Cheese and bread are like Pam and Tommy: no one knows what to make of the relationship. Grilled cheese between two slices of toasted bread is an archetypal children’s meal, but cheese on top of a small piece of grilled bread is considered the height of sophistication. As with any complicated relationship, French is required to describe the situation: canapés. Can a cultural preference for the adult cracker over the childlike sandwich ever be quashed? Yes, but only by using the best cheese for grilled cheese.
According to Erika Kubick, author of Cheese Sex Death: A Bible for the Cheese Obsessed, the key to finding the best grilled cheeses is to consider and reconsider the context in which the melting takes place. In a well-made grilled cheese, the slice sits between not just bread – always on the thinner side, preferably sourdough – but a thin slab of butter to add some sweetness. Kubick adds that mayonnaise is a good butter substitute for grilled cheeses with savory elements like meats.
With each grilled cheese created comes a principal motive: the cheese pull. Unbeknownst to most, the highly-regarded pull comes with a catch, being that not every treasured cheese from the charcuterie board can extend so masterfully. Numerous cheeses will need a vessel for added stretch, and this is a commodity that can be found solely in a solid melting cheese. The list is extensive, but to keep it short, think heartier in the form of Gruyère, fontina and raclette.
Chatting cheese can get a little tricky. What one might be able to purchase in the cheese-coated state of Wisconsin, others might not have so accessible on the sandy beaches of West Palm Beach. That’s where Amazon comes in handy. Though, Kubick has a very strong stance on cheese purchasing through Bezo’s billionaire shopping platform. “I cannot promote Amazon for buying cheese,” she expresses. “I just can’t trust that they properly care for the cheese.”
A spot within reach Kubick can recommend to the general public? Whole Foods. With loads of talented mongers working with the multinational supermarket chain, Whole Foods has an expansive selection of cheeses ranging from heavy, creamy Bries to crystal-like aged goudas.
To make life even easier, you can actually shop Whole Foods products on Amazon for same-day delivery without having to deal with folks selling cheeses on Amazon, leaving online shoppers with a trustworthy, accessible win-win.
Cheeses from Whole Foods range in affordability quite drastically depending on what it is you’re choosing. Cheese selection will also vary from location to location. However, Whole Foods can be seen as a stepping stool for those without a fancy cheese shop in their vicinity. Essentially, it acts as a no-frills cheese shop alternative that any kind of cheese enthusiast can feel comfortable browsing both online and in person.
And, yes. The best cheese for grilled cheese on Amazon starts at just $5.
The Best Cheese for Grilled Cheese at a Glance
What is the best cheese for grilled cheese?
Hold your horses, we’re about to get there. Here’s that to keep in mind as you get to the next few paragraphs: the best cheese for grilled cheese exists in the form of a solid melting cheese. As mentioned above, cheeses such as Gruyère, fontina and raclette make scrumptious options. You can also mix non-melters with these cheeses for a funkier flavor profile.
Where can I purchase the best cheese for grilled cheese?
Whole Foods is our pride and joy for accessible cheese purchasing. Ordering Whole Foods through Amazon makes your life that much easier. You can also check out a local cheese shop in town if that’s more your speed.
What is a reasonable amount of cheese to buy at one time?
Let’s consider the aging of cheese under normal refrigerator conditions, shall we? As per Healthline, most soft cheeses can last in the fridge for around seven days total while harder cheeses can exist for up to three or four weeks. As per American? Well, one to two months. Yeah. We’re not going to ask questions. That all being said, we suggest that when purchasing cheese from Amazon, less is more. Go for a smaller amount your first time, see how much you eat, then pick up the pace the next time you order if you run out faster than anticipated.
What would my local cheesemonger say if he heard I was buying from Bezos?
He’d be pissed, but don’t worry: It’s hard to run in clogs. Thankfully, you’re buying Whole Foods products through Amazon.
Emmi Raw Kaltbach Cave Aged Gruyère
There’s no cheese that melts better than Gruyère, hands down making it the best cheese for grilled cheese. “It adds such a lovely, meaty, oniony flavor to a grilled cheese,” drools Kubick.
Emmi’s Raw Kaltbach Cave Aged Gruyère sold at Whole Foods has that classic nutty taste you can expect in Gruyère with a tangy fruit flavor honing it all in. It’s got an unmatched smoothness that offers a decadent melt accompanied by a crystally inside. Each slice contains a flavorful minerality, occurring naturally by aging in Kaltbach’s sandstone caves in Switzerland. At $25 a pound, this is an affordable cheese that folks can use for grilled cheese after grilled cheese.
Here’s something you might not expect, Gruyère alone isn’t Kubick’s go-to. It’s actually Gruyère mixed with cheddar. “Cheddar is kind of misrepresented because people think of her as a melter,” she claims. “But, because of her acidity, which makes her delicious and so tangy, she can sometimes separate and get a little oily.” When mixing cheddar with such a solid melting cheese such as Gruyère, grilled cheese lovers will still get that tangy flavor brought by cheddar without the dismissal of, well, the element of including cheese in a grilled cheese. Gruyère ultimately creates that ideal texture in a grilled cheese sandwich you never knew you were looking for.
You’ll see Gruyère come up a lot here. Essentially, Gruyère is so great at melting, it’s used as a main ingredient when sourcing other cheeses that don’t melt as well in a grilled cheese sandwich.
