33 How To Make The Perfect Grilled Cheese

Monday, August 9, 2010

I know what you're thinking.  "Is she really going to tell us how to make grilled cheese?  Really?"  Yes, really!  I only recently discovered the secret to perfectly toasty, melty grilled cheese sandwiches.  You may already know the secret, but I'm telling you, I was at a grave disadvantage for years.  I'd never had a real grilled cheese sandwich until I was a teenager.  My father's version of what he called "cheese on toast" was a piece of wheat bread, toasted [and usually burned] and then a hunk of cheddar thrown on top dry and then microwaved.  I loathed this, so I couldn't imagine why anyone would actually choose to eat grilled cheese.  My father is English and will literally eat anything that could possibly be classified as food, and thus could not understand what my problem was.  For example, my parents were married 20 years before she found out he didn't actually like her tuna curry (which I love, BTW.)  So, this post is for all you similarly disadvantaged people.

Fast forward to today.  After a lot of experimentation, I have a good formula.  I'm saying this with all seriousness, because I have made plenty of grilled cheese sandwiches that have been burned on the outside and not melted at all on the inside.  It's really almost as sad as the "cheese on toast" of my childhood.

First, I like to shred my cheese.  I wouldn't say it's absolutely necessary, but it does make for a more uniform melt, in my opinion.  Here I have pre-shredded Mexican blend cheese, but you can use any cheese you want (I really like pepper jack!)

Next, choose your bread.  White, wheat, sourdough, croissant.  It's all good in my book.  I have the very last bit of a white loaf, and thus the heel - don't hate!  Top the slices with as much cheese as you like.

Top the cheese with the other slice of bread, and put it in (drum roll please...) The Microwave!  Just for 20-30 seconds.  Trust me, this is how you make fool-proof grilled cheese, every time.  It's not only really tasty, but it's fast.

Okay, is it strange that I only just noticed the Turntable button on my micro by looking at this picture?  Weird.

  30 seconds later...Voila!  Melty cheese! It's not totally melted, but it's well on its way.

While you were waiting, you heated up your skillet, right?  I'm using my brand new vintage Descoware enameled cast iron skillet.  Usually I make it in a heavy non-stick, but as you can tell, this worked perfectly.  Melt a pat of butter over medium heat.

You're ready to go when the butter gets foamy and starts turning the slightest bit golden.

Quickly swipe one side of the sandwich bread in the butter and then turn it over on the other side to start toasting in the rest of the butter (otherwise just make sure to butter the other piece.)  You'll probably only need to toast it for 2-3 minutes tops (and no need to smash it down.)  Flip it and toast the other side, same amount of time.

Doesn't that look good?  The cheese is perfectly melty on the inside, and toasted golden brown on the outside with a great crunchy, crispy bite.

It's much easier to cookie-cut a very crispy grilled cheese sandwich than a mushy one.  The one above turned into this adorable maple leaf.

If you want to fancy it up, you can add some ham, chicken or turkey and a swipe of Dijon mustard before heating...yum!

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Anonymous said...

I think I try it when I get home. I never tried the microwave part.

Kristie Corpus said...

You have a very clean microwave. LOL

~she~ said...

My aunt makes the best grilled cheese sandwiches ever! First, she toasts 2 slices of Italian bread in the toaster. Then she butters them and fills the sandwich with a slice of Velveeta cheese. Then she toasts it slowly in a skillet until the cheese is melted inside. They're not the least bit mushy because of pre-toasting the bread! Thought you might like to hear different styles of grilled cheese making!

The Ranter said...

That sounds better than just the plain old plain old... I need to try that. Thanks!

cwr said...

I'm not sold Em! :) I'll have to make you and Ms. E some grilled cheese the next time I see you. I truly have it down to a science and it doesn't involve a microwave! ;)

slushygirl said...

Microwaving briefly is a good tip! And I LOVE the cut out design. So cute. I always make sure my cheese is room temperature and that helps. I'm going to post on my blog soon about my version of my sister's grilled cheese. BTW, ever read the Grilled Cheese Cookbook?

TechnologyMonitor said...


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Emily @ Bentobloggy.com said...

Bring it, Carrie! haha! Actually, I love to hear other ideas, I'm totally open to them ;)

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Adam said...

grilled cheese is an under rated art I never thought to use shredded cheese or the wave, you just added dimensions to my kitchen...

WEFA said...

People tell me I can cook well, but you can ask anyone of my friends and they will tell you I can't make grilled cheese worth anything! I gave up on trying... they always always turn out horrible. Which I hate most especially because grilled cheese is my favorite! I remember going to my best friend's house and his mom made me grilled cheese that was perfect!

I will have to try this... I have had so many people try to tell me, but maybe this way will work

I'll probably put it up in a few weeks on my blog

Jill of All Trades said...

Oh yummy, yummy. I've done the shredded cheese before on big fat texas toast and grilled very slowly to melt...YUMMY!

Kelly Polizzi said...

lol thats so funny. I started reading your post about the cheese on toast and I'm thinking to myself, hmmm I wonder if her father is english because us Brits love our 'cheese on toast' and I haven't heard it called that over here. My dad especially, loves to eat the same thing! I don't know why we prefer it to grilled cheese.

