Grilled cheese is the ultimate comfort food. It warms you up inside out as you eat it. The perfect grilled cheese is crispy on the outside and ooey gooey on the inside. It’s a hot, buttery, cheesy delight.
Now that I’ve made you hungry, if you have food allergies like me, a classic grilled cheese might not be entirely possible for you, but no need to panic! I have found the perfect substitutes so we can all dig in to our own yummy allergy-free version of the best sandwich on earth… (that’s just my opinion, but come on, you know I’m right).
Grilled cheese and macaroni and cheese were often my brother and I’s food of choice when we were younger. Don’t want the dinner mom’s making? Slap some cheese on bread, grill it and eat that instead. Way better than all the yucky green stuff that was on our plates, which I happen to prefer eating now. Oh how the tables have turned.
But sometimes even an amazing dinner filled with yummy healthy vegetables can’t top the nostalgic craving I get for a good old grilled cheese. I am so thrilled about all the amazing dairy free alternatives that are available now. There’s not much I can’t make a good dairy free alternative to.
It’s not just dairy I have to worry about though. Gluten allergies tend to run in my family, so my husband and I usually have gluten-free bread in the house and we eat that when we want bread instead of regular sandwich bread.
I know what you’re thinking. This girl has a blog filled with regular gluten-filled baking recipes. I know I haven’t gone fully gluten-free yet, but I’m getting there.
The Brands are Everything
Cut to the chase lady! Alright, alright. So you want the secret to my success? A dairy, gluten and soy free amazing ooey gooey grilled cheese?
I’ve become attached to certain brands and I think those brands are really what makes my grilled cheese so good. For my bread, I use Canyon Bakehouse Mountain White Gluten Free Bread. My butter is Earth Balance Buttery Spread. I usually go for the soy free one in the red container. The final thing, the pièce de résistance is Violife Just Like Cheddar Cheese. It gets nice and melty when I grill it and it tastes just like cheddar cheese to me, a perfect substitute. You should be able to find these products either at a Whole Foods, a local health food store or the health food section in your local supermarket.
Make the Grilled Cheese!
I usually use my waffle/panini maker to grill my grilled cheese, but another way to do it is in a nonstick pan on the stove.
While my panini maker is preheating, I take out my bread (which is frozen) and butter two slices from edge to edge, so every bit of bread will be crispy after it’s cooked. The buttered sides go on the outside and I put about 2 slices worth of cheese in the middle.
I plop the sandwich in my panini maker which is on the grill-panini setting on medium and let it cook for about 3-5 minutes. Then I ramp up the heat to high for another 3-5 minutes to get the bread to turn that nice toasted brown color. If you take it off too early, it won’t be crispy, so you have to use your judgment. I know it’s done when the cheese starts oozing out the sides.
If you’re using a nonstick pan, make the sandwich the same way. Then plop it in the pan and watch it cook, check the underside every few minutes until it looks good, then flip it over. I like to press down on mine a bit with the spatula.
A final word on additional fillings. I have tried my grilled cheeses with bacon, tomato, and avocado and they are all delicious. My favorite is bacon, but I’m usually a grilled cheese minimalist and go with the good old no additional filling option.
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You might want dessert after that yummy grilled cheese, so why not make a quick single-serving chocolate chip cookie in a cup?
Plus more tips on Living Dairy Free with Brand Recs!
Allergy-Free Grilled Cheese
- Panini Maker or NonStick Pan
- 2 Slices Canyon Bakehouse Gluten-Free Mountain Bread, frozen
- 2-3 Tbsp Earth Balance Soy-Free Buttery Spread
- 2 Slices Violife Just Like Cheddar
- Preheat the panini maker on the grill-panini setting to Medium or let nonstick pan heat up on low heat on the stove.
- Spread butter to the very edges on one side of each slice of bread. Put the cheese in the middle of the two slices of bread with the butter on the outside.
- Put the sandwich into the panini maker and let cook a few minutes so the bread defrosts. Turn the panini maker onto High heat and let the grilled cheese cook until the bread looks crispy and brown and the cheese is oozing out the sides.
- If you're using a nonstick pan, put the sandwich on the pan and turn up the heat to medium. Keep an eye on it and flip to the other side once the bread turns crispy and brown.
- Eat while it's hot!