Mastering the Art of Grilled Cheese

Grilled cheese is one of the ultimate comfort foods, so you want to nail it every time you make it. Find out how to make the perfect melty and crunchy sandwich with these tips.

Photo By: Armando Rafael

Photo By: Armando Rafael

Photo By: Armando Rafael

Photo By: Armando Rafael

Photo By: Armando Rafael

Photo By: Armando Rafael

Photo By: Armando Rafael

Discover Your Favorite Grilled Cheese

There are few things more delightful than a perfectly cooked grilled cheese. We've reimagined the classic by playing with different breads, cheeses and cooking techniques so you can create your ultimate sandwich.

Pick Your Bread

Sliced white may be the traditional go-to, but different breads can give a grilled cheese more complexity, flavor and texture. Try a sturdier sourdough or whole wheat bread, a fluffy potato bread or brioche, or even a sweet bread like challah or cinnamon-raisin for a new experience.

Choose the Cheese

Any melty cheese will do, from American to Zwitser. We like cheeses with strong flavors, like spicy Pepper Jack, creamy Provolone, Havarti and Gouda. Of course, you can't go wrong with the classics like a sharp Cheddar or Swiss. The real question is: to slice or grate? At Food Network Kitchen, we're big fans of sliced cheese, which yields even coverage and optimal meltiness. But shredding isn't a deal-breaker: Just make sure to sprinkle shredded cheese to a uniform thickness and tame any stray pieces sticking out of the sides (unless you like those crispy bits).

Don't Forget a Fat

Like all grilled foods, a slick of fat on the outside of the sandwich assures a crisp, golden finish. Our perfect ratio: 1 tablespoon fat total for each sandwich (spread or brushed on both sides). Butter is a no-fail option, but different spreads can add new dimensions. For a flavor boost, try an oil with character like a smooth olive oil or spicy chili oil. Using mayonnaise instead of butter adds a touch of tanginess and a slightly browner, crispier crust (while keeping the bread fluffy and not too dry).

Cooking Method

There are three foolproof options when it comes to making a great grilled cheese. For maximum convenience, the standard skillet delivers: Cook uncovered over medium-low heat, flipping halfway through, until both sides are golden. (Contrary to conventional wisdom, covering the pan produces a soggier, slightly steamed sandwich.) You can make perfectly crunchy sandwiches for a crowd on a baking sheet in a 450 degree F oven: Cook, flipping halfway through, until the cheese is melty, about 10 minutes total. If you want a nice crispy sear with minimal effort, try cooking grilled cheese in a panini press.

Endless Options

Different cooking methods and fats will lend their own special touches to your grilled cheese, but all combinations yield satisfying results.

Winning Combinations

The chefs in Food Network Kitchen cooked up dozens of grilled cheese sandwiches in search of the ideal grilling methods and spreads. Along the way we rediscovered a few enticing combinations. Here are our favorites (from top to bottom):

1: Pepper Jack on sourdough, brushed with chili oil

2: American on white bread, brushed with butter

3: Swiss on rye, brushed with mayo

4: Cheddar on brioche, brushed with butter

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