How to Make a Grilled Cheese Sandwich

A surefire signal that I’m out of town is the big square burn mark in my best stainless skillet. That’s the tale-tell sign my husband has attempted to prepare the one and only item on his repertoire of home-cooked meals: A grilled cheese sandwich.

The man doesn’t know how to cook.

burnt grilled cheese sandwich on white plate with fork and knife

His grilled cheese sandwiches are burned on the outside, solid on the inside. Poor guy. When it comes to this basic all-American favorite, Harold does just about everything wrong.
He starts with a blazing hot skillet, uses cold butter and unevenly sliced cheese with the thickest parts of the cheese piled up in the middle of the sandwich. This man really needs his wife.

There’s an art to preparing a perfect grilled cheese sandwich that is crispy, golden brown on the outside, soft on the inside with cheese that is evenly melted.

Equipment

The best tool for this job is a well-seasoned cast-iron skillet because of the way it heats evenly to create a lacy-crisp exterior on the sandwich.

Ingredients

For one sandwich: Two slices good white bread, 1 to 2 ounces Cheddar, Monterey Jack or American cheese, and about 1 tablespoon butter.

Technique

  1. Preheat the skillet over medium heat for about five minutes. While it is heating, grate the cheese and sprinkle evenly between the two slices of bread. Grating the cheese ensures that it will melt evenly.
  2. Put the slices together and press gently to set. Melt the butter and brush generously on one side of the bread, making sure no spot is left unbuttered. Gently place the sandwich in the heated skillet, buttered side down. Turn heat to Low.
  3. The longer you can leave it without turning, the better the result. This allows the butter to brown slowly and evenly. In the meantime butter the top with melted butter.
  4. Once crisp and deep golden brown, brush melted butter on the top side, gently turn, and repeat (5 to 8 minutes per side). Remove, cut as desired with a sharp serrated knife, and serve.

Variations

Grilled Cheese with Bacon

Fry 3 slices of bacon until cooked but not crisp. Pat on a paper towel to remove excess fat, add on top of the cheese, and grill as directed.

Grilled Cheese with Ham

Put 2 thin slices of ham between the cheese and grill as directed.

Onion-Cheese Sandwich

Follow the recipe for Grilled Cheese Sandwich, but lightly coat the inside of one slice of bread with Dijon mustard. Sauté 3 to 4 slices onion in butter and put on top of the cheese. Cover with the remaining slice of bread and grill.

Tomato-Cheese Sandwich

Follow the recipe for Grilled Cheese Sandwich, but add two thin slices of tomato to the sandwich before grilling.

Grilled Mozzarella Sandwich

Two slices of European-style country bread, 1-ounce Mozzarella cheese, sliced or grated; tomato slices or several strips of roasted red peppers and olive oil. Following the basic directions for the Grilled Cheese Sandwich above, sandwich the tomato slices (or pepper strips) between the cheese. Brush the bread with olive oil in place of the butter.

Greek Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Crusty bread (like sheepherder), 1-ounce feta cheese, crumbled; sliced tomato, basil or oregano leaves, ground black pepper, olive oil. Follow instructions for the Mozzarella sandwich.


 

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A piece of cake sitting on top of a table
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3 replies
  1. Nell says:

    For many years I have made grilled cheese sandwiches in oven. Preheat to 350 degrees. Butter two slices bread for each sandwiches. Add cheese of choice. Place on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 10-12 minutes until nicely browned. Turn over about mid-baking time. Delicious, crispy sandwiches!

    Reply
  2. Ann says:

    Make a grilled cheese sandwich……………..your favorite cheese, sliced or shredded and replace the butter with Mayonnaise, yep, that’s right spread thinly over the bread. I promise you’ll be surprised.

    Reply
  3. Mary says:

    I make perfect grilled cheese sandwiches. While the frying pan is heating as you said I butter o e slice of bread and lay it in paper plate or where ever is convenient, butter side up. Then butter one side of the other slice of bread and lay it on top of the other one, butter side down. Stack your cheese on top of that and a slice of ham or any other variation you want. The pan is now med hot. Pick up the top piece of bread with the cheese on it and place in the pan and put the other one on top with the buttered side up of course. So easy. When time to flip over pick the pan up and turn sideways as you lift the sandwich with a Turner and make the two meet. Less likely for top and bottom to separate.

    Reply

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