We Found the Very Best Cheeses for Grilled Cheese

published Apr 10, 2018
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(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

Remember the last time you had a really good grilled cheese? I do! It was still warm from the heat of the skillet, with golden-brown, butter-kissed toast that left my fingertips just a little greasy, and a pool of gooey melted cheese that seeped through the slices with each bite. True to its name, the cheese is what truly makes this iconic sandwich.

Take a look in any cheese case and there are no shortage of choices when it comes to choosing this sandwich’s namesake ingredient. But when it comes to grilled cheese, not all cheese it right for the job. You decide what your best grilled cheese looks like — old-school classic or new and modern — and we’ll tell you the very best grocery store cheese for your sandwich.

If Your Best Grilled Cheese Is Classic Through and Through

If your idea of a grilled cheese MVP is a no-frills, tried-and-true classic made on two slices of buttery white sandwich bread, there is no better filling than a few slices of neon-hued American cheese. This is the grilled cheese we grew up on, the one we still make when the nostalgia hits, and order at diners. We know exactly what we’re in for when we take that first bite.

Say what you will about American cheese, but it is the most reliably melty choice for making the best classic grilled cheese sandwich. This cheese melts like a dream, every single time. It doesn’t bring a lot in terms of flavor, but that’s okay because when it comes to a classic grilled cheese we’re in it for the super-melty center that seeps through the butter-tinged toast.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

If Your Best Grilled Cheese Is All About the Upgrade

When making grilled cheese, great meltability and flavor are the most important qualities to consider in your cheese selection. That’s why a combination of sharp cheddar and Monterey jack are the best cheeses when you want to step up your grilled cheese game. Sharp cheddar — your choice of yellow or white — brings the flavor while still melting nicely, while Monterey jack brings top-notch meltability.

For the best cheddar-Jack grilled cheese, always start with a block of each cheese and grate 1/4 to 1/2 cup of each, per sandwich, before getting started. Grating the cheeses for a grilled cheese leads to faster, more even melting. I know they’re convenient, but it’s best to skip the bags of the pre-shredded stuff since they contain stabilizers and don’t melt as well.

Try this combo when you want an upgrade on classic grilled cheese that still feels familiar and tell us what you think. In the meantime, we want to know what your version of the best grilled cheese is!