Grilled cheese sandwich with garlic confit & arugula Indulge your inner kid with this sinfully good grown-up grilled cheese

Grilled cheese sandwich with garlic confit and baby arugula

A lunch (or dinner!) that every cheese lover will adore

What is it about melted cheese? Just about anything oozing with melted cheese tastes delicious – like melted mozzarella on a pizza; sweet, nutty asiago in a luscious mac & cheese; or earthy fontina in an unbearably sinful fondue with chipotle and tequila.

But perhaps the simplest recipe – the most adored of all – is the grilled cheese sandwich. When prepared with a crusty bread and stuffed with a cheese that melts to perfection, it is essentially irresistible.

Here, this beloved sandwich takes on a gourmet twist. The secret ingredient: garlic confit!

A spread of poached garlic makes this gourmet grilled cheese irresistible

When garlic is gently poached in olive oil, it becomes sweet, with a subtle flavor. The cloves become so soft that you can spread them on your toast – or in this case, in your grilled cheese sandwich. Pair the mellow garlic confit with zingy baby arugula and a nutty, pungent aged cheddar, gruyère or fontina, and every luscious bite is mouthwatering.

For lunch, serve this grilled cheese with a simple leafy green salad. For a casual dinner, dress it up with a side vegetable like these hand-cut sweet potato fries or these grilled potatoes with rosemary, garlic and coarse sea salt – a meal that every cheese lover will want to devour.

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Garlic confit

Food & wine pairing: Long Island, Cabernet Franc with garlic confit grilled cheese

Red wine iconA Cabernet Franc from Long Island, New York (like this one from Paumanok Vineyards), or from Chinon or Bourgueil in the Loire Valley, is delicious with these tasty grilled cheeses.

Garlic confit cloves

Grilled cheese sandwich with garlic confit and arugula

serves 4
active time: 30 min

  1. 8 thin slices rye country bread
  2. 1/4 cup olive oil from garlic confit
  3. 8 oz (225 g) aged cheddar, gruyère, fontina or manchego – coarsely grated
  4. 2 large handfuls baby arugula (4 oz) (115 g)
  5. sea salt to taste
  6. freshly ground black pepper to taste
  7. 1/2 cup garlic confit cloves

  1. Step 1: Place 4 slices of bread on a cutting board and brush with the olive oil reserved from the garlic confit. Turn slices around and spread the grated cheese on the non-oiled side. Top each slice with a heap of the baby arugula. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Spread the garlic confit on the other 4 slices of bread. Place the garlic confit slices on top of the slices with the arugula and press firmly to seal the sandwiches. Brush the top of the sandwiches with the balance of the oil.
  2. Step 2: Heat a large heavy-bottomed frying pan to medium-high heat. Add the sandwiches, reduce heat to medium/medium-high, and sauté 4 to 5 minutes until golden-brown. Flip the sandwiches and continue to sauté for 3 to 4 minutes until golden-brown and the cheese has melted completely. Serve piping hot.

Grilled cheese sandwich with garlic confit and baby arugula

grilled cheese, garlic, arugula

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  • Reply Mahee Ferlini March 25, 2017 at 11:43 pm

    It looks delicious!

  • Reply Karen October 14, 2016 at 1:58 am

    Delightful! My family spent much of the meal riffing off of this lovely sandwich. More luxurious grilled cheese sandwiches in our future.

  • Reply peaceloveandsmoothies May 15, 2013 at 9:13 pm

    This is the most sophisticated-looking AND the most delicious-looking grilled cheese I have ever seen!

  • Reply Amarie at The April 19, 2013 at 5:13 pm

    This grilled cheese looks so delicious. Have you entered it in the Grilled Cheese Academy’s recipe showdown? If not, you should! Here’s the website:

    • Reply Viviane April 19, 2013 at 5:34 pm

      Thank you so much for your sweet comment, Amarie! I will submit this recipe as you suggest… Bon appétit!

  • Reply bessie April 15, 2013 at 4:36 pm

    Oh my gosh, garlic confit? This sandwich looks amazing

  • Reply April 11, 2013 at 9:37 pm

    I love your pictures and recipes, they are mouth watering. Would love for you to share them with us at We are new but at we are not photography snobs, we are just foodies.

  • Reply Matt December 9, 2012 at 7:14 pm

    Made these for dinner tonight. I used Artesian Sour Dough for the bread. My wife merely said “WOW!” when she bit into it. I added a thin piece of ham to it and paired it with a roasted pear and arugula salad. Thanks so much for the recipe!

    • Reply Viviane December 10, 2012 at 4:39 pm

      Hello Matt! Thank you so much for your note… I’m delighted you and your wife enjoyed the grilled cheeses. Your pairing with the salad is superb too!

  • Reply Jamie @ Cookin' with Moxie April 9, 2012 at 8:13 am

    This is a grilled cheese worthy of company! I NEED to try this!

