The classic grilled cheese sandwich has been a staple in many homes for decades. It’s the ultimate comfort food, full of simplicity and cheesy goodness. Whether you eat yours alone or with a bowl of hot tomato soup, the humble grilled cheese sandwich makes for a delicious meal. Learn how we’ve perfected our cooking process and make one for yourself with the best grilled cheese sandwich recipe.
Choosing bread for your classic grilled cheese sandwich
Choosing bread for your grilled cheese sandwich is a personal preference. We personally like standard white sliced bread, but Ali uses gluten free bread. If you prefer whole wheat or sour dough, these are good options too.
It’s best to choose bread that isn’t too airy or holey. Those holes will let too much cheese ooze out, and while it’s ok if a little oozes out the sides, you don’t want a huge mess of cheese everywhere.
The classic grilled cheese sandwich is classic for a reason. It’s simple yet tasty, so you don’t need to get too fancy with the bread for this one.
Which is the best cheese for your sandwich
Again, keep it simple. For your standard grilled cheese sandwich, sliced cheddar cheese works best, though you could use sliced American cheese if you really want to. We love to experiment with other types of cheese for our grilled cheese sandwiches, but sometimes you just need the original.
Most of us probably grew up eating ours with sliced American cheese, but kick it up a notch with sliced cheddar. The flavor is a little richer while still maintaining the simplicity of your childhood memories.
Often you can find pre-sliced cheddar, but a higher quality cheddar that comes in a block will have a better flavor. Just be sure to make thin slices so it’ll melt properly. And while the grilled cheese sandwich recipe calls for two slices of cheese, if you’re cutting it from a block, you might need more than two slices depending on the size of your cheese block.
You could also use shredded cheese, but if you do this, I highly recommend buying a block of cheddar and shredding it yourself. Pre-shredded cheeses usually have a starch coating on them to keep the cheese from sticking together, which means it doesn’t melt as nicely in a grilled cheese sandwich.
>>For something extra, try a grilled cheese sandwich with turkey.
The best way to cook a grilled cheese sandwich
I’ve seen a few different approaches, but here’s what I have found is the best way to cook a grilled cheese sandwich.
It’s all about the butter
Heat your pan at a medium to low heat level. On my stove, the settings range from 1-9, so I set it on about 4.5.
Slice off a slab of butter – somewhere between 1/8 and 1/4 of an inch – and put it in the pan. You’ll need enough to lightly coat the pan once it’s melted. A smaller amount will work for a smaller pan or if you’re only cooking one sandwich, but you’ll need more for a bigger pan or multiple sandwiches.
Don’t put your sandwich in the pan yet! This is important. You need to wait until the pan is full heated up, the butter is fully melted and spread around the pan, and the butter is just starting to bubble a little.
If you put the sandwich in before the butter is melted, it won’t have enough butter directly on it. If you put the sandwich in the pan before the butter is hot enough, the bread will just get soggy.
Grilling the grilled cheese
Once your butter is melted, spread around, and starting to bubble, place your grilled cheese sandwich into the pan. Depending on your stove, let it cook for about 4-5 minutes on one side.
After a few minutes, use a spatula to lift the sandwich a little, just enough to see how the bread looks. If it still looks pale, let it keep cooking for another minute or so. If the bread looks golden brown, it’s time to flip it over.
Once it’s cooking on the second side, it might go a little faster since your pan is hotter now. I usually lower my burner just a little, down to 4 or slightly lower. The second side is more likely to burn if you’re not careful, so check on it after a few minutes to make sure it’s browning nicely. At this point, if your pan is getting too dry, add another sliver of butter to the pan and make sure it gets underneath the grilled cheese sandwich.
When in doubt, feel free to flip your grilled cheese sandwich several times. It’s better to flip it several times and grill each side slowly than to risk burning it. You want the pan and the butter to turn your bread into a crispy golden brown but not burn.
- 2 slices of bread
- 2 slices of cheddar cheese
- Heat the pan on medium.
- Add a slab of butter to the pan and let it melt completely.
- Assemble the two slices of cheese between the two slices of bread.
- Once the butter is completely melted, coats the whole pan, and starts bubbling a little, put the sandwich into the pan. Cook for 4-5 minutes on one side, checking to make sure it isn't burning.
- Once the first side is golden brown, flip and cook the other side. Add a sliver of butter to the pan if needed.
- When both sides are a crispy golden brown and the cheese is melty, your grilled cheese sandwich is done and ready to eat.
Make this gluten free with your favorite gluten free bread.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 389Total Fat: 22gSaturated Fat: 13gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 58mgSodium: 659mgCarbohydrates: 34gFiber: 1gSugar: 3gProtein: 13g
Nutritional information is an estimate provided by a third party app and should not be used in place of the advice of a professional nutritionist.