The Ultimate Grilled Cheese Contest

Cooks from around the state brought their best grilled cheese recipes to the Indiana State Fair on Saturday, August 12, 2017. Now, you can make these delicious takes on a classic comfort food at home!

prize_icon_1st place
First Place

by: Mackenzie Graham

1 tablespoon mayonnaise, divided
2 thick slices firm white bread
1 tablespoon salted butter
½ clove garlic, minced
¾ cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese, divided
½ cup shredded Gouda cheese
Parsley and dill pickle spears, optional
Spread ½ tablespoon mayonnaise on 1 side of each bread slice. Preheat skillet over medium heat. Add butter and garlic; sauté 1 to 2 minutes. With spatula, remove garlic butter and spread over the mayonnaise on the bread slices. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons Cheddar cheese into skillet. Reserve 2 tablespoons Cheddar cheese. Place 1 bread slice, mayonnaise-side down, on top the cheese; top with Gouda, ½ cup Cheddar and second bread slide, mayonnaise-side up. Reduce heat to medium-low and grill until golden. Lift sandwich and sprinkle reserved Cheddar cheese into skillet. Flip the sandwich so the uncooked side is on top of the cheese. Grill until golden brown. Remove from skillet and let stand 1 minute. Cut in half and serve immediately. Garnish with parsley and serve with dill pickle spears if desired. Makes 1 sandwich.

prize_icon_2nd place
Second Place

by: Ross Katz

2 (1/2-inch thick) slices sourdough bread
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 egg
1 slice Gouda cheese
1 tablespoon ready-to-eat crumbled bacon
1 teaspoon chopped roasted garlic
1 slice sharp Cheddar cheese
1 slice Havarti cheese
Chopped parsley or chives, optional
Preheat griddle or skillet. Cut a hole in 1 bread slice with a shot glass or small cookie cutter. Melt butter on griddle and coat evenly. Place the bread slice with the hole on griddle. Crack egg into the hole. Place the second bread slice on griddle and top with Gouda then bacon, garlic and Cheddar. Top the egg-filled bread slice with Havarti. When the egg is almost cooked, flip the second slice bread on top the egg. Continue cooking until cheeses begin to ooze out the sides. Place on plate and cut in half. Garnish with parsley if desired. Makes 1 sandwiches.

prize_icon_3rd place
Third Place

by: Kay Lazar

1 tablespoon salted butter
½ whole wheat pita bread
2 slices white American cheese
2 slices Colby Jack cheese
4 to 6 canned beet slices, well drained
1 slice Muenster cheese
Arugula and sour cream, optional
Melt butter in skillet. Line both sides of the pita half with American and Colby Jack cheeses; add beet slices. Place in skillet and cook 1½ minutes. Flip. Top with Muenster; cook 1½ minutes or until cheeses are melted. Serve immediately. Garnish with arugula and serve with sour cream if desired. Makes 1 sandwiches.
by: Samantha Bales

4 tablespoons salted butter, softened, divided
½ teaspoon minced garlic
¼ teaspoon Italian seasoning
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
2 slices Texas toast-style bread
1 slice Mozzarella cheese
3 tablespoons shaved Parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons diced pepperoni
1 slice Gouda cheese
1 slice Provolone cheese
Marinara sauce, optional
Preheat griddle or skillet to medium/medium-high. Combine 2 tablespoons butter, minced garlic, Italian seasoning and garlic powder in small bowl. Coat 1 side of each bread slice with remaining butter. Place 1 bread slice, buttered-side down, on griddle. Spread top with half the garlic butter. Top with Mozzarella, Parmesan, pepperoni, Gouda and Provolone. Spread remaining garlic butter on unbuttered side of second bread slice; place over first bread slice, garlic-butter-side down. Grill until golden brown and cheeses are melted, pressing down on sandwich and flipping as necessary. Remove from griddle and let stand 1 minute. Cut in half and serve with marinara sauce if desired. Makes 1 sandwich.
by: Jimmy Nichols

12 ounces frozen potato rounds, thawed, divided
3 slices American cheese
3 slices Swiss cheese
½ cup prepared barbecue sauce
1 cup ready-to-eat crumbled bacon
Grease and preheat waffle iron. Place half the potato rounds on waffle iron; cook 5 minutes or until golden. Remove potato layer from waffle iron; repeat with remaining potatoes. Open waffle iron and top the cooked potato layer with the cheeses, barbecue sauce, bacon and reserved cooked potato layer. Close waffle iron and cook until cheeses are melted. Cut into 4 servings. Serve with potato chips if desired. Makes 4 sandwiches.
by: Christine Rienecker

2 (½-inch thick) slices brioche bread
4 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
2 slices Mozzarella cheese
¼ cup sun-dried tomato bruschetta, well-drained
2 slices Fontina cheese
¼ cup roasted red bell pepper strips, diced and well drained
2 slices garlic and herb Monterey Jack cheese
⅛ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 teaspoons unsalted butter, divided
Fresh basil leaves, black olives and roasted red bell pepper strips, optional
Brush 1 side of each bread slice with ½ teaspoon olive oil. Place 1 bread slice on a plate, olive-oil-side up. Top with Mozzarella then bruschetta, Fontina, diced roasted red pepper and garlic and herb Monterey Jack cheese. Sprinkle with black pepper and top with second bread slice, olive-oil-side down. In a 12-inch skillet over low heat, place 1½ teaspoons each olive oil and butter. When butter is melted, swirl pan and place sandwich in center. Cover; cook 3 to 4 minutes or until golden brown. Uncover; remove sandwich to plate and add remaining olive oil and butter to skillet. When butter is melted, swirl pan and add sandwich, uncooked-side down. Cover; cook 3 to 4 minutes or until golden brown. Place on plate and cut in half diagonally. Garnish with basil, olives and red pepper strips if desired. Makes 1 sandwich.
by: Beverley Rossell

1 tablespoon mayonnaise
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
⅛ teaspoon garlic powder
1 (5-inch long) slice “Everything” French bread, cut in half horizontally
¼ cup salted roasted pistachio nuts, finely chopped, divided
2 tablespoons cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons dill relish
2 tablespoons shredded extra sharp Cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons shredded Havarti cheese
2 tablespoons shredded Pepper Jack cheese
¼ cup mango chutney
Combine mayonnaise, mustard and garlic powder; spread on crust side of each bread slice then sprinkle each slice with a scant tablespoon nuts.  Combine cream cheese, relish and shredded cheeses. Spread on cut side of 1 bread slice; sprinkle with remaining nuts. Top with second bread slice, cut-side down. Grill in a preheated skillet or griddle over medium-low heat 4 minutes. Flip sandwich and grill until golden brown. Serve with chutney. Makes 1 sandwich.

by: Mary Willey

1 large soft buttery pretzel, split in half
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 ounces sharp Cheddar cheese, cut into thin strips
2 ounces Pepper Jack cheese, cut into thin strips
2 tablespoons spicy brown mustard
Coat the cut sides of the pretzel with butter. Place 1 pretzel half, buttered-side down, in hot skillet. Alternate layers of Cheddar and Pepper Jack on top the pretzel half. When cheeses begin to melt, top with remaining pretzel half, buttered-side up; flip. When outside of sandwich is toasty brown and cheeses are melted, remove from skillet. Serve with mustard. Makes 1 sandwich.