How To Make The Perfect Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Last updated: June 5th, 2024

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If you’re wondering how to make the perfect grilled cheese sandwich, look no further! We’ve mastered the art of making grilled cheese down to a science.

A toasted grilled cheese sandwich cut in half diagonally

Grilled cheese is one of our specialties. Alex and I both grew up on grilled cheese sandwiches and have always relied on them for quick and easy meals. After all these years, we’ve perfected the art of grilled cheese-making down to a science! So we figured it was time to share our secrets for how to make the perfect grilled cheese sandwich at home.

Sure, you might think making grilled cheese is no big deal – it’s just cheese, bread, and butter. How hard could it be? But when you’ve made as many grilled cheese sandwiches as we have, you learn that there are a few tricks to getting that perfect ooey-gooey melted cheese between two slices of crispy golden-brown bread. So if you want to know how to make the best grilled cheese sandwich ever, you’ve come to the right place!

The perfect grilled cheese sandwich being pulled apart into two halves

How To Make The Perfect Grilled Cheese Sandwich

So how do you make the best grilled cheese sandwich? To start, there are three very important things to consider:

  1. Choose the right bread. High quality bread can make a grilled cheese sandwich go from good to great. Our recommendation for the perfect grilled cheese is fresh sourdough from the bakery because of its fluffy texture and slightly tangy flavor. Not only does this bread crisp super well while staying soft on the inside of the sandwich, but it also tastes amazing when paired with gooey American cheese.
  2. Choose the right cheese. Similarly, high quality cheese yields the best results when making a grilled cheese sandwich. You don’t want to use Kraft Singles here. This kind of pre-packaged sliced cheese doesn’t always melt the best and often tastes very processed. For the perfect grilled cheese, we recommend getting yellow American cheese from the deli. It’s softer and richer than white American cheese and so much more flavorful than prepackaged singles, which means extra gooeyness and more classic grilled cheese flavor.
  3. Choose the right pan. You’ll be cooking your grilled cheese in a pan on the stove, and different types of pans yield different results. We recommend using a cast iron griddle for the best heat distribution and most control over cook time when it comes to making the perfect grilled cheese. If you don’t have cast iron, no worries – we’ll give you tips for how to make the best grilled cheese without burning the bread no matter what type of pan you use.

Next, you’ll need to know how to assemble the perfect grilled cheese and how to properly cook it on the stove.

Assembling The Perfect Grilled Cheese

We use only three ingredients for easy assembly and that nostalgic grilled cheese flavor:

  1. Butter
  2. Sourdough bread
  3. Yellow American cheese

We recommend making grilled cheese without mayo because butter provides a much nicer flavor and practically the same crisp. Especially when using sourdough, the butter will melt into the bread, giving your grilled cheese a deliciously buttery flavor among that crispy, crunchy texture. It really doesn’t get much better than that!

Two halves of a perfectly gooey grilled cheese sandwich stacked on a plate

To assemble the perfect grilled cheese, here are a few tips:

  1. Start building your grilled cheese right on the pan before turning on the stove. This makes for easier clean-up, plus starting with a cold pan (instead of preheating it) helps you cook the grilled cheese “low and slow.” Read more about this below!
  2. Use spreadable or softened butter to easily cover the entire slice of bread without ripping it. Make sure to really slather it across the whole piece of bread, so that you get an even crisp on the outside of the sandwich.
  3. Place one slice of bread butter side down on the pan, then layer slices of yellow American cheese on top. Rip the cheese into pieces if needed to cover the whole surface of the bread evenly, so every bite is filled with deliciously gooey cheesiness.
  4. Place the other slice of bread butter side up to close the sandwich, then turn on the stove.

Cooking Grilled Cheese On The Stove

How do you make the best grilled cheese sandwich? The trick to getting the perfect balance of crispy bread and melty cheese is to cook low and slow in a pan on the stove. Here’s what that means: cook over a small flame or medium-low heat, and have patience!

This is the number one thing to remember if you want to make grilled cheese without burning the bread. If you cook it over too high heat, you’ll end up crisping the bread way too fast without giving the cheese any time to melt. The lower the heat, the longer your cheese has to get nice and gooey before the bread crisps too much. But heat that’s too low will never crisp the bread. So medium-low heat and a little bit of patience go a long way in making the ultimate grilled cheese sandwich.

A toasted grilled cheese sandwich served with tomato soup

How Long To Cook Grilled Cheese On The Stove

How long it takes to make the perfect grilled cheese sandwich on the stove depends on what type of pan you use, and whether you have a gas or electric cooktop. In any case, here’s what you’ll want to do to make the best grilled cheese:

  1. Cook the grilled cheese sandwich until the bottom is golden-brown and crispy, and the cheese is starting to look melty.
  2. Then flip the sandwich over and let it cook again until the other side is golden-brown and crispy. If you’re cooking it over medium-low heat, the cheese should be perfectly gooey by the time both sides of the bread are crisped.

