The Temperature Of Your Pan Is The Key To Gooey Grilled Cheese

A grilled cheese sandwich is one of the simplest of comfort foods, and yet there are many ways to mess it up. Your cheese could not melt properly, your bread could burn, or you could burn your cheese. Everyone seems to have their own grilled cheese secrets, but it turns out the key to gooey grilled cheese is as simple as turning a knob on the stove.


Sure, certain types of cheese lend themselves to melting better than others such as Colby, Swiss, or Havarti. Plus, some of us like to spice things up with a little slice of tomato, a spread of mayo, or maybe even multiple types of cheese. But sometimes it's not about what you use, rather how you use it.

I'll admit that in my 27 years of life, I have yet to achieve a perfectly melty, grilled cheese sandwich with that golden, toasted color on the bread. But before you go throwing in slices of ham or whatever else tickles your fancy in a melty sandwich, it's best to get the basics down first. Let's see how pan temperature makes for the best grilled cheese.

How to make a perfect grilled cheese

Most chefs and recipes call for a pan to be hot before you place any sort of food in it. You want a good sear on your steak? That pan better be piping hot. But in the case of a gooey grilled cheese sandwich, Simply Recipes suggests a cold pan is the secret. 


Butter up one side of each slice of bread. The website notes that mayo will not work as a substitute in this case; it has to be butter. But you can add the mayo in later on. Sprinkle a little salt in a pan and take one slice of bread, butter side down, into the pan while no heat is on. 

Now, Simply Recipes seems to also subscribe to the idea that shredding your cheese before placing it in the sandwich will lead to better gooey-ness. I think a grilled cheese should require even less work than that, but to each their own. Either way, your next step is to place the cheese on the bread slice in the pan, and whatever else is going to make up your sandwich. 

From there you can finally turn up the heat to a medium level and let that cheesy creation melt and toast up for about five to seven minutes. Take a spatula to flip your sandwich and let the other buttered side cook for four to five minutes as well. 


Is the temperature trick fool-proof?

As previously mentioned, I am not the grilled cheese goddess I wish I was. But, I always try my best. In the case of this pan temperature trick, I'd say it's the most understandable and low-effort tip I've ever received.


Starting off with a cold pan and letting it warm up to a medium heat does offer a certain level of control right off the bat that a hot pan wouldn't.The only con to this trick is that the pan will already be hot once you flip the sandwich to the other side. Therefore, you're only truly controlling the toastiness of one side all the way through and of course hoping not to overdo the melt on the cheese as you cook the second side.

All in all, this tip will still take a little practice if you're not the best at timing in the kitchen. The second side will always need a little less time to cook than the first, but make enough grilled cheeses and eventually one is bound to come out right.