Melt Vs Grilled Cheese: Here’s The Difference



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Brown crusty bread on the outside and gooey cheese inside, it’s hard not to fall in love with grilled cheese. The perfect recipe for grilled cheese should have the delicious stuff ooze out as you take a bite. But wait, what’s a melt cheese then? Are they both the same or do they differ? 

Grilled and melt cheese are theoretically similar in various aspects. They use some common ingredients like bread, cheese, or a spread like butter or mayonnaise. However, there’s a thin line of difference that gives them a unique personality. So, let’s take a closer look at melt vs grilled cheese.

In grilled cheese bread is toasted on both sides, which simultaneously melts the block of cheese placed in between. It is usually done on a frying pan or griddle. There are no hard and fast rules for the type of cheese you must use, but some good options are cheddar, Monterey Jack, American, Swiss, or fontina.

In melt cheese, the above ingredients remain the same with an additional filling is added to it. Some of the common options for the extra filling on a melt cheese are roasted beef, chicken, tuna, ham, and turkey. It is often known as patty melt and everything that goes into it are warm due to grilling.

Difference Between Melt And Grilled Cheese

The grilled cheese is typically for the young eaters as it strictly comprises of bread and cheese, plus mayo or butter to brown the bread. In some areas of the US, you may get grilled cheese stuffed with tomato slices or veggies.

Melt cheese, on the other hand, refers to any type of hot sandwich that comprises of melted cheese. It can be a patty melt, turkey melt, tuna melt, or a cheeseburger. So unlike grilled cheese where the melted cheese is the main ingredient other than bread, the melt cheese has other ingredients, and cheese acts as a supplement.

The traditional grilled cheese is made with white sandwich bread, however, some people may prefer using brown bread instead. A melt cheese may be made using different types of bread such as a sourdough, burger buns, and so on.

While you can use any type of bread to make tuna melt, you will need to consider the right proportions. If you apply too much mayonnaise-tuna salad without an appropriate amount of bread, this will not cut the fishy taste or fatty intensity.

The proportion of bread needed for a perfect melt cheese also depends on the type of sandwich you are making. For example, you will need a thicker slab of bread for an open-faced sandwich and a standard size for a closed faced sandwich.

Furthermore, a thicker and rustic bread with a chewier exterior should be made into thin slices than the fluffier white bread. So, the size of bread used in an open-faced sandwich is usually twice as much as used in a closed faced sandwich, considering that the tuna salad remains the same.

The grilled cheese is usually made on a frying pan or griddle using low heat to get perfectly crusty exteriors. The melt cheese is baked for 5 to 8 minutes until the cheese melts. Toasting both sides is recommended in both to give you a crispier feel when you bite into the sandwich.

Best Melting Cheeses For A Perfect Sandwich

Whether you are making grilled cheese to optimize the pleasure of the gooey stuffing in between the crispy bread or a tuna melt that has mayo-tuna salad in the sandwich, you need the best quality cheese to get the flavor, texture, and taste spot on!

There are two types of cheese – the one that you nibble on and the other that melts and stretches so beautifully when you bite on your sandwich. The first-timers often get it wrong because they choose the wrong cheese for their sandwich.

So, whether you are making a grilled or melt cheese, make sure you choose the best quality melting cheese to give you that perfect Instagram-worthy pull moment. As a rule of thumb, the fresher and younger cheese always gives a softer texture and better melt. Here are some of our favorites:


This is one of the quickest melting cheese that ever exists. While you may not like this creamy cheese on everything, it gives the perfect texture and flavor to your grilled cheese and tuna melt.


When you crave for that molten dairy feel in your sandwich, nothing works better than the cheddar cheese. Use it to make your classic grilled cheese or add them to your cheddar melts. It brings a sharp taste to the dishes, making them more interesting.

Mozzarella Cheese


We like to call it the pizza cheese, the thing that gives perfect pizzas their tempting cheese pull scenario. Whether you use the fresh or low-moisture Mozzarella, it’s always subtle in flavor. It’s perfect for grilled cheese and also goes well with tuna or chicken in a melt cheese.


Made from Italian cow’s milk, this classic cheese is slightly grassy in taste. However, some people are ardent fans of fontina in grilled cheese and frittatas.


When you want to drown your senses in the milky creaminess, the Gruyère cheese stands as a great choice. As you heat the sandwich, the cheese gets a little bubbly and browned, adding the perfect taste and texture to grilled cheese. It has a slightly sweet, salt, and nutty taste.


Are you a fan of Italian cow’s milk cheese? Here’s another one called Taleggio with a washed rind, pungent aroma, and mellow nutty flavor. Due to its complex flavor and soft texture, it tastes great when used with grilled cheese or melts.

Raclette Cheese


Swiss cow’s milk cheese is another great option for grilled cheese or melts. Add a slice of cheese between white bread with a dash of butter for perfect crispiness. When used with other fillings in a melt, it brings perfect creaminess with fruity, sweet notes to the dish.


Want some gooey melted protein in your sandwich? Check out provolone that melts perfectly to give you that picture-worthy pull. Use it in a grilled cheese or slap it up with chicken cutlets or tuna salad in melts for a more aggressive kick.

