The Unconventional Ingredient That Will Change Your Grilled Cheese Forever

There are few comfort foods so quick and easy to whip up as a perfectly crunchy and gooey grilled cheese sandwich. Whether you're creating a classic pairing with tomato soup or riffing on the original with fancy twists, any meal can be made better by a grilled cheese.

According to Farmers' Almanac, the humble grilled cheese was actually known as a "cheese dream" during the Great Depression. However, its history in the United States extends far further back than that. HowStuffWorks notes that the earliest noted recipe for a "melted cheese" was found in a 1902 cookbook but that the cheesy sandwich really took off in the 1920s when sliced bread became an easily obtained household commodity thanks to the invention of the bread slicer.

Since then, there have been no shortages of twists to the classic or recommendations on how to up your grilled cheese game. According to Insider, Chrissy Teigen adds parmesan and jalapenos to her grilled cheeses, and Antoni Porowski has grilled cheese recipes, including leeks and prosciutto. Martha Stewart's secret is to use mayonnaise rather than butter on the outside of her bread (via Today).

Grilled cheese purists may argue that the simple sandwich should consist of merely bread and cheese, but many others are turning the table on grilled cheese. While some home cooks are adding ingredients like apples to their grilled cheese sandwiches, others suggest mixing ranch into that mayo that Martha recommends on the outside.

But how about adding peanut butter?

Add peanut butter to take your grilled cheese to the next level

There's little documentation on how peanut butter was first paired with grilled cheese, but when food blogger Feel Good Foodie posted a video in late 2021 of a grilled cheese made with peanut butter, jelly, and Gouda cheese, there were plenty of reactions (via Daily Mail).

While fruit and cheese are regularly combined, especially on cheese boards, at first glance, cheese and peanut butter seem to be a less obvious pairing. However, the cheese and peanut butter combo plays with the same savory/sweet flavor pairing (via USA Today), and whole nuts are a standard option for cheese boards too.

Today recommends a simple recipe of peanut butter and cheddar on butter-slathered sourdough, calling it an elevated version of peanut butter cheese crackers from your youth. If you're looking to really elevate your peanut butter and grilled cheese game, you can also always go for an Elvis-style grilled cheese sandwich by adding bacon and banana. 

Whether you add just the peanut butter or opt for more add-ons, there's likely little chance of ruining a grilled cheese, and every chance it's just going to be downright delicious.