Ina Garten's Top Tip For Preventing Buttered Grilled Cheese From Burning

Nothing says childhood like a simple grilled cheese sandwich. The toasted bread and melted cheese running over that golden crust as you bite into it is an experience that young taste buds don't quickly forget. In a 2019 YouGov survey of over 1,200 people, the grilled cheese sandwich ranked as the most popular sandwich in the United States with 79% of respondents saying they "like" or "somewhat" like to chow down on it. However, as the saying goes, the devil is in the details. When you sink your choppers into a grilled cheese that is less than the perfection your mouth expects, it can be difficult to recover – as with the Redditor whose day got "ruined" by an unmelted fast food cheese sandwich that was billed as grilled.

Per Men's Health, a good grilled cheese starts with the bread. The site shares that when the thickness of the bread is greater than a half inch, you are asking for problems because the cheese will end up not melting while the bread burns beyond recognition. Luckily, Ina Garten has the tips and tricks for grilled cheese lovers to ensure this favorite sandwich comes out just how you like it every time. While the secret to a crispier grilled cheese may be using coconut oil to fry it in, for those who prefer to use butter, the Barefoot Contessa offers some key advice to ensure this favorite sandwich doesn't burn as you cook it.

Melt the butter

At its core, butter is a mix of milk solids (which are dairy fat), water, and a bit of protein, explains Food Network. Unfortunately, the solids don't withstand heat too well and burn pretty easily. During an episode of "Today," Ina Garten revealed that if you want to use butter to make grilled cheese and avoid the mistake of charring it in the process, there's a simple step you can add. First, she melts the butter. Then using a brush, she spreads it evenly across each slice.

Garten uses a panini press for her grilled cheese, but a frying pan works just fine if you don't own a sandwich maker. However, if you are making your grilled cheese on the stove, Men's Health warns that you need to practice patience. Cooking your sandwich on high heat will only encourage burning without the cheese melting. Instead, the site recommends setting the heat level to medium-low to produce crunchy, golden-brown goodness on the outside and help the cheese melt completely.

Grilled cheese in its simplest form is perfection, as long as you don't burn it. That said, it's also a blank canvas. You can customize a grilled cheese sandwich by incorporating a bold condiment, for instance. Garten adds chutney to hers and pairs the sandwich with tomato bisque for a classic combo. But the beauty of grilled cheese sandwiches is that you can personalize them however you like.