A grilled cheese sandwich is not diet food. So when I have one, it has to be great! Crispy, salty, buttery exterior and oozy, molten cheese inside. Are you ready to meet the ultimate cheese toastie??
My two golden rules for a great Grilled Cheese
I realise it might seem strange to share a recipe for what is fundamentally just melted cheese between bread. And really, is there even such a thing as a bad grilled cheese? Perhaps not.
But there is such a thing as a GREAT grilled cheese sandwich!
So here are my two golden rules for my very best grilled cheese:
Use TWO types of cheese – mozzarella for stretch and another for flavour (gruyere and vintage cheddar are my favourites)
Give your sandwich press a miss. Use a pan on your stove! Just look at the superior golden buttery crust you get to bite into! ↓↓↓
Then to take it from excellent to new heights of greatness….
Use sourdough bread instead of ordinary sandwich bread;
Use freshly grated cheese instead of sliced or pre-shredded;
Butter both sides of each slice of bread; and
Be sure to use salted butter!
Grilled cheese vs cheese toastie – Fundamentally they are both toasted bread with melted cheese sandwiched between them. But toasties are made using a sandwich press or toastie maker, while grilled cheese is made on the stove in a skillet, griddle or pan.
Which is better? While it comes down to personal taste and convenience / speed, for me the grilled cheese wins hands down. The bread gets too squished in toasties and sandwich makers – even the ones that have a “thick set” option. The weight of the lid presses down on the bread too much. This also causes cheese to ooze out, limiting the amount you can put in the sandwich to not-enough. Travesty!!
And a quick note on other cooking methods…..
Broiler/grill – This method works fine and is a good alternative for batch cheese toastie making but you can’t achieve that same awesome melding of buttery-bread-molten-cheese like you do in a pan. Nor will you get the same golden buttery crust! However, useful method to use for batch cheese-toastie making (my method: toast bread, place on rack, butter, cheese, grill, eat open face or sandwich together)
Jaffle maker –The sealed edges and squished bread are the cons here. Though, still perfectly acceptable to scratch your cheese-toasties itch!
Microwave – No, you haven’t, have you??? *YES I HAVE!* 🙈
What you need for a grilled cheese sandwich
Here’s what you need to make my idea of the perfect grilled cheese. However, rest assured there’s flexibility and options! It’s more about technique. 🙂
Bread – This recipe will work fine with any sliced bread (sandwich, loaf etc) though you want to ensure the slices are not too thick (cheese might not melt), too thin or too soft (will get squished by the cheese) or too holey (cheese-escape-routes).
My favourite is a nice sourdough but not those super fancy ones that come with a crazy thick, tough teeth-breaking crust. Just a normal, good sourdough is all you need!
Cheese options – For the best grilled cheese, you want to use a combination of mozzarella (for its cheese pull and non-greasy melting qualities) with a flavoured cheese – because mozzarella actually has a very mild flavour. A good vintage cheddar or gruyere are my absolute favourites.
Otherwise, I’ll use anything and everything – tasty, Monterey Jack, colby, swiss, cheddar. Just give me my grilled cheese!!!
Grate your own cheese for the ultimate grilled cheese! The melt is superior – smoother, more even, and “softer”. Store bought pre-grated cheese is coated with anti-caking agents that prevents it from melting well, so it can end up kind of gloopy and rubbery. Cheese slices are better than using packet shredded cheese.
Salted butter – Just your everyday butter that you use to spread on bread and crackers. Else, use unsalted and add a light sprinkle of salt. Trust me – you really want the salt!
How to make the best grilled cheese sandwich (in my world)
I added “(my world)” to the end because I realise that some people might not agree or have different tastes etc. and that’s totally ok! I’m just here today to share what I think is the very best grilled cheese in the world. (I mean, MY world 😂)
Grate cheese – If not using store bought pre-sliced cheese, grate the cheese using a standard box grater. As noted above, store bought pre-shredded cheese is coated with anti-caking agents which prevents it from melting properly.
Butter both sides of each bread. Yes that’s right, all four sides. Trust me on this!
Head start fry – Place the bread in a pre-heated heavy based skillet or non-stick fry pan over medium low heat. Let it lightly toast just for 1 minute. This will give this side of the bread a little extra toasty flavour as well as giving the cheese melting a head start – because we are going to flip the bread before piling the cheese on.
Flip bread & cheese it! Turn one slice of bread then pile the cheese on top (any order). Place the other piece of bread on top with the hot toasted side in contact with the cheese.
3 minutes – Press down lightly and cook for 3 minutes until the underside is a deep, even golden brown colour. If it is browning too quickly, remove the pan from the stove, let it cool slightly and lower the heat.
Turn, 3 minutes – Carefully turn the sandwich. Cook the other side for another 3 minutes until golden and crisp, and (most importantly!) the cheese is melted. Take a quick peek if you are unsure.
Golden brown – This is what your bread should look like from edge to edge! A deep golden brown, even coloured, crisp. You know this is going to be good!
Cut – Transfer to a cutting board and cut in half, decisively and with intention. And then….wait for it…. THE CHEESE PULL!
Yup, that piece has my name all over it. JUST LOOK AT IT.
That golden, salty, buttery crust.
The molten cheese, the perfect combination of the beautiful melting qualities of mozzarella mixed with the flavour of gruyere or cheddar….
The first bite is EVERYTHING!
I really hope you give this recipe a go, even if you only make it once, just so you can experience the greatness of a really, really good grilled cheese sandwich!! – Nagi x
PS Reading back over this post, I find my extreme enthusiasm for butter-cheese-bread somewhat worrying. I hope that one day, my salad recipes read with the same level of energy.
Watch how to make it
My best Grilled Cheese Sandwich
- 2 slices sourdough bread , sliced 1.3–1.5cm thick (0.5 – 0.6″) – Note 1
- 30g/ 2 tbsp SALTED butter , for spreading on bread (or unsalted + pinch of salt)
- 1/3 cup (heaped) vintage cheddar cheese or gruyere, freshly grated (or other melting cheese of choice) – Note 2
- 30g/ 1/3 cup mozzarella, freshly grated – Note 2
- Butter bread – Slather both sides of each piece of bread with the butter (yes, all 4 sides!).
- Light toast – Heat a heavy-based skillet or frying pan over medium low heat (no oil or butter). Place both pieces of bread in the skillet and lightly toast for 1 minute to warm it through and create a light crust. (When we flip, this gives the cheese a head start).
- Pile on cheese – Flip one slice of bread, then pile on the cheddar cheese followed by the mozzarella. Place the other slice of bread on top, with the hot toasted side in contact with the cheese.
- Cook 3 minutes – Cook for 3 minutes or until the bread is evenly golden and crisp, pressing down lightly with a spatula every now and then. If it's browning too quickly, remove remove from the stove to cool down a bit and lower heat.
- Flip, 3 minutes – Turn the sandwich over, and cook the other side for 3 minutes or until the bread is golden and the cheese is melted.
- Devour – Transfer to cutting board. Cut in half in one swift motion. Admire cheese pull. Devour.
Life of Dozer
Post trip re-uniting treat, for both of us! He’s not usually allowed up on the couch without a full-towel-coverage situation. The fur…SO MUCH FUR. I’ll be vacuuming that couch tomorrow!