This Gruyere Grilled Cheese with Ham, Caramelized Onions, and Fig Jam is the ultimate in sweet and savory comfort food.
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The Perfect Recipe for a Grilled Cheese Party
Each fall for the past several years, I’ve hosted a grilled cheese party at my house for girls night. This is my favorite party to plan. I love trolling the fancy cheese section of our grocery store looking for new cheeses and toppings to try.
I rarely allow myself free reign in the cheese aisle (we do have a mortgage to pay, after all), but for this party I make an exception. I fill my cart with spicy cheeses and stinky cheeses, melters and flavor boosters. I usually can’t resist an infused honey or an interesting jam. Then, I move onto the deli and add a few smoked meats, sliced prosciutto, or ham, and finish off my selections with olives and fresh or pickled veggies.
I end up with quite the array of options, but every year I keep a few classics around: gruyere, mozzarella, ham, and pesto are my must haves for every grilled cheese party.
My favorite part of the whole process is, of course, the making and eating of ALL the grilled cheeses. I love seeing the combinations my friends make and discussing which cheeses and toppings make the meltiest, gooiest, best grilled cheese recipe.
Gruyere Grilled Cheese with Caramelized Onions
Last year I added two new toppings to the mix, and found what might be my favorite Grilled Cheese combo of all time: A Gruyere Grilled Cheese stacked with caramelized onions, ham, and fig jam.
Here’s what you’ll need to make it yourself!
- Good bread- An Italian or country white loaf would be perfect here. You want something that will grill up nice and crispy on the outside but stay fluffy on the inside.
- Gruyere cheese- In my opinion, gruyere is one of the best cheeses for grilled cheese. It melts beautifully and has a mellow, sweet, and nutty flavor that goes well with sweet and savory toppings.
- Caramelized onions- We’re going to treat them right and cook them low and slow until they’re golden and jammy.
- Ham- I used a Black Forest Deli Ham, but you could also use ham from an Orange Glazed Ham.
- Fig Jam- Fig jam is perfect for grilled cheese, because it’s not overly sweet or fruity. It adds just a hint of sweetness that compliments the richness of the cheese and onions perfectly.
Tips for Making the Best Grilled Cheese
- Butter the bread alllll the way to the edges and don’t skimp! We want crisp, crackly, buttery bread in every bite.
- To ensure the cheese is melted by the time the bread is golden, cover the pan, or use tin foil to gently tent your cooking surface and keep the heat inside.
- If you’re cooking for a crowd, or hosting a grilled cheese party, I highly recommend getting an electric griddle. You can cook so many sandwiches at once!
- If you’re cooking just for yourself or a few people, use an air fryer! The circulating heat makes for a super crispy grilled cheese that’s perfectly gooey every time. Check out my full instructions on this Air Fryer Grilled Cheese recipe.
Why Gruyere Grilled Cheese is the BEST Grilled Cheese
This sandwich is about all a girl could ask for on a wet, cloudy fall day like today. It’s warm and gooey, with that crispy buttery crust that makes me a little weak in the knees. But it’s really the sweetness lent by the sticky fig jam and deeply caramelized onions that do me in. This is a combination you’ve got to try. It’s simple enough for a weeknight dinner, but elegant enough for a party, especially a party filled with girlfriends who have as much love for grilled cheese as you do.
What to Pair with Grilled Cheese
I consider grilled cheese a meal in itself, but it never hurts to add a salad or soup on this side.
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 large sweet yellow onion, thinly sliced
- 4 slices rustic Italian bread (about 1/2 inch thick)
- 2 Tablespoons butter, at room temperature
- 6 ounces Gruyere cheese, shredded
- 2 Tablespoons fig jam
- 4 slices black forest ham
- Place the oil, a pinch of salt, and the sliced onion in a pan over low heat, stirring to coat. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion slices are soft, golden brown, and caramelized, about 25-30 minutes.
- Spread one side of each of the bread slices with the softened butter. On the other side, layer 1/2 the cheese slices, the ham slices, and the caramelized onions followed by the rest of the cheese. Spread the top piece of bread with the fig jam.
- Place the sandwiches in a skillet over medium heat. Cook until the bottom is golden brown. Carefully flip the sandwiches over and cook the other side until golden brown and the cheese is melted. Serve the sandwiches warm.
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