Best grilled cheese sandwich?
March 11, 2007 10:54 AM   Subscribe

What cheese combination makes for the best grilled cheese sandwich?
posted by AloneOssifer to Food & Drink (72 answers total) 176 users marked this as a favorite
One slice swiss, one slice Colby Jack, on bread that's wide enough that they only double up in the middle third. Then eating the sandwich is like a good novel - build the story (single slice area), climax (double cheese area), dénouement (other single-cheese area).
posted by notsnot at 11:08 AM on March 11, 2007 [5 favorites]

Best Grilled Cheese:

Swiss Cheese. My boyfriend likes a combo of Swiss and Colby-Jack.

What makes it special?
I use real butter on the bread, and sprinkle just a little garlic powder on there, too. Makes it sort of a grilled garlic bread sandwich.

The rest is technique, knowing when to flip and have it melty but not burned.
posted by Green Eyed Monster at 11:09 AM on March 11, 2007

I don't know the exact mix, but Cotija cheese (Mexican) is great as one of the 1/3 candidates -- salty, not too gooey. I usually pair it with a medium cheddar and a Provolone and I feel real good after.
posted by argybarg at 11:11 AM on March 11, 2007

My mom likes cheddar with ham or bacon, and in high school I made Mozzarella with red onion slices and fresh basil a lot. There's a lot of combinations I've tried through the years...
posted by Green Eyed Monster at 11:11 AM on March 11, 2007

Noah's Bagels makes the most glorious grilled cheese sandwich that could possibly be. The site is broken for me, so I can't tell you what's in it. Hoo lord was it good, though.

At home, aged sharp cheddar and a slice of tomato on whole wheat sourdough. With a Guiness.
posted by Methylviolet at 11:12 AM on March 11, 2007

Me, I like five counties, because I like the stripes and it tastes great.
posted by Helga-woo at 11:12 AM on March 11, 2007 [1 favorite]

For me, any good mature cheddar cheese with a splash of Worcester sauce and some salt and black pepper over the finished article (I also like to cut the sandwich into quarters before grilling).
posted by itsjustanalias at 11:13 AM on March 11, 2007 [1 favorite]

Colby Jack and Fuji apple slices.
posted by sageleaf at 11:15 AM on March 11, 2007

I'm not sure what kind of cheese, but I use real butter on the bread and like a dill pickle on the side.
posted by hooray at 11:16 AM on March 11, 2007 [1 favorite]

I personally don't think there is a "best", but then, I like variety. In my view, any great cheese will make a great grilled cheese sandwich.
posted by trip and a half at 11:19 AM on March 11, 2007

I had gruyere with caramelized onions yesterday and it was so good. I'm also a big fan of muenster with bacon and tomato.
posted by jdl at 11:21 AM on March 11, 2007 [2 favorites]

Old sharp cheddar on a very sour sourdough.
posted by maniactown at 11:23 AM on March 11, 2007 [2 favorites]

I melt the cheese directly in the pan until bubbling first, lightly toast the bread, put one slice on the cheese, take the pan off the heat for a minute or so, then flip and add the second toast (maybe with a piece of good ham). It gives the cheese that broiled "croque-monsieur" taste. Friulano is a mild but tasty cheese for this. I sometimes add grated Reggiano.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 11:25 AM on March 11, 2007 [5 favorites]

Gruyere on sourdough with a pickle.
posted by drycleanonly at 11:26 AM on March 11, 2007

Muenster on French bread with brown mustard, and tomato slices if you have them. This is more of a toast-in-the-oven sandwich than a grilling one, though.
posted by bink at 11:40 AM on March 11, 2007

Fresh mozzarella sprinkled with Zaatar on olive-oil-mayonnaise. Butter-soaked outsides, of course.
posted by scarabic at 11:42 AM on March 11, 2007 [2 favorites]

I like old cheddar (esp Balderson) on good dark rye, with either a pickle or a granny smith apple on the side.
posted by benign at 11:45 AM on March 11, 2007

Red Leicester, there is no competition.
posted by fire&wings at 11:48 AM on March 11, 2007 [1 favorite]

Pepper jack is excellent, or, depending on your heat tolerance, half pepper jack and half something milder.
posted by Jeanne at 11:50 AM on March 11, 2007

I really like Cheez Whiz on toast
posted by matteo at 11:51 AM on March 11, 2007

This is the best grilled cheese:

-white sharp cheddar
-bartlett pear, sliced thinly
posted by bradbane at 12:00 PM on March 11, 2007 [3 favorites]

Fire&wings gets it: Red Leicester is the best toasting cheese.

