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How to Make a Delicious Grilled Cheese Sandwich (with photos)

Perfect grilled cheese sandwich

Perfect grilled cheese sandwich

Grilled Cheese Sandwich Recipe

Making a perfect grilled cheese sandwich is more difficult than it sounds.  Once you're done preparing the sandwich, you want it steaming hot all the way through where the delicious cheddar cheese has been completely melted, and the bread is fried a golden brown.  A grilled cheese sandwich prepared any other way is surely going to disappoint.  Here's how to make the perfect grilled cheese.

Rate this Classic Grilled Cheese Sandwich Recipe

Grilled Cheese Sandwich Ingredients

  • 2 slices cheddar cheese, premium cheddar cheese
  • mayonaise
  • butter
  • 2 slices bread

Grilled Cheese Sandwich Ingredients

A great grilled cheese sandwich starts with high quality ingredients. While you may have had kraft slices of american cheese as a kid, I think that ends up making a subpar sandwich. My favorite ingredients

  • Tillamook cheddar cheese - Tillamook produces extremely high quality cheeses. Their cheddar cheese is even available at costco in a large block or already sliced. Either way you get it, a high quality cheddar cheese is the most important ingredient.
  • Real butter - Butter plays an important role in a great cheddar cheese sandwich. It adds to the richness and keeps it from burning while the sandwich fries. Avoid margin and other oils. This isn't a low calorie sandwich and cheeting a on few calories will leave you unimpressed.
  • Real Mayonnaise - I grew up on Best Food's mayo, and it's all I really like. Like real butter, real mayo is the only way to go. My wife sometimes buys the light mayo. It works, but I still prefer the real deal.
  • Bread - While i love a grilled cheese on a fresh sliced sourdough bread, you can use just about any bread.  These days we seem to have mostly wheat bread in the house that tastes good, especially after it's been dressed up with butter, cheese and mayo.

Putting Mayonnaise on the bread

The first step is to put mayonnaise on each piece of bread.  Take out your knife and spread it generously on both pieces of bread. 

Cheese and mayo on the bread

Cheese and mayo on the bread

Add the cheese

The next step is to add cheese to the sandwich.  I usually put two slices of pre-sliced cheese on a sandwich for an adult, and one slice for a kid. 

Butter on the outside of the bread

Butter on the outside of the bread

Butter goes on the outside

Close the sandwich and generously butter the outside of both pieces of bread. This is a little tricky since you're buttering the outside. Once I butter both sides of the bread, I place the sandwich in my frying pan.  I almost always get butter on my hands when performing this step. 

Put the sandwich on the side of the pan to keep it from cooking too quickly

Put the sandwich on the side of the pan to keep it from cooking too quickly

Grill the Cheese Sandwich Slowly

Since one of the keys to a great grilled cheese is browning the bread, but also getting the cheese to completely melt, you have to grill the sandwich slowly. Put your frying pan over a low heat and put your sandwich in the side of the pan. Then, cover the pan with a lid. This will keep the heat in while the sandwich grills. This is the most critical part. You want the cheese to melt without burning the bread.

American or Cheddar Cheese

Covered pan

Covered pan

Why do grilled cheese sandwiches burn

The most often mistake we see with grilled cheese sandwiches is burning the outside of the bread. This is caused by the smoking point of butter and using too much heat. To keep the sandwich from burning and to fully melt the cheese, the sandwich must be grilled on a low heat.

You'll get a much better result if it takes longer for the cheese to melt by cooking on a low heat than by grilling the cheese sandwich on high heat where the bread burns and the cheese doesn't melt.

So, grill the sandwich on a low heat with a covered pan to keep the heat even to help melt the cheese.

This is what happens when grilling on too high of heat. Turn down the temperature!

Example of a burnt grilled cheese

Example of a burnt grilled cheese

Melted cheese on sandwich

Melted cheese on sandwich

Melt the cheese

A grilled cheese sandwich isn't perfectly cooked until the cheese is completely melted.

How long does it take to gill a cheese sandwich

I've cooked a sandwich for up to ten minutes because I kept the heat low enough. It's fine if it takes longer to cook, just as long as you don't burn the bread. Once the butter has melted on the top of the bread facing up, that's when I flip the sandwich to cook the other side.

When you flip the sandwich over, it's going to cook the second side much faster since the pan is already hot. Be aware and use a spatula to check it a few times to make sure it's not burning. When I flip my sandwich for the first time, I try to turn the heat down a little more.

Keep flipping the sandwich every 90 seconds until the bread is brown on both sides and the cheese completely melted.

After both sides of the bread are grilled a nice golden brown, and the cheese is completely melted, place your delicious grilled cheese sandwich on a plat and enjoy.

Grilled Cheese Cook Time

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

5 min

10 min

15 min

one grilled cheese sandwich

Comments

Tony Fischer from Southeastern Michigan on December 19, 2012:

This is a great example of the power of food. Excellent Hub!

Kristin Trapp from Illinois on December 17, 2012:

I have never heard of putting mayo on a grilled cheese sandwich. I will have to give it a try. The idea of making perfect grilled cheese brought back a funny memory for me. One time I promised my kids, "I'm going to make you the perfect grilled cheese sandwich" and since I was making it on low and cooking it so slowly, I actually forgot about it and burned it. It was completely black and charred. My kids, little at the time, were absolutely hysterical when they saw it. I think I'll give your version with cheddar and mayo a try - looks delicious!

