Become a master and learn how to make a grilled cheese sandwich that would impress a chef with these delicious hacks and tricks! Trust us, they'll have your mouth watering.
When we think of easy comfort food, one of the first things that comes to mind is a good grilled cheese sandwich paired with a piping hot bowl of soup. Just us? It's a classic American childhood dish, after all. Warm, cheesy, crunchy…yum! It’s hard to beat.
Not only that, grilled cheese sandwiches are so quick to make and relatively inexpensive. Even if you feel like you’ve mastered the art of the grilled cheese, we've got some tips and tricks to really up your game.
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Using what you already have on hand, we're going to show you how to level up and make this basic little sandwich worthy of the dinner table! From classic grilled cheese tips to fun and fresh variations and add-ins, we've got them all.
GRILLED CHEESE 101
Let’s talk for a minute about the basics of a grilled cheese sandwich. In its simplest form, it’s two slices of bread with cheese in the center, and lightly fried in some sort of fat (usually butter) in a pan until the bread is golden and crispy and the cheese is nice and melty. Easy cheesy!
So, technically, a fried cheese sandwich, but that just doesn’t have the same ring to it, does it? Somewhere along the line it got the name “grilled cheese sandwich” and it stuck. Hey, we don’t make the rules. We just know it’s downright delicious!
TIPS FOR MAKING THE PERFECT GRILLED CHEESE
Most people have their own unique technique for how to make a grilled cheese sandwich. Butter the bread directly or melt the butter in the pan? Grill the bread pieces separately and then assemble, or flip the fully assembled sandwich over to do one side at a time? So many choices!
The beauty of the grilled cheese is that it is so easy to make you can do it a variety of ways and still have a tasty sandwich. But, if you want the BEST grilled cheese sandwich here are a few tips to consider:
- Cold pan, low heat – Start with a cold pan and let the pan slowly toast the bread while the cheese has time to melt. Keep the heat low throughout the cooking process. Nobody wants burned bread and unmelted cheese! Low and slow is the way to go, even if it does take more patience.
- Mayonnaise instead of butter – We know, we know. Butter is the famous go-to. But hear us out, try spreading mayo on your bread, covering every inch from crust to crust. It takes longer to burn and can help you achieve the perfect golden brown!
- Cheese matters – Choose your cheese wisely and make sure it's one that melts well. Pre-shredded bagged cheese generally does not melt well, so steer clear of that and go straight for slices or a block you can cut. We love a combo of American and cheddar. Like spice? Add in some pepper jack! Want to get fancy? Swiss and gruyere can please a more sophisticated palate.
Try it! You'll think it came from a five star restaurant!
VARIATIONS AND ADD INS
You cannot go wrong with a well made, basic grilled cheese sandwich. However, in order to elevate the dish to a more substantial meal that would work well for dinner, a little extra pizazz can make a big difference! Here are our favs:
- Caramelized onions
- Fresh tomato and basil
- Roasted bell peppers
- Ham, turkey, or tuna
- Cream cheese
Want even more grilled cheese variations? Don’t overlook the bread! White or wheat sandwich bread is always reliable, but experimenting with other options can make the dish feel more interesting. Consider sourdough, focaccia, rye, French, brioche, pumpernickel, ciabatta, or any other bread that tickles your fancy.
Mix and match and make it your own. You can't go wrong!
CREATING THE PERFECT PAIR
We all know a good grilled cheese can stand alone, but to take it from being a cheesy snack to a complete meal we suggest pairing it with something else. Here's a few suggestions:
- Soup – Of course, tomato soup and grilled cheese is a classic American pairing! But we won't be mad if you decide to try a different flavor, too. Chicken noodle, split pea, butternut squash — they're all so cozy and satisfying paired with a warm, melty sandwich.
- Marinara sauce – Has a similar flavor as tomato soup, try dipping your sandwich in marinara sauce and you won't be disappointed.
- Jam or honey – Do you love a sweet and savory combo? Try spreading your favorite jam or honey on your grilled cheese. Mmhmmm.
- Ketchup or mustard – Classic condiments for a classic sandwich!
- Potato chips – Can you ever go wrong with good ol' potato chips as a side? No, no you can't.
- Side salad – Grab some greens and whatever veggies you have on hand for a quick and easy side salad!
Anyone else craving a grilled cheese and bowl of soup now? We sure are!
MORE GRILLED CHEESE HACKS
Did you know there is more than one method for making an amazing grilled cheese sandwich? If a pan on a stovetop isn’t your thing, try one of these other methods to get your cheese on:
- Fire up the oven – If you’re cooking for a crowd and don’t want to be stuck at the stove, flipping one or two sandwiches at a time, using the oven is the way to go. Simply do your usual assembly, spreading butter (or mayo!) on both pieces of bread, and pop it in a 450 degree oven for 8-9 minutes, flipping halfway through. You can make a whole sheet pan of sandwiches at one time!
- Make it in a waffle iron – Not only does the waffle iron melt the cheese and crisp the bread perfectly, it creates indentions in the bread that are perfect for scooping up tomato soup! Plus, kids will find a sandwich made in a waffle iron to be way more FUN and interesting to eat! So now you've made dinner and you're the fun parent, too!
- Take it to the grill – Yes, an actual grilled cheese! Fire up the grill outside and make a sandwich with those gorgeous grill marks. Just keep a close eye on it to keep from burning!
- Use two pans – Use a second pan or grill press to press the top of your sandwich to help the cheese melt.
When it comes to creating the ultimate grilled cheese sandwich, the options are practically endless! You can keep it simple or make it fancy, and there’s so many ways to be creative with it you’ll never get bored! Now that you know all the hacks, you’re well on your way to being a grilled cheese master.
Do you have a favorite way to do grilled cheese? Share it with us in the comments below!
Want more delicious recipes?
- These oven-baked tacos are quick and delicious!
- We love this easy pasta bake!
- Here's a roundup of 20+ slow cooker recipes, great for busy nights!
Now, go be grate! 😉