Vermont Creamery Chèvre with Herbs
Why It Stands Out: Non-cow cheese can do wonders in a grilled cheese sandwich Texturally goat cheese (otherwise known as chèvre in the cheese world) is totally bizarre. It’s got a fluffiness to it that’s hard to mock with a taste that’s somewhat on the sour side. Vermont Creamery makes a fan favorite chèvre with herbs that deserves a spot between two slices of toasty bread. Because it’s covered head to toe in herbs, it’s not chèvre at its purest, but it is chèvre at its damn tastiest.
Made For: This is the ultimate springtime cheese whether it’s smacked on a cracker, a piece of fruit or, of course, a grilled cheese sandwich. It has more of an out-there texture that’s very different from cheese made with cow’s milk, but that’s what sets it higher on our list of best cheeses for grilled cheese.
Is It Cheesy?: If you’ve had goat, you likely can imagine how it melts even if you haven’t placed it under a flame. It’s not pulley in the slightest, instead, it opts for a saucier take. Because of that, Kubick mentions mixing with a havarti or a young gouda to get that stretchy consistency you deserve on a grilled cheese sandwich.
Hot Take: Goat cheese pairs excellently with everything sweet. “Throw in something like strawberry jam or pickled rhubarb,” Kubick mentions. “Or, HONEY!! Honey and fresh jam make one of the best combinations.” For just under $5, you really can’t do any better.
CA DE AMBROS Taleggio
Why It Stands Out: Taleggio is a little different than most cheeses when melted. Instead of a pully, stringy vibe, this cheese creates more of a sauce-like texture that almost mimics custard. CA DE AMBROS Taleggio is family-made in Val Taleggio, Italy. It stands out amongst other cheese types as a washed-rind cow’s milk cheese, both pasteurized and unpasteurized. Although this cheese is quite stinky, this cheese is a little bit on the sweeter side.
Made For: According to Kubick, taleggio grilled cheese sandwiches are best eaten in the summertime. Why? Well, that doughy consistency and sweeter taste match really well with summer-based roasted veggies and fruits.
Is It Cheesy?: Yeah, one pull and you’ll be questioning every other cheese you’ve made grilled cheese with.
Hot Take: “The way that roasted tomatoes and taleggio mix and mingle is a flavor that’s to die for,” expresses Kubick. There’s simply no other way to do a taleggio-based grilled cheese sandwich without the roasted tomato. This one is only $15 a pound, well within the regular Amazon shopper’s budget.
Roth Buttermilk Blue Cheese
Why It Stands Out: Roth’s Buttermilk Blue Cheese is a cheese that stands out because it fits in. It’s something you’ve likely never thought to include in a grilled cheese, but is a cheese you enjoy in a number of different formats. It’s the kind of grilled cheese that will pull your tastebuds in an assortment of directions. Roth’s specifically offers a wackier-tasting bleu cheese that elicits a similar flavor with a creaminess you can’t hate.
Made For: For the kind of person that enjoys a robust grilled cheese sandwich with a familiar yet distinct flavor profile, bleu cheese was made for you. This is something you might have never had in a grilled cheese sandwich due to constant assimilation with hot boneless wings from Wing Stop. If you’re a bleu cheese lover, this is the ultimate fall-centric grilled cheese sandwich for big games and chilly days.
Is It Cheesy?: It doesn’t have the pull you’d expect in a Gruyère, but Kubick simply suggests mixing it with Gruyère to give it a little more oomph.
Hot Take: Mix bleu cheese with apples and onions for a classic harvest grilled cheese. With, of course, Gruyère as the glue. You can catch this cheese at just $15 a pound, adding another affordable option to the mix.
Emmi Swiss Raclette
Why It Stands Out: Not only is raclette an excellent cheese for melting, but it has a flavor that doesn’t really match regular cheeses you’re used to in a typical grilled cheese. This Swiss raclette is another one from Emmi in Switzerland. It’s got a stink that some may stray away from but will keep others coming back. It’s also made for melting, so much so that there are specific raclette melters available for purchase online.
Made For: The heavy consistency and stinky aroma of this cheese makes it a delicious option to consider on a chilly evening. We’ll consider this one winter’s favorite cheese, but doesn’t have to sit solely in the cold. Smear it on a grilled cheese all 365 days if you must.
Is It Cheesy?: Oh, it’s cheesy alright. Just like Gruyère, raclette makes a stellar pull-apart cheese you won’t want to pull back from. This is a cheese that’s made for melting, so much so that there are specific raclette melters available for purchase online.
Hot Take: Kubick really loves funk when it comes to pairing raclette. When making a raclette grilled cheese, throw on some pickles or even kimchi for some added flair.
A Final Thought on American Cheese
We’ve said it once and we’ll say it again: the best cheese for grilled cheese will vary from person to person. What one may love another may despise, we’re all deeply individualized in our cheese journey. We’re not even here to knock the taste of a good ‘ole slice of American, either. “Everyone thinks I’m anti-American cheese and I’m nothing of the sort,” emphasizes Kubick. “It absolutely has a place in a grilled cheese. That with a classic one-year cheddar and a slice of American, put that with tomato soup and it is such an unbelievable combination.”
So, kids at heart, go out and pick up some American to make your best grilled cheese sandwich.