Ina Garten’s Ultimate Grilled Cheese is like grilled cheese on steroids. Add a bowl of creamy roasted tomato basil soup and be prepared to be blown away.

ultimate grilled cheese

Does grilled cheese ever get old?  Not in this house!

And evidently, not for the Barefoot Contessa either since the Ultimate Grilled Cheese is one of the recipes from her upcoming new book, How Easy Is That?

I’m still swooning over this simple sandwich on steroids. It’s Bread + Cheese + Butter x 10. Plus some bacon and mayo. Oy!

No joke, this was a fabulous sandwich.  How could it not be with a line-up like that one?

Though I suppose it isn’t a sandwich for lightweights. You have to be all or nothing. Do this sandwich justice.

And if your conscience nags you about eating this, you can always eat two meals of fruit for the day. Like I did. ‘Cause lots of fruit totally negates the butter, cheese, and bacon. Totally.

Ina's ultimate grilled cheese

When you make this…and you will want to…head over to Ezra Pound Cake and thank Rebecca for choosing this recipe for the Barefoot Bloggers to make this month. She didn’t have much to go off of because she doesn’t have a copy of the book yet but went on a hunch after seeing the recipe mentioned on the write-up of How Easy Is That? I love her hunches.

And if you need some tomato soup inspiration to go along with the ultimate grilled cheese, let me point you in the direction of either this creamless creamy tomato soup or this roasted tomato basil soup.

Otherwise and unconventionally, I think Ina’s split pea soup would also be an excellent soup to make for dipping this grilled cheese. Either way, make Ina’s ultimate grilled cheese and make yourself happy.

Ina Garten's Ultimate Grilled Cheese

Ina Garten's Ultimate Grilled Cheese

Yield: 6 sandwiches
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes

Not any old grilled cheese includes 3 types of cheese but this one does! Add some crispy bacon - or skip for a meatless version - and you're on your way to eating the ultimate grilled cheese!


  • 12 slices thick-cut bacon
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup dijon mustard
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 ½ tsp kosher salt
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 loaf sourdough bread, sliced ½-inch thick (12 slices)
  • 6 tbsp salted butter, at room temperature
  • 6 oz gruyere or swiss cheese
  • 6 oz extra-sharp cheddar


  1. Preheat the oven to 400° F. Arrange the bacon on a baking rack set over a sheet pan in a single layer and roast for 20 to 30 minutes, until nicely browned. Drain on a plate lined with paper towels and cut in 1-inch pieces.
  2. Meanwhile, combine the mayonnaise, mustard, Parmesan, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Lay 12 slices of bread on a board and spread each one lightly with butter. Flip the slices and spread each one generously with the mayonnaise mixture. Don’t neglect the corners!
  3. Grate the cheeses in a food processor fitted with the largest grating disk and combine. Distribute the bacon evenly on half the slices of bread. Pile ⅓ cup grated cheese evenly on top of the bacon and top with the remaining bread slices, sauce side down.
  4. Heat an electric panini press or griddle. When the press/griddle is hot, cook the sandwiches for 3 to 5 minutes in batches until the bread is toasted and the cheese is melted. Allow to cool for 2 minutes. Cut in half and serve warm.


adapted from How Easy Is That? by Ina Garten

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Leave a Comment

  • August 31, 2010 at 8:15 AM

    That grilled cheese looks positively delicious! Love that there are two kinds of cheese. And the addition of bacon? Inspired 🙂

  • August 31, 2010 at 8:53 AM

    There is only one thing that could make that better… A bowl of tomato soup! I love the two together, and boy does that sandwich look good! Great job and thanks for sharing.

  • August 31, 2010 at 9:07 AM

    This has to be the best grilled cheese I have ever heard of; has to be a keeper.
    Great blog!

  • Stefanie Hamble
    August 31, 2010 at 9:11 AM

    This looks incredible! Gorgeous sandwich, gorgeous site, gorgeous Tara!!! Thanks for sharing!

  • August 31, 2010 at 9:37 AM

    This looks amazing! I’m definitely going to add bacon to my next grilled cheese sandwich. Yum!

  • August 31, 2010 at 9:59 AM

    Oh. My. … Your photo makes me want to take a bite right NOW! That is an amazing sandwich. Good idea to eat fruit for the rest of the day! 🙂

  • August 31, 2010 at 11:08 AM

    Simply decadent! This sandwich looks out of this world, and based on this recipe alone I’m so ordering the book LOL

  • August 31, 2010 at 11:16 AM

    Yum! Is there ever a bad time for grilled cheese…such a feel good food. 😉

  • August 31, 2010 at 11:43 AM

    It’s definitely that spread that puts this over the top. Ina always knows how to get your mouth watering! All you need is a little tomato soup…

  • August 31, 2010 at 12:31 PM

    No, this is not for the feint- hearted. Grilled cheese never gets old!

