A Grilled Cheese Sandwich

There is nothing so wonderful as a well-made grilled-cheese sandwich on a cold, dark, rainy day; where the cheese is melted to a puddle on good toasted bread; dry and crisp, not greasy; not white in some spots and dark in others; the way my mother made them: crunchy, bendy, buttery, melty; simple, plain perfection.  Here’s how it’s done. 

First off, don’t butter the inside of the bread at all; there’s enough oil in the cheese to take care of the inside of the sandwich; I only butter the outsides.  Just lay out two pieces of healthy whole-grain bread (sourdough also makes a wonderful grilled cheese).  Cover one piece of bread with slices of good cheddar cheese.

Then cover the cheese with the other slice of bread, and butter the top with soft real butter.

Then melt a pat of butter over medium-high heat in a skillet.

Put the unbuttered side of the sandwich down, and cover the pan; reduce the heat to medium low.  In a few minutes, take the lid off, and press down hard on the sandwich with a spatula.  This spatula-pressing is the secret to a tight well-made sandwich. Cover again and keep cooking until . . .

. . . it’s evenly toasted; turn it over, press down on it hard with the spatula, and cover the pan again.

Cook until it’s perfect, when the melty goodness begins to leak out of the middle, the edges are crunchy and a buttery-brown toasted color.  Scoop it out of the pan and put it on a serving plate and cut it in half.  This is a deeeeelicious grilled cheese sandwich.

Perfect for a Super Bowl, with a cup of soup, grilled cheese’s make a simple cozy dinner by the fireplace, or take it to the TV for lunch; turn on a wonderful old movie, like The Bishop’s Wife with Cary Grant, Loretta Young, and David Niven; put your feet up.

Then take a nap.  Happy rainy day girlfriends!

44 Responses to A Grilled Cheese Sandwich

  1. Jayne says:

    this is just about my most favorite sit down “kosy” in front of the TV dinners!you’re grilled cheese looks “ta-riffick” too! Thank you for sharing! heeheehee
    (I have been a fan of yours for a long time….I think you are just delightful Susan and you’re work brings a smile to my heart!!

  2. Phyl D says:

    Mmmm….the perfect meal I must remember to make once winter kicks in for real and I find myself, yet again, digging my car out of the snow. My other favorite “quick meal” for a cold winter night is scrambled eggs and baked beans on toast (while watching Judi Dench’s Britcom, “As Time Goes By”….

    • Janet says:

      Oh Phyl D – thanks for your post too. I LOVE scrambled eggs and baked beans on toast! No one else in my family does though – nice to see someone else does. Veddy British as you know. I heard it’s one of Prince Charles’ favorite meals! :>)

  3. Janet says:

    I’m salivating looking at that just-finished grilled cheese. And I now know what I’m going to make for supper tonight! Lobster bisque from the freezer to the microwave – and grilled cheese. PS – my mom [only 6 kids, not 8 like your family] also said to butter only the outsides – and it has to be REAL butter. She also said the best toasted cheese was like the best applesauce – you have to use more than one kind of cheese [apple]. Ours were usually cheddar and Muenster. Yummo!

  4. Betty says:

    Love grilled cheese,but never thought to use cheddar. I love seeing you have not taken the old counter tops off. I have the same in my home that we bought to re-furbish. I have lost the cuting board(it cracked) and I need to replace it. It is handy to have it there and I have missed it.
    I use to be a member of the friends of Gladys Taber. Love the photo of you & Gilly. I can remember when you first started your addition to the fan club. It has been years since I have come on the sight and It is nice to see you are here with so much to offer her fans.

  5. Charlotte Birdwell says:

    Good morning.

    I do agree with you about the wonderful qualities a grilled cheese sandwich should possess. I love the crusty/crunchy and the smooth melted cheese.

    Rather than using a skillet, I usually use my cast iron flat griddle. What a delightful toasted crunch that gives.

    Yesterday morning, we received about 2 1/2 inches of rain (not stormy, but heavy) and I was perusing the how-to-cook selections. For lunch, I had a bowl of tomato parmesan soup and a lovely grilled cheese! Boy, did that hit the rainy-day crave spot!

