Your Grilled Cheese Will Taste Like Heaven With One Simple Swap

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A grilled cheese is a simple, but filling and definitely tasty creation: Warm, oozing cheese hugged by crispy, golden-brown bread. Give the recipe a cursory search and you'll find guides on everything from the best kinds of bread for optimal grilled cheese crunchiness to the most melt-in-your-mouth cheeses worth putting into your sandwich. Yet, between all the buzz about bread and cheese, people tend to overlook one component that's just as important as the rest: The spread.


Most of us might just brush our bread with a little butter before grilling, and sure, it's tasty — the creamy butter pairs beautifully with the rich cheese once it's been browned and nicely caramelized by the heat. But here's a little twist worth trying: Swap out the butter for a smear of real mayo. Not only is mayo far easier to spread than butter, but it also adds a depth of flavor to your sandwich that, if you're a fan of a bit of tanginess in your food, could easily make it a new, permanent addition to your grilled cheese recipe.

Giving your grilled cheese a mayo makeover

While butter has a pretty simple makeup, mayonnaise is a medley of different ingredients — eggs, oil, vinegar, and spices — sometimes even with a dash of cayenne pepper or paprika for an extra pop of flavor. This complex mix offers depth and richness to your grilled cheese that simple butter just can't hope to provide.


The eggs in mayo make your sandwich creamier and more satisfying, while the vinegar adds a light zing that cuts through the cheese's richness. This tangy twist has won over many grilled cheese lovers by adding a refreshing change to the classic taste we all know and love. 

But perhaps the most important contribution of mayo to your grilled cheese is the higher smoke point of the oil within it. This means there's less chance of burning your bread, so you're more likely to achieve that perfectly toasted, golden-brown crust without any of those bitter, burnt pieces ruining your delicious bite.

Mayo grilled cheese, while simple, is quite new

While simple, you may be surprised to learn that the idea of slathering mayo on top of grilled cheese to make it fry better only gained popularity around 2011. Chefs have likely been using the method quietly for years, but 2011 was the year that this twist to the grilled cheese sandwich appeared in "Canal House Cooking Volume No.5," a cookbook by Melissa Hamilton and Christopher Hirsheimer. Hamilton specifically recommended spreading Hellmann's mayo on the outside of the sandwich, using it as a frying agent. Hamilton claims in her book that mayo is "the perfect and only cooking fat for a grilled cheese sandwich."


That said, the classic buttery, caramelized grilled cheese still holds a special place in many hearts, and that's perfectly okay. Make your sandwich the way you like it, but now, you've got another variation on grilled cheese to try out in the morning!