5 Ingredients or Fewer

Gabrielle Hamilton's Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

October  4, 2022
4 Ratings
Photo by Mark Weinberg
  • Serves 10
Author Notes

The secret to crispier, faster, better grilled cheese sandwiches? Mayonnaise. "This is the greatest cooking medium of all time for a grilled cheese sandwich," she says. It won't burn as quickly as butter, and it won't stick to the pan, and it browns and crisps more evenly too. From Gabrielle Hamilton of Prune Restaurant, via CHOW. —Genius Recipes

What You'll Need
  • 20 (1/2-inch-thick) slices rustic bread (from about 1 1/2 loaves)
  • 1 cup mayonnaise (Hamilton likes Hellmann's)
  • 1 pound shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese
  1. Heat the oven to 300°F and arrange a rack in the middle.
  2. Place half of the bread slices on a work surface and spread with half of the mayonnaise. Flip the bread slices over and evenly divide the cheese among the slices.
  3. Spread the remaining bread slices with the remaining mayonnaise and place them mayonnaise-side up over the cheese to form 10 sandwiches.
  4. Heat a large nonstick frying pan or griddle over medium-low heat until hot, about 4 to 5 minutes. Place 2 to 3 of the sandwiches in the pan and cook until the bottoms are golden brown and the cheese is starting to melt, about 5 minutes. Flip the sandwiches and cook until the second sides are golden brown and the cheese is completely melted, about 5 minutes more. Transfer to a baking sheet and place in the oven to keep warm. Repeat with the remaining sandwiches.
  5. When all the sandwiches are cooked, remove the baking sheet from the oven and place on a wire rack. Let cool 1 to 2 minutes before cutting each sandwich in half.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • La Shaye Paschal Monroe
    La Shaye Paschal Monroe
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    ariel a
  • Chef Devaux
    Chef Devaux
  • Nancy Duggan
    Nancy Duggan
  • Erica Chiarkas
    Erica Chiarkas
Genius Recipes

Recipe by: Genius Recipes

30 Reviews

judy June 24, 2023
Mayo instead of butter is great! I add some granulated garlic to the mayo and a grind of black pepper. NOW that makes it great! and ALWAYS sourdough bread.
La S. October 22, 2020
Tried this recipe yesterday for lunch with the kiddies... absolutely delicious!! My kids NEVER eat grilled cheese but they devoured these sandwiches. Definitely going to be a staple in our house!
ariel A. September 15, 2019
I swear by mayo on grilled cheese now. Love the even browning + slight tang it adds! To still get some buttery flavor, I spread butter on the inside of the grilled cheese & spread mayo on the outside. Works like a charm!
Lynn March 6, 2016
I'm a big fan of the mayo/grilled cheese (Duke's, if you're from the South). Once the mayo is spread, sprinkle on a little grated parmesan cheese and a grind or two of black pepper. Mmmm.
WileyP March 6, 2016
Parmesan and pepper (Head Smack!) You bet - Thanks!
La S. October 22, 2020
This sounds amazing!
John December 20, 2015
These sandwiches are the best. Tomorrow it will be my breakfast.
Chef D. November 12, 2015
I used to love cheese sandwiches, but then I eat so many of them that I cannot stand them anymore... you could call it a love hate reletionship :P
Nancy D. June 30, 2015
Here's the thing, we're always warned never to heat an empty nonstick pan, yet this recipe advises a five minute preheat.
Erica C. June 14, 2015
I do ALMOST everything above, but I change how soon I build the sandwiches. I get my griddle going, put mayo on the outside of both slices of bread, and put the slices on the griddle right away. THEN, I shred my cheese and put it on the bread. By this time, the insides of the bread are already warm, and the cheese starts to melt. If I'm adding slices of ham, I warm those up on the griddle next to the bread before putting them on. If I'm adding tomato or pre-cooked bacon or pepperocinis, I add it at this time. Then, after I've built my sandwiches on the inside, I flip one side over onto the other and smush it down a bit. Flip it once or twice, checking for doneness, cold spots on the old griddle. By this time, most of my bread is grilled perfectly, the interiors are melty and melding, and the exterior is a perfect crunchiness. Cut with a serrated knife.

Note: One of our favorite combinations is sourdough bread, hard salami, and a really good provolone.
Lisa D. May 4, 2015
I soften some butter and mix it half and half with mayo, so you get the best of both worlds :-)
Darryl April 12, 2015
Butter, Butter and more Butter!!!
Richelle April 1, 2015
I tried this and the technique is good, the bread browned evenly and crisped up nicely, however I missed the taste of butter. We keep butter on the counter in a porcelain butter boat with a water reservoir so we always have spreadable butter on hand.
Tippy C. January 8, 2015
Missed this the first time around, but saw it reprised on the best of 2014 list. Our own home stands divided: my husband loves this mayo method and declares that it directs the focus back on to the grilled cheese, which he loves; I missed the taste of butter and found this technique less satisfying. I don't usually run into butter spreading problems as I melt the butter on a cast iron pan before adding the bread, then lift the bread long enough when flipping it to add a bit more butter to the pan. Of course, this makes for a very buttered grilled cheese--just the way I like it.
cranberry January 24, 2015
I just saw this as well. We are firm believers in bacon fat spread on the bread. I will have to try mayo, but I suspect it will not be as tasty!
cranberry January 24, 2015
I just saw this as well. We are firm believers in bacon fat spread on the bread. I will have to try mayo, but I suspect it will not be as tasty!
DanaERT January 7, 2015
I've been making grilled cheese with mayo for years, and I can't remember the last time I used butter. It's the perfect texture and crunch! And I love that Gabrielle suggests Hellmann's, because it is the best - no question!
Diane November 2, 2014
Poor results on this one.... my first "unhappy" from a Food52 recipe, so that's a really good track record! :) I'm wondering if it was using homemade mayo was the problem. Just way too rich, with the cheese... almost an unpleasant gamey taste.
Donna R. July 30, 2014
I must have done something wrong, based on all the positive comments about success. I used Best Foods, a firm sourdough, shredded cheese. It tasted awesome, but despite letting it sit on a cooling rack, the sandwiches got soggy very quickly. Did I miss something?
celliejoe July 21, 2014
i've never buttered the bread - always added the butter to the frying pan, adding more after flipping the sandwich over. will try the mayo, though, to see which we like better.
Lauren July 14, 2014
I didn't have a non-stick pan available...that's the only problem I had....But the sandwiches were amazing!!! I loved the taste and I used my favorite Muenster cheese....oh, my!! Ooey, gooey cheesy dinner with bread and butter pickled veggies! The best plate I've had in a loooong time! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!
mmmassey July 14, 2014
I wonder if this would work with the other best thing to ever happen to grilled cheese... make it in a waffle iron!!!!!
Posie (. July 11, 2014
Fact: mayo is so so good, and I truly appreciate any excuse to use it more. This sandwich will be happening soon
myboyboris July 11, 2014
I love mayo more than bacon but I much prefer butter on the outside of my grilled cheese. Never had a problem with burning.