    Thanks so much for sharing your love of beauty, nature, and great tasting food!


  6. Barbara T, Wolverine Lake MI says:

    a friend and I were at a restaurant that served an upscale grilled cheese sandwich and learned a new trick. instead of buttering the outside of the bread, they used Pumpkin Butter (sold wherever you buy jams and jellies) – makes for an interesting sweet tasty crunch. we always serve with Tomato/Basil/Red Pepper Soup. mmmmmm

  7. Joan Lesmeister says:

    Mmmm, & thanks for the cover the pan tip! I also like grilled cheese with tomato soup! 🙂

  8. Judy Young says:

    I made a comment about an hour or so ago on the grilled cheese sandwich and it was “awaiting moderation”…but now it has vanished. What happened to it I wonder. It looks so yummy, I was wondering what brand of bread you used and what type of cheese, I want to make one just like yours Susan!

    • sbranch says:

      Oh, let me see. That’s just a normal whole grain bread, not sure of the brand, but if you use sour dough, you won’t go wrong. It’s cheddar cheese — which is white on the east coast. Yellow where I’m from in California. Sorry about how late I am answering this. I have to approve all the comments (because I get SO MUCH spam, and we don’t want that) … and sometimes, especially lately, I’m a little slow!

  9. Lynn Maust says:

    Your sandwich making looks so homey….and yummy. Now, I use olive oil IN THE PAN instead of buttering the outside of the toast. Try THAT sometime!

  10. Debra V. ~ Southern California says:

    Going to make this for lunch with that cup of soup you suggested. Looks great. I love this combo on a cool day. Thanks for sharing the recipe with us.

  11. Karen Traweek says:

    My mother always used American cheese, but when we went to the county fair when I was a kid, they used cheddar and I fell in love with that and that is what I use as an adult. A little sharpness – not sharp, but just a bit of a bite (medium) makes it ever so tasty!! I like the idea of mixing in another kind and will have to try a “double”cheese sandwich. To me, this is such a comfort food!! Your’s looks very yummy!!

  12. Georgia Franks (Canadian living in Alabama) says:

    I like to spread a light coating of mayonnaise on the outside of the bread. The grill cheese cooks evenly and does not burn. I sometimes will make it with thin slices of onion and tomotoes in between with the cheese. Messy but good! I too like baked beans over toast. Nothing like a grill cheese and tomato soup on a cold day!

  13. PAT says:

    I’m glad i’m eating my lunch right now, or i’d be asking my boss if i could run to the store to get the goodies to make the grilled cheese and tomato soup!

  14. Faith rose says:

    Susan I love grilled cheese sandwiches! Sometimes i like to grill them and then add cut up tomato and spinach and put it in the sandwich! Its really good! It makes it a little healthier! Well that made me hungry mmmmmm! Faith

  15. Annette McD says:

    I’m with Pat–you’ve got to have a mug of hot tomato soup with that sandwich! It makes you feel like a kid again when you come in out of the rain, change into dry,warm clothes, put on your fuzzy slippers then find a nice spot to curl up with your soup and sandwich. Your kitchen is so cozy ; it isn’t cold and mechanical like a lot of the kitchens you see in homes these days. It is charming, interesting and has so much personality in it. You create quite a welcoming atmosphere and make your house a home. -Annettemac

  16. Debby Suovanen says:

    Oh, this recipe makes the perfect grilled cheese sandwich. It is just the way I always made them for my kids. When my son got married, his wife never buttered the bread before putting the sandwich in the pan. She said it didn’t need it because there was butter in the pan. She never understood why he liked his Mom’s grilled cheese better than hers. She thought it was just because they were “Mom’s”. We told her it was because I buttered the bread first, but she would never believe us that that would make any difference and would not change the way she made the sandwiches. (P.S. They are divorced now. Do you think….) Your recipes are delightful. Thank you for sharing!!

