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Fetch’s Ultimate Grilled Cheese Guide: Ingredients & Recipes

By David

December 14, 2023

Some of the best meals are also some of the simplest, so you can probably guess how to make a grilled cheese sandwich: put cheese between bread, grill until crispy on each side. Simple meals need every ingredient to shine, though. What’s the best cheese for grilled cheese? The best bread? Should you use butter or mayo? We have the answers here in Fetch’s ultimate guide to the grilled cheese sandwich.

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What is the Best Cheese for Grilled Cheese?

From extra sharp cheddar to mozzarella to feta to gouda, cheeses often have strong, distinct flavors. Which is the best cheese for a grilled cheese sandwich? That depends. Here are some of our favorites:

  • Yellow American
  • Cheddar
  • Monterey Jack
  • Gouda
  • Pepper Jack
  • Havarti
  • Provolone
  • Gruyère

Whichever you choose, here’s our secret tip: the best cheese is a shredded cheese. Shreds melt faster, giving you a gooey grilled cheese without the risk of burning your bread. Sometimes the best cheese is the most affordable one, in which case, go with the classic Kraft singles cheese slices.

What is the Best Bread for Grilled Cheese?

If you want your cheese to take center stage, you might want to go classic: the whitest, fluffiest bread you know. Looking to branch out? Here are nine of the best breads for grilled cheese:

  • Rye
  • Baguette
  • Ciabatta
  • Multigrain
  • Brioche
  • Sourdough
  • Focaccia
  • Texas Toast
  • Your favorite homemade bread

Don’t be afraid to branch out; you might discover your new favorite bread for a grilled cheese.

Butter or Mayo for Grilled Cheese: Which is Better?

If you’ve never even thought of this question, you’re not alone. Using mayo for your grilled cheese used to be a secret of diners and chefs, but the internet has spilled the beans: you should be asking whether to use butter or mayo for your grilled cheese. But which is better?

  • Butter is better for grilled cheeses if you want them to taste familiar. If grilled cheese is your comfort food, there’s a good chance you grew up with buttered grilled cheeses.
  • Mayo is better for grilled cheeses if you want a crispy sandwich that’s not likely to burn due to its higher smoke point. Using mayo instead lets the flavors of your best cheeses and breads shine.

Text reading, "Did you know? While many butter their bread for grilled cheese, mayo actually has a higher smoke point, which means your bread won't burn as easily," picture over background with grilled cheese sandwich

Will you make your next grilled cheese with mayo instead of butter?

How to Make a Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Whether you choose butter or mayo, how to make a grilled cheese sandwich is pretty straightforward.

On the Stove

Stovetop pictured in front of orange background with grilled cheese sandwiches

  1. Take two pieces of bread.
  2. Divide your cheese in half.
  3. Spread 1 tbsp butter or mayo on one side of each piece of bread.
  4. Place your cheese on the dry side of your slices of bread.
  5. Put 1 tbsp butter into a nonstick skillet over medium heat.
  6. Place both pieces of bread into the skillet, cheese up.
  7. Cook until bread is golden and the cheese has started to melt (about 2 minutes).
  8. Use a spatula to carefully flip one half of your grilled cheese onto the other half.
  9. Cook until cheese is melty (about 30 seconds more).

In an Air Fryer

Air fryer pictured in front of orange background with grilled cheese sandwiches

  1. Set your air fryer to 400 degrees.
  2. Spread one side of each slice of bread with 1 tbsp butter or mayo.
  3. Place one slice, mayo side down, into the air fryer basket.
  4. Top with all of the cheese you want to use.
  5. Place the other slice, mayo side up, on top of the cheese.
  6. Cook until golden and crispy, about 3 minutes per side.

In the Oven

Oven pictured in front of orange background with grilled cheese sandwiches

  1. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Prepare your grilled cheeses how you like them.
  3. Place your sandwiches onto a cookie sheet.
  4. Bake for 10 minutes, flipping halfway through cooking.

In the Microwave

Microwave pictured in front of orange background with grilled cheese sandwiches

  1. Toast two slices of bread in a toaster until golden brown.
  2. Remove bread from your toaster.
  3. Quickly spread butter or mayo on one side of each.
  4. Place cheese on the dry side of one slice, then place the second slice of bread on top, butter up.
  5. Place on a microwave-safe plate and microwave for 15 to 30 seconds (until cheese is melted).

