A grilled cheese sandwich with grill grates and flames in the background

How to Make Grilled Cheese on the Grill

As backyard barbecue season ramps up, burgers, steaks, and sausages are prime grilling candidates. However, meat isn’t the only thing that benefits from charred grill marks and a smoky flavor. True to their name, grilled cheese sandwiches are a delicious option for inaugurating your grill this summer. While you may be used to making grilled cheese sandwiches on the stove, actually grilling a grilled cheese sandwich makes for a major flavor, texture, and presentation upgrade. 

The grates will impart beautiful marks while also toasting and adding a nice charred flavor to your bread. And the open fire will infuse an inimitable smokiness to complement the savory, charred bread and creamy richness of the cheese. The key to grilling a grilled cheese is low and slow cooking so that the cheese will melt at the same rate that the bread toasts. Therefore, you’ll preheat the grill to medium heat – between 325 and 375 degrees Fahrenheit — while you prepare the bread and grate the cheese. 

The usual grilled cheese preparation steps still apply, including spreading butter or mayonnaise on the outside of each slice. You can either assemble the sandwich before placing it on the grill or place each slice of bread on the grill butter-side down before spreading cheese on one slice of bread. Whichever method you choose, you’ll close the grill to melt the cheese and toast the bread for five to eight minutes. Some recipes recommend grilling both bread slices first, assembling the sandwich, then grilling it a second time to melt the cheese. 

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Grilled cheese grilling tips and ingredient pairings

Closeup of a grilled cheese sandwich on a wooden board

You can easily transfer a traditional skillet grilled cheese sandwich to the grill, whether it’s a simple or complex recipe. Choosing one of the best, most meltable types of cheese for your grilled cheese is always a good rule of thumb no matter the cooking method. A sturdy, thick slice of bread will also lend itself well to an outside char and a soft, chewy interior crumb from the grill. This recipe for the ultimate grilled cheese from Look uses thick-cut, crusty sourdough bread and a mix of gruyère and cheddar cheese blended into a paste. 

In this case, the cheese mixture is already broken down into a gooey consistency before being exposed to heat, so you could assemble the sandwich before throwing it on the grill to toast the bread so that both slices can contain and slightly slow the melting process. Since you’ve already fired up the grill, you’ll also have the perfect opportunity to grill veggies and meat to pile onto your grilled cheese. Grilled onions and peppers would add an aromatic, caramelized zinginess and are just a few of the additions that would elevate a grilled cheese sandwich. 

You could also use shredded Jack cheese with grilled bacon and jalapeños for a spicy, umami-rich grilled cheese. If you incorporate other ingredients, add them to your shredded cheese before assembling the sandwich. For a multi-ingredient grilled cheese, the open-faced method will work better to slowly melt and heat the ingredients together before pressing the top slice over and serving.

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Look's editorial team comprises seasoned writers and editors who specialize in the food and drink, hospitality, and agriculture sectors. We also collaborate with external experts to ensure the delivery of accurate, current information and unique recipes.

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