Why Some Cheeses Aren't Good For Grilled Cheese

Of all the sandwiches out there, it's pretty indisputable that the grilled cheese is one of the shining stars of this food group. After all, how could you go wrong with a thick layer of oozy, melty cheese tucked between two slices of buttery, toasty bread — sometimes gilded with add-ons such as fried eggs, strips of bacon, or even apples. Many of us have fond childhood memories of mom or dad griddling up the classic American cheese and white bread version as an after-school snack, or perhaps of learning how to prepare the treat for ourselves without any help. Undoubtedly, many of us still indulge in a grilled cheese every now and again, though more likely using thick slices of sourdough bread and sharp cheddar this time around.

There are few snacks easier to prepare than grilled cheese, which, after all, calls for just bread, sliced or grated cheese, and butter (or mayonnaise) in which to toast the sandwich. But if you've ever piled your favorite cheese onto bread, attempted to griddle it, and found that the result was less indulgent than you expected, read on, because as it turns out, not all cheeses are suitable for making this snack classic.

You need to use a melting cheese for grilled cheese

A grilled cheese sandwich is among the most satisfying of bites, ideally serving up a contrast between crunchy toasted bread and soft, oozing cheese plus the richness of all the butter the sandwich is fried in. But as simple as you might think it is to make a perfect grilled cheese, the reality is a bit more complicated and relies on selecting the very best cheese for the job.

While many of us probably no longer favor the American cheese version we grew up on, the truth is using American in a grilled cheese makes sense, as this cheese (or cheese-like product) melts unbelievably well, according to Bon Appétit. To make a good grilled cheese sandwich, you've got to select a cheese that melts: Bon Appétit suggests mozzarella, cheddar, gruyère, fontina, and provolone, for example. As delicious as semi-firm cheeses like feta, halloumi, queso fresco, and paneer are, they just won't melt even if they're exposed to heat for quite a while (via the Austin American-Statesman). So if you have some of those kicking around in your fridge, better to make a cheese plate with them, and save your cheddar and provolone for the next time a grilled cheese craving strikes.