  17. Carol King says:

    Isn’t it funny how most of grew up with the all-American meal, grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup. It connects all of us with a warm thread of tradition. Your grilled cheese are exactly how my mother did them and how I taught my husband(the cook) to do them. Brings back wonderful warm memories. Thanks…

  18. Joan Lesmeister says:

    Don’t have the ingredients right now, will make a list, but I just had to admire the pictures, & I think I can even smell the buttery goodness..yummmmm. And, tomato soup & dill pickles also on that list!!! Thx!!! xoxo

  19. melissa quarles from montgomery ny says:

    the epitome of comfort food! so glad you are home safely! wish all us girlfriends could sit down and have one together! thank you, as always, for sharing!

  20. Donna Biwman says:

    Love the beautiful plate you displayed your sandwich on. I have some of these plates. They were my mom’s. Vernon Kilns – May Flower

  21. Karen Farrell says:

    We love a regular grilled cheese I also only butter the outside but also occasionally I like to add a little bar b que sauce with the cheese. Yummy.

  22. Lynn Cunningham says:

    I’ve always buttered both sides of the sandwich, but I like your idea of buttering one slice and then putting a pat of butter in the skillet for the first side ~ and I’m going to give it a try. Your grilled cheese sandwich looked perfectly melty and yummy! Add tomato soup, and you have food heaven!

  23. Ti Chambers says:

    Love a good grill cheese — I do mine like yours however I have a couple variations: my Dad’s was Jack cheese with Ortega chilis. My current fav is mixing cheeses (muenster & cheddar) + a big piece of roasted red pepper. Cut into 4 triangles – makes it feel like it lasts longer 🙂 Oh and tomato soup.

  24. LynAnn says:

    Love me some Soup n Grillcheese.

  25. Shauna says:

    Strange, I know, but my sandwich has to be cut diagonally … looks delicious!

  26. Darla Unger says:

    I’m sitting at work reading your blog , now I can’t wait to have a grilled cheese when I get home. Loved listening to the rain tried to download but wouldn’t let me, I’ll try later. Main reason for commenting was that my first thing I ever cooked was a grilled cheese I was in 6th grade my best friend (who I am still friends with after 52 years) showed me how. I’m trying your way tonight. Yummy

  27. Susan Inglis says:

    Finally, a rainy day in Metro West in Massachusetts. Such a bad drought all summer. The foliage and animals are rejoicing, I’m sure. Today is the first day of my chilly weather favorite comfort food for lunch. Your grilled cheese looks magnificent. Thank you for posting it for us.

  28. Lina says:

    I totally agree with your cooking method, Susan. Call me weird, but a grilled cheese sandwich is super-delicious for breakfast too! Hot cup of coffee with half n half and some fruit. Yum.

    • sbranch says:

      I don’t call you weird because I think a cup of stew is also delicious for breakfast, or chicken soup! Grilled cheese is just toast, and cheese…perfect for breakfast! xoxo Have a wonderful day Lina!

      • kathiellen says:

        One of my guilty pleasures is a grilled cheese sandwich made this way, using Cheddar Cheese or American Cheese topped with a layer of peeled and thinly sliced apples of your choice and a light sprinkle of cinnamon….then grill it go perfection. Mama Mia!!!

  29. Suzanne in Colorado says:

    I fry mine just like you do, Susan, but with round sliced dill pickles inside that melt right into the cheese!
    Just talking about it is making me hungry!!
    Thanks for sharing!!

  30. Karen says:

    Your grilled cheese sandwich looks delicious! I can’t wait to try it!!! It is one of my favorite comfort foods. (PS I also love “The Bishop’s Wife”)

  31. Candice says:

    We enjoy them with tomato soup and always have to “dip” them!! 🙂

  32. jodi j says:

    I love how you can make a grilled cheese exactly like I do, but your beautiful presentation and appreciation of one makes me appreciate it even more.
    *yum!* Just like you to make something ordinary appear newly extraordinary!!!

    • sbranch says:

      I had to teach Joe how it’s done ~ very many places, including the restaurant Joe used to run, are in too much of a hurry, OR they want to goo it up with a hundred different fillings … which are nice too, but not a real grilled cheese (as my mom did, my expert teacher, not to be argued with!).

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