However, a bit of Worcestor sauce can also help.

Mature cheddar is also nice.

If you do alternate stripes of Red Leicester and mature Cheddar, you can get pretty much the ultimate though.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 12:01 PM on March 11, 2007 [1 favorite]

I melt some butter in a pan, swish around a couple of slices of sourdough, or German rye bread, flip 'em, add a little more butter, push the bread around until it's grilled, flip it again, put some older Harvati on both slices, add some fresh basil and a couple of slices of avocado (when the cheese starts to melt), salt & pepper, assemble the sandwich halves in the pan, mash down with a spatula, plate it, and cut it, diagonally. Serve with Cape Cod brown potato chips and chilled V8 juice, or a Bloody Mary, if the sun is over the yardarm.
posted by paulsc at 12:36 PM on March 11, 2007 [2 favorites]

This is an awesome question. I look forward to trying out most of these now that I've been given the idea!
posted by Thrillhouse at 12:54 PM on March 11, 2007

"Best" is unfortunately a matter of taste. I am a fan of sharp cheddar, which takes careful monitoring to get melted cheese with toasted-but-not-burned bread. If all you want is "best melting" then there's nothing like genuine Kraft singles, but some people find that a bit plastic tasting. There is also a lot to be said for thinly sliced decent quality swiss -- combined of course with a few nice thin deli-type slices of ham, preferably honey glazed. And if I make it for you, I will also put just a little horseradish in there.

There is also something to be said for matching the cheese to your bread. You wouldn't use havarti on plain white wonderbread, would you? We generally have two types of bread on hand here: a fairly light honey whole wheat, and homemade sourdough.

No matter what cheese you use, however, it is important to use real butter. Furthermore, be sure your heat is set no higher than "medium", and cover the pan so the heat will circulate and melt the cheese adequately. Patience, oh grilled cheese padawan!

dangit, now i'm hungry....
posted by ilsa at 12:55 PM on March 11, 2007 [1 favorite]

Just want to second Ilsa's direction to cover the pan. This is the difference between a grilled cheese sandwich and grilled MELTY cheese sandwich.
posted by parilous at 1:01 PM on March 11, 2007 [1 favorite]

Provolone, swiss, and a slice of drunken goat cheese. Slap that in between a sliced croissant with garlic powder sprinkled in it and grill that sucker up.

I have a feeling that 50 mefites will have a grilled cheese for lunch today.
posted by idiotfactory at 1:09 PM on March 11, 2007

Sottocenere, which is creamy and about the consistency of muenster, has truffles in it, which makes for a terrifically decadent grilled cheese. Equally awesome on burgers.
posted by mkultra at 1:12 PM on March 11, 2007 [1 favorite]

A lot of these look fantastic.

My standard version involves a good, aged cheddar, good, real butter on the outsides of the sandwich, and then a liberal sprinkling of thyme over the cheese. I agree with ilsa that it helps hugely to cover the pan, at least on the first side. It's the best way I've found to get the cheese hot enough to melt well in the same amount of time for the bread to brown to perfection.

It's not quite a grilled cheese sandwich, but hummus and cheddar on ciabatta, tossed under a broiler for a few minutes, is also fantastic. On a similar note, I've been meaning to try making Welsh rarebit (NYT video).
posted by Schismatic at 1:12 PM on March 11, 2007 [1 favorite]

What is more important than the type of cheese is that you do it sloooowwwwwwly. Put it on super-low heat. It's excruciating to wait but that way the cheese melts and the bread doesn't burn.
posted by radioamy at 1:14 PM on March 11, 2007

American on Wonder Bread, like Mama used to make it.
posted by wsg at 1:22 PM on March 11, 2007

A bistro near my apartment serves a grilled cheese that has gruyere, smoked goulda, and provolone. They're grilled on wheat bread with tomato. Delicious.
posted by inconsequentialist at 1:32 PM on March 11, 2007

George Duran of Ham on the Street makes the claim that you can take any combination of good bread, cheese, and jam/jelly and make a great grilled cheese sandwich. I've tried it and I don't agree with him, but it is an interesting approach to breaking up your routine. You might try sharp cheddar, jalapeno jelly, and whole grain.
posted by plinth at 1:45 PM on March 11, 2007

Cook's Illustrated tried to answer this. I'm a little tired of their "it IS "best" if our little circle of Americans thought so," but no mind.

