A traditional grilled cheese takes about 15 minutes to make: preheat a pan, butter two slices of bread, toss a couple slices of cheese between the bread, and flip it when the bread starts to brown. It couldn’t be much easier, which is one reason why the grilled cheese has one of the most favorable effort-to-pleasure ratios of any food. But there are a few easy ways to make a delicious grilled cheese taste like, well, a super-delicious grilled cheese. Here’s what to do:
USE REAL BUTTER
Instead of utilizing cooking spray or canola oil, use butter on the pan. We’re talking actual butter, not not-butter that you can’t believe is not-butter. Use one to one-and-a-half tablespoons per sandwich.
DON’T BURN IT
Use a non-stick pan and keep the burner on a medium heat — you don’t want to incinerate the bread before you get the cheese melted (more on how to expedite that process later).
DON’T USE PROCESSED CHEESE
Processed cheese is loaded with preservatives and salt. Plus, deli cheeses just tastes better. As for which type to use, American cheese is the standard, but cheddar, provolone, Colby, Swiss, or Monterey Jack are all good options. If you feel like getting crazy, mix and match.
GRATE OR SHRED YOUR CHEESE
Perhaps you’ve experienced the heartbreak of burning the bread on a grilled cheese before the cheese has melted. Well, if you grate or shred the cheese, it’ll melt faster, and you won’t have to throw an incinerated sandwich in the garbage.
DITCH THE WHITE BREAD
Traditional white bread is bland and has almost no nutritional value. Instead, buy a load of fresh Italian or French bread; pick something that has a flaky crust that gives when you squeeze it lightly. (Rye and sourdough are two other good choices.)
EXPERIMENT WITH CONDIMENTS, SAUCES, AND ADD-ONS
Condiments with high acidity can balance out the cheese’s creaminess and add some kick, like hot sauce, mustard, or Sriracha. Popular combos to layer on top of the cheese include pickles; tomatoes and bacon; and a fried egg and bacon.