Basics: How to Make Grilled Cheese

You think you know how to make grilled cheese, right?

from midwestlotus

from midwestlotus

Two slices of bread, some cheese, smear on a bit of margarine.

Throw it all on a hot pan.


from dramabeans

from dramabeans


There’s more to the Art of Grilled Cheese than just some fake butter and willy nilly cheese.

from gormogons

from gormogons

Dudes, there are RULES to grilled cheese. And once you’ve mastered the rule of grilled cheese, you can customize to your heart’s content and wow everybody you know with your grilled cheese skillz.

Yes, I said skillz.

With a z.

from funnyasaduck

from funnyasaduck

Rule #1: If you can, use good bread.

Wonderbread has it’s place–in fact, it can make a pretty fantastic grilled cheese. But there is something to be said for crusty, chewy really good bread.

Like maybe sourdough.

Or farmhouse bread. I’ll eat anything that begins with the word “farmhouse.”

farmhouse bread...mmm

farmhouse bread…mmm

I used farmhouse oatmeal bread.

Rule #2: Use melty cheese.

Yes, this could be American cheese. It very well could be Kraft American singles.


Or…it could be some other really good cheese (sorry, Kraft American singles).

Sometimes I like to walk on the wild side and use two cheeses.



Like cheddar.

And munster.



I threw some spinach on in a fit of health-consiousness (I did use 2 cheeses…).



Rule #3: Use some kind of fat to spread on the outside of your bread so that you get a crispy, delicious exterior. 

And don’t use margarine. That stuff is 1 carbon away from plastic. Use the real stuff.

You have 2 options here.

Option 1: Throw some butter in a hot skillet, let it melt, and put the sandwich on top.

That’s the option I used this time.



Option 2: Mix mayonnaise and melty butter together and spread on the bread slices, then place in a hot skillet. The mayo has a higher burning point than butter, so the sandwich won’t burn as easily.

Rule #4: Use low heat.

Just like soup and maintaining a good relationship, excellent grilled cheese takes patience.

If you opt for high heat you’ll get burnt bread and un-melted cheese.


As you patiently stand there waiting for your masterpiece to achieve optimum brown-ness, it’s okay to use a spatula to peep under the sandwich to check on the browning situation. When it’s at the level you desire, flip and start again.



my desired level of brownness

my desired level of brownness

Rule #5: Put something heavy on top of your sandwich to weigh it down and smush all that goodness together.

I like using a cast iron skillet, though a pot or kettle with water in it would work too.



In addition to the Rules of Great Grilled Cheese, there are infinite variations to the sandwich.

Just a Few Variations:

  • use multiple cheeses
  • add a few thin apple slices
  • add a few thin pear slices
  • bacon!
  • ham, prosciutto, or salami
  • sliced or roasted tomatoes
  • thinly sliced, roasted vegetables (squash, peppers, etc.)
  • add a layer of sautéd onions (great with a bowl of tomato soup)
  • pickles (if you’re into that kind of thing)

Make up your own variations–they are boundless! Then let me know what you came up with.



suck it, martha.

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Categories: Food & Drink, Life, Tips


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4 Comments on “Basics: How to Make Grilled Cheese”

  1. Norseman
    February 4, 2013 at 8:53 am #

    How can you have a problem with margarine and not condemn American “cheese” as unholy?

    • February 4, 2013 at 12:19 pm #

      I realize it’s a total double standard, but in my mind there is sometimes a place for American cheese and never, never, a place for margarine.

  2. February 11, 2013 at 2:40 am #

    I haven’t tried spinach or bacon on a grilled cheese sandwich. It sounds yummy!

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