How to Make Grilled Cheese the Correct Way
Bread. Cheese. Heat. Though the dish is typically composed of simple ingredients, there are still plenty of home cooks who simply do not know how to make grilled cheese sandwiches.
Maybe it’s because practically everyone seems to have their own “secret” grilled cheese recipe. Some insist that using mayo, instead of butter, yields a more flavorful and evenly browned sandwich. Others claim that grated cheese melts better than slices. And yet another sect will talk your ears off about infused oils, specialty cheeses, and artisan loaves.
Ignore them all. When it comes to making grilled cheese sandwiches, simplicity and a few easy-to-master techniques matter far more than fancy ingredients. Grab a pan and follow along:
How to Make Grilled Cheese
- Two slices of sandwich bread
- Two slices of cheese of any kind (If you’re looking to replicate the type of grilled cheese sandwiches you’d get in a diner, then american is probably best. But other varieties should work fine, too. You do you.)
- Butter (about a tablespoon should do it)
- Frying pan with cover (preferably nonstick)
- Melt some butter in the pan.
- Once the butter is hot, place both slices of bread in the pan and allow them to soak up some of the melted butter.
Note: a lot of people like to butter the bread before putting the slices in the pan, but I always find that makes for a soggier sandwich since I’m more inclined to really slather it on. If that’s your thing, go for it.
- Once the bread has soaked up enough butter, place cheese on one of the slices, and use the spatula to flip the other slice of bread on top.
- Lower the heat.
Because you’ve already browned both sides of the bread, you don’t have to worry so much about flipping. Putting the cover over the sandwich will help ensure the cheese melts thoroughly.
- After about a minute, check to see if the cheese has melted enough. If it has, give the sandwich a quick flip to ensure both sides are evenly browned.
- Eat. That. Sandwich.
Grilled Cheese Tips from Chefs
Once you've mastered your grilled cheese technique, learn how to elevate it with these tips and tricks from professional chefs.
Toast the bread first.
Andrew Manning, co-owner of Atlanta’s Mardi Gras Cafe, likes to toast the bread first to cut any risk of a soggy sandwich.
David Fhima, executive chef of Faces Mears Park in Saint Paul, swears by using three different cheeses: one soft, one hard, and one pungent.
James Beard Award Semifinalist Horacio Rivadero, the chef at Tantalize Miami, agrees, but specifically likes an international blend of american, provolone, and gruyère.
Bring in different breads.
Sous chef Patricio of Austin’s Ale House in Queens, NY, prefers using a hearty potato bread, instead of white, whereas Ryan Primo Nuqui, the chef de cuisine at Bacchanal Buffet at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, always reaches for brioche.
Try clarified butter.
Chef Nuqui suggests using clarified butter, which has a higher smoke point than regular butter, thus minimizing your chances of burning the dang thing. (We've all done it.)
Maybe go with mayo?
Oh, and remember that bit about using mayo? Kevin Savoy, executive chef of Max’s Wine Dive in Denver, and Ali Omar, chef-owner of Ceedo’s Eatery near Cleveland, are both on the mayonnaise train, but insist it’s better inside the sandwich.
“The mayo adds a creamy texture and helps the cheese get hot and bubbly,” explains Savoy.
And if all else fails, chef Patricio has this ingredient suggestion, which is also just great life advice: “Add bacon.”