The Secret Ingredient for Crispy, Crunchy, Perfectly Golden Grilled Cheese Every Time

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Grilled cheese is an iconic American comfort food. It's also strangely personal. Stanley Tucci's idea of the perfect grilled cheese comes in the form of a cheesy panini. I for one am in constant pursuit of the grilled cheese in the Kraft Singles commercials—golden, buttery, and oh-so-melty—so my sandwich is typically made with American cheese tucked between two slices of white bread.

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I'm not here to sway you to expand your hot and cheesy horizons. You do you! I am here to lend a tip I learned years ago from Martha Stewart that will take your grilled cheese - however you like it - to golden-crusted heights. According to Martha, the secret ingredient tip for perfectly crispy, beautifully golden grilled cheese sandwich is adding mayonnaise!

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Why You Should Make Your Grilled Cheese with Mayo

Mayonnaise is a fat with a higher smoke point than butter. What does that mean? It means when it's spread on the outside of a grilled cheese, mayo will help the bread become golden brown while the cheese inside melts properly. If you use butter, you run the risk of the butter burning in the pan before the cheese is fully melted, which is a sure sign of a sad grilled cheese.

How to Make Grilled Cheese with Mayo

Martha's ultimate grilled cheese incorporates mayo and butter. The idea is to add the right fat on the right part of the sandwich: butter on the inside; mayo on the outside. Butter enhances the smoothness of the melted cheese and gives the sandwich a softer interior. The soft cheesiness juxtaposed with the crunchy golden mayo crust is pure sandwich bliss.

Here's how you make the best-ever grilled cheese: start with your favorite grilled cheese sandwich recipe. Before you add the cheese or other ingredients, spread a small amount of butter on one slice of bread. Then, spread a thin layer of mayo on the other side of each bread slice. Add your cheese and assemble the sandwich with the mayo side facing out. Cook in a preheated skillet (or bake the sandwich in the oven).

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The Best Types of Mayo for Grilled Cheese

Once you're convinced that mayo is the way to go on your grilled cheese (and please please give it a try), you can start to refine your formula. Your standard store-bought mayo made with egg and oil will deliver great results, but if you want the crispiest, most golden sandwich in all the land, you want to use mayonnaise that's a bit higher in fat.

Kewpie Mayo is clutch because it contains more egg yolks than other mayos. A step up the ladder from Kewpie is heavy-duty mayo, a variety that is noticeably thicker, creamier, and fortified with more eggs. Over on TikTok, former corporate McDonald's chef Mike Haracz confirms that's what restaurants use and that it has superior browning properties because of its high fat content. No matter which mayo you decide on, the mayo should not be light or low-fat, as these varieties lack the fat needed to create a crispy, golden crust.

Kewpie mayo is available at many grocery stores and Asian markets. Look for heavy-duty (sometimes called "extra heavy") mayo at Sam's Club, Walmart or Amazon.

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