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4 Steps to Make the Best Grilled Cheese

Tips and recipes to go from simple sandwich to mouthwatering masterpiece
grilled cheese

If you think ooey-gooey grilled cheese sandwiches are just for kids, get ready to take your tastebuds on an adventure. Grilled cheese has earned a place in the comfort food hall of fame because it’s a quick, easy, and budget-friendly route to cheesy satisfaction. This humble sandwich can be even greater, however, with a few upgraded ingredients and a little creativity. Check out our best grilled cheese 101 and marvelously melty, irresistible recipes to craft the sandwich of your dreams.

Step 1: Choose the right cheese

The ultimate sandwich begins with carefully choosing the star ingredient. For maximum meltiness, Alpine-style cheeses, such as Swiss, Gruyere, and Fontina, are a great choice. The protein structure of this style of cheese becomes especially elastic when heated, so it’s ideal for that oh-so-satisfying cheese pull moment. Jack and American cheese are also tasty options with relatively mild flavor and plenty of stretch. A less melty but still delicious option is cheddar, but skip aged varieties, which are more likely to separate into solids and oil when heated. Pro tip: Get your melt on quicker by shredding cheese for sandwiches instead of slicing it.

Step 2: Banish boring bread

Picking the perfect bread is a matter of taste. Break out of the sliced white bread routine with a loaf from the bakery section, like tangy sourdough or a hearty country loaf. For added fiber and nutty crunch, swap in a multigrain seeded bread. Or try the robust taste of pumpernickel or rye bread (both would be tasty swaps in the Reuben-inspired recipe below)

Step 3: Add fat for the best browning

For a perfectly crisped, golden-brown exterior, the remaining must-have ingredient is fat. A schmear of mayo cooks evenly for rich browning with the bonus of being spreadable straight from the fridge. Butter also works to create that craveable crust, but be aware that it burns more easily, so avoid high heat

Step 4: Get your griddle on

Once you’ve assembled your sandwich, cook over medium-high heat for three to five minutes per side or until your desired level of toastiness. While cooking, cover the pan with a lid or aluminum foil to help the cheese melt. Once you’ve mastered the basic technique, experiment with the recipes below and allow them to inspire your own cheesy creations.

Sheet Pan Grilled Cheese with Apple and Dijon

Cooking for a crowd is easy with the help of a sheet pan. Four sandwiches come out of the oven simultaneously, perfectly cooked in this recipe with crunchy apple slices and zingy Dijon mustard.

Get the recipe: Sheet Pan Grilled Cheese with Apple and Dijon

Grilled Cheese with Apricot Jam

A touch of sweetness adds a new dimension to these gooey cheesy sandwiches. A dollop of fruit preserves and mustard plus a drizzle of honey complements the savory cheese flavor.

Get the recipe: Grilled Cheese with Apricot Jam

Gouda and Apple Grilled Cheese

This crunchy, creamy, sweet-and-savory sandwich is for anyone who thinks grilled cheese is boring. Gouda pairs perfectly with apples and cinnamon-raisin bread and the pop of peppery arugula.

Get the recipe: Gouda and Apple Grilled Cheese

Grilled Cheese with Kale and Peppers

An extra dose of plant power from the freezer makes this one-of-a-kind sandwich extra satisfying. Chopped kale and bell pepper strips bump up the flavor and nutrient content with the kick of pepper Jack.

Get the recipe: Grilled Cheese with Kale and Peppers

Reuben Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

This mashup recipe takes its cues from the famous New York deli sandwich. Pastrami, sauerkraut, and Russian dressing piled high with melty Swiss transform an ordinary sandwich into grilled Reubens.

Get the recipe: Reuben Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Sun-Dried Tomato and Goat Cheese Grilled Cheese

Level up your game with this sophisticated version starring sun-dried tomatoes. Fresh goat cheese, Parmesan, and the surprising crunch of pecans take this sammy over the top.

Get the recipe: Sun-Dried Tomato and Goat Cheese Grilled Cheese

Broccoli and Brie Grilled Cheese

Here’s a surefire way to get the whole family to eat more veggies. Frozen chopped broccoli sneaks in extra nutrients and creamy melted brie adds luscious flavor and ooey-gooey texture.

Get the recipe: Broccoli and Brie Grilled Cheese

Spicy Tomato Grilled Cheese

Spice up your meal routine with this Tex-Mex-inspired take. Pickled jalapeno and pepper Jack cheese bring the heat to creamy guacamole and fresh tomato on hearty multigrain bread.

Get the recipe: Spicy Tomato Grilled Cheese

Peach Caprese Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Savor peak peach season with this riff on Caprese salad. The traditional combo of mozzarella, tomato, and basil gets an extra dose of bright, juicy flavor from fresh peach slices.

Get the recipe: Peach Caprese Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Blueberry, Ham, and Brie Grilled Cheese

A little sweetness goes a long way with an unexpected ingredient. An easy homemade blueberry jam complements smoky ham and creamy brie with a touch of black pepper for an extra kick.

Get the recipe: Blueberry, Ham, and Brie Grilled Cheese

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