Recipe courtesy of Larisa Alvarez for Food Network Kitchen

Chili Cheese Grilled Cheese Bites

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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 30 min
  • Active: 30 min
  • Yield: 16 bites
The classic chili cheese flavors are getting the grilled cheese treatment! We make a quick, spreadable chili, then we encompass it with several layers of cheese. The secret is cooking the bread on melted Cheddar to add an outer, cheesy crunch that seals off the inside.



  1. Preheat a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Place the beef in a thin, single layer and cook, undisturbed, until the bottom begins to brown, about 5 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, make the seasoning. Mix the garlic powder, cayenne, cinnamon, cumin, mustard powder, onion powder and paprika and 2 teaspoons salt in a small bowl. Check to make sure the bottom of the beef is a brown color, add the seasoning, then stir to combine and cook for 4 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and cook until the mixture is brick red, about 1 minute. Stir in 3 ounces of water, then remove from the heat.
  3. Preheat a large nonstick pan or griddle over medium heat.
  4. Place 4 of the bread slices on a work surface. On each slice, spread 1 tablespoon (0.5 ounce) of cream cheese, then top with 1 heaping tablespoon of Cheddar and set aside.
  5. Spread 2 heaping tablespoons of the chili on 4 more of the bread slices.
  6. Place 2 heaping tablespoons of Cheddar on the top left corner of the pan, spreading it out so it resembles the shape of a brioche slice as much as possible. Repeat three more times to create 4 squares or rectangles.
  7. Place each cheese-topped bread slice, cheese-side up, on top of a square of melting Cheddar. Top each with a chili-topped bread slice, chili-side up. Cook until the cheese starts to turn dark, golden yellow around the edges and is slightly crispy, about 5 minutes. Transfer the sandwiches to a plate.
  8. Place 2 heaping tablespoons of Cheddar on the top left corner of the pan, spreading it out so it resembles the shape of a brioche slice as much as possible. Repeat three more times to create 4 squares or rectangles.
  9. Place each of the 4 remaining bread slices on top of a square of melting Cheddar. Top with the sandwiches, chili-side down. Cook until the bottoms are crunchy and golden, about 5 minutes more. Transfer to a cutting board. Cut each sandwich into 4 squares and serve immediately.