5 Locations with Martin's Products - (1.9 Miles)
5 Locations with Martin's Products - (1.9 Miles)
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Grilled Cheese – 7 Ways

by Martin's Famous Pastry Shoppe, Inc.

Grilled Cheese - 7 Ways (Infographic)
It’s National Grilled Cheese Month! Celebrate this classic comfort food by practicing all the different methods of preparation—and deciding on your favorite!


Grilled Cheese Basics

The classic grilled cheese sandwich is one of the easiest meals to learn how to make—all you need is 3 easy-to-find staple ingredients: bread, cheese, and butter (or a similar spread). To prepare, there are actually a number of options, depending on what appliances you have access to and your personal preference. Check out our detailed guide showing the different methods of making the Classic Grilled Cheese, then scroll to the bottom for some mouthwatering recipe variations!

Grilled Cheese Stack on Martin's Butter Bread

Basic Grilled Cheese Recipe:

  • 2 Slices Martin’s Old-Fashioned Real Butter Bread
  • 2 Slices Yellow American Cheese
  • 1-2 Tbsp Softened Butter

Grilled Cheese Variations

Once you’ve perfected the basic recipe, try switching up the type of cheese or adding in other ingredients such as deli meats, veggies (like sautéed peppers or onions), fresh herbs, or jams and spreads. You may also like to experiment with using mayonnaise in place of butter—test them both and see which you prefer.

What’s the Best Cheese for My Grilled Cheese?

You’ll want to choose a melty, semi-soft cheese like one of the ones listed below:

  • American
  • Mozzarella
  • Soft cheddar
  • Provolone
  • Colby
  • Fontina
  • Monterey jack
  • Muenster
  • Swiss
  • Havarti
  • Gouda
  • Brie

Pro Tips:

  1. For harder cheeses like gruyere or sharp cheddar, try grating the cheese first to help it melt faster.
  2. You can blend multiple types of cheese if you want to incorporate harder or strong-flavored cheeses; e.g., Monterey jack with parmesan or Havarti with bleu cheese.
  3. Experiment with different temperature-to-time ratios; the lower the temperature, the longer the cooking time. Keep this in mind when choosing your cooking method—you don’t want the bread to brown too quickly before the cheese has a chance to melt.

How to Make a Grilled Cheese Sandwich (7 Ways)

There are a number of different ways to prepare a grilled cheese sandwich…but how do they stack up against each other? We tested out 7 different methods, using the basic grilled cheese recipe listed above, to learn the pros and cons of each, along with basic instructions and pro tips.

Method #1: Skillet/Pan-Fried {The Traditional Method}

Grilled Cheese - Skillet/Pan-Fried Method

Pros Cons
Simple; doesn’t require recipe May brown unevenly on edges vs center of bread
Uses minimal, easily accessible resources (pan + heat source) Cooking time/technique may vary based on type of stove and pan used

 

MethodGrilled Cheese in Skillet

Layer cheese in between two slices of bread; butter the outside of both slices. Preheat a nonstick skillet over medium heat; add sandwich and cook, flipping once, until golden-brown on both sides and the cheese is fully melted.

Tips & Variations

  • Try using mayo instead of butter for a nice, crispy crust and a slightly tangy flavor.
  • If your sandwich is starting to brown too quickly, lower the heat, cover the pan with a lid and allow your sandwich to steam for 30 seconds to 1 minute to allow the cheese to melt.
  • You can achieve a “panini” effect by placing a second heavy pan on the top of your sandwich.

Method #2: Cast Iron {The Heavy Duty Method}

Grilled Cheese - Cast Iron Method

Pros Cons
Cast-iron retains heat very well which should make for a well-seared sandwich with a nice, crispy crust If the pan gets too hot, there is a tendency for the bread to burn before the cheese is fully melted
Easy method; fairly foolproof once you learn the temperature-to-time ratio If the pan is not well-seasoned, your sandwich may stick, or you may need to add a lot of butter or oil which can make your sandwich too greasy

 

MethodGrilled Cheese in Cast Iron

Layer cheese in between two slices of bread; butter the outside of both slices. Preheat a cast iron skillet over medium-low heat; add sandwich and cook, flipping once, until golden-brown on both sides and the cheese is fully melted.

 Tips

  • Cast iron can take a while to preheat, so be sure to allow enough time for it to get warm.
  • A well-seasoned pan should be relatively non-stick.
  • If your sandwich is starting to brown too quickly, lower (or remove from) heat, cover the pan with a lid and allow your sandwich to steam for 30 seconds to 1 minute to allow the cheese to melt.
  • You can achieve a “panini” effect by placing a second heavy pan on the top of your sandwich.

Method #3: Grill {The Rustic Method}

Grilled Cheese - Grill Method

Pros Cons
Chargrilled, smoky flavor May cook unevenly
Achieve pretty grill marks Tendency to burn the bread

 

MethodGrilled Cheese on Grill

Preheat grill to medium heat. Layer cheese in between two slices of bread; butter the outside of both slices. Place the sandwiches carefully onto the grates of the grill and grill on each side until the bread has grill marks and the cheese is melted, about 3-4 minutes per side.