  • August 31, 2010 at 1:00 PM

    UGH! I think I just gained ten pounds reading that recipe. What an amazing sandwich. You had me at bacon!

  • August 31, 2010 at 2:44 PM

    I just want to take a bite out of that! Looks soo good!

  • August 31, 2010 at 6:16 PM

    Definitely not a light sandwich but man it looks yummy!

  • August 31, 2010 at 10:21 PM

    Ina Garten and bacon make everything better 🙂

  • September 2, 2010 at 8:09 AM

    This recipe sounds like my perfect type of Grilled Cheese. I love all the ingredients you used for this grilled cheese. Thank you for sharing this wonderful and simple recipe. 🙂

  • September 2, 2010 at 10:01 AM

    Grilled Cheese never gets old in my house, my son asks for it everyday for lunch, this grilled cheese looks so stinking good, I will have to give this a go for sure!

  • September 2, 2010 at 1:28 PM

    Wow, that is one mouthwatering grilled cheese! YUM! I’ve always made mine with just the classic sandwich bread and Kraft American cheese, but this is something I’ve got to try!

  • September 2, 2010 at 11:55 PM

    Oh Tara – that looks divine!!

  • Kel
    September 7, 2010 at 9:18 PM

    Um. Yeah.


  • September 8, 2010 at 7:09 AM

    Holy Moly that looks amazing! Perfect for a fall evening. Your pictures are awesome!

  • […] Ina Garten’s Ultimate Grilled Cheese | Smells Like Home […]

  • September 9, 2010 at 10:37 PM

    Even though this looks AMAZING, grilled cheese is something I usually make when I’m too lazy to make anything else. BUT….the idea of this paired with a yummy tomato soup on a chilly Fall evening sounds TOO good to pass up!

    Thanks for posting 🙂

  • September 28, 2010 at 12:10 PM

    I remember when I was kid, I would eat grilled cheese sandwiches at least 3 times a week! Haha! Thanks for sharing your recipe! It looks delicious. Now, I’m all about this Italian Grilled Cheese and Tomato. Hope you enjoy it too!

  • October 16, 2010 at 12:28 PM

    That literally looks like the best grilled cheese ever 🙂 I could live off grilled cheese, well basically anything with cheese, LOL. Nice photos too.

  • BattleOverride85
    November 6, 2014 at 6:04 PM

    Has anyone actually made this?

    • kiop
      December 27, 2015 at 12:58 AM

      LOL! I know, all reviews on the picture but none of the actual recipe.. I still have to pin this to try, though..

    March 21, 2018 at 3:01 PM


    • Tara
      March 26, 2018 at 11:45 AM

      You can always just divide the ingredient amounts by the number of sandwiches you want to make.

  • Karen Wlodarek
    February 9, 2019 at 3:24 PM

    I have been on a low iodine diet for four weeks due to thyroid cancer and the need for radioactive iodine treatment. Your not allowed any dairy, bread, or bacon (been living on grits, veggies and chicken). I have been planning my “graduation meal” for this coming Wednesday night and I knew it would be grilled cheese. I think I’ve found it!

    • Tara
      February 12, 2019 at 9:21 AM

      Hi Karen! Major congratulations on your graduation day tomorrow!! I hope you enjoy this grilled cheese and take some time to reward and pamper yourself after your journey. Will be thinking about you tomorrow!

  • Crystal Reed
    March 9, 2019 at 2:44 PM

    This was delicious if VERY rich. I used wheat bread with fontinella and sharp yellow cheddar. Next time I’m going to try adding some tomato or pickle, something to just breakup all the richness. My 1 year old loved it, but my 3 year old didn’t, but he doesn’t like anything lately.

    • Tara
      March 11, 2019 at 2:36 PM

      Hi Crystal! Yes, they are very rich but oh so delicious! I love the idea of adding pickles! Pickled banana peppers might be really good too if you want to spice these sandwiches up a bit. Thank you for coming back to leave a review. And I totally feel you on the toddler pickiness. We’ve just entered this phase with our 20 month old. Dark times in our house these days! 🙂

  • Peggy Schupbach
    November 19, 2019 at 12:13 PM

    Best grilled cheese ever

    • Tara
      November 19, 2019 at 12:25 PM


  • Judy
    October 28, 2020 at 8:55 AM

    I love how 99% of the reviews are in the “looks great and would love to make this,” category. I thought the purpose of reviews was to be written by people who actually made the recipe.

  • Dale Blood
    December 30, 2021 at 11:22 PM

    I have made this grilled cheese and it is absolutely delicious! It Is comfort Food at its finest.

    • Tara
      January 15, 2022 at 10:07 PM

      So glad to hear you love this sandwich! I have to agree!