It’s important to note here that crisping the second side is often much quicker than the first. In our recipe below, we start cooking the grilled cheese without preheating the cast iron, so the pan heats up as the first side crisps. This typically takes around 10 minutes. Then once it’s time to flip, the pan is already hot – so the second side only takes about 2 to 3 minutes to crisp. Whatever you do, keep an eye on your grilled cheese sandwich as it cooks and watch for that perfect golden-brown crust on the outside of the bread. That’s how you’ll know it’s time to flip, and then know when it’s done.

Sourdough Grilled Cheese Serving Suggestions

Now that you’ve made the perfect grilled cheese sandwich, it’s time to serve and enjoy your masterpiece! Transfer the cooked grilled cheese to a cutting board and use a large, sharp knife to cut it in half. We like to cut ours on a diagonal, like so:

A perfect crispy grilled cheese sandwich cut into two halves

Here are a few of our favorite ways to serve the best grilled cheese sandwich:

  1. By itself. Revel in the gooeyness of this decadent sandwich and simply enjoy it alone. Sometimes this makes the best comfort food for lunch or a midnight snack!
  2. With tomato soup. A classic pairing, grilled cheese and tomato soup is a home run for lunch or dinner! Try our easy slow cooker tomato soup here for a Panera copycat you-pick-two meal at home.
  3. Paired with pita chips and hummus. Creamy hummus and salty pita chips are the perfect complement to this crunchy-yet-gooey grilled cheese. Pita chips and homemade hummus (get the recipe here) will forever be one of our favorite snacks to enjoy alongside a sandwich.

Or pair your grilled cheese with any one of your favorite lunch snacks! The possibilities are endless when you’ve got a crispy, crunchy, gooey, cheesy sandwich in hand.

A grilled cheese sandwich on sourdough served with tomato soup

Try the recipe below and become a master of grilled cheese sandwiches! Once you learn how to make the perfect grilled cheese, you’ll never want to settle for less. So maybe go ahead and bookmark this page while you’re at it, in case you ever need a refresher on the science behind the best grilled cheese sandwich 🙂 Don’t forget to rate, share, and let us know what you think in the comments!

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A toasted grilled cheese sandwich cut in half diagonally

The Perfect Grilled Cheese Sandwich

If you're wondering how to make the perfect grilled cheese sandwich, look no further! We've mastered the art of making grilled cheese down to a science.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 2 minutes
Cook Time 13 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Course Lunch, Main, Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 1 sandwich
Calories 732 kcal


  • 2 slices fresh sourdough bread
  • 2 to 4 teaspoons butter spreadable or softened
  • 4 slices yellow American cheese


  • Spread 1 to 2 teaspoons butter evenly on one slice of sourdough bread, then place it butter side down onto a cast iron griddle.
  • Evenly layer slices of American cheese on top of the bread, making sure to cover the entire slice of bread.
  • Spread 1 to 2 tsp butter evenly on the remaining slice of sourdough bread, then place it butter side up on top of the sandwich.
  • Cook over medium-low heat until bottom is crisped to a golden-brown color and cheese is gooey, about 10 minutes. Flip, then cook until bottom is crispy and golden-brown, another 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Transfer grilled cheese to a cutting board and slice in half. Serve immediately.


Sourdough bread: Use fresh sourdough from the bakery counter at your local market or grocery store for the best grilled cheese. The outside gets nice and crispy while the inside stays perfectly fluffy – which soaks up all the melty cheese and butter!
Butter: Be sure to use softened or spreadable butter so the bread doesn’t rip while spreading!
American cheese: Using sliced cheese from the deli counter provides the best creaminess to get the proper melt in a grilled cheese (stay away from those Kraft singles!). Yellow American cheese has a richer flavor than white American, plus it gives this sandwich that classic grilled cheese look we all love 🙂
Cooking tips: Cook times will vary based on the type of pan you use and if you have a gas or electric stove. The key is to cook over medium-low heat and have some patience! Read more in our blog post above for the best tips on how to make the perfect grilled cheese.
Serving suggestions: Grilled cheese goes great with a bowl of tomato soup (try our recipe here) or a side of pita chips and hummus!


Calories: 732kcalCarbohydrates: 70gProtein: 29gFat: 38gSaturated Fat: 21gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 106mgSodium: 2239mgPotassium: 263mgFiber: 3gSugar: 8gVitamin A: 1044IUCalcium: 947mgIron: 6mg
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Keyword american cheese, cast iron, lunch, sandwich, sourdough bread
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5 from 1 vote (1 rating without comment)

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