Tips

  • Try utilizing different “heat zones” on your grill. Alternate between direct and indirect heat, or high, medium, and low heat during different phases of cooking. For example; start with direct, medium heat to get nice grill marks on the bread, then transfer the sandwich to indirect heat to finish allowing the cheese to melt. You can also use a grill rack to raise the sandwich further above the flame.
  • Be sure to use plenty of butter and/or oil the grates prior to grilling to prevent the bread from sticking to the grill.

Method #4: Oven-Baked {The Hands-off Method}

Grilled Cheese - Oven Method

Pros Cons
Great for bulk cooking; cook up to 6 or 8 sandwiches on a single baking sheet at one time Bread is more “toasted” than it is grilled or seared; may be slightly drier
Achieve more even browning; entire slice of bread, including crusts, gets nice and toasty (because of indirect heat) May take longer than the traditional pan-fried method
Doesn’t smash the sandwich; also makes it easy to add in other ingredients
Could be healthier – requires less butter; easier clean up

 

MethodGrilled Cheese in Oven

Preheat oven to 400*F. Layer cheese in between two slices of bread; butter the outside of both slices. Arrange sandwiches on baking sheet and bake for 7-10 mins or until cheese is melty and bread is toasted and golden-brown. Flip sandwiches half way through to ensure even toasting.

Tips

  • You can place a second sheet pan on top of the sandwiches to create a panini effect and achieve more even toasting without having to flip half way. Preheat the second pan along with the oven to help kick-start the grilling process.
  • Try finishing off your baked sandwiches in the broiler for a quick sear and extra-crispy crust.

Method #5: Waffle Iron / Panini Press {The Novelty Method}

Grilled Cheese - Waffle Iron Method

Pros Cons
No need for flipping; heat source on top and bottom Cheese/fillings can ooze out because of sandwich being squished
Ridges in the grill plate add texture to the sandwich for more intrigue Certain methods (like waffle iron) may not cook/brown evenly
Presses down on sandwich which makes for extra crispy crust Requires special equipment

 

MethodGrilled Cheese in Waffle Iron

Preheat your panini press or waffle iron. Layer cheese in between two slices of bread; butter the outside of both slices. When the press is hot, add your sandwich and press down firmly with the top plate; cook for 3 to 5 minutes until golden-brown on both sides and the cheese is fully melted.

Tips

  • Be careful not to over-fill your sandwich or the cheese and other fillings may slide out when it is pressed down.
  • If you don’t have a panini press, you can achieve a similar effect using a ridged grill pan and a second heavy pan to press down on the top of the sandwich.

Method #6: Toaster/Microwave {The Quick Cheat Method}

Grilled Cheese - Toaster & Microwave Method

Pros Cons
Easy “cheat method” if you don’t have access to a pan or stove. (Great for college dorms, work cafeteria, etc.) Bread is more “toasted” than it is grilled or seared; may be slightly drier.

 
MethodGrilled Cheese in Microwave

Toast 2 slices of bread. Layer cheese in between two toast slices; lightly butter the outside of the slices. Wrap sandwich in paper towel or arrange on plate; place in microwave and heat 15-30 seconds or until cheese is melted.

Tips

  • Try pressing between two plates while in microwave for “panini” effect.
  • Wrapping the sandwich in a paper towel while microwaving helps absorb excess moisture and makes for a crispier sandwich.

Method #7: Air Fryer {The Modern Gadget Method}

Grilled Cheese - Air Fryer Method

Pros Cons
Healthiest method – less need for oil or butter; cooks by convection heat (air circulates around) Bread is more “toasted” than it is grilled or seared; may be slightly drier
Achieves a crispy crust and uniform texture Takes longer than most other methods
Very easy method Requires special equipment

 

MethodGrilled Cheese in Air Fryer

Preheat air fryer to 375°F for 5 minutes. Layer cheese in between two slices of bread; butter the outside of both slices. Cook 5-7 minutes; flip sandwich, and cook an additional 3 minutes, or until golden-brown and toasted, and cheese is melted.

Tips

  • You can also use cooking spray in place of butter for a healthier option.
  • Use a toothpick to help keep the sandwich together while air frying.
  • Cooking time may vary depending on type/brand of air fryer.

Grilled Cheese Recipe Variations:

Got the basic grilled cheese methods perfected? Take your skills to the next level by testing out some creative variations and flavor combinations!

Gourmet 3-Cheese Grilled Cheese

Gourmet 3-Cheese Grilled Cheese

Inside-Out Grilled Cheese

Inside Out Grilled Cheese

Brisket Grilled Cheese

Brisket Grilled Cheese

Grilled Cheese Dippers

Grilled Cheese Dippers

Hawaiian Grilled Cheese

Hawaiian Grilled Cheese

Waffle Grilled Cheese

Waffle Grilled Cheese 3

Salami and Pickle Grilled Cheese

Salami and Pickle Grilled Cheese

Grilled Cheese Pull-Aparts

Peach, Brie, & Basil Panini

Peach Brie Basil Panini

Grilled Cheese Croutons

Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese Croutons


Grilled Cheese 7 Ways - Infographic
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Comments

  • Robert L. says:

    I ran out of your bread but took a Martin’s Sandwich Roll, cut a thin slice off the bottom and top and placed my butter and cheese the traditional way and had a very satisfying grilled cheese…..

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