  • Reply Carmen Brissette Grayson March 17, 2012 at 5:21 pm

    I have been making these gems for about a year, always to energetic praise. I give you full credit every time, I promise. 🙂 Even served them as little round hors d’oeuvres once. Delicious but a bit wasteful. Always have used Gruyere but it’s Fontina next go-round.
    Now, over to the gratin for a question.

    • Reply Viviane March 17, 2012 at 6:23 pm

      Dear Carmen, Thank you so much for your wonderful comment – I must say it made my day! May I suggest aged Fontina Val d’Aosta if you decide to give it a try… it is superb in this recipe. Bon appétit!

  • Reply Elena February 23, 2012 at 11:18 am

    Oh, I had to buzz this one! Looks so yummy. A nice alternative to the traditional cheese sandwich!

  • Reply Adam February 23, 2012 at 9:40 am

    Looks delish. Any particular cheese you like best for this?

    • Reply Viviane February 23, 2012 at 10:31 am

      Adam, I’m particularly fond of aged fontina for this grilled cheese. It has such a deep, pungent, nutty flavor. Thank you for stopping by!

  • Reply Liz February 23, 2012 at 6:20 am

    Oh, how delicious!!! Congrats on the Top 9 today…well deserved!!!

    • Reply Viviane February 23, 2012 at 10:31 am

      Thank you Liz!

  • Reply Sarah February 23, 2012 at 1:33 am

    Oh my! This looks incredible. I am a huge fan of anything oozing with cheese as well. While that may not be so good for my waistline, I feel like cheesy goodness is excellent for my peace of mind!

    • Reply Viviane February 23, 2012 at 10:31 am

      Sarah, I couldn’t agree with you more…

  • Reply susan February 23, 2012 at 12:21 am

    that is one wonderful piece of deliciousness! perfect flavor combo!

    • Reply Viviane February 23, 2012 at 10:32 am

      Thank you Susan!

  • Reply Janet@FCTC February 21, 2012 at 3:09 pm

    I have always had an inborn prejudice against garlic and cheese together except in lasagna… I’m not sure why. But Viviane, this might just be the meal to make me change my mind. It looks and sounds amazing!

    • Reply Viviane February 21, 2012 at 3:15 pm

      Janet, I am so glad you might give this recipe a try… Garlic confit is very mild and sweet. It also makes a great vinaigrette!

  • Reply Lacy @ NYCityEats February 21, 2012 at 2:51 pm

    Oh wow! This sounds incredible! I haven’t ever made or tasted garlic confit but garlic is in almost every dish I make so I think I need to try it out asap! Sounds amazing with the peppery arugula, crunchy bread, yummmm. Grilled cheese for dinner? I think it’s happening! 🙂

    • Reply Viviane February 21, 2012 at 3:12 pm

      Lacy! Your enthusiasm is contagious – grilled cheese for dinner sounds mighty good to me! Thank you for the smiles…

  • Reply Kaitlin February 21, 2012 at 11:49 am

    Ohh this looks SO delicious! What beautiful photos!

  • Reply Kiri W. February 21, 2012 at 11:24 am

    Oh my, these look to die for! Garlic confit sounds fantastic, though I’ve never had it. I adore tomato confit though, and I imagine the arugula is a perfect contrast. Best grilled cheese ever!

    • Reply Viviane February 21, 2012 at 3:16 pm

      Thank you dear Kiri! I think garlic confit might just be the thing for your exotic palate 🙂

  • Reply RavieNomNoms February 21, 2012 at 11:05 am

    This looks SOOO good! I love grilled cheeses!

  • Reply Soni February 21, 2012 at 10:23 am

    Gorgeous!Love everything about this, the nutty arugula, the garlic confit( awesome idea)and the looks!Absolutely fantastic 🙂

  • Reply Suzi February 21, 2012 at 9:34 am

    This is a fantastic take on the grilled cheese. Don’t you just love the bite of arugula (I have some coming up already in my garden) and the garlic confit is killer. Love this grilled cheese.

  • Reply Carmen Brissette Grayson June 25, 2011 at 8:16 am

    Made these last night. Ravishingly perfect. Will turn them into appetizers for a Fourth of July dinner. Arugola, garlic confit, fireworks –tres americain, n’est-ce pas?

    • Reply Viviane June 26, 2011 at 9:48 am

      Carmen! Thank you for both your wonderful comments. I am so happy you enjoyed the grilled cheese. I think anything made with garlic confit is fireworks! I have lots of baby arugula growing in the garden right now… I must put these on the menu this week! Lovely to meet you here… Thank you again and happy 4th!

  • Reply Chilli May 11, 2011 at 1:20 pm

    This looks amazing 🙂

  • Reply James May 8, 2011 at 5:33 pm

    I had some garlic confit in the fridge, so went to the store to get some arugula, this grilled cheese sounded realy good, bought a nice italian bread also. The cheese and the confit blended realy good; advise to people: use garlic from Anderson Farms in Gilroy, not the chinese imports that you find at big chain supermarkets. The arugula added a sweet and peppery touch. Just didnt see this sandwich going well with a glass of wine, although not much a big beer drinker opened up a bottle of Stella, and sat to watch the Derby. Its funny, how the right frame of mind and the right plate infront of you can make one forget the worries of the world…

    • Reply Viviane May 10, 2011 at 7:46 am

      James, thank you so much for your comment… I certainly can see that this grilled cheese sandwich would be great with a good beer! I don’t know if you noticed, but there is a recipe here for making your own garlic confit… Maybe you’ll give it a try? It’s really divine!

