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10 Tips for the Greatest Grilled Cheese

Posted Tue, Mar 11, 2008, 6:27 pm PDT
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It's the childhood favorite you never outgrow, the most comforting comfort food of all time -- the grilled cheese sandwich. American, Cheddar, Gouda ... whatever your pleasure, follow these ten tips from Laura Werlin, author of Great Grilled Cheese, and have yourself a slice of melted heaven.

Cheese

1. Good to grate

Don't slice your cheese when you can grate it (the bigger the grater, the better). This ensures evenly melted, gooey cheese in every bite.

2. Get cheesy

Don't be shy -- plan on about two ounces of cheese per sandwich. Use your palm to press the grated cheese onto the bread so it doesn't fall out.

3. Embrace the ooze

Don't fret if the cheese oozes out of the sandwich. The toasty bits at the bottom of the pan are the best part!

Bread

4. No need to Wonder

Don't just assume that white is the only way. If you love focaccia or whole-wheat, go for it.

5. Size does matter

Don't slice your bread more than 1/4" thick or it'll overwhelm the cheese.

6. Smush your bread

Flatten sandwiches with a spatula or a heavy pan to ensure oozing cheese and crisp rather than doughy bread.

Butter

7. Butter le pain, not le pan

Spread room-temperature butter on the bread (on the side you're grilling, not the inside of the sandwich) before you grill. That way, you'll get evenly buttered, evenly browned bread with a little crunch.  

8. Salted butter is best

Just trust me.

Cooking

9. Stick with nonstick

Although a cast-iron skillet is the traditional fave, a nonstick skillet is your best bet for easy flipping and no sticking.

10. Put a lid on it

Cover the skillet while cooking the first side of the sandwich for maximum cheese melting.

And now for the ultimate grilled cheese recipe, from Laura Werlin's Great Grilled Cheese:

The Best Grilled Cheese

8 slices sourdough bread (1/4 inch thick)

2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature

6 ounces best-quality Cheddar cheese (orange or white), coarsely grated

To assemble: Butter one side of each slice of bread. Place 4 slices on your work surface, buttered side down. Distribute the cheese evenly over the 4 slices. Place the remaining 4 bread slices on top, buttered side up.

Stovetop method: Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat for 2 minutes. Put the sandwiches in the skillet (in batches if necessary), cover, and cook for 2 minutes, or until the undersides are golden brown and the cheese has begun to melt. Uncover, and turn the sandwiches with a spatula, pressing firmly to flatten them slightly. Cook for 1 minute, or until the undersides are golden brown. Turn the sandwiches again, press with the spatula, and cook for 30 seconds, or until the cheese has melted completely. Serve immediately.

Sandwich maker method: Preheat the sandwich maker. Follow directions for sandwich assembly, and cook according to the manufacturer's instructions.

Gas grill method: Brush the grill rack with oil and preheat the grill to medium-high. Follow directions for sandwich assembly. Put the sandwiches on the grill and follow directions for the stovetop method.

Makes 4 sandwiches.

Average (1004 Ratings): 3.5 out of 5 stars

15 Comments

  • 1. Posted by jadeaquarian@sbcglobal.net on Thu, Mar 13, 2008, 7:25 am PDT

    Thanks for the tips.

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  • 2. Posted by maryann c on Fri, Mar 14, 2008, 1:09 pm PDT

    I know you won't believe this til you try it. Give it a try. Use mayo instead of butter and your girlled cheese will never look better and you won't miss the butter either. It will grill a beautiful golden brown and won't be greasy.

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  • 3. Posted by janedoe253 on Sun, Mar 16, 2008, 2:27 pm PDT

    I am a grilled cheese addict. After trying numerous grilled cheese recipes I made my own.... This probably will sound disgusting but trust me it's good. Slice a granny smith apple sprinkled with cinnamon and heat it up in the pan you intend on using for your sandwich. Make the sandwich like you normally would but substitute the usual ingedients for cinnamon rasin bread and cheddar cheese, then stuff the sandwich with the apples you cooked! Delicious! Great balance of sweet and salty.

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  • 4. Posted by jasrmoro on Wed, Mar 26, 2008, 6:25 pm PDT

    I always use Velvetta [and that's the only use I have for it] and San Francisco Sour Dough Bread. Lightly spread w/mayo and use salted butter on a non-stick flat pan. The cheese melts evenly and the mayo makes it taste a little richer.

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  • 5. Posted by Steven s on Thu, Mar 27, 2008, 10:40 am PDT

    Try thinly sliced tomatoes inside and some mustard on one inside pc of the bread....awsome! I like rye bread also....crunchy.

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  • 6. Posted by babbles45@sbcglobal.net on Thu, Mar 27, 2008, 3:27 pm PDT

    I add mayo to the inside of both slices,a couple of thinly sliced tomato slices(fresh tomatoes in season are best),and in a pinch you can use strained stewed or diced canned tomatoes. Butter on the outsides,and good-ole white A merican cheese on wheat with seeds and nuts.The juicier the sandwich the better.You must eat this while you`re alone since it`s very messy and too embarrassing to keep clean after each bite.

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  • 7. Posted by Barry on Mon, Mar 31, 2008, 2:43 am PDT

    i vouch for using mayo instead of butter, also the addition of tomato - in which case a little basil wouldn't hurt either.

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  • 8. Posted by Oakleaf Mold on Mon, Mar 31, 2008, 7:11 am PDT

    Lots of good advice here, except for squishing the bread. NEVER EVER EVER SQUISH THE BREAD, especially if you're using wheat bread!

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  • 9. Posted by acu_rite on Mon, Mar 31, 2008, 2:04 pm PDT

    here http://www.recipecarousel.com have reicpe contests http://www.recipecarousel.com/blog love grilled cheese with a slice of proscuitto and fresh tomato sweep the bread slices with extra virigin olive oil it is soo good

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  • 10. Posted by halfship1 on Tue, Apr 08, 2008, 5:03 am PDT

    never in my life have i used mayo but it sounds good thanks for the tip. as for the bread i love thick slices of challa bread and slices of tomotoes and lettuce with a honey mustard for zip honey cup is the one i use you wont go wrong ..

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  • 11. Posted by iam2dopey69 on Mon, May 19, 2008, 2:02 pm PDT

    try a sprinkle of garlic salt on top when making grilled cheese

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  • 12. Posted by joldeen on Mon, Jun 02, 2008, 11:06 am PDT

    The Garlic salt is a great addition.. It is very important use very thick bread. Also a good quality cheese is very important.. I personally think American is a bit too bland. I use chedder with a bit of munster. I've beenw anting to try Havarti.

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  • 13. Posted by tiffany s on Fri, Jul 18, 2008, 3:40 pm PDT

    I tried the mayo instead of the butter, it was really good. I like grilled cheese on sourdough bread

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  • 14. Posted by grandpasprincess16 on Fri, Oct 10, 2008, 8:51 am PDT

    I like grilled cheese on sourdough as well and will definately try the mayo route

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  • 15. Posted by pnhudgens on Sat, Feb 07, 2009, 1:05 pm PST

    why would you use mayo HOT mayo is nasty

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