In brief: old Cheddar (what I think is 'sharp' in the US?), and that cheddar has to be grated. Melts better, they claimed.

If I adulterate the old Cheddar -- which I also suspect to be 'best' -- it's usually with Swiss.

On a good bread, a fairly 'holey' one, outside buttered before it goes in the pan.
posted by kmennie at 1:53 PM on March 11, 2007 [1 favorite]

This is another one of those askmes where I simply must comment. -- fourcheesemac sez: brie and tomato on crusty baguette.
posted by fourcheesemac at 2:21 PM on March 11, 2007 [1 favorite]

I would definitely try a mix of at least three cheeses and I do think that adding provolone into the mix is key. It adds a bit of structure to the other cheeses.

Usually I do:
- Provolone 30%
-Sharp Cheddar 50%
- parmiagian 20%
posted by jeremias at 2:27 PM on March 11, 2007

Mild cheddar (sharp takes over the whole sandwich to me, it's all about the cheese to bread to fat taste ratio), on challah, butter (though seriously, on a press you can really get away with olive oil), pressed between one of these so you don't have to think about slow cooking, burning, one part done and one not, 'cos fuck that, it's grilled cheese, man.

(I hate to say it, I really do, but the Cheesecake Factory's grilled cheese is an example of my favorite. It pretty much kicks my ass with its perfectness.)
posted by birdie birdington at 2:37 PM on March 11, 2007 [1 favorite]

Cheddar with Branston pickle or chutney to fruit it up. Mmm!

These recipes make me wish I had some bread in the house!
posted by srah at 2:56 PM on March 11, 2007 [1 favorite]

Well, birdie birdington, with your mention of cheesecake and grilled cheese sandwiches in the same sentence, you've tripped my psychological machinery into revealing my secret Grilled Cheesecake Delight Dessert:

Per serving:

Brown a tblsp. of butter in an omelet skillet. Cut 2x 3 inch sponge rounds flat (the commercial sponge cake cups typically sold for strawberry "shortcake" are good once you cut down the cup lip), and place in browned butter. Flip after about a minute, and add another pat of butter. Cut thin slivers of plain, dry New York style cheesecake, and place on sponge cake. Continue to fry until sponge cake is crispy, and cheesecake is warm. Assemble "sandwich" in pan, by flipping one sponge cake on top of stack. Remove from pan, and top with blueberries, strawberries, or other fruit topping if desired, or honey, cinammon, or maple syrup. And, of course, a spritz of heavy whipped cream from a nitrogen filled can!
posted by paulsc at 3:10 PM on March 11, 2007 [1 favorite]

I'm very fond of Jarlsberg. With maybe some ham and a little bit of sweet chilli sauce.
posted by arha at 3:15 PM on March 11, 2007

Smoked Gouda with tomatoes is a great combo, just make sure you allow the Gouda to come to room temperature first or it won't melt properly
posted by falconred at 4:07 PM on March 11, 2007

Use whatever cheese and whatever bread strikes your fancy, but do apply a thin layer of Gulden's brown mustard on the inside of the bread.
posted by gsh at 4:10 PM on March 11, 2007 [1 favorite]

Clearly I'm going to be in the minority here, but I like using mayo instead of butter for the outside. That's right. You heard me. I think it has a nicer flavor and texture. Disagree with me if you must.
posted by theantikitty at 4:19 PM on March 11, 2007

i ate so much for dinner, i didn't think i could possibly be hungry again today, but now i am. . . .

