Michael Suchman, co-author of NYC Vegan and the other half of vegan activists VeganMos.

Suchman adds that grilled cheese makes him think of being four or five years old when his mother would make him grilled cheese for lunch. Back then, though, grilled cheese was little more than Wonder bread and non-vegan Kraft singles.

VegNews.MiyokosGrilledCheeseMiyoko’s Creamery

RELATED: You Can Pour This Dairy-Free Cheese On Just About Everything

Fortunately, grilled cheese has come a long way since the ’70s. To get it right, start by making sure the bread you’re using isn’t too thick or the cheese won’t get hot enough to melt. Check the crust, too. “I prefer a soft-crust bread for my grilled cheese so it’s easier to bite into once it’s cooked,” Suchman says. If the bread’s crust is too hard before you cook it, it can be a challenge to eat once it’s been grilled. Then choose a vegan cheese that melts easily or else your bread will burn before the sandwich is done. Suchman prefers slices but shreds can work in a pinch, too. 

While you might be tempted to slather vegan butter on the outside of the bread, break that habit. Instead, use a light spread of vegan mayonnaise. Why? “It tastes better,” Suchman says. If you’re adding fillings to your sandwich, place them in the middle so that the sandwich is layered as bread, cheese, filling, cheese, bread. (Pro tip: if you’re using vegan meat like ham or bacon, cook it separately before adding it to the sandwich.) Then start cooking on medium-low heat so the bread toasts slowly and the cheese melts. Once it’s golden brown, flip it, and cover the skillet with a lid. If you’re cooking on a griddle, cover the sandwich with a pot lid to trap in heat and help the cheese melt. 

9 plant-based grilled cheese recipes with a twist

If you’re looking for grilled cheese inspiration, try these nine unique creations.

VegNews.MozzSando.2The Herbivorous Butcher Cookbook

1Crispy Fried Vegan Grilled Cheese With Marinara Dipping Sauce

Grilled cheese sandwiches are already delicious on their own, but the geniuses behind The Herbivorous Butcher Cookbook combined this classic with another cult favorite: fried mozzarella sticks. A whole grilled cheese sandwich turned into a crispy, fried mozz stick complete with marinara sauce for dipping? Sign us up!

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VegNews.PumpkinGrilledCheeseGina Fontana

2Vegan Grilled Cheese With Pumpkin, Pear, and Candied Pecans

Sweet meets savory in this twist on the classic grilled cheese sandwich. Ooey, gooey vegan cheese is complemented with the sweetness of grilled pears and crunchy, candied pecans for a sandwich that offers the best of both worlds. 

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VegNews.JalapenoGrilledCheesePeas and Crayons

3 Vegan Jalapeño Popper Grilled Cheese

Turn one of your favorite appetizers into grilled cheese! This recipe from Jenn Laughlin of the blog Peas and Crayons will surely please that jalapeño-loving palate with this spicy twist.  
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VegNews.BBQGrilledCheeseThe Colorful Kitchen

4 Vegan BBQ Grilled Cheese

Simple is the name of the game with this sandwich by Ilene Godofsky Moreno of The Colorful Kitchen. Made using carrots and barbecue sauce, this sandwich delivers on flavor. Amp it up even more with some spinach and red onion, and you’ve got yourself a tasty twist. 
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VegNews.BlackBeanGrilledCheeseVegan Richa

5 Smoky Black Bean Nacho Cheese Sandwich

Count on blogger and author Richa Hingle of Vegan Richa to give those tastebuds something to write home about. Smoky black beans (or refried, if you prefer) may become your favorite add-in yet. 
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VegNews.CaramelizedOnionMushroomGrilledCheeseIt Doesn’t Taste Like Chicken

6 Vegan Caramelized Onion and Mushroom Grilled Cheese

Got any health nuts who want to veganize their grilled cheese? Blogger and author Sam Turnbull of It Doesn’t Taste Like Chicken has your back with this savory onion-and-mushroom version. 
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VegNews.BalsamicBerryGrilledCheeseNeurotic Mommy

7 Balsamic Berry Vegan Grilled Cheese

Holy grilled cheese! Jennifer Rossano of Neurotic Mommy is the brains behind this sweet berry-filled concoction. If there were Golden Globes for grilled cheese, this would surely be a winner. 
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VegNews.MacGrilledCheeseSix Vegan Sisters

8 Vegan Mac and Grilled Cheese

Yes, you really can add mac and cheese to anything, including grilled cheese. The sisters behind Six Vegan Sisters not only stuff their famous mac and cheese between two pieces of bread, but they also slather on more cheese for the ultimate cheesy comfort food. 
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9 Healthy Vegan Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Health nuts, Alena of Nutriciously has created this one for you, as this healthified grilled cheese is loaded with veggies like avocado, zucchini, and spinach. You’ll make your own cheese sauce before assembling and cooking the sandwich in a pan.  
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For more vegan cheese eats, read:

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