How to Make Better Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

How to Make Better Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Aug 08, 2023Dennis Weaver

We're in Idaho, the land of potatoes. It seems that in most of America, there are convenience stores, corner stores, in every little town.  In Idaho, there is a potato warehouse in every town. It's where they wash, sort, and store potatoes. They're open to the public. You can go in and buy a 50-pound box of potatoes, any size of potatoes you want.

Once upon a time, we lived in Minnesota, not far from the Wisconsin border. You could drive through the Wisconsin backcountry on a lazy summer afternoon, and find little cheese factories.  Most were open to the public and you could stop in and buy cheese or cheese curds: snacking cheese.

These people knew cheese and cheese sandwiches. They're experts. Here you'll find grilled cheese sandwiches that they would love in Wisconsin.

A crusty french bread mix

Choose a Bread

The cheese is only half the sandwich. The bread is the other half.  You can't have a great cheese sandwich without a good bread. Homemade bread works better, tastes better, than store bread.

For me, the best cheese sandwich bread comes from our Jalapeno Cheese Bread Mix. It has flavor and a little kick. I'm a wimp for heat so I think the bread has kick, maybe a "4" or "5". 

If you want a little more kick, try our Cheesy Salsa Bread Mix.  If the Jalapeno Cheese Bread Mix is a "5", Then the Salsa Bread Mix is a "6" or a "7". It has everything that you would find in a good salsa: Tomatoes, peppers, onions, cilantro, plus the cheese.

But you don't have to go for the heat. I like crusty breads for my cheese sandwiches. A crusty bread gets even crustier when grilled.  Our French Bread Mix is mild but crusty. I like big thick slices.

For me, I  like our San Francisco Sourdough Bread Mix even better.  I think the sour compliments the cheese perfectly. And grilled, the bread gets even crunchier.

Black Russian bread mix

One of my favorite bread mixes for cheese is our Black Russian Bread Mix. It's not a classic bread mix for a grilled sandwich but it sure works, and for me, a grilled ham and cheese on black Russian is perfect.

Another bread that's a sleeper but works really well is a grilled cheese sandwich made with a New York Dill Rye Bread Mix.

Choose a Cheese

A soft cheese melts easier than a hard cheese.  American cheese melts easily.  The classic is cheddar cheese. If you use cheddar, choose a mild cheddar. It melts easier and the flavor doesn't overwhelm the taste buds or accompanying ingredients. Mozzarella works too.

I like melted cheese so I will usually double-decker the slices. But then, I always load pickles on my sandwich which tones down the cheese. (Peel the sandwich apart while it's still warm and separable to load it with pickles.)

Various grilled cheese sandwiches

Ooey, Gooey Cheese and a Crisp Bread

It's pretty easy to make a cheese sandwich.  Put a little dab of butter in the pan and melt it. If you're using a nonstick pan, you may not need any butter.

Stick the cheese between two slices of bread. I've smeared butter on the outside of the bread, top and bottom but years ago, I read a Bon Appetite article where they were spreading mayonnaise on the top and bottom, the outsides. Mayonnaise makes for a crisper sandwich. Maybe it's the eggs in the mayonnaise that makes the sandwich crisper.

Especially if you are using a denser bread or thicker slices of bread, it can be hard to make the cheese ooey, gooey.  The bread gets dark before the cheese gets gooey. A lower heat works better than a higher heat; it takes time for the heat to soak through the bread and melt the cheese and the lower heat is easier on the bread.

To trap the heat and speed the melting, I put a lid over the sandwich.  I don't leave the lid over the sandwich for the entire cooking time. Because the lid traps steam, which I don't want, I take the lid off as soon as the cheese starts to melt and finish the cooking without the lid.

grilled cheese sandwiches made with a sourdough bread mix

What Else can You do with Your Cheese Sandwich?

I mentioned that I put pickles on most grilled cheese sandwiches.  Ham with cheese, of course, is a classic. We've put bacon on grilled cheese sandwiches but make sure the bacon is cooked to a crisp.

The grilled cheese sandwich pictured at the top of this has zesty sandwich sauce (I didn't make this sandwich), a layer of honey, and of course, cheese.

Grilled cheese melds well with both sweet and savory flavors. We have a jalapeno honey that was intended for barbecues that goes well with a grilled cheese sandwich. The classic Monte Cristo sandwiches are grilled sandwiches with cheese, ham, raspberry jam, and mustard.

We have a Pumpkin Walnut Bread Machine Mix that is wild enough that you can do almost anything with it. We've made sandwiches with everything from peanut butter and banana to ham and beans.

Try a grilled cheese sandwich on pumpkin bread with fontina cheese, grilled apple slices, and Dijon mustard.  This really is our do anything bread.

Or try this one: Pick u a Sour Cream Onion Bread Mix, make the read, and then make a grilled cheese sandwich with gouda, ham, and caramelized onions.

It's pretty obvious that you can get creative with your grilled sandwiches. You should never get bored. Keep making interesting sandwiches.  

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Comments (1)

  • For me, a grilled cheese sandwich on any number of your fabulous bread is a favorite go-to for a quick, delicious and nutritious meal, but adding Browning’s Old-Fashion Style Jalapeno Honey was an absolute game-changer; thanks for the recommendation Prepared Pantry!!!

    Cy Laurent

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