Why It's A Bad Idea To Use Thick Cheese Slices For Grilled Cheese

You've had a gnarly night out and it's four in the morning. Your kid has just come home from school and says they're hungry. It's a normal Tuesday afternoon. The one thing these situations all have in common is that they can all be drastically improved by a grilled cheese sandwich. 

On the surface, it's the simplest of sandwiches with just three ingredients: bread, cheese, and butter. But it can be dressed up with toppings as fancy as this lobster grilled cheese, or paired with a classic tomato soup for an adult-sized meal with kid-approved taste.

Unless you're lactose intolerant or vegan, it might be tough to imagine that "more cheese" could be a problem, especially when making grilled cheese. But, it's no stretch of the imagination to say that overloading your sandwich with cheese is a big mistake. How is this possible? And can we ever recover? (The latter answer, of course, is "yes," but the former is a bit more complicated. Let's get into it.)

Choose the right cheese and the right slice

According to The Kitchn, ultra-thick cheese slices won't cook all the way through. Instead of melty pull-apart cheese, you'll end up biting into a solid brick of unmelted cheese. For an ideal bread-to-cheese ratio, it recommends a third to a quarter cup of cheese per sandwich. Food Network offers an even simpler ratio, advising the use of two slices of cheese between two slices of bread.

To ensure a gooey bite, Bon Appétit recommends setting yourself up for success by selecting a cheese prone to melting. It suggests American or cheddar, but cautions grilled-cheese-heads to steer clear of feta, Manchego, and parmesan because they take longer to melt. We like semi-firm varieties like taleggio, fontina, and Gruyère.

In the same vein, steer clear of too-thick bread for the dream grilled cheese sandwich. HuffPost suggests half-inch thick bread for optimal melting. That thick artisanal bread, it says, will burn before the heat gets a chance to travel through and melt your cheese.