Making the best grilled cheese imaginable doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, I keep mine pretty simple, although I’ve learned some tricks and techniques over the years. This isn’t one of those complicated recipes, though. If you’re looking for a quick lunch or dinner, you can’t get much better comfort food than an ooey gooey grilled cheese sandwich.
When my niece was little, the first thing she’d ask when she came over was if I would make her my best grilled cheese sandwich. My own kids loved them, too. There is something about the warmth and softness of a grilled cheese that comforts you on the worst of days. There are even some ways you can make this classic favorite healthier.
During her sophomore year, my niece came to stay with us for about eight months. I have no idea how many of those best grilled cheeses I made during her stay here, but it was at least several times a week. She loved to take hot Cheetos and put them between the slices of cheese and bread. There were times she’d eat four sandwiches in a sitting. Since she was a tiny little thing, I let her eat what she wanted. Some people just have fast metabolisms and she is one of those lucky ones.
I remember she was dealing with a lot at that time and if something as simple as bread, butter and cheese made her feel comfort, then I was happy to provide that. It’s a connection she and I have always had. I have no doubt one day when I’m gone, she might eat one and remember me. Many of my own precious memories of loved ones involve foods they knew I loved and made just for me.
Tips for the Best Grilled Cheese Sandwich Ever
- Use thicker slices of bread. Thin bread doesn’t have enough structure to crisp up.
- Spread butter from one edge to the next.
- Use two slices of thinner cheese.
- American cheese is traditional, but you can mix it up with Monterey Jack, Cheddar or Gouda.
- Get your pan hot before you place the buttered side of the bread down.
- When the top layer of bread’s butter begins melting, it’s probably time to flip your sandwich.
- Cook on medium heat. It’s too easy to burn them on high heat and they collapse on the inside on low heat.
- A non-stick pan works best, but you can also use a griddle or a press.
- Cut on a diagonal for adults and into small strips for holding for toddlers.
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I use an electric griddle when I need to make several at once or make sure they are the perfect crispness. This is the grilled I own, the Presto 22-inch. They make them in a number of sizes and styles.
Use the same method with a griddle. Preheat before placing the sandwiches on and watch for the top butter to start melting.
Best Grilled Cheese
My best grilled cheese recipe is super simple. I’ll share that first and then go into some variations I’ve tried.
This recipe includes tips I've picked up along the years for this very simple recipe. What is your favorite variation?
- 2 slices thick bread
- 2 slices American cheese
- 2 pats butter
Preheat your skillet or griddle on medium heat.
Butter one side of the first slice of bread and place face up on plate.
Repeat with second slice, placing it beside the first, both buttered side face up.
Grab the two slices of cheese.
Place one slice of bread butter side down in heated skillet and immediately add the two cheese slices on top.
Place other slide with the buttered side facing up. The unbuttered sides of the bread face the cheese in the middle.
When the butter on top begins to melt slightly, it's probably time to flip your sandwich.
Take your spatula and lift one corner, checking to make sure the bread is browned to your liking. If so, flip the sandwich over and repeat with the second side.
Serve with tomato soup and enjoy! I told you this was an easy recipe. It's one of the first ones to teach children learning to cook.
Variations of the Best Grilled Cheese Sandwich in History
Over the years, I’ve tried a lot of variations on my sandwiches. Some are better than others.
- Use low carb or keto bread. You can make your own or use store-bought. Just make sure the carbs line up with your goals. This is never as good as white bread, but your health matters, too.
- Add ham or turkey for a more filling sandwich. I do this sometimes when I make this as a dinner rather than lunch.
- Use different types of cheese. My favorite alternative is Monterrey Jack or Havarti. They add a smokey flavor. You really can’t go wrong with cheese.
- Use leftover Italian bread. Sometimes I’ll buy Italian loaf for a pasta side and realize it is way too much. Slice it into 1.5 to 2 inch wedges and use it for your grilled cheese. This is delicious.
- Add veggies and condiments. Experiment with tastes. One of my favorite combos is ham, provolone, tomatoes and avocado.
- Cut out shapes or make slices smaller for entertainment value. My kids loved this when they were little.
Once you have the basics and know you can’t walk away from the sandwich or it will burn, you’ll realize that this is a dish that is pretty hard to mess up. Experiment, have fun and enjoy your comfort food.
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