Today I’m going to teach you how to make the perfect grilled cheese sandwich. Now, you don’t need the fanciest bread or fanciest cheese. But I think this method adds a ton of fun flavor and texture! I grill my grilled cheese sandwiches with a crispy cheese crust, and myyy oh my, you’re gonna love it.
Grilled Cheese with Crispy Cheese Crust
If you like that corner piece of casserole with crispy cheese, or that cheese crust that forms when you pan-fry a cheeseburger, you’re gonna LOVE this grilled cheese with crispy cheese crust. I am totally team CRISPY! The bread is encrusted in a layer of crispy cheese baked into the exterior of the sandwich. It also has that perfect combination of textures- crisp cheese, tender bread, and melty, gooey cheese on the inside.
This is the first non-Instant Pot recipe I’m posting on my site, but I think it deserves its own post as a companion to my Instant Pot Tomato Basil soup recipe.
Grilled Cheese Mistakes
First of all, let’s get the things you shouldn’t do out of the way! These mistakes will lead to grilled cheese failure so please avoid the following:
- PAN TEMPERATURE TOO HIGH
- Having too hot of a pan is the number one mistake you can make when making a grilled cheese sandwich. If the pan is too hot, the bread grills too fast and will burn before the cheese melts.
- The best temperature for a grilled cheese sandwich is medium low. It will toast the bread perfectly, and completely melt the cheese.
- NOT BUTTERING THE BREAD
- I used to be way (overly) cautious about calories and I wouldn’t add sugar, butter, cream, or fat besides coconut oil to anything. But, if you don’t add some kind of fat to the outside of the bread, you’re not going to get any kind of crisp or flavor. Instead, you’ll have a very dry piece of bread.
- TIP: If you don’t want to use butter, you can use mayonnaise on the outside of your grilled sandwiches for an equally amazing toasty, buttery exterior.
- DISTRIBUTION OF CHEESE
- Try and have an equal distribution of cheese from the center, all the way to the edges of the bread. Having too much cheese in the middle and not enough on the outside makes it hard to get everything melted throughout. If there’s not enough cheese on the edges, the bread pieces fall apart. So give a nice, generous helping of cheese all over the bread.
- CUTTING TOO EARLY
- Just like a good steak, you need to let your cheese rest inside the sandwich for a minute or so after taking it out of the pan. If you take it off the griddle and cut it into triangles immediately (duh, only way to do it), the cheese will be too hot and will spill out everywhere.
How to make a grilled cheese sandwich with a crispy cheese crust
Now that you know what NOT to do, let’s talk about how to make the best, crispy grilled cheese sandwich ever.
Preheat a griddle or pan to medium low heat. After the griddle is warm, butter it generously. I like taking a cold stick of butter straight from the fridge, peeling the wrapper back, and buttering the griddle directly.
Next, spread a thin handful of shredded cheese in a rectangle shape where your bread will be. I find shredded cheese works best for this technique. I like parmesan, or any kind of blend. Place your bread on top of the cheese and give it a little press so it hugs the cheese.
Grab a nice big handful of shredded cheese, or some slices of your favorite cheese. Place the cheese evenly on the bread, and top with another piece of buttered bread (buttered side out).
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Don’t cut right away!
Now, don’t touch! Let the sandwiches just settle into the cheese and melt through. Don’t pat it down, don’t keep touching it, just let it cook! After 2-4 minutes, lift up one of the corners and see if the cheese is nice and crispy. If it is, pick up the sandwich with a spatula and flip.
If you want both sides to be encrusted with cheese, add more cheese to the griddle and then flip the sandwich onto it. No need to re-butter that side of the pan and wait until the cheese is crispy on the outside and melted on the inside.
Remove the grilled cheese to a plate, and wait 1-2 minutes for the cheese to rest. Cut the sandwich in half and serve with your favorite soup! Might I suggest my tomato basil, famous chicken noodle, or better than Olive Garden Zuppa Toscana? 🙂
Baby Shower Food
I made these mini grilled cheeses to top tiny bowls of Tomato Basil soup for my sister in law’s baby shower I hosted for her last weekend. They were so fun to serve on top of my favorite wooden cutting board and sprinkled with fresh basil.