From the crispy, buttery bread to the warm and gooey cheese, a great grilled cheese sandwich deeply satisfies our cravings and fills us with warmth and comfort.
Many cuisines around the world have their own version of the grilled cheese sandwich, such as: Welsh Rarebit, quesadillas, panini, and Croque Madame. The model of a grilled cheese sandwich (2 slices of bread, cheese, and butter) can be used at any meal:
Breakfast - Two slices of Texas Toast, filled with a fried egg and sliced cheese.
Lunch - Slices of whole wheat bread filled with American cheese and served with warm soup.
Dinner - Croque Madame made with two slices of crispy sourdough bread and layered with Swiss cheese, ham, a fried egg, and a creamy bechamel sauce and served with a crisp green salad or roasted potatoes.
History of Grilled Cheese:
In the United States, during the Depression Era of the 1920s, when money was hard to come by and families struggled to get enough food on the table, the grilled cheese sandwich was born.
Originally, served as cheese melted on toasted bread, it was soon turned into an easy-to-transport sandwich of melted cheese between two slices of buttered and grilled bread. Americans quickly embraced this inexpensive and easy-to-make sandwich! Grilled cheese soon established its place as a classic American comfort food.
Assembling the Perfect Grilled Cheese:
What makes the perfect grilled cheese? Whatever cheesy flavor combinations you love layered between two slices of your favorite bread, buttered, and grilled to perfection!
The basic formula for a great grilled cheese sandwich is always the same, no matter what flavor you are trying to achieve.
Great Grilled Cheese = Bread + Cheese + Butter
Simply choose what type of bread, cheese, and butter you will use and if you will include any other fillings or spreads. The flavor possibilities are only limited by your imagination.
Butter: Slather your bread with a flavored butter or butter that has been infused.
Spreads: Coat the inside of your bread with dressing, sandwich spreads, softened cheese, sauces, or pesto.
Bread: Use a conventional favorite like rye, sourdough, or whole wheat or try something out-of-the-box like a biscuit, fruit and nut bread, yeasted cornbread, or a pita.
Cheese: There is always the classic American cheese. However, you could also use an artisan cheese, creamy goat cheese, tangy Swiss, gooey Monterey Jack, or nutty Bleu Cheese.
Grilled Cheese Tips:
Choose cheese for your sandwich that will become gooey, not oily, as they melt.
Avoid using bread that is extra chewy, such as a bagel, as this could become very difficult to eat.
Use a bread with fruit and nuts baked into it, such as cranberry walnut bread, to bring another layer of flavor to your sandwich. Pair your fruit and nut bread with a mild flavored goat cheese or cream cheese.
To keep your grilled cheese sandwich warm during transport, wrap it in aluminum foil. Don’t keep it waiting too long though, or your cheese will harden and your bread will become mushy.
To make sure all of the cheese melts to perfection, place your grilled cheese sandwich open-faced on a sheet tray under the broiler. Once the cheese is gooey and delicious, put the sandwich together, butter the outsides and grill the sandwich in a pan on the stovetop.
Keep grilled cheese sandwiches at the proper temperature on a sheet tray in an oven that has been set to warm or 170 degrees F.
Spread the outside of your grilled cheese sandwich with parmesan butter for an extra crispness and flavor. To make parmesan butter, simply mix 2 Tbsp butter with 1 Tbsp grated parmesan.
Spread the inside of your grilled cheese sandwich with room temperature cream cheese or another soft cheese to add creaminess to your sandwich.
When making a grilled cheese sandwich with Italian flavors, give your bread a boost of flavor by rubbing it with a crushed garlic clove or using butter that has been infused with garlic for the butter component of your sandwich.
Chopped nuts can give your grilled cheese a delicious crunch. Try a grilled cheese filled with sliced pear or pear jam, gorgonzola cheese, and chopped walnuts.
Can’t eat your whole grilled cheese sandwich? Save half of it. Cut the leftover sandwich into cubes and use them for croutons on a salad or cut it into strips and use them for dipping into a delicious soup.
Kids can make their own grilled cheese sandwiches safely without ever touching a pan. Simply toast the bread in the toaster and butter one side of each slice when the toast is browned. Then, place slices of cheese between the bread and microwave on low power in 30 second intervals until the cheese is melty and gooey.
Make a dessert grilled cheese sandwich. Spread a layer of sweetened cream cheese on a split croissant or between two thin slices of sweet bread, such as pumpkin or banana. Then, butter the outside of the sandwich and grill it.
Experiment with grilled cheese flavors! Try to turn your favorite meals into a delicious grilled cheese sandwich. For example:
Lasagna Grilled Cheese: Spread two slices of Italian bread with a layer of ricotta cheese. Then, spread on a layer of tomato-basil pesto or spaghetti sauce. Add layers of mozzarella cheese and sliced tomato. Put the sandwich together and spread the outside with garlic-infused butter. Grill and enjoy!
Enchilada Grilled Cheese: Spread two slices of yeast corn bread with a thin layer of room temperature cream cheese. Then, spread on enchilada sauce or spicy salsa. Add layers of caramelized onion, Monterey Jack Cheese or Queso Blanco, and crumbled Queso Fresco. Put the sandwich together and spread the outside with butter. Grill until lightly browned and enjoy!
Cashew Vegetable Grilled Cheese: If you are feeling adventurous, try this grilled cheese based on the flavors of Cashew Chicken. Spread two slices french bread with cashew butter. Add a layer of chopped carrots, celery, onion, and bell pepper that have been sauteed in sesame oil and coated in hoisin sauce. Then, put on a slice of a mild flavored white cheese. Put the sandwich together and spread the outside with butter. Grill and enjoy!
Grilled Cheese Recipes:
Grilled Cheese Sandwich
Basil Pesto and Fresh Tomato Grilled Cheese
Caramelized Onion, Basil Pesto, and Sun-Dried Tomato Grilled Cheese
Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Sauteed Mushrooms and Arugula
Mexican Grilled Cheese
Mexican Pizza Grilled Cheese
Pizza Grilled Cheese
Basil Pesto Caprese Grilled Cheese
Italian Grilled Cheese
Grilled Cheese with Mushroom and Apple
Grilled Goat Cheese Sandwiches with Fig and Honey
Grilled Vegetable Herb and Goat Cheese Sandwiches