  • Reply The Mistress of Spices April 20, 2011 at 5:44 am

    This sounds absolutely delicious! I love garlic confit, recently used it in a gnocchi and was blown away by the subtle taste. I will definitely try this recipe, thanks!

  • Reply Katarina April 19, 2011 at 8:35 pm

    This looks so delicious!

  • Reply frabala April 19, 2011 at 2:31 am

    The think that makes the best impression in your recipe is the garlic…
    It’s my best whatever has garlic in…

    Love your recipe!

  • Reply Sandra's Easy Cooking April 18, 2011 at 6:40 pm

    Wonderful and healthy sandwich! I love the combo of the cheese and arugula, very interesting!

  • Reply Sherry @ JustAPinch April 18, 2011 at 3:44 pm

    Mmmm, it sounds heavenly. My mouth is watering!

  • Reply Michael Massimino April 18, 2011 at 2:37 pm

    Nice, can’t wait to try that. I love arugula, any excuse to use it. Garlic confit is just an added bonus, nice work.

  • Reply Priscilla - She's Cookin' April 18, 2011 at 11:46 am

    What a beautiful image with the vibrant green arugula and oozing cheese! I’m definitely adding garlic confit to my next grilled cheese.

  • Reply Kathy - Panini Happy April 18, 2011 at 11:19 am

    I’ve got to give garlic confit a try – it sounds amazing!

    • Reply Viviane April 18, 2011 at 11:25 am

      Kathy! It is pretty amazing indeed… You’re reminding me its time for me to make another batch.

  • Reply Donna Ford April 1, 2011 at 11:17 pm

    Viviane it looks so delicious! What a treat for my entire family! Great photo!

    • Reply Viviane April 2, 2011 at 10:49 am

      Thank you Donna! As always… You are so wonderful!

  • Reply Cooking Rookie April 1, 2011 at 3:28 am

    Simply beautiful

  • Reply Joy March 30, 2011 at 3:53 pm

    That looks wonderful. Yum.

  • Reply foodies at home March 29, 2011 at 12:05 am

    You must be reading my mind because I am CRAVING grilled cheese sandwich right now! And adding garlic and arugula? Over the top!!

  • Reply sara March 28, 2011 at 7:28 pm

    Wow this looks SO good – I love grilled cheese with lots of fancy ingredients…so yummy. 🙂

  • Reply Jess March 28, 2011 at 9:47 am

    Mmmm! Looks delish! I sort of want one right now… even if it’s morning.

  • Reply Leah McGrath, RD LDN March 26, 2011 at 3:13 pm

    Sounded so yummy I posted your link to our Ingles Markets Facebook page!

  • Reply Cynthia Bailey MD, Dermatologist March 26, 2011 at 12:00 pm

    Oh my, those photos look amazing. I try so hard to stick with a mostly plant based diet but I now have a jones for a grilled cheese sandwich, with a side of green salad it’s still mostly plant based eating right?? Yum, I’m stopping at the store after my errands today and picking up the fixings. 🙂

  • Reply Angela@RecipesFromMyMom March 26, 2011 at 9:49 am

    You have elevated the grilled cheese sandwich to a level that I didn’t know could be achieved! I had not seen your Garlic Confit before so it’s like a bonus recipe for me.

  • Reply Sandra March 25, 2011 at 7:22 pm

    Very pretty.

  • Reply Belinda @zomppa March 25, 2011 at 10:57 am

    I dunno, but grilled cheese is the best thing ever. Love the garlic here!

  • Reply Island Vittles March 25, 2011 at 10:20 am

    Gourmet grilled cheese with a perfectly paired glass of wine? Thanks for giving me my Saturday lunch idea…perfect! Theresa

    • Reply Viviane March 25, 2011 at 10:27 am

      Thank you Theresa! Enjoy your Saturday lunch – very civilized!

  • Reply lisaiscooking March 25, 2011 at 10:15 am

    I love adding someting extra to grilled cheese sandwiches, and arugula and garlic confit sounds perfect! I still have some arugula in my garden from the winter (grows best in winter here) that I need to use soon. I want to try the fondue with chipotle and tequila too!

    • Reply Viviane March 25, 2011 at 10:26 am

      Lisa! Thank you for stopping by. I am amazed that you still have arugula from your garden – How very fortunate you are! I bet it tastes a little spunky too. It’ll be perfect with these grilled cheese.

  • Reply Demetra Lambros March 23, 2011 at 1:15 pm

    vivane, only YOU could make a grilled cheese sandwich look utterly divine. i will make this sandwich ASAP. thank you for every bit of this post (great directions, great photos and wine suggestions to boot)!!

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