Swap Your Standard Grilled Cheese Bread For Flaky, Tender Croissants

Crispy, cheesy, and gloriously gooey, nothing beats grilled cheese when it comes to quick comfort food. A perennial favorite, even Michelin-starred chefs such as Massimo Bottura and Gordon Ramsay are partial to a good homemade grilled cheese sandwich.

And for a dish that, in its most basic form, has three ingredients — bread, cheese, and butter — grilled cheese is actually surprisingly versatile, too. Different breads and cheeses give totally different texture and taste combos; crunchy sourdough with sharp cheddar, Monterey Jack, or gruyere, for example, gives a wildly different sandwich to grilling English muffins with soft cheese such as brie. But there's one delicious dough that you might not have tried for grilled cheese: croissants.

Thought to have originated from crescent-shaped Austrian kipferl bread, croissants are made by folding butter into yeast dough — a process known as lamination — to create thin, flaky, buttery layers. Whether they're technically a pastry or a bread is up for debate, but one thing's for sure: The buttery flavor and flaky layers make croissants an indulgent and delicious option for grilled cheese.

Croissants add extra buttery flavor to grilled cheese sandwiches

Using croissants for grilled cheese works on several levels, and this predominantly comes down to butter. Croissants, especially the all-butter variety, are made using a frankly enormous amount of butter, which is what gives them that crisp glossy exterior, light airy interior, and rich toasty taste.

When used for grilled cheese, croissants add heaps of flavor thanks to all that butter. They also flatten down beautifully in the pan due to their light, layered texture, which means an extra-crisp and rich yet light sandwich. Even Giada De Laurentiis is a fan, using parmesan, basil, and extra virgin olive oil for an Italian twist. But you could also try adding a little spice with pepper Jack cheese, or incorporate even more flavor with salami, prosciutto — or spinach and goats cheese.

As well as cooking a croissant grilled cheese the traditional way, in a hot skillet, you can also use a waffle maker or a panini press. But to take the dish to the next level, try turning the croissant inside out first. Simply slice an all-butter croissant in half, butter the insides, then flip it and fill it with cheese before frying it in a hot skillet, cut side down. The result is an incredibly indulgent, crispy, buttery grilled cheese sandwich that's pure luxury.

Use croissants to elevate a variety of favorite dishes

If you only tend to have croissants with a cup of coffee for breakfast, then you're missing out on just how flexible an ingredient they can be in a variety of other dishes — whether swapping for actual croissants or ready-made croissant dough. And they can be used in both sweet and savory recipes, too.

A croissant traybake makes an easy brunch dish to feed a crowd; simply fill croissants with your favorite filling, such as ham and cheese, assemble the sandwiches in a tray, and pour over a mixture of beaten eggs, milk, and cream before baking in a hot oven. Or try using croissants to whip up an easy and delicious pie crust by ripping them into pieces, dipping them into egg yolk, and pushing them gently into a buttered pie dish before baking and filling.

For dessert, leftover croissants make a great substitute for bread in a bread-and-butter pudding. Try adding chocolate hazelnut spread for extra indulgence, or go for a fruity apple croissant bread pudding recipe. Or you can even use ready-made croissant dough to make cinnamon rolls. With their buttery richness, croissants can make so many dishes better, from grilled cheese to sweet treats.