For a quick and easy lunch or weeknight dinner, grilled cheese has it all — easy, cheesy, gooey comfort food at its finest. Press it in a sandwich press or indoor grill, toast it in a hot pan or pop it into the oven and it’s ready in minutes.
But don’t stop there. Level up your sandwich-making game with these tips for making the best grilled cheese ever:
1. Unless you like dry toast, coat the outside-facing part of the bread slices in fat. Cooking spray works well, or you can apply melted butter with a pastry brush. Softened butter tastes great, but can be harder to spread and may rip your bread. For something a little tangy, try spreading it with mayonnaise.
2. There’s nothing wrong with plain white sandwich bread, but don’t count out sourdough, rye or whole wheat! Garlic bread works well, too. Just skip slices with big holes that cheese can leak out of.
3. Use cheese that melts easily, like American, mozzarella, Fontina or Provolone. Hard or crumbly cheeses won’t give you that smooth, melty texture.
4. Using a cheese with a strong flavor, like smoked gouda? Combine a slice of that with a slice of something milder, so the flavor isn’t overwhelming.
5. Think about your favorite pairings on a cheese plate and add olive tapenade, truffle honey or some onion jam to the inside of your sandwich.
6. You can layer in another ingredient, but keep it thin — such as a slice of tomato, crispy bacon, prosciutto or some roasted red peppers. Anything too large (like a burger patty) and the cheese is no longer the star of the show.
7. Sprinkling on some fresh herbs, such as basil or chopped rosemary, can add another layer of flavor to your grilled cheese.
8. Spice is nice! If you like it hot, add some spicy red pepper sandwich spread, hot honey or mayonnaise mixed with a dab of sriracha.
9. There’s a reason tomato soup goes so well with grilled cheese — the tangy tomatoes provide a contrast to the rich butter and cheese. Consider pairing your sandwich with other sides containing bright elements, such as pickles or kimchi. A glass of crisp white wine is nice, too.
10. Need to make a bunch at once? Bake your cheese sandwiches on a sheet pan in the oven at 425ºF, flipping once, until golden and melty, about 10 minutes.
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