Melt-astic Grilled Cheese

Some foods invigorate us, energize us, give us nutrients and vitality. Others have the power to reach deep into our battle-weary souls and encircle us with loving arms of comfort. Grilled cheese is definitely the latter.

Yes, it’s just fat and carbs. But oh, what fat and carbs can be! If you do it right, that is. To ensure success, there are two key things you should know:

First, you need a bread with a dense crumb. You don’t want, for instance, a big airy focaccia with huge holes—this would allow the cheese to escape, and you will be left with a discombobulated mess.

Second, buy a cheese that melts well. A grilled cheese just ain’t proper if the cheese doesn’t get all smooth and melty. Some examples of good melting cheeses are:

  • cheddar
  • Asiago
  • colby
  • fontina
  • Gouda
  • Gruyère
  • Havarti
  • Monterey Jack
  • Muenster
  • Brie, if you remove the rind
  • American cheese product, a.k.a. Kraft Singles (There, I said it. Normally, I would never condone such a thing, but there is just something so chemically right about this stuff that it melts perfectly. Use with caution, as it may be addicting.)

Once you have these two items covered, you’re all set to make a phenomenal grilled cheese.

By the way, you can "butter" the bread with mayonnaise and it will add a nice zesty tang. Some folks swear by this, but it's all up to you. And of course, you can add other exciting stuff for filling, like tomatoes, relish, sliced pickles, pulled pork, bacon, pesto, etc. Just remember not to add too much. The real star of this show here is the cheese!

Let’s grill* some cheese!

* The name of this dish is a curious misnomer. We’re not actually grilling it on, you know, a grill. Grilled cheese is made in a pan on the stove. And we’re not actually cooking the cheese, we’re frying the bread around the cheese. Okay. The Technicality Police has done its job. We out.

Tools Needed:

  • skillet
  • flipping spatula

Ingredients Needed:

  • bread with a dense crumb
  • meltable cheese
  • butter or oil
  • mayonnaise optional

Lesson Gallery... Yum yum.

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  • Nice, easy grilled cheese. I used gouda and part of an Italian boulle. Since I had fresh bread, I microwaved my butter for about 15 seconds to make it spreadable (without melting, I just kept ripping holes in my bread). The end result is pretty good, although I probably could have grilled it a little longer. Oddly my smaller sandwich didn’t melt as readily as my larger one…. That’s probably the result of uneven electric burners.

  • I have so many questions about Batbeer. Is it made by Batman? Is it made out of bats? Anyway. Your grilled cheese looks delicious and beautifully bronzed. Well done!

  • This reminds me of a giant garlicky cheesy crouton that I was served once at a fancy restaurant. The bread was quite charred (somehow in a classy restaurant setting, this is considered more than ok), but the flavor was out of this world! This makes me wonder what would happen if you made this with garlic butter… mmmm. Garlic.

  • Officially the ugliest grilled cheese, but it actually tasted great! I used a sourdough loaf as my bread and sharp cheddar cheese as my cheese and more butter than I thought was humanly possible to spread on bread. It was crunchy and the sour flavor of the bread worked really well with the gooey cheese. Success!

  • I used cheddar and added some garlic and a tomato from the plant on my porch, which is what you see sliidding out of the sandwhich! Still pretty good, served with grapes and bat-beer.

  • Delicious! I used peasant bread from Fairway, butter, a few apple slices, one slice of ham, and some New Zealand 12 month cheddar.