Ms Monkey suggests "smoked gouda with provolone and onion".
posted by FlyingMonkey at 5:30 PM on March 11, 2007

Can somebody explain this pan technique to an bewildered Aussie?
Down here we lay a slice of bread under the griller (below the hotplate on the stove/range there is a door that flips down exposing a metal drawer in which the bread is placed, and slid under the heat element until the cheese bubbles and melts).
Looking at Amazon, it appears this is not a feature of US ranges. It is visible here:

Alternatively, we pop the cheese sandwich in a Breville (Amazon leads me to think you would call it a sandwich press or sandwich maker).

So what's the pan story?
posted by bystander at 5:47 PM on March 11, 2007

Smoked gouda with a thin layer of brie on sourdough, with tomatoes. Mmm.
posted by honeydew at 5:53 PM on March 11, 2007

bystander, many US-ians actually fry our "grilled" cheese sandwiches. I use a cast iron frying pan.

Butter on the outside of the bread, some sort of good mustard inside; sharp (aka old) cheddar; thinly sliced apple or pear. Serve with tomato soup. Heaven.

Everything here sounds good.
posted by rtha at 6:20 PM on March 11, 2007 [1 favorite]

I like variety too.

Briiiiiiiiiiiiiie with avocado
Swiss with avocado
Old cheddar with avocado.

posted by loiseau at 6:28 PM on March 11, 2007

bystander: Can somebody explain this pan technique to an bewildered Aussie?

"grilled cheese" is typical of "grilled sandwiches" which are cooked on a "griddle" not a charcoal grill. Another sandwich that is often grilled is the Rubin.

Restaurants often have a griddle (sometimes called a "grill") which is a large flat metal cooking surface on which all sorts of things are cooked. In the home a frying pan can be used as a grill.

Grilled bread (for which some sort of fat is applied to the outside of the bread before cooking) has a markedly different taste and texture than toasted bread.
posted by MonkeySaltedNuts at 6:33 PM on March 11, 2007

Don't forget to use great bread - You could use the best cheese combo ever, but it'll taste like crap on Wonder Bread.

(I like st. andre cheese b/c of the creaminess. Pre-grilled tomatoes taste good with it.)
posted by echo0720 at 7:49 PM on March 11, 2007

Extra old cheddar, roma tomatoes and ham.

(Bystander, I heat up the frying pan, lay down a slice of bread butter-side-down, layer it with cheese & etc, let it get toasty, then add another slice of bread butter-side-up. When the bottom is brown underneath, I flip it and brown the other side.)
posted by acoutu at 7:52 PM on March 11, 2007

my fiance makes the best grilled cheese sandwiches. Typically he uses either Havardi or Munster, however, this one time..
He used some regular white bread, started up the frying pan and melted some butter in it. Then he spead this garlic butter on one side of each slice of bread, some whipped cream cheese (from Panara I believe, just traditional flavor) and some munster cheese and "grilled" it up. Best grilled cheese I have ever had in my entire life, I bet it would be even more awesome with some lettuce, tomato or avacado (even though I am not a fan of avacado)
posted by ForeverDcember at 8:10 PM on March 11, 2007

Asiago+Cheddar+Oven. Stolen gracelessly from the Oakville Grocery
posted by GilloD at 8:24 PM on March 11, 2007

The secret to Noah's grilled cheese is actually cream cheese. I don't remember what the other two cheeses are (probably cheddar and provolone), and our local Noah's no longer makes them, but it was the cream cheese that made them special. And tomato slices. It really is a superb sandwich.
posted by team lowkey at 8:49 PM on March 11, 2007

Cheddar and feta.

posted by grapefruitmoon at 9:46 PM on March 11, 2007

Here (self link, duh) I use Leerdammer, Colby-Jack, & Parmesan Stravecchio. Fontina and Emmentaler also are good. Mix it up.

I also baked my own English Muffin Bread (as per The Bread Baker's Apprentice). Be sure and cut it nice and thick!

