Have you ever messed up cooking something that you thought should be absolutely no problem? I know that I have. It’s always been a bit embarrassing to admit that I am probably the queen of burning grilled cheese sandwiches.
Grilled cheese sandwiches are probably one of my favorite foods, as well as a favorite for my nieces and nephews. It’s just cheese between 2 pieces of bread. Simple, right? Apparently not for me. I have managed to mess this up so many times, but I refused to give up on this. So here are a few tips that I have discovered to make a perfect grilled cheese sandwich.
- Try using an electric griddle. My husband and I found a really good deal on a non-stick electric griddle a few years ago and it has changed so much of my cooking. First of all, as the name implies, food doesn’t stick to it, which is awesome. Also, it cooks at a consistent temperature across the surface so no matter where I place my grilled cheese on the surface, it’s cooking at the same temperature.
- Check on your grilled cheese regularly. This was one of my biggest mistakes when I made grilled cheese. I always thought that it would take longer than it did. I would let it sit for too long on one side of the bread and it would burn. When I started checking on it earlier in the cooking process, I would find nicely browned bread rather than a burned mess that set off my smoke detector.
- Melt a little butter in the microwave and spread it on the outside of the grilled cheese before you put in on your griddle. I wanted to get that nice, perfectly toasted outside of my sandwich and I had been told to put a little butter on the outside, but all I did was tear the bread. Simple solution: melt the butter before you spread it on. My mistake was that I was trying to spread cold butter on cold bread and that just doesn’t work. My favorite way to spread the melted butter is using a basting brush because that makes it easier to get the melted butter picked up and on the bread than trying to use a knife. Plus it lets me feel like I’m painting while I’m cooking, which is always a plus.
- Play around with different types of cheese. I love cheese in general. It doesn’t matter what type: string cheese, sliced cheese, blocks of cheese. It’s all good. But for the longest time, I never changed the kind of cheese that I put on my grilled cheese. I always used American cheese. You know, the kind that come individually wrapped in their slices and you pull the plastic wrapper off of it? One day I really wanted to have a grilled cheese, but I didn’t have any American cheese laying around so I used what I had, which was Colby Jack. Seriously, so good. It’s now one of my favorite kinds of cheese for a grilled cheese sandwich, but you can use pretty much any kind of melty cheese that you like. Provolone and Swiss cheeses also work well. Play around with different kinds of melty cheese and you just might find a combination that becomes a new favorite.
- Try adding something else to your grilled cheese. I love finding things that I have in my kitchen and seeing how they work in my grilled cheese. If you’re a bit more of a carnivore, try using a couple slices of ham or turkey. If you prefer veggies, try using a little vegetable oil to sauté some chopped up veggies to add in. My favorite is to add a little sautéed onion and mushrooms, but I’ve tried (and loved) quite a few options, including bell peppers and zucchini. This can be a great option to use up some leftover vegetables or meat you have left from dinner the night before.
If you want to try something new kinds of grilled cheese, but you don’t know where to start, check out your library’s Cooking neighborhood. Give Grilled Cheese Kitchen by Heidi Gibson or Grilled Cheese, Please! by Laura Werlin a try. You could also browse your library’s catalog for other cookbooks that you would like to try.
What are some of your pieces of advice for how to make a perfect grilled cheese sandwich?