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When it comes to making a great grilled cheese, the most critical element is establishing that perfect melty, texture of the cheese. If the cheese is too liquefied, you might have a hard time keeping it on your sandwich; if the cheese isn’t melted enough, your sandwich will lack the ever-sought gooey cheese texture.
It can be tricky to determine the best way to melt your cheese since different varieties melt in different ways and at different temperatures. Here’s a quick overview and infographic to help you maneuver through the many different ways cheeses melt.
- Soft Cheeses – Will add a creamy texture and melt easily. They are also best when sliced.
Pro tip: Use a soft cheese to easily incorporate smaller ingredients into your recipe. For example, try adding fresh herbs or chopped nuts on top of melted brie.
Includes: cream cheese, mascarpone, queso blanco, brie, camembert
- Semisoft Cheeses – These are creamy and gooey when melted.
Pro tip: These easy-to-melt varieties help incorporate harder varieties of cheese that don’t melt as easily alone. For example, layering aged parmesan over fontina allows for parmesan on a sandwich.
Includes: Monterey Jack, brick, muenster, fontina and havarti
- Hard Cheeses – Grate these cheeses for quicker and easier melting.
Pro tip: Make sure these cheeses are at room temperature before attempting to melt them. Also, pairing with a higher-moisture-content cheese will aid in melting. One example is melting shredded asiago with gouda.
Includes: parmesan, romano and asiago
- Semi-Hard Cheeses – Best when sliced or shredded, these cheeses ooze when melted.
Pro tip: When using slices, keep them thin and layered, rather than having one thick slice, in order to encourage the cheese to melt evenly.
Includes: cheddar, colby, edam and gouda
- Crumbly Cheeses – These melt best in combination with a firmer cheese variety.
Pro tip: To retain moisture, use low heat to bring these cheeses to their melting point.
Includes: blue, gorgonzola, feta
- Pasta Filata Cheeses – These cheeses have a stretchy and elastic texture when melted.
Pro tip: These cheeses stay in place when melted, so even when they are piled with lots of other layers, the cheese won’t be squeezed out.
Includes: mozzarella, provolone and string
For more tips on making the ultimate grilled cheese, check out our Grilled Cheese Insider Mary of Barefeet in the Kitchen’s blog post on how she experimented with cheese melting. Plus, she has a giveaway. Visit her Facebook page to learn how you could win a Le Creuset grill pan, $50 worth of Wisconsin cheese and an official Grilled Cheese Academy apron.