How to create a perfectly toasty golden brown grilled cheese sandwich filled with ooey gooey melted cheese. It’s comforting in all the right ways and will take you back to your childhood.
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As many of you may or may not know, I am completely obsessed with grilled cheese sandwiches! I have been since I was a young child. They are the perfect comfort food and irresistibly delicious!
The are so simple with only 4 ingredients yet in my experience so hard to master. Over the years I have made countless grilled cheese sandwiches. I used to make them in a frying pan and the outside would burn before the cheesy inside was melted.
Then I purchased my Cuisinart 5-in-1 Griddler and my grilled cheese making got some much simpler … almost foolproof. I have been experimenting with different grilled cheeses, like this Three Cheese Peach and fig grilled cheese.
It’s National Grilled Cheese Day on April 12, and I realized that I have not written about the basic grilled cheese sandwich or gone into much detail about how to make a grilled cheese sandwich. Since I have picked up a few tricks along the way, I thought that it was about time that I shared them with you.
A Grilled Cheese Must…
- be a closed sandwich, griddled on both sides.
- have cheese as the primary ingredient, however other ingredients can complement the cheese.
- be made with sliced bread.
- be served hot all the way through, with the cheese thoroughly melted.
- be cooked on a flat, greased surface until golden brown.
Do you agree? Anything you would add?
Now let’s look at each element of the grilled cheese
The bread: If you are on this site, you are probably gluten sensitive or cook for someone who is, so gluten free bead it is (if you are not gluten sensitive, ciabatta and sourdough work well). I’ve used both Rudi’s and Udi’s with great success. I’ve also used gluten free bread from a local bakery, but it tends to be more flaky and not stand up as well.
When your grilled cheese is done, you are looking for the bread to be toasty golden brown outside with a moist and tender inside that has soaked up all of the buttery goodness while still retaining the ability to hold in all of the melted cheese.
The way to ensure this is (1) your bread can’t be too perforated with air bubbles (or your cheese will drip out) or (2) sliced too thick (lest your cheese not melt).
Next up is the butter-mayo mixture: The biggest tip I’ve learned is that mayonnaise has a higher smoke point that butter. So by mixing the two, you can ensure that the insides heat through before the outside blackens.
Bring the butter to room temperature (about 1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons per sandwich). Mix with equal amount of mayo. Spread the butter-mayo mixture evenly making sure the entire surface of the bread is covered.
Next and most important is the CHEESE: The one and only thing that you need to ensure when making the perfect grilled cheese is that the cheese melts! That being said, a grilled cheese just doesn’t work with any old cheese. Oh no! You have to have a cheese with just the right melting characteristics. Dry, crumbly, and fresh cheeses like goat cheese or feta don’t melt properly. Ditto for overly aged cheeses like Parmesan or Pecorino. Some favorites perfectly melting cheeses include: Cheddar, Gruyère, Comté, Fontina, Brie or Mozzarella.
If you do like the flavor of a non-melting cheese, it’s acceptable to treat it like another topping—that is, pair it with a cheese that does melt. For instance, Fontina and Parmigiano makes a fine pairing.
Other tips to ensure the cheese melts faster:
1. bring your cheese to room temperature before cooking your sandwich, or
2. you can grate or shred the cheese
The Perfect Grilled Cheese Sandwich
Yields 2 grilled cheese sandwiches
1 Tablespoon butter, room temperature
1 Tablespoon mayonnaise (I used Just Mayo)
4 slices gluten free bread
4 slices your choice of cheese
Turn Griddler knob to high. While it is heating up. Mix butter and mayo in a small bowl. Smear one side of each bread slice with butter-mayo mixture. Place bread slices buttered side up on plate.
Place 1 slice of bread on the Grillder. Top with cheeses. Place other slice of bread on top. Repeat for second sandwich.
Close Griddler lid. Cook 3-5 minutes, or until golden brown. Check them to see if they are done to your liking. You may need another 1-2 minutes on second side.
Do you have any other tips for making the perfect grilled cheese? Share them in the comments.