Craving a grilled cheese? Sure, you might be thinking, “I already know how to make one!” But don’t limit yourself to prepackaged cheese slices and white bread. Just take it from chef Roy Choi, who made an iconic, decadent grilled cheese on The Chef Show with Jon Favreau. While the grilled cheese sandwich is seemingly simple, a few key ingredients—like artisan breads and cheeses—can elevate your creation into edible art. 

Whether you want to celebrate National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day or need a simple vegetarian dinner idea, use the guide below to learn how to make the best grilled cheese sandwiches.

Types of Bread 

In your quest to learn how to make the perfect grilled cheese sandwich, bread is the foundation. When choosing the type of bread for your sandwich, there are a few characteristics to consider. First: holes. If you choose a bread like ciabatta, which often contains big holes, the cheese will melt right through the gaps. To contain your cheese, select a bread that has a tighter, more uniform crumb. 

Also consider the bread’s crust. If it’s too thick or crunchy, you may struggle with biting into the grilled cheese. Look for a bread with a hearty crust that’s not too hard. Here are a few types of bread that make for a great sandwich. 

Sourdough 

Sourdough is the bread of choice for the Chef movie grilled cheese—and for good reason. The signature tang of sourdough instantly elevates the typical grilled cheese sandwich and gives it a more sophisticated flavor profile. 

bread slices with knife
Learning how to make a sandwich starts with choosing the right bread. 

Brioche 

Brioche is soft and buttery, which makes it a decadent choice for a grilled cheese. If you choose this type of bread, try adding some thinly sliced apples or a layer of raspberry jam to add some contrasting flavor to the savory bread and cheese. 

Rye

Chewy and robust, rye bread can add complexity and sophistication to your grilled cheese. It’s seasoned with caraway seeds, which creates a vibrant, earthy flavor that works well with nearly any type of cheese. 

Multigrain 

You may have scoffed at this suggestion as a kid, but multigrain bread can add a nutty flavor and texture to your sandwich. 

Make Your Bread From Scratch! 

Easy & Versatile Baking: The One Yeast Dough You Need to Know

Types of Cheese

Choosing the right type of cheese is key to learning how to make the perfect sandwich. There are lots of varieties to choose from—try a mixture of a few different cheeses to achieve your ideal texture and flavor. 

Pro tip: Use shredded cheese, which melts more quickly than slices. If you use slices, you risk burning your bread before the cheese fully melts. 

Cheddar 

You can’t go wrong with cheddar, which provides that classic grilled-cheese flavor. Just make sure to pick a mild to medium variety, rather than a sharp cheddar. Sharp cheddars contain more fat, which can separate when the cheese melts, creating a greasy sandwich. The iconic Chef movie grilled cheese incorporates two types of cheddar: white and yellow. 

Mozzarella 

Mozzarella is key if you want to achieve that classic cheese pull. It’s melty and stretchy, making it the perfect addition to grilled cheese sandwiches. 

cheese in bowls
Shredded cheese melts more quickly than sliced cheese.   

Gruyere 

Often used in fondue, gruyere is a great melting cheese—and it’s super flavorful. However, it can be overpowering if you only use gruyere, so make sure to mix it with one or two milder cheeses to achieve the right flavor balance. 

Fontina 

An Italian cheese, fontina is mild and versatile, which means it’s perfect to add to your cheese mix—especially if you already have a bold, flavorful cheese like gruyere or gouda. 

Gouda

Gouda is rich and creamy and boasts a unique flavor profile that will bring your creation to the next level. Just make sure to get an unsmoked gouda—smoked gouda won’t melt properly, which can ruin the texture of your grilled cheese sandwich. 

Cooking Methods

Choosing the right ingredients is a vital part of learning how to make grilled cheese—but your cooking method also matters. To make sure your dinner turns out perfectly crisp and melty, try these tried-and-true approaches for how to make a grilled cheese sandwich. 

Frying Pan

The most common—and accessible—way to make a grilled cheese sandwich is to cook it in a skillet or frying pan. Make sure to spread the outside surfaces of the sandwich with butter or mayonnaise, and then cook each side over low heat for six to seven minutes. 

grilled cheese in pan
A frying pan or skillet is the most common way to cook. 

Griddle

Have a griddle for pancakes? You can also use it to make grilled cheese sandwiches! An electric griddle allows you to program the exact, ideal cooking temperature for your grilled cheese: 275℉. A griddle also provides lots of elbow room, so you can flip your sandwich over with ease. 

Sandwich Press

The beauty of a sandwich or panini press is that you can cook both sides of your grilled cheese sandwich at the same time—no flipping required! Just place the sandwich on the panini maker and press down the lid. It should take about five to seven minutes for the cheese to melt and the bread to toast. 

Air Fryer

Want a perfectly crispy grilled cheese? Try using an air fryer! Build your sandwich like you would for any other cooking method—pile shredded cheese between two pieces of buttered slices of bread. Heat the air fryer to 375℉. Place the sandwich in the basket, air fry for three to four minutes, and then flip and repeat on the other side. 

grilled cheese with tomato soup
It pairs perfectly with tomato soup. 

Get Cooking!

Whether you want to elevate your dinner routine or celebrate National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day (it’s April 12!), these ingredients will come together to make the perfect melty, crunchy, savory sandwich. Eat it on its own, pair it with tomato soup, or incorporate unique add-ins, like fruit, bacon, or jam. With these ingredients, you can learn how to make the best grilled cheese sandwich every time. 

Optimize Your Cheesy Creation

The Perfect Grilled Cheese: A Mini Class to Master the Sandwich | Learn with Plated

Written By

Katie Wolf

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