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How To Make The Perfect Nostalgic Grilled Cheese

Grilled Cheese is one of the most nostalgic American foods on the planet. If you’ve had a childhood, you’ve had a grilled cheese. This is the true classic, and it's really the only recipe you need. I created a fancier version as well that involves a little more technique, but it still tastes like coming home from school on a Tuesday and whipping up an easy lunch. Both are perfect grilled cheese recipes.


2 slices of thick white bread

2 slices of american cheese

2 tbsp butter

Fancy Version

2 slices of thick white bread

1.5 slices of american cheese

Equal parts sliced gouda (smoked or unsmoked)

Medium cheddar to crisp around the outside of the bread

In my opinion, there are 2 versions of a perfect grilled cheese. The first is the classic ooey gooey american cheese white bread one, and the other is a little fancier, but still reminiscent of the dish from childhood. Good news is that both are really simple.

At the stove, turn your burner to medium low and begin melting a tablespoon of unsalted butter in a 10in nonstick pan. Add one slice of bread, top with 2 slices of perfectly delicious american cheese and hit it with the top bread slice. Let that slowly brown for about 6 minutes or so and then give it a flip. That seems long, but the cheese needs time to fully melt. Add another tablespoon of butter and move it around the pan. Another 6 minutes or so and the bread should be brown and the cheese should be perfect. This is exactly what you know and love, but it’s the ideal way of making it. Simple perfection.

Now for a fancier version, we first need to address bread. In my experience, this style of thick white bread is absolutely the way to go. Something like a sourdough is delicious, but the crust becomes like a shard of glass that cuts the roof of my mouth. You could use it if you want, but it’s not for me.

Gouda is going to bring salty sweetness, and american is going to bring meltiness. This creates a gooey, creamy, salty center that absolutely crushes any childhood version without feeling unapproachable. Hard cheeses like pecorino and parmesan are a little too greasy to really work in a sandwich like this. Medium cheddar is going to bring flavor and texture without being too overpowering. I tried this with sharp cheddar and it was too strong, it took over the other cheeses. We’re going to use the cheese as a crunchy skirt. For the build, just put the american and gouda on for now. Cut your medium cheddar in a way that allows you to add it to the pan later.

Here’s a list of cheeses I like for it so you can experiment with your own blends:

American - Melty, creamy, salty

Brie - melty, subtle, buttery

Cheddar - sharp, nutty, greasy

Fontina - nutty, pungent, melty

Gouda - mild, creamy, smooth

Gruyere - salty, nutty, savory

Havarti - buttery, creamy, melty

Jack - melty, subtle, mild

Queso Oaxaca - stringy, melty, mild

Let’s stick with the same technique, low and slow for melting. Give it a flip once the first side is browned and the cheese has melted enough to hold everything together, usually around 6 minutes. Add your cheddar cheese around the edges of the bread so it will melt, become crunchy, and stick to the crust. Add another tablespoon of butter if you need it and let the second side achieve beautiful browning. Keep the heat over medium low to be sure that the cheddar in the pan isn't burning. Once the cheddar has formed a crust and is no longer molten, you're good to remove it from the pan. With a sandwich like this, there really is only one way to cut it, diagonally is scientifically better who’s gonna argue with that.



Hey, I'm Cameron, and I'm glad you're here. I post new recipes every week, all intended to build your confidence in the kitchen, each one with video tutorials to help. Craving something specific? Drop me a note in my contact form! 

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