I think we all have a pretty common idea of what the perfect grilled cheese sandwich should be. When you bite into it, you want to be met with an immediate crunch and nice buttery flavor that gives way to cheese that’s melty enough that it oozes out of the sandwich ever so slightly. That’s the perfect grilled cheese. So how do you get there? Not to worry. We’re here to show you just how to achieve greatness in the grilled cheese sandwich arena.
Choose Your Ingredients Wisely
The foundation of any great recipe is great ingredients, so you want to take care in choosing great bread and great cheese to make the perfect grilled cheese. We love a light and airy sourdough for our base, because it crisps up nicely, has a ton of flavor, but still maintains a soft interior even while the exterior takes on a good crunch.
We probably all have differing opinions on what the perfect cheese choice is, and that’s just fine, the possibilities there are nearly endless. Your cheese choice can be entirely personal, just make sure to choose a good melting cheese like cheddar, American, fontina, provolone, or mozzarella… This isn’t a job for halloumi. And don’t be afraid to mix your cheeses for more flavor – a little aged gouda or brie or a sprinkle of parm goes a long way in bumping up flavor.
While we’re talking cheese, one more tip. Grating your cheese can really help you achieve the perfect sandwich. No one wants to get to the end of this process and find that their cheese hasn’t melted through. (But if that happens, you can always pop the whole sandwich in a 200°F oven to finish it off.) Using grated cheese helps it melt before your bread starts to burn, so you’re sure to have a nice ooey-gooey result.
Oh, also, you’re going to need a bit of Kosher salt. More on that later.
Mind The Method
Now that you’ve got your ingredients in order, it’s time to start cooking. To begin, you want to butter both sides of your bread. Room temperature butter is going to make spreading much easier. After all, you don’t want to tear that beautiful bread, do you?
Heat your pan to medium, and give it some time to fully come up to temperature. This is going to prevent any hot spots and keep your bread from browning unevenly. Place your bread in the pan and let it get nice and toasty. When it does, flip the bread and add your cheese to the toasted side that’s now on top. Once the bottom is toasty, invert one side onto the other to form a sandwich. Grilling both sides of the bread gives you an exquisite crunch and helps the cheese melt evenly and quickly. It’s a simple tip, but it makes a huge difference.
Now, everyone’s pans and stoves are different, so here is where you really need to keep an eye on things. Keep checking on the level of toastiness and flip your sandwich accordingly to prevent burning. Don’t be afraid to turn down your stove a bit if you need to.
The Finishing Touch
This is so simple it hardly seems like a tip, but many don’t think to do it: Sprinkle the exterior of the sandwich with a little bit of salt. It adds just a little bit of extra crunch, and as we all know, salt enhances any food it touches.
Slice diagonally or straight down the middle (we’ll leave that up to you), watch some of that cheese ooze it’s way out, and enjoy!
Perfect Grilled Cheese
15 minutes to prepare serves 1
- 2 slices sourdough bread
- 2 tablespoons butter, room temperature
- 2 oz good melting cheese (such as American, cheddar, Mozzarella, provolone, or fontina), grated
- Kosher salt, to taste
- Heat a pan to medium heat and let it fully come up to temperature.
- Butter both sides of each slice of bread and place the two slices in the hot pan.
- Let cook until lightly golden brown and flip over each slice of bread. Sprinkle cheese over toasted side of both slices. Let cook until bottom of bread is golden brown, about 2 minutes.
- Invert one piece of bread onto the other to form a sandwich. Continue flipping sandwich until cheese is melted and bread is golden brown. If bread is browning too quickly, lower heat to prevent burning.
- Sprinkle outside with kosher salt, slice, serve, and enjoy!