In a College Dorm with a Clothes Iron

Clothes iron pictured in front of orange background with grilled cheese sandwiches

  1. Plug in your iron, set it to its hottest setting and if it has a steam setting, turn it off.
  2. Place a square of aluminum foil on a flat surface.
  3. Spread 1 tbsp of butter or mayo onto two slices of bread.
  4. Place one slice, buttered side down, onto the foil.
  5. Layer your cheese(s), then close your sandwich with a slice of bread, butter up.
  6. Wrap the foil around the whole sandwich.
  7. Take your hot iron and press lightly on top of the foil.
  8. After about 5 minutes, check on your sandwich.
  9. Flip your foil-wrapped grilled cheese back over and iron the other side for about 5 minutes.

If you’re making a dorm room grilled cheese, you should download the Fetch rewards app and rack up points toward gift cards for your next grocery trip.

How Many Calories is a Grilled Cheese Sandwich?

Using white bread and one slice of American cheese, a grilled cheese comes to 378 calories. Most people do more than slide some cheese between two pieces of bread, though. How many calories your grilled cheese sandwich has will depend on the ingredients you use:

  • Butter: You’ll add 102 calories onto your total for each tablespoon of butter you use in your grilled cheese.
  • Mayo: Making your next grilled cheese with mayo instead of butter? Hellman’s brand has 90 calories in a tablespoon.
  • Cheese: Plain American cheese is 94 calories per slice, but if you go fat free, it’s just 42 calories. Colby cheese has 112 calories per slice. 
  • Bread: Like cheese, your bread is going to be roughly the same number of calories whether you go wheat or white, though if you’re looking to eat a bit healthier, go with the whole wheat.

Hint: Most people put more than one slice of cheese on their grilled cheeses, so don’t forget to count them up if you need to know how many calories are in your grilled cheese.

When is National Grilled Cheese Day?

Is today National Grilled Cheese Day? If your calendar says today is April 12, then it sure is! National Grilled Cheese Day is celebrated annually on April 12. While you may wonder why there’s an actual recognized day for this particular comfort food, I may in turn wonder why you’d want to deny us any opportunity to celebrate this classic, easy-to-make, hot and gooey delicacy.

If you’re wondering how best to celebrate National Grilled Cheese Day, I can think of one way that seems particularly appropriate: how about by cooking up a grilled cheese at home? If that seems too boring, you could also try one of these interesting twists on the traditional grilled cheese:

Can Dogs Eat Grilled Cheese?

Cheese can be a great, occasional treat for a puppy, but dogs shouldn’t eat grilled cheese sandwiches. Eating too much cheese can lead to obesity and pancreatitis, and dairy generally causes an upset stomach in dogs. That’s to say nothing of the butter and/or mayonnaise.

If Fido snatches your lunch from the table, keep an eye on him. While many dogs can eat a grilled cheese, they shouldn’t (and you won’t have much fun cleaning up after your pet, either). 

What Goes with Grilled Cheese? An Easy Tomato Soup Recipe!

When you’ve chosen the best bread and/or cheese for a grilled cheese sandwich, then pretty much anything goes with it. But soup is a classic pairing, and we have an easy tomato soup recipe for your next grilled cheese: heat a can of tomato soup up while grilling your sandwich.

Looking for something a bit more creative? This easy tomato soup recipe is a perfect pair to your grilled cheese:

  1. In a large saucepan, melt 4 tbsp butter over medium heat.
  2. Take half of a large onion and cut it into wedges.
  3. Add onion wedges, a 28-oz can of tomatoes, 1 ½ cups water (or stock) and ½ teaspoon of salt to your melted butter.
  4. Bring to a simmer, then cook for 40 minutes, uncovered.
  5. Blend the soup and season to taste.

Add Grilled Cheese Ingredients to Your Fetch Grocery List

Bread. Cheese. Butter (or mayonnaise). Grilled cheese ingredients are easy to remember, but you’ll get the most out of your grocery shopping if you add them to a list in your Fetch app. See which groceries have special offers and how you can earn extra points when you snap your receipts.

Topics: Food and Drink, Shopping Lists



David Fairbanks is a writer, science educator and Chicagoan fueled by coffee. He's written about everything from Ferraris to handcrafted pet urns to Superman, and he genuinely loves loyalty/rewards programs.