Grilled cheese sandwiches are probably one of my favorite foods in the entire world. It’s a little bit nostalgia, but mostly pure deliciousness. As far back as I can remember I’ve been eating them and it was actually one of the first things I learned how to cook… it’s considered cooking right?
I know making a grilled cheese sandwich isn’t rocket science, and it’s something that pretty much everyone should know how to make, but for those people that have zero skills when it comes to cooking anything, I wanted to put together a simple recipe for the ultimate grilled cheese sandwich.
When I was growing up I remember always complaining that restaurant grilled cheese sandwiches always tasted different than the ones my mom would make at home, and I wasn’t sure why. Being the amazing mother that she is, my mom tried all sorts of different things to make her grilled cheese sandwiches taste more like the restaurants, but they never did.
It’s not that my mom’s grilled cheese tasted bad, it just tasted different, and looking back on it now, I think the secret may lie in the cheese.
My mom’s grilled cheese sandwiches consisted of 2 pieces of white bread, buttered on the outsides, and 2 pieces of Kraft Singles “American Cheese” in between those pieces of bread. She would then throw them in a pan, butter side down, and heat them up till the bread was crispy and the cheese was melty… your typical grilled cheese sandwich. At one point she tried to change from margarine on the bread, to real butter instead, to see if that was the difference, and it definitely was not. Now that I’m an adult I’m pretty sure the restaurants were not using Kraft Singles as their “American Cheese” which is probably why theirs tasted different than my mom’s.
I love Kraft Singles, I don’t care if it’s ‘cheese product’ and not actual American cheese, it’s still delicious in my eyes, but I’m confident that, that’s why restaurant grilled cheese tastes different than home cooked grilled cheese.
But that being said, I wanted to perfect the traditional grilled cheese sandwich in a way that can be easily replicated at home, thus you have this post.
The Ultimate Grilled Cheese Sandwich
If you’ve read any of my other posts on this site revolving around cheese, then you probably know what the secret ingredient in this recipe is… yup, it’s Merkts Cheddar.
What You Need:
- 2 Pieces of Bread (get creative with your taste)
- 2 slices of Kraft Singles American Cheese Product
- Merkts Cheddar Cheese Spread
- Spreadable Butter (slightly softened is better)
- Frying Pan
Time to Prep: ~5 minutes
Time to Cook: ~5 minutes
Building the Perfect Grilled Cheese Sandwich
- Scoop out some Merkts Cheddar into a small bowl. Place the bowl in the microwave for just a few seconds. We need to soften up the cheese spread since it’s probably been in the fridge and it’s going to be slightly hard to spread. Don’t soften it up too much, we’re just trying to get it to the point where we can spread it on the sandwich.
- Take your 2 pieces of bread (dealer’s choice) and spread the butter on 1-side of each of the pieces. You don’t want to put butter on both sides of the bread. We’re going to be placing the bread, butter side down, into the pan in order to get that grilled crispiness we all love. If you put butter on the inside of the sandwich it’s just going to melt and get soaked up by the bread, leaving you with a soggy mess.
- Heat up your frying pan (no need to put butter or oil on it since the bread has butter on it already). You don’t want to heat it up too much, but enough that you hear the butter sizzle when you place the bread in the pan.
- While the pan is heating unwrap your 2 slices of Kraft American Cheese Product and place them on top of one another off to the side. We’ll need them in a second.
- Take 1 slice of bread and spread the Merkts Cheddar on to the side that does NOT have the butter on it.
- Place that piece of bread, butter side down into the frying pan. Then place the American Cheese on top of the Merkts Cheese, then place the other piece of bread, butter side up on top of the cheese.
- After a minute or so, use your spatula to gently prod at the sides of the bread that are touching the pan. If they start to feel hard/crispy (and no longer soft), it’s time to flip the sandwich.
- Be careful when flipping the sandwich as the Merkts cheese can get slippery. I find it best to pick up the frying pan and hold it at an angle, and then flip the sandwich into the pan as you’re turning the pan back flat… to reduce the amount you have the actually flip (if that makes sense).
- Again, after a minute or so, test the edges of the bread touching the pan to see if they are crispy yet. If they are, you’re done.
- Pull the sandwich off and put it on a plate, and enjoy.
It may seem like a lot of steps, but it’s really not. The trick is to make sure you test the edges of the bread before you flip the sandwich. You should never have to flip the sandwich more than once, so ensuring that one side is done before you flip it is key.
Now sit back, open up a delicious Pepsi (or Coke), and enjoy the lunch of my childhood. Yes… I drank a shitload of pop when I was a kid, something I don’t think I’d let my kids do today, but times were different back then… also, Pepsi is absolutely delicious (Wild Cherry Pepsi is even better though).
Oh, that grilled cheese sandwich isn’t “ultimate” enough for you? How about a few upgrades then?
Upgrades and Add-ons
Some people would argue that “the ultimate (or perfect) grilled cheese sandwich” should have more to it than just cheese and bread. And while I would respectfully disagree with you, until the day I die, there are a few things I like to add to my grilled cheese to step things up a notch.
Ham and cheese sandwiches are the most basic sandwich you can make for lunch. Hell, I just had one today for my lunch. But what can make that ham and cheese sandwich even better… making it a grilled ham and cheese sandwich!
It’s extremely easy to adjust the recipe above to make this… simply add ham in between the 2 pieces of American cheese… And if you don’t have Merkts cheddar around, you can always ditch that ingredient and add ham instead.
This one takes a little more work because you can’t just slap raw bacon in between the cheese and call it a day. First, take some raw bacon and put it on a foil covered baking sheet, then place it in the oven. Next, turn the oven to 375-degrees (that’s right, don’t pre-heat it). Set a timer for 8 minutes and flip the bacon, then set another timer for 5 minutes. Depending on your over you may have to let it go a little longer, but at this point is when I like to start keeping an eye on it to make sure it doesn’t burn. After it’s cooked to your desire (I prefer crispy bacon), take the bacon out and place it on a paper towel to soak up the grease.
Now that you’ve got your cooked bacon, it’s the same as above, just throw the cooked bacon in between the cheese slices and cook the sandwich as you normally would. I actually prefer this over the ham and cheese, but I tend to get lazy when it comes to cooking the bacon.
Do you have some time to kill and really want to put a different spin on your grilled cheese? Then try boiling up some macaroni noodles, mixing the Merkts Cheddar with the cooked noodles, and then placing them in between your cheese slices on your sandwich. Again, this takes more time because you’ve gotta boil the water and cook the noodles, but it adds a nice little twist to the sandwich.
Texas Toast/Garlic Bread
Want to upgrade that boring white bread to something more tasty? Try using Texas Toast or some garlic bread instead of whatever bread you were going to use. There’s nothing quite like a thick piece of Texas Toast when it comes to grilled cheese. Ugh, my mouth is watering just thinking about it. And garlic bread is just as tasty, but unfortunately I can no longer eat large amounts of garlic, so that upgrade is out for me.
And that’s it…
A recipe, and upgrades, to a staple of my youth (and, honestly, my adulthood). I’d love to hear what else you guys do to spice up your grilled cheese sandwiches, so leave me a comment below and let me know!