Chances are, you love a good grilled cheese sandwich as much as we do. But with a couple of tweaks—including one super simple substitution—you can take the classic tomato soup pairing to new heights.
First, we’ll have to cover the basics: bread and cheese. Start by thinking beyond white bread. We prefer a dense, chewy Italian bread for our grilled cheese sandwiches, but it’s fun to experiment. Try ciabatta, pumpernickel, sourdough, or multigrain.
You can also experiment with several types of cheese; Monterey Jack, Swiss, and Colby are popular choices. We suggest a few wild cards. Cheese curds, for example, work well because they haven’t yet been pressed into shape and they get ooey-gooey quick. Others to try: Gruyere (it pairs well with sweet and salty flavors like ham and raspberry preserves), extra-sharp cheddar (for the stretchy cheese experience), and fontina (for its smooth, nutty flavor). Learn the only way this professional chef will make grilled cheese.
No matter which bread-and-cheese combo you’ve chosen, you’ll want to take advantage of this next-level grilled cheese hack: Slather mayonnaise instead of butter on the outsides of the bread. This tasty trick gives the sammie a crisp, tangy outer crust, which complements the melted cheesy goodness bubbling inside.
Mayonnaise is already lower in fat and calories than butter is, but this is no time for diet-think. Light mayo won’t crisp up, so use a tablespoon of a full-fat variety like this one, divided in half for each side. Don’t miss these other cooking tricks that are only taught in culinary schools.
As a bonus, mayonnaise is fatty enough to prevent sandwiches from sticking to uncoated pans. You can certainly go with nonstick (like this one), but even uncoated griddles and skillets are A-OK. Either way, you’ll flip with ease.
Place one piece of bread, mayo-side down, in a hot pan. Pile on the cheese. Top with the second slice of bread, mayo side up. Gently press the sandwich with a spatula to make sure the bottom slice of bread is in full contact with the pan. This helps to ensure even browning. When the bottom of the sandwich is well-browned, flip it over to toast the other side. Shoot for a lovely golden color before removing it from the pan.
Take a bite! We guarantee you’ll be pleased by the audible crunch and the piquant punch emitted by one of the best grilled cheese sandwiches you’ve ever eaten. And if you want to dress it up, check out this grilled cheese recipe collection for inspiration. These sandwiches definitely belong with these 35 essential recipes everyone should know by the time they’re 35.