Open-Face Grilled Cheese Tartines

Move over grilled cheese sandwiches and make way for open face grilled cheese tartines recipes! These fancy toasts are a cross between a crostini appetizer and an open sandwich. Top them 7 different ways with a variety of full flavored ingredients and serve them with soup, salad, or a party appetizer.

wood board with open face cheese toast tartines, overhead.

We are taking grilled cheese sandwiches to a whole new level by turning them into open faced tartines.

What are tartines?

A tartine is really just a fancy name for an open faced sandwich, and is popular in European countries like France and Denmark.

I like them because they look beautiful and the flavors of the ingredients can shine through without being overshadowed by the bread. They make excellent appetizers or hor d’oeuvres when served on smaller baguettes, but can also be part of a meal or Smorgasbord.

When to Serve Them

How to make Grilled Cheese Tartines 

  • For large tartines like these, use Italian bread and cut diagonal slices, no more than 1/2 inch thick. Use French baguettes for smaller appetizer sized tartines.
  • Lightly toast the bread slices for about 4-5 minutes at 350 degrees. You don’t want them to get brown, just firm enough to stand up to the ingredients you’ll add later.
  • Make sure to use good quality cheeses and shred them your self using a hand held grater or food processor {no pre-shredded packages!}.
  • For brie, make sure to cut thin slices while it’s still chilled to make cutting easier.
  • Par-boil the asparagus for about 3 minutes so it’s soft enough to eat but still has a ‘bite’ to it after being toasted.
  • For easy entertaining, prep ingredients the day before so they’re ready to prepare and toast: Shred cheese then cover tightly and refrigerate. Cook bacon and then caramelize the onions using bacon grease. Par-boil the asparagus. Slice and toast bread.
  • These are large enough to cut into halves or thirds so guests can try several flavors without getting too full.
  • When your bread is prepared with cheese and other toppings, cook at 350 degrees for about 7-8 minutes, until cheese is melted.

I prepared on an array of savory and sweet combinations of cheeses and toppings. These seven tartine recipes use only 3 or 4 ingredients each, and I’ve included both savory and sweet combos.

ham and Gruyere grilled cheese tartines

1. Gruyere + Honey Ham

This is inspired by the classic French croques monsieur which we saw all over Paris. I topped it with a fried sage leaf because I’m obsessed with how deliciously crunchy fried sage is.

bacon and caramelized onion grilled cheese tartines

2. White Cheddar + Apple Butter + Caramelized Onion + Crumbled Bacon

This combination of ingredients is one of my favorites! So many flavors that blend perfectly together. Find similar flavors in these brie party appetizer cups.

tomato and pesto grilled cheese tartines

3. Parmesan + Pesto + Cherry Tomatoes

Use ready-made pesto, freshly grated cheese, and cherry tomatoes for this classic Italian combination.

asparagus and ham grilled cheese tartines

4. Parmesan + Honey Ham + Asparagus

Because we need our veggies, right! If your asparagus is thick you’ll need to par-boil them just to make sure they are tender. If they’re thin like the ones here, they should be fine with the time they are cooked in the oven.

grapes and balsamic grilled cheese tartines

5. Brie + Grapes + Balsamic Glaze

This combo is not too sweet, and not really savory either. It’s a light choice with delicate flavors.

pepper jelly and walnut grilled cheese tartines

6. Brie + Pepper Jelly + Walnuts

I love pepper jelly so this adds a little sweetness with a kick. In this case I used raspberry flavored but any hot jelly will work as well. Add walnuts for crunch.

fig jam and almonds grilled cheese tartines

7. Parmesan + Fig Jam + Sliced Almonds

Figs and cheese go together like peanut butter and jelly, so a little fig preserves adds a sweet note to the Parmesan. Don’t forget to add the almonds!

PARTY TIP: Set out all the prepared ingredients and let guests build their own crostini and then heat them all together.

More Open-Face Recipes

Every combination tastes delicious. I made these for lunch for days! Be sure to check out these other toasted bread appetizers.

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open face tartines topped with cheese, meats and jams.

Tartine Recipes

Yield: 15 tartines
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

Easy tartine recipes are just fancy open face grilled cheese toasts. Serve these variations with soup, salad, or as an appetizer.


  • 1 Large loaf of Italian bread, cut into slices
  • 4 ounces Gruyere cheese
  • 4 ounces Brie
  • 4 ounces Parmesan wedge
  • 4 ounces White Cheddar cheese
  • 8 ounces Deli sliced honey ham
  • 1 jar Apple butter
  • ½ cup Caramelized onions
  • 4 strips of Bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • ½ pint Cherry tomatoes
  • 1 bunch Fresh asparagus tips
  • 1 cup Grapes
  • 1 jar Pesto
  • 1 bottle Balsamic glaze
  • 1 jar Raspberry Pepper jelly
  • 1 jar Fig jam
  • ½ cup Walnuts
  • ½ cup Almond slices


  1. Lightly toast the bread slices for about 4-5 minutes at 350 degrees. 
  2. Par-boil the asparagus for about 3 minutes so it’s soft enough to eat but still has a firm bite to it.
  3. To make caramelized onions, slice 2 large onions into rings and heat 2 Tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and cook for 5 minutes or until they begin to soften. Add a pinch of salt and reduce the heat to low. Let onions cook, stirring often, until they are soft, brown and caramelized; about 30 to 40 minutes.
  4. Make open face toasts by topping the prepared bread slices with a layer of cheese and other toppings.
  5. Cook at 350 degrees for about 7-8 minutes, until the cheese is melted.

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