The 1-Ingredient Upgrade for Better Grilled Cheese (It’s in Your Freezer)

This zero-dollar trick works every time.

<p>Simply Recipes / Getty Images</p>

Simply Recipes / Getty Images

My grandmother made the world’s best grilled cheese. She lugged out her ancient cast iron skillet and lots and lots of butter and turned out sandwiches that were so golden brown and delicious, they’d make you weep tears of joy. She served them to me with Cape Cod chips on the side and a tall glass of chocolate milk. It was as heavenly as it sounds.

Now that I'm in my mom era, grilled cheese sandwiches have a new meaning. They are my ultimate default dinner. Too busy to actually cook? Grilled cheese. Someone is sick? Grilled cheese. Soccer practice until 8 p.m.? Grilled cheese. No food in the house? There is always bread, butter, and some kind of cheese in the fridge!

While I have tried just about every grilled cheese trick in the book—mayo instead of butter on the outsides works wonders if you love crispy, golden bread!—I have a bit of a secret: I’ve never been that good at making grilled cheese sandwiches.

Sure, they're serviceable, but if I find myself in a position where I need to make a bunch of sandwiches for dinner, chances are I’m in a bit of a time crunch. And when I'm in a rush, most things go sideways. I start with the best of intentions—a heavy-bottomed pan, nice sourdough bread, cultured butter, and aged cheddar. What could go wrong? Frankly, a lot.

The problem I run into most often is that the grilled cheese is nicely browned on the outside, but the cheese is still cold and unmelted. The only solution? Cook it a little longer to try to melt the cheese, but then the bread gets too dark. And while even a bad grilled cheese is pretty tasty, try telling that to a toddler.

Then one day, I realized that all I needed was a little steam, more specifically, an ice cube.

I was making my oldest son a cheeseburger while whipping up my middle son a grilled cheese—clearly playing my favorite role of line cook for my kids. (I swore I'd never do this, but alas!) When I make stovetop burgers, I usually get a nice sear on both sides of the patty, then add a slice of cheese on top. To melt the cheese and finish cooking the burger, I throw an ice cube into the pan and cover it to create some steam. It works like a charm every time—this trick yields a nicely cooked juicy burger with ooey gooey melted cheese.

<p>Simply Recipes / Photo by Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Ruth Blackburn / Prop Styling by Claire Spollen</p>

Simply Recipes / Photo by Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Ruth Blackburn / Prop Styling by Claire Spollen

I figured why not try the same trick to make a grilled cheese with fully melted cheese? Luckily, this dinner-time gamble paid off big time. It worked!

Here's what I do now to get perfectly melted cheese without burning the bread:

Brown both sides of your sandwich as you normally would. Turn the heat to the lowest setting and shimmy the sandwich to one side of the pan. Add one small ice cube to the side opposite the sandwich, so that it doesn't melt into the bread. Immediately, cover the pan. As the ice melts, it will create steam and the perfect environment for the cheese to melt without the bread burning.

My children can now have beautiful golden brown grilled cheese filled with melty cheddar cheese. No overcooked or burnt bread in sight! Though I'm constantly cutting the sandwich the wrong way, according to my capricious toddler (the horror!), at least now I know I’m making my grandmother proud by carrying out her grilled cheese legacy!

Read the original article on Simply Recipes.