Fancy Grilled Cheese with Caramelized Onion, Apples, and Bacon (Lactose Free)

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Take your grilled cheese to the next level with gooey American, sweet caramelized onions, tart apples, and crispy bacon.

I created this recipe for my client, GO VEGGIE. Thank you for supporting the brands that keep me inspired in the kitchen.
Fancy Grilled Cheese with Caramelized Onion, Apples, and Bacon

Grilled cheese is one of my favorite comfort foods. It’s one of my go-to things to make when I’m in a hurry and don’t have a lot of time to cook, but I’ve also been known to order a grilled cheese with bacon and tomato at my favorite diner.

The classic combo of American slices on white bread brings me straight back to when I was a kid, but I also love to play around with different filling options. Spinach and Artichoke Grilled Cheese? Delicious. Gourmet Grilled Cheese with Jalapeno Jelly? Amazing. Mushroom Melt Grilled Cheese? Downright craveable.

April is National Grilled Cheese Month, and I couldn’t let it pass without adding another recipe to the collection. This Fancy Grilled Cheese with Caramelized Onion, Apples, and Bacon is one of my favorites to date. It has all of the nostalgic goodness that you’d expect a grilled cheese to provide, but sweet caramelized onions and tart apples take it to the next level and add a ton of dimension.

I used GO VEGGIE lactose Free American Singles for these sandwiches and I couldn’t be happier. I’ve been working with GO VEGGIE for over 3 years, but only gave the American singles a try recently. They’re indistinguishable from ordinary American slices, with the added benefit of having 30% less calories, 25% more calcium, and no cholesterol. Plus check out that melt! You can’t ask for more.

Fancy Grilled Cheese with Caramelized Onion, Apples, and Bacon
How to make the best grilled cheese

  1. Use salted butter to grease your pan well. I don’t call for salted butter often, but that little hit of salt on the crispy toasted bread is amazing. If you don’t keep salted butter in your refrigerator, add a pinch to the pan once your butter melts. (You can also use a nondairy butter alternative to keep this recipe lactose free)
  2. Use soft fillings – and limit them! Save the bulky, heavy ingredients for paninis. For grilled cheese, keep the fillings soft for the best gooey texture. A slice of bacon or soft vegetables work well, but stay away from anything the requires a lot of chewing. For the grilled cheese in this post, I sliced my apples paper thin. You could also shred them.
  3. Use cheese that melts well. Hard or ages cheesed don’t really work here – there’s a reason Mom always used singles! I like to use singles for the best melt. GO VEGGIE makes them in a ton of flavors, from American to Pepper Jack to Smoked Provolone so there are a lot of options. I also like to cover my pan for the first few minutes. It creates a steamy environment that encourages the cheese to get extra melty. After you flip your sandwich, keep it uncovered to help the bread crisp.
  4. Cut on a diagonal. Always. Any other way just isn’t right.Fancy Grilled Cheese with Caramelized Onion, Apples, and Bacon
    Fancy Grilled Cheese with Caramelized Onion, Apples, and Bacon

    Fancy Grilled Cheese with Caramelized Onion, Apples, and Bacon

    5 from 6 votes
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    Prep Time: 30 minutes
    Cook Time: 12 minutes
    Total Time: 42 minutes
    Servings: 4


    • 1 teaspoon salted butter
    • 1 onion thinly sliced
    • 1 pinch sugar
    • 8 slices sourdough or white bread
    • 12 slices GO VEGGIE Lactose Free American Singles
    • 1 apple thinly sliced
    • 8 slices cooked bacon optional
    • 1 tablespoon butter cut into four pieces


    • Melt 1 teaspoon of butter in a pan set over medium heat. Add the onions and sugar. Cook, stirring frequently, until soft and deeply browned – about 30 minutes. (Make ahead tip: freeze a big batch of caramelized onions in an ice cube tray!)
    • Arrange four slices of bread on a flat surface. Top each with 3 pieces of American, some of the caramelized onions, apple slices, and bacon (if using). Top each sandwich with a second slice of bread.
    • Heat one piece of butter on a griddle set over medium low heat. Add two sandwiches. Cover and cook 3 minutes. Add a second piece of butter. Flip the sandwiches and cook uncovered for another 3-4 minutes, until the bread is golden brown and toasted and the cheese is melted. Repeat with the remaining sandwiches.
    • Cut on a diagonal and serve hot.
    Tried this recipe?Mention @HealthyDelish or tag #HealthyDelish!

Hi, I'm Lauren!

I'm a certified plant-based cook and enthusiastic omnivore who loves looking for creative ways to make weeknight meals more nutritious. I'm the author of Heathy Eating One Pot Cookbook and Healthy Meal Prep Slow Cooker Cookbook. I also blog at The Busy Foodie. Read more...


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