I like to use lots of different cheeses so I cut them thin - a cheese plane is great for this - it's hard to slice thin enough with a knife or a wire cheese cutter.
posted by aubilenon at 11:22 PM on March 11, 2007

Oh oh, and if you add a tomato, do it AFTER cooking; peel the sandwich open and add the tomato slices then.
posted by aubilenon at 11:23 PM on March 11, 2007

Cream cheese really is the answer.
posted by nadawi at 1:08 AM on March 12, 2007

Look no further.
I give you Look ">The Ultimate Grilled Cheese Sandwich

I've made it myself, and yes, it's that damn good.
posted by doctorcurly at 6:27 AM on March 12, 2007

Let me try that again.
The Ultimate Grilled Cheese Sandwich
posted by doctorcurly at 6:28 AM on March 12, 2007 [1 favorite]

The key for me is to grill the "inside" of the bread first. This increases crunchiness and makes the cheese inside melt faster, reducing the risk of burning.
posted by RandlePatrickMcMurphy at 6:53 AM on March 12, 2007

I love a good grilled cheese, and enjoy them in many forms. This is my grilled cheese manifesto.
  • Bread is very important. IMO, your best choices are limited to two: an authentic, good sourdough (be careful, in some areas of the world sourdough != real sourdough), and english muffin bread
  • There are several good cheeses that can be used. I favor the following: muenster, sharp white cheddar, cotswold.
  • Putting tomato on a grilled cheese is complete crap. There's too much water in a tomato and you end up with a soggy, miserable sandwich. Just don't do it.
  • It's critical that the griddle is not too hot, so the bread does not burn before the cheese melts.
  • Thank for reading my manifesto. Enjoy your snack.

posted by mcstayinskool at 7:20 AM on March 12, 2007 [1 favorite]

I like to grate a sharp cheddar and mix in some mayonnaise, a grainy mustard like Grey Poupon, some Worcestershire sauce, salt, and pepper, and spread it thick in between two buttered slices of some whole grain bread. You can either grill it or pop it under the broiler (it takes a little effort to heat things enough to melt the cheese mixture without burning the bread, but that may just be because I always add way to much stuff to my sandwiches).
posted by J-Train at 7:33 AM on March 12, 2007 [1 favorite]

Slow and low, that is the tempo.
posted by ColdChef at 5:49 PM on March 12, 2007


Okay, joking aside, I like a super sharp chedder and strawberry or plum jam. The sweetness and the sharp mingle and dance on the pallet. Kids like it too.
posted by kc0dxh at 6:38 AM on March 13, 2007

I grew up with a mexican grilled cheese sandwich.

Tortilla warmed on skillet, shredded cheese (colby and monty jack) placed in the center then rolled up. Rolled across skillet till cheese melts.

Dipping in salsa, optional.
posted by freakinloon at 9:20 AM on March 13, 2007

We've tried the HOTS suggestion of good bread/good cheese/jam and found that, in general, you do get a great sandwich. We've had some bland cheeses, which we'll avoid in the future, and grape jelly doesn't really make for a special sandwich, but we enjoy the grilled cheese+jelly variety.

The key is to get small slices of bread so you can make a variety of sandwiches.
posted by achmorrison at 5:48 PM on March 13, 2007

American cheese slices + wheat bread smashed flat as possible then crammed in one toaster slot. Toast until melted.
posted by corpse at 6:40 PM on March 15, 2007

Pepper Jack, a little plain cream cheese, and tomato- on honey wheat bread, with a slight bit of jalapeno jelly. For the spicy ones out there :)
posted by SeanMac at 10:11 PM on March 17, 2007

Every kind of cheese you have. Accept no substitute.
posted by vbfg at 2:56 AM on March 28, 2007

These are all great.

Mine is sharp cheddar sprinkled liberally with a mixture of salt, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and grated mozzarella and parmesan cheeses. I'm not shy about the amount of butter on the bread, and sometimes I sprinkle a little extra garlic over the butter.

I tend to agree with mcstayinskool's feelings regarding tomatoes, though I ALWAYS de-seed a tomato before using it on any sandwich -- so that may help.
posted by hifiparasol at 11:37 PM on April 3, 2007

Not necessarily a cheese combination, but a cooking technique. I noticed my favorite soup and sandwich haunt grilling the slices of bread separately, topped with cheese, and covered by a lid. I've started doing it because the sandwich comes out with both sides being cooked evenly.
posted by metacort at 5:11 PM on January 17, 2008

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