Should You Butter The Bread Or The Pan For Grilled Cheese?

Who knew that two slices of bread and some cheese in the middle could create one of the most mouth-watering comfort foods known to society? Golden-brown and toasted on the outside, but warm and gooey on the inside, a grilled cheese sandwich embodies textural contrast and buttery, cheesy flavors. It's also the perfect dipping companion for roasted tomato soup.

Such simplicity can be perfected with the help of science, and as Inverse states, the chosen cheese should be manchego, gouda, gruyére, or at the very least, some type of mild cheese. This is because of their 5.3 to 5.5 pH levels, which maintain the gooey structure of melted cheese. If sharp cheese or any low pH varieties are used, curdling will take place and create a mess on your skillet.

Though the cheese is the real star of the show here, the bread is an important vessel for holding such gooey goodness in place. It's also an opportunity to add flavor via the use of butter. But should the butter be spread evenly on each bread slice or dropped into a warm skillet? We'll shed some light on this culinary conundrum.

Team bread all the way

Sure, it's easier to melt a little butter in a skillet, throw in the bread and cheese, and call it a day. But if you take the extra time to butter each slice, you'll be rewarded with extra flavor and better browning, per Southern Living. Today also mentions that buttering the bread will decrease the chances of any burning that may happen.

You can also swap out the butter for mayonnaise. It might seem strange at first, but mayonnaise adds even more browning potential and flavor to the bread, and you won't even taste it aside from mild tangy notes. If you're going this route, Cook's Illustrated emphasizes using full-fat mayonnaise instead of its low-fat counterpart. This is because light mayo has less fat and more water, which results in a sad, wet grilled cheese sandwich that won't crisp up well.

So if you've been on team skillet this whole time, try joining team bread for a bit, because the butter-on-bread method will result in an ultimate grilled cheese sandwich that tastes like cheesy heaven.