For the meltiest grilled cheese, start with a cold pan.

Golden brown and crispy on the outside but creamy and gooey on the inside, grilled cheese is one of the best sandwiches to enjoy at home. You can make grilled cheeses as a quick lunch or snack, or add them to soups and salads for dinner. There are also endless combinations for grilled cheese – classic white bread with American cheese or hearty rye bread with sharp cheddar, grainy mustard and apples.

A problem every grilled cheese maker has? Timing! It can be difficult to melt the cheese before toasting both sides of the bread properly.

While there are a few tricks to combining these two tasks—grating cheese, for example—there's nothing I've tried better than this unorthodox method: Start your grilled cheese in a cold pan rather than preheating it..

Just Recipes / Alison Beckel

How to make the most melted cheese ever.

Achieving the perfect grilled cheese is all about timing: you want the bread to be brown and crispy, and the cheese must be melted. Starting in a cold pan means getting the bread warm, melting the cheese before it browns, giving both sides full time to do their job.

Start by choosing your heaviest-bottomed skillet. I like cast iron but stainless steel and non-stick work well too. Place it on the stove but do not heat it yet.

Slice your bread if needed. Ideally, the bread is about a finger-width thick like most commercially sliced ​​bread. If you are using more than one variety, grate your cheeses and put them in a bowl. This is also a good time to add any extras — apple slices, pickled jalapeños, or grainy mustard.

When you make the sandwich, coat only one side of each bread slice with room temperature butter. You can make your own sandwich on your cutting board, but you might find it a little awkward, especially with buttered bread and loose cheese.

Simple tip!

Leave the mayo for the outside of your bread — the inside of your sandwich is fine. Mayo will burn using this method.

Instead, sprinkle your cold pan with salt and then add a slice of bread, butter side down, then make your sandwich on top of that, sprinkle on the cheese and top with another slice of bread. Also layer on extra, butter side up. Don't forget to season the top of the bread with salt too!

You can definitely cook more than one sandwich in the pan at a time depending on the size of your pan. Two sandwiches fit nicely in my favorite cast iron.

Once you've got your sandwich in the pan, it's time to turn on the heat.. Start over medium heat to warm the bread and melt the cheese. As the pan heats, you'll smell the butter and cheese melting, before you hear the crisp bread. For most stoves, it will take five to seven minutes for the first side to cool and brown with butter. Use a thin flat spatula to flip to the other side and cook for four to five minutes.

Transfer your grilled cheese to a cutting board and re-season with a little salt, slice and enjoy immediately. If you need more than two grilled cheeses at a time, you may want to consider the sheet pan method or you may want to cool your skillet off the burner for about 10 minutes before starting the second round. .

This cold pan starter is bound to give you the perfect grilled cheese—melty cheese meets crisp bread at just the right moment—with a little patience.

Simple Recipes / Photo by Victor Protacio / Food Styling by Ruth Blackburn / Prop Styling by Claire Spollen

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