The Best Grilled Cheese Sandwiches Ever Start With A Mistake

grilled Swiss cheese sandwich
grilled Swiss cheese sandwich - Carey Jaman/Shutterstock

A classic grilled cheese sandwich is one of those foods where learning to make it is easy, but mastering it is a lot harder. Anybody can slap some cheese on a couple of pieces of bread and put it in a pan, but the true genius of the grilled cheese master comes in paying attention to the details. And if you're wondering how to make the best grilled cheese, the answer is to do something that would generally be considered a mistake: Start cooking it in a cold pan.

But why would you start food in a cold pan? A hot pan is how you get the delicious browning known as the Maillard reaction that leads to toasted bread. But the issue with grilled cheese is the timing, and making sure your cheese is melted while your bread is perfectly toasted can be difficult. Not so if you start in a cold pan, though, which gives your cheese time to begin melting before your bread has crisped to perfection -- and thus keeps it from overcooking.

Read more: The 18 Unhealthiest Store-Bought Sliced Breads You Can Buy

The Trick To Ensure The Grilled Cheese Is Perfectly Cooked

grilled American cheese sandwich
grilled American cheese sandwich - Lauripatterson/Getty Images

Grilled cheese isn't the only food that benefits from starting with a cold pan; for instance, the best way to get perfect skin on chicken thighs or fish filets is often to start cold. The reason why is that starting with a cold pan essentially delays the Maillard reaction, allowing the center of the food to start cooking before the edges brown up. You don't want that when you're going for a hard sear on something like steak, but when you're dealing with food that needs to be evenly cooked all or most of the way through, it's exactly what you want.

This steady build of heat starts to melt the cheese before the bread crisps up, meaning your bread will usually hit the point of toasted perfection just as your cheese hits the right degree of melt (and before it liquefies and leaks out the sides). Setting the stove to medium, the first side will generally take five to seven minutes from cold, while the second will take four to five minutes. A grilled cheese usually takes six to eight minutes total when starting with a hot pan, but those extra few minutes will get your grilled cheese melted to perfection.

There Are Plenty Of Other Grilled Cheese Tricks

grilled ham and cheese
grilled ham and cheese - WS-Studio/Shutterstock

There are other ways to really dial up your grilled cheese game, too. Mayo may, in fact, give you a better grilled cheese than butter when spread on the outside of the bread because it creates a more pronounced browning reaction and imbues the sandwich with a subtle tangy flavor. You also need to be sure to use a cheese that melts properly because just using aged cheddar or manchego is going to result in some inconsistent or greasy meltiness, which is why it's best to combine them with something like American or Jack that melts evenly.

Also consider throwing in some additional ingredients. Adding scrambled eggs to your grilled cheese makes for an incredible breakfast sandwich, adding ham is a great spin on an old classic, and even something as simple as mustard dials up the flavor more than you'd think. (Granted, you don't want to add too many fillings because that can take away from the cheese being the star.) Just be sure to pay attention to the details, and you'll be leveling up your grilled cheese game in no time. Even if you've made a thousand of them, there's always going to be room for improvement.

Read the original article on Daily Meal