Sinea Pies from Northeastern United States on December 17, 2012:

Just added a link to this hub on today's menu planning post on my blog. Grilled cheese sandwiches are such a great standby-meal. Especially wonderful on cold winter nights. :) Hub shared!

Paul Edmondson (author) from Burlingame, CA on July 11, 2012:

Just updated this hub with new grilled cheese sandwich tips. Makes me hungry!

Paul Edmondson (author) from Burlingame, CA on March 12, 2012:

We are a Best Foods Mayo family. Isn't miracle whip poular on the east coast?

Courtney Young on March 12, 2012:

I make the sandwiches and then place them on a plate with Miracle Whip for dipping. Yummy!

Ruth R. Martin from Everywhere Online ~ Fingerlakes ~ Upstate New York on January 29, 2012:

A tip I discovered by accident when I was in a hurry to make grilled cheese sandwiches - melt the butter in the frying pan first, then add your prepared sandwich on top of the melted butter. The butter is much easier to apply this way instead of needing to soften it first, then spreading it on the bread by hand. As far as we can tell, the flavor of the sandwich is not altered, and the process is much faster and less messy.

Great hub and topic - now I'm getting hungry!...

NightFlower on January 26, 2012:

You know I had a friend I used to make grilled cheese sandwiches for and he told me he could never get them the way I do so you are exactly right. It's amazing how different results can come from something so simple. He always said his comes out to soggy.

Paul Edmondson (author) from Burlingame, CA on January 26, 2012:

Cooking it slow is the secret....They're delicious!

Vespa Woolf from Peru, South America on January 26, 2012:

Thanks for the comprehensive guide to making a perfect grilled cheese sandwich. Since patience is not one of my virtues, I err on turning up the heat too high and hurrying the process. I plan to follow your advice, turn down the heat and let the cheese melt.

Marie Hurt from New Orleans, LA on May 05, 2011:

I love grilled cheese sandwiches! Yum! And there is an art to it.

katrinasui on March 27, 2011:

Hmm..Looks yummy. The pics are wonderful.

L M Reid from Ireland on March 24, 2011:

I love cheese toasted sandwiches but have never tried them cooked on a pan. The idea of mayo on the cheese was a surprise too but I will give it a try to see how it tastes.

ocbill from hopefully somewhere peaceful and nice on March 24, 2011:

mayo on a grill-cheese? I m not aware of that but you are right. The butter plays an important part of the taste. Always a good hub when it involves a tasty recipe. Oh, and the pictures surely help too :).

Hello, hello, from London, UK on March 24, 2011:

That sounds great and a real "must try".

Serena Zehlius from Hanover, PA on March 23, 2011:

Yummy! I love grilled cheese, especially with some tomato soup to dip it in!

sincerely25 from United States on March 23, 2011:

I love grilled chesse.

David Guion from North Carolina on March 23, 2011:

I use olive oil, which has a great flavor. I'll have to try it some time with really good cheese. I'm still using store-brand wrapped slices (American, white American, or "Swiss"). But never mayo. That's strictly for cole slaw dressing or tuna salad.

furnitureman from Manila, Philippines on March 22, 2011:

Whew! Looks delicious. Unfortunately, my wife and I am diabetic. Thanks, anyway, for that great info. I'll have it reprinted for my friends. More power and God bless.

Makingsense on March 22, 2011:

Finally! Some practical information in a hub. Thanks.

Qbrown9 on March 22, 2011:

Yum!! I always get criticized for ordering grilled cheese sandwiches when I go out to lunch. But, if cooked right, it's the best!!! I agree that NOT burning the bread is crucial. I have to say I've never tried the mayo. Thanks for the delicious hub. QB

Gigi Thibodeau on March 22, 2011:

Great photos. I think you're right about cheddar. I also like using gruyere, because it gets wonderfully melty and gooey! :)

elizabeth from Buncombe County, NC on March 22, 2011:

Mayo? Wow? I'm heading toward the kitchen.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on March 22, 2011:

I've never used mayonnaise, but it looks great and worth a try. I like all the photos as well.

youmeget on March 22, 2011:

yummy!

youmeget

agusfanani from Indonesia on March 21, 2011:

It looks so mouthwatering.

rosenartie on March 21, 2011:

That might be a good grilled cheese sandwich but having it on Italian Bread will make it a GREAT grilled cheese sandwich

Simone Haruko Smith from San Francisco on March 21, 2011:

Great photos!!! Cool points for the Tillamook cheese and real butter. I personally skip on the mayo, but I can see how that might be a nice addition :D

gredmondson on March 21, 2011:

PERFECT!

Sinea Pies from Northeastern United States on March 21, 2011:

Mayo on a grilled cheese sandwich! You have discovered have of the famous sandwich my dad and I invented when I was a kid: a Peanana Dressing Sandwich. Here it goes: spread a slice of bread with mayonnaise and the other slice with peanut butter. Slice a banana lengthwise and put it on the peanut butter side. Close up the sandwich and butter each side. Grill and enjoy! If you like the ingredients, it tastes amazing!

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