When it comes to simple, familiar comfort foods, it doesn't get much better than a toasty grilled cheese sandwich served alongside a cup of steaming soup. Anybody with a chunk of cheese, a loaf of bread and a frying pan can make a basic grilled cheese sandwich, but making a restaurant-style sandwich requires a little more skill and finesse. Experiment with gourmet cheeses and tasty breads to create your own signature, restaurant-style sandwich.
Things You'll Need
- Heavy frying pan or griddle
- Mayonnaise or mustard (optional)
- Meltable cheese, or semi-soft gourmet cheese
Cover the bottom of a heavy frying pan or griddle thinly with butter. Preheat the pan over medium heat while you prepare the sandwich.
Lay two pieces of bread on a clean working surface. Nearly any type of fresh bread is suitable for grilled cheese sandwiches, including sourdough, whole wheat or rye, or gourmet breads such as olive or rosemary. Avoid extra-thick bread because it won't form a slightly crispy texture.
Spread softened butter generously and evenly over one piece of the bread. Applying the butter directly to the bread ensures the bread soaks up the oils evenly without bare spots.
Turn the bread butter side down, then spread the bread with a small amount of mayonnaise or mustard, if desired.
Cover the bread evenly with cheese. Readily available, meltable cheeses include cheddar, Colby, asiago, mozzarella, gouda, Monterey jack, fontina, havarti, Swiss or American. For a more sophisticated sandwich, use a semi-soft gourmet cheese such as Emmental, gruyere or raclette.
Top the cheese with the second piece of bread. Place the sandwich in the preheated pan, then turn the heat to medium-low so the cheese melts but the bread doesn't scorch.
Cook the sandwich until the bread is golden brown. Let the cheese melt naturally and don't attempt to speed up the process by using a spatula to press the bread.
Slide a spatula under the sandwich. Press your fingers on top of the sandwich, then use your fingers as a guide as you flip the sandwich.
Spread butter on the what is now the top of the sandwich and cook the sandwich until the bottom piece of bread is golden brown.
Transfer the grilled cheese sandwich to a serving plate, then serve immediately.
Tips & Warnings
- Dress up a basic grilled cheese sandwich with toppings such as dried tomatoes, fried bacon, avocados, caramelized onions, roasted bell peppers, basil or arugula.
- FoxNews.com: How to Make the Perfect Grilled Cheese
- KCET: Make A Perfect Grilled Cheese Sandwich
- Sunday Morning: Web Extra: How to Make a Grilled Cheese Sandwich
- Sunset.com: Basic Grilled Cheese
- Esquire Eat Like a Man: The Best Grilled Cheese? Your Own.
- The Deluxe Food Lover's Companion; Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst
- Photo Credit Burke/Triolo Productions/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images