Sometimes only a grilled cheese sandwich will do. You know what I mean? Likewise, sometimes a grilled cheese sandwich is the only vegetarian option I can find.
I’ve been disappointed by some grilled cheese sandwiches in my life, so I set out to create my ultimate grilled cheese recipe. I aimed for a favorite grilled cheese sandwich that I could make any time the craving strikes. I wanted gourmet flavor without any complicated ingredients or methods. Grilled cheese now, or bust!
I should also confess that I want to be famous for my grilled cheese sandwiches someday. Not internet-famous, but neighborhood-famous as the mom who makes the best grilled cheese. I want my future children to brag about my grilled cheese sandwich skills. Is that too much to ask?
So, here we are, and here is my favorite grilled cheese recipe. It is truly epic, as far as I’m concerned. Keep on reading for my tricks and tips, because I have a few!
General Grilled Cheese Sandwich Tips
I’ve sampled a lot of the grilled cheese ideas out there (including mayo on the outside), and these are the ones that work for me.
Now, this isn’t to say that you can’t use any bread that you have in your pantry already. If you have the option, however, I suggest buying some crusty whole grain or regular sourdough for maximally awesome flavor.
Sharp cheddar has a lot of flavor, and that’s what we’re going for. When it comes to a grilled cheese, you really can’t go light on the cheese, or you’re going to be disappointed.
You need enough butter to achieve the cracklybuttery and crisp, golden exterior that we all crave. If you always keep a stick of butter on the counter, you can simply spread the softened butter generously over the outside pieces of bread. If you don’t (I don’t), you can melt a pat of butter in the skillet before you add the bread.
Pre-shredded cheeses are lightly coated in starch so they don’t stick together, but the starch prevents your cheese from melting into gooey oblivion. We want gooey oblivion.
This helps trap the heat, which ensures that your grilled cheese has time to melt all the way through without burning on the outside. If you have a truly non-stick skillet.* Maybe you have encountered it at a restaurant and wondered how it works,
Grilled Cheese Bonus Tip
This is a trick that my grandmother Mimi used to pull off, and it is only possible. It’s so easy!
Simply sprinkle some additional grated cheese over your buttery skillet, and flip the hot sandwich over on top of it. Listen, and once the cheese has stopped sizzling, wait a few more moments longer before flipping it back over. Ta da.
*Non-stick skillet notes: I have always recommended using cast iron or stainless steel skillets when possible, since they’re non-toxic. I’ve been testing out this non-toxic, non-stick skillet set since December (courtesy of Food52/affiliate link) and I think it deserves a shout-out.
These skillets are awesome. I’ve been careful to avoid scratching them with metal utensils, but other than that, I haven’t babied them. I’ve been washing them in the dishwasher, and stacking them when not in use. In fact, I like them so much that I just bought a set for my brother for his birthday.
How to Make My Favorite Grilled Cheese
Here’s how to turn a basic grilled cheese into a grown-up, gourmet grilled cheese. Take my basic methods (described above) and add a couple more ingredients. You will not believe how much of a difference they make! That said, if you’re serving a picky kid, you can leave these out.
I mean, a really light layer over one slice of bread. Even if you don’t love mustard, this adds a little je ne said quoi to your sandwich. It’s a little salty and complex, and I think you’re going to love it.
Alliums (the onion and garlic family) have the power to transform ho-hum recipes into totally irresistible. I always have green onions in my fridge, and adding some chopped raw green onion (green parts only) is an easy way to infuse your sandwich with major flavor.
That’s it! Ready to make the best grilled cheese sandwich you’ve ever had? They’re perfect for chilly or rainy days, and even better with a side of classic tomato soup.
Please let me know how these sandwiches turn out for you in the comments! I hope you love them as much as I do.
Craving more meatless sandwiches? Here are a few of my favorites:
Favorite Grilled Cheese Sandwich
4.9 from 7 reviews
This gourmet grilled cheese sandwich recipe is so easy to make at home! Make it when the craving strikes, and it will become your new favorite. Recipe yields 1 sandwich multiply as necessary. If you’re careful when you flip them, you can make two at once in large skillet.