Mom’s grilled cheese recipe is simple, classic, and fabulous. You’ll need just 3 ingredients and a couple minutes to make the best grilled cheese sandwich ever invented. Thanks Mom!
Sometimes you don’t need all the bells and whistles to make something 10/10 delicious. This grilled cheese recipe doesn’t require and doesn’t need anything fancy. The essentials are soft sandwich bread (go to the bread aisle of the grocery store and pick out one of those super soft loaves), good quality salted butter, and sharp cheddar cheese slices.
If I had a last meal on Earth, this grilled cheese sandwich would be on the menu!
If your cheese craving hasn’t subsided, finish off your grilled cheese with a Beer Cheese chaser. HA, just kidding! I mean…I wouldn’t judge you.
Grilled Cheese Recipe Ingredients
- Soft sandwich bread – you know the soft sandwich bread you get in the bread aisle at the grocery store? Get that! Don’t get fancy bakery bread; the result will not be the same and won’t be as good! I really like Pepperidge Farm Oat Bread (this is not an ad), or white bread, soft pumpernickel or rye bread.
- Sharp cheddar cheese – my mom always used sharp cheddar cheese (or even extra sharp cheddar cheese). It has incredible flavor when melted, and it creates this slightly gooey, soft interior that complements the crunchy, buttery exterior.
- Salted butter – good-quality butter is a must!
How to Make Grilled Cheese
Full instructions in the recipe card; this is just an outline!
In a large nonstick skillet, add 2 slices of bread. Add a single layer of cheese to each slice. Add final slices of bread on top of cheese.
Generously butter the tops of each sandwich. Carefully flip sandwiches over and butter the bottom slices of each sandwich.
Turn heat to high. Toast the first side for 2-4 minutes until golden brown. Watch carefully!
Use a spatula to flip sandwiches. Press down each sandwich. Toast the other side for 1-2 minutes until golden, watching carefully! Enjoy.
Best Cheese for Grilled Cheese
Sharp cheddar cheese is the best choice for making grilled cheese sandwiches for so many reasons:
- Flavor: Sharp cheddar cheese has a bold, robust, and tangy flavor compared to other cheese. When melted, it mellows a bit so it’s not too intense. The flavor profile creates the perfect cheesy layer for your grilled cheese sandwich.
- Melting properties: Cheddar cheese becomes creamy when melted, making it an excellent choice for achieving that gooey and cheesy texture in a grilled cheese sandwich.
- Balance: The sharpness of the cheddar cheese balances the richness of the butter used to grill the sandwich. It adds a contrast of flavors that’s more interesting than using a milder cheese.
- Complementing ingredients: Sharp cheddar cheese pairs well with various ingredients you might add to your grilled cheese.
- Versatility: Sharp cheddar cheese is versatile and works with different types of bread, from classic white bread to whole wheat, pumpernickel, oatmeal, or rye.
While sharp cheddar cheese is my favorite choice for grilled cheese, the best cheese for your sandwich ultimately comes down to personal preference. Some people prefer milder cheeses, like mild cheddar or American cheese. Feel free to experiment with different cheese varieties to find your own perfect grilled cheese combination.
Here’s a list of various additions and ingredients you can include in your grilled cheese sandwiches to create delicious variations:
- Add veggies (make sure all veggies are not wet to prevent a soggy sandwich): tomato slices, Caramelized Onions, Roasted Red Peppers, sautéed mushrooms, pickles, pickled jalapenos, green onions, chives, arugula, Roasted Garlic, fresh basil, sundried tomatoes
- Add a thin layer of cooked meat: bacon, ham, turkey, thinly sliced sausage, salami
- Try different cheeses: gouda, swiss, mozzarella, pepper jack, American, brie, Havarti, provolone, gruyere
- Other random additions and dipping sauces: pesto sauce, sliced apples, BBQ sauce, Tomato Sauce, buffalo sauce, honey, fig jam, Dijon mustard
Feel free to mix and match these ingredients to create your own unique grilled cheese creations. Keep in mind that any soggy/wet ingredients can impact texture.
Grilled Cheese Recipe Tips
- My personal favorite is Pepperidge Farm Oat Bread (not an ad!). Soft white bread, pumpernickel, rye, etc. also work well. Opt for soft, regular sandwich bread from the bread aisle.
- For smaller square bread, a smidge less than 1 tablespoon of butter per sandwich usually works. If you’re working with larger rectangular slices, go with at least a tablespoon. Be generous, and make sure your butter is softened for easy spreading!
- To achieve that perfect balance of a crispy exterior and a soft interior, high heat is key. Just be cautious and keep an eye on your sandwiches to prevent burning!
What to Serve With Grilled Cheese
Grilled cheese sandwiches are delicious on their own, but if you’re looking to serve them with some complementary sides or accompaniments, here are some ideas:
- Tomato Soup: dip your sandwich into the soup for an unbeatable pairing.
- Roasted Tomatoes: instead of making a big pot of soup, roast some tomatoes!
- Salad: a fresh green salad like a Classic Italian Salad can provide a nice contrast to the richness of the grilled cheese.
- Pickles: store bought or Homemade Dill Pickles on the side are the best palate cleansers.
- Fruit: sliced apples or grapes provide a refreshing and sweet contrast to the savory grilled cheese.
- Chips: potato chips or other crispy snacks can add a satisfying crunch.
- Coleslaw: Mexican Coleslaw is a fun, crunchy, mayo-free side dish!
- Dips: try fun dipping sauces like ketchup, aioli, or honey mustard.
- Fried Egg: if you love breakfast, serve your sandwich with a fried or Hard Boiled Egg.
More Cheesy Recipes You’ll Love!
- Cheesy Quiche Florentine (Spinach Quiche)
- Cheesy Ham & Leek Quiche
- Easy Beer Cheese
- Amazing Lobster Mac and Cheese
- Ham and Cheese Sliders
- Nonstick pan
- 4 slices soft sandwich bread
- 3 slices sharp cheddar cheese (more or less depending on size of bread)
- 2 tablespoons salted butter softened (more or less depending on size of bread)
- In a large nonstick skillet, add 2 slices of bread. Add a single layer of cheese to each slice, making sure the cheese goes right out to the edges. Add final slices of bread on top of cheese.
- Generously butter the tops of each sandwich. Carefully flip sandwiches over and butter the bottom slices of each sandwich. The key is generous….you’ll want to use about 1 tablespoon of butter per sandwich.
- Turn heat to high. Toast the first side for 2-4 minutes until golden brown. Carefully watch to prevent burning!
- Use a spatula to flip sandwiches. Press down each sandwich with the back of the spatula. Toast the other side for 1-2 minutes until golden, again carefully watching to prevent burning! Serve right away.
- Bread rule: I love Pepperidge Farm Oat Bread (not an ad!). I also like soft white bread, pumpernickel or rye! The key is soft, regular sandwich bread from the bread aisle.
- Cheese rule: Depending on the size of your bread you’ll likely need 1 or 1 ½ slices of cheese per sandwich. Can you use different cheese? Sure! But sharp cheddar is Mom’s favorite (and it’s the best!).
- Butter rule: If your sandwich bread is small and square, you’ll probably need a little less than 1 tablespoon of butter per sandwich. If it’s bigger and rectangular, you’ll need at least a tablespoon. Be generous and make sure your butter is softened!
- High heat is key for crispy exterior and soft interior! Check sandwiches often to prevent burning.