Since moving to America I have discovered the right way to do things!

So are both your parents English?

As for grilled cheese, another good way to get the cheese to melt without burning the toast is to cook it on low with the lid ON. The cheese melts at the same rate the toast cooks. I got this from Alton Brown or some other cooking knowledgeable person.

Ashley said...

What the hell?? I just stumbled across your blog, but am now going to promptly leave. Why shred the cheese??!? Why microwave it?! You're just creating extra steps for one of the easiest foods known to man!

I will say, the cookie cutter idea is .... cute.


Emily @ Bentobloggy.com said...

Ashley, sounds like grilled cheese strikes a nerve! So sorry to hear that ;)

Kelly - My mom's American, but she grew up all over, in Japan, Korea, Morocco, Cyprus etc.. Lots of culinary influences. Also, my dad works for the Saudis, so I've had some amazing Middle Eastern food from the people he works with. It's no wonder I can't get grilled cheese down pat, right Ashley?

Shurypuff said...

Oh man, would never have thought to melt it in microwave first. Now I definitely need to try this!

P.S. Love your blog! Keep it up :] x

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amdsmilez said...

Hey! So, I work at a sustainable living concept store and we just got these Lunch Bento Box units in, so when I came across your blog, I was super excited! I really like your recipe ideas and even more-so you've inspired me to go ahead and purchase one for myself. PS: Who would've thought to microwave the grilled sandwich before tossing it in the skillet? GENIUS! Thanks for the tip =)...**SmiLeZ**

Kelly Polizzi said...

LOL! Is Ashley serious????

Kelly Polizzi said...

Wow you're a lucky lady!

Ian F. said...

I think Ashley is serious, Kelly, and logical too. This is probably the most needless set of cooking tips I've ever come across.

Emily @ Bentobloggy.com said...

I wouldn't say it's needless if I needed them and others said they'd had the same grilled cheese issues as I'd mentioned. Besides...it actually works, and very well. Kudos to those of you who can make a bangin' grilled cheese - now, share your tips with the class!

Kelly said...

I don't understand why people can be so...mean? I don't know. I'm always looking for new ways to cook the same old stuff, so I find this post useful. I love grilled cheese, but I usually just slap some cheese in between some bread and cook it on the stove until it's melty - maybe I've been missing out on other grilled cheese awesomeness!!! I'm going to try this method for sure. :)

Carrie - CWR said...

Some of my tips:
- cook sandwich on lower heat setting. It takes a little longer but gets you the melty without the burnt toast).
- along with butter, spread some spicy brown mustard on the grill side of the bread. Adds a nice flavor and crust to the bread.
- LOTS of cheese! (that may be obvious, or a personal preference, but I tend to make grilled ham and cheese and the layers go: bread, cheese, ham, cheese, ham, cheese, bread) With that much in the middle you definitely have to cook on a lower setting - and other suggestion of using a cover works too!
Enjoy. :)

Lesa said...

I'm a cheesy pro so don't need to nuke it first--- but it is a good idea for certain impatient cooks or nonfoodies-- I'm thinking about my mom here. ;o)

It is a great idea to experiment with different cheeses--- my fave is muenster-- 2 slices on a sandwich-- the high butterfat content of the cheese makes for quite a decadent sandwich.

I love cheesy toast too-- fresh sliced garden tomatoes placed on top after it comes out of the oven and sprinkled with salt and pepper is just out of this world!!

What a fun blog-- I've been interested in bentos for sometime so I'll be back!

noktour said...

Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

I've never actually made grilled cheese! I'm english and fully aware of the disater that can be chees on toast! I am definately going to try this. Also, how do you make a PB&J sandwich? I really want to try one of those too.

Emily @ Bentobloggy.com said...

Well you're in luck, because there is no special trick to PB&J, though you can use honey instead of jam/jelly or Nutella or other nut butter instead of peanut butter, YUM! I just slather peanut butter on one side of my bread of choice (toasted or un-toasted depending on my mood) and preserves on the other side, and voila - PB&J. :)

Unknown said...

To avoid the microwave cook your grilled cheese at a mid-low setting and flip often. multiple cheeses are key, pepper jelly is really good too.

If you want to blow your mind try this grilled cheese sandwich: use an everything bagel instead of bread. Use the inside of the bagel as the cooking surface so the cheese is on the outside of the bagel. It's kind of hard to explain but it makes a nice flat grillable surface.

This is a bagel ( ○ )
This is a sideways bagel ( ) <- the hole is right there but you can't see it.
This is the knife |
This is the bagel cut in half (]|[)
This is the cheese : (It`s jalepeno havarti)
This is the sandwich [):(]
The bagelwich is reassembled "inside out"

Dolfino Jalepeno Harvarti come in round logs and is perfectly bagel sized.

You could also apply this to your heel bread slice. I find the heel crust doesn't toast as well.

I've been out of the food blogging seen for awhile (not like I was IN it for all that long either) but I might have to write about the intricacies of this method.

I hope you enjoy it!

Summer Dove Simmons said...

i spread the outside with mayo instead of butter. it makes them perfectly brown and crunchy! And it doesn't take anything like mayo

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