How to Make a Perfect Grilled Cheese Sandwich

When I was pregnant with our daughter, grilled cheese sandwiches were one of the few foods I could stomach. My guy would dutifully break out the electric griddle and, just about a half hour later, emerge from the kitchen with an ooey, gooey, toasty square of pure bliss.

How to make a perfect grilled cheese sandwich | Kitchen Treaty

Of course, when you’re experiencing the kind of hunger that only pregnancy can produce, a half hour seems like an eternity. My growling tummy and I would look quizzically at one another. “What is he doing in there?”

Making me the worlds most perfect grilled cheese, that’s what! When it comes to grilled cheese sandwiches, my guy toasts them to utter perfection. His secret?

Low and slow, baby. Low and slow.

When you take your time and toast your grilled cheese sandwiches over medium-low heat instead of hurrying them along, the cheese has plenty of time to melt thoroughly and the bread attains that gloriously, perfectly golden brown crispiness you dream of when you’re thinking of grilled cheese.

A few other things go into making the perfect grilled cheese, too. So how do you whip one of these bad boys up to perfection? Here’s how we do it.

1. Start with great ingredients.

The bread

Starting with a great bread is important. We buy a plain white sandwich bread from the bakery at our local grocery store. It’s got a chewy crust, fluffy interior and slightly sourdough tinge to it. And it really does make for a perfect grilled cheese.

The butter

We use only real butter, and – this is important – it’s at room temperature so it’s nice and easy to spread. Then you’re not tearing up your bread with cold, hard butter and swearing over your sandwich. That’s bad juju, and nobody wants bad grilled cheese juju.

We use unsalted butter, but that’s only because that’s all we usually have in the house. Salted is fine, too.

The cheese

I like a good medium cheddar – mild is too, well, mild, and sharp is just a little too potent for straight-up grilled cheese in my opinion. We use Tillamook medium cheddar, which is just perfect. (By the way, if you’re concerned about rennet in your cheese, you’ll probably be as thrilled as I was to learn that most of Tillamook’s cheeses are made with a vegetable-based rennet. Yay!)

2. Butter the bread

Generously slather one side of each piece of bread with your room-temperature butter. The buttered sides will be on the outside of the sandwich, so if your bread is a crazy shape like mine was and you want the pieces of bread to match up when the sandwich is closed, plan accordingly.

How to make a perfect grilled cheese sandwich | Kitchen Treaty

3. Add the cheese.

Turn the bread over, unbuttered side up. Add a single layer of cheddar sliced 1/8-inch to 1/4-inch thick. Cover every last little bit of the bread, overlapping here and there if necessary.

How to make a perfect grilled cheese sandwich | Kitchen Treaty

4. Close it up

Top the sandwich with the second piece of bread, buttered side up.

How to make a perfect grilled cheese sandwich | Kitchen Treaty

5. Grill that bad boy, low and slow

If you’re using an electric griddle, set the temperature to about 275 degrees. Or use a roomy saute pan over medium-low heat.

Place the sandwich on the preheated cooking surface and let it cook for about 5 minutes, checking occasionally to make sure it’s not burning (it probably won’t at such low heat, but cooking surfaces vary from kitchen to kitchen). It’s tempting, but don’t press down on the sandwich! Unless you like your grilled cheese extra flat, in that case, go for it.

After the first five minutes, carefully flip the sandwich with a spatula and cook the other side for 5 minutes.

Flip and cook each side for a couple more minutes each. The bread should start to get golden brown and the cheese nice and melty.

After about 15 minutes of cooking over medium-low heat, increase the heat to medium and, turning every so often, watch the sandwich carefully until the bread is perfectly toasted a golden brown.

How to make a perfect grilled cheese sandwich | Kitchen Treaty

6. Enjoy

Yes, this is a step. An important one!

Remove the sandwich from the heat, carefully cut in half if you would like, and enjoy your perfect grilled cheese sandwich.

How to make a perfect grilled cheese sandwich | Kitchen Treaty

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How to Make a Perfect Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Ooey, gooey, melty, and cooked to pure golden bliss. There’s nothing quite as sublime as a great grilled cheese sandwich. Here’s how to cook them perfectly every single time.

Ingredients:

  • 2 slices of your favorite sandwich bread
  • 2 tablespoons butter, room temperature
  • 2 – 3 ounces of your favorite medium cheddar cheese

Directions:

  1. Generously slather one side of each piece of bread with your room-temperature butter. The buttered sides will be on the outside of the sandwich, so if your bread is a crazy shape like mine was and you want the pieces of bread to match up when the sandwich is closed, plan accordingly.
  2. Turn the bread over, unbuttered side up. To one piece of the bread, add a single layer of cheddar sliced 1/8-inch to 1/4-inch thick. Cover every last little bit of the bread, overlapping here and there if necessary.
  3. Top the sandwich with the second piece of bread, buttered side up.
  4. If you’re using an electric griddle, set the temperature to about 275 degrees. Or use a roomy saute pan over medium-low heat. Place the sandwich on the preheated cooking surface and let it cook for about 5 minutes, checking occasionally to make sure it’s not burning (it probably won’t at such low heat, but cooking surfaces vary from kitchen to kitchen). It’s tempting, but don’t press down on the sandwich! Unless you like your grilled cheese extra flat, in that case, go for it.
  5. After the first five minutes, carefully flip the sandwich with a spatula and cook the other side for 5 minutes.
  6. Flip and cook each side for a couple more minutes each. The bread should start to get golden brown and the cheese nice and melty.
  7. After about 15 minutes of cooking over medium-low heat, increase the heat to medium and, turning every so often, watch the sandwich carefully until the bread is perfectly toasted a golden brown.
  8. Remove the sandwich from the heat, carefully cut in half if you would like, and enjoy your perfect grilled cheese sandwich.
All images and text © for Kitchen Treaty.

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Karen Raye

Kare is a vegetarian home cook living among carnivores. She loves creating irresistible and flexible recipes that help multi-vore families like hers keep the peace - deliciously.