See Also: 11 Best Bread for Grilled Cheese

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Making Grilled Cheese

When you are making the classic grilled cheese sandwich for the first time, the image hovering on your mind would be that of a golden and crisp exterior with cheese oozing out. However, sometimes the results are a far cry from expectations.

We have listed some of the common mistakes people commit while making this simple, and comforting timeless delicacy. Read on to better acquaint yourself with these errors so that they don’t mess up your grilled delight.

Skimping on the butter used to coat bread

Diet conscious? Ah! Then probably the grilled cheese is not for you, because skimping on the butter will not give you that perfect brown crisp that comes from toasting bread. Without enough fat, the sandwich will feel dry or toasted unevenly. If you don’t like the taste of butter, use mayo instead.

There are two ways of coating the bread with fat. You may melt a mixture of butter and mayo in the pan and then put bread on it to coat both sides. Alternatively, you may apply butter on both sides of the bread and then toast it.

Too much cheese is not a good idea

For cheese lovers, nothing is too much, but it’s important to know how much to use when making a grilled cheese. With too much cheese, your sandwich may transform from being deliciously melty to soggy with cheese oozing out of the bread.

The best result is achieved when you find the perfect balance of toasty crusty bread with melted cheese. We suggest that you stick with a generous helping of 1/4 to 1/3 cups of cheese to achieve perfection in taste.

Using an unsuitable variety of cheese

Please bear in mind that all types of cheese are not treated as equal when making a grilled sandwich. There are some varieties that are suitable for grilled cheese, while others may not deliver the same results. We suggest that you avoid the hard and old cheese varieties like Pecorino or Parmesan.

Goat and feta cheese are also not suitable as they tend to be dry and crumbly. Although delicious, these varieties will not melt to give you the perfect gooey texture for grilled cheese. Hence, we suggest that you choose from the above varieties such as American, Cheddar, and Swiss.

Grilling the sandwich on high heat

When your stomach is growling with hunger, a grilled cheese may look like an easy to make option, but it needs some patience. Trying to make the sandwich faster by tossing it on a high flame will scorch the bread from outside and the cheese will also be undercooked inside.

To achieve the perfect results as you get at the restaurants, you will need to slow cook the grilled sandwich on a low flame. Keep the stovetop flame between low and medium for a perfectly cooked sandwich.

Using a thick slice of cheese

We know it’s tempting to use a thicker slice of cheese hoping to enjoy a blissful delight. However, please remember that a thick slice will not cook properly in a specific time. So, you will not be able to enjoy that gooey and melty goodness.

As a beginner, make sure you always start with thinly sliced cheese but you may also use grated cheese as an alternative. If grated well, the cheese melts better than a slice and you can enjoy a perfect balance of crusty bread with melted cheese.

Ways To Improve Your Tuna Melt Cheese

When you want to enjoy the perfect melt cheese, there needs to be the perfect bread, the right cheese, the perfect texture, the right flavorings, and so on. For a beginner, this can be slightly confusing especially if they have been eating only grilled cheese all their life. So, here are a few tips that can help you improve your melt cheese creations.

Use the correct bread proportions

In grilled cheese, you need to use the right bread, but in melt cheese, more focus is on the right bread proportions, regardless of the type of bread you use. The key lies in understanding the role that each type of bread plays in the recipe.

A classic American styled tuna melt may include Cheddar or American cheese with tuna salad on white bread. The Jewish-deli style tuna tastes best with Swiss cheese and it is beautifully seasoned with dill, relish, and celery.

Don’t skimp on the mayo part

When you want your melt cheese to taste perfect, make sure you do not skimp on the mayo part. In grilled cheese, it’s okay to use a little mayo instead of butter or oil. However, the quantity of mayo used in a melt cheese is much higher.

If the tuna-mayo salad feels liquidy after you have smashed the last bit of tuna flesh, we suggest adding some panko bread crumbs. Mayo brands like Duke’s and Hellmann’s are thicker and creamier versions you can use in your tuna salad.

Toast the bread portions correctly

Dry-toasting of the bread on an open flame is a good way to get singed edges without making them greasy. While this can be a good method to toast without the use of oil, you may want to add some type of fat for a more conventional griddle-style sandwich.

A good tuna melt comprises of tender bread, melty cheese, and fluffy tuna filling. Too much fat on the pan may result in soaked up greasy bread. So, we suggest that you brush the bread slightly with some oil on both sides and bake to get the perfectly browned texture.

Choose the right type of tuna

Many beginners often wonder ‘what is the right type of tuna to use’ – the water one or oil-packed? You don’t have to worry mayo masks the tuna in a mayo-tuna salad. So, any water-packed tuna or tuna in its own juices will work fine. You don’t need to go for the premium oil-packed versions.

Canned tuna meat is dry so the key lies in smashing the tuna completely with a fork so that you get fine shreds that are perfectly coated in mayo. You just need to have some patience and keep stirring and smashing until the last flake of tuna is perfectly crushed and wrapped in mayo.

What’s the right way to flip a grilled cheese

To get that perfect consistency, you need to melt the cheese without burning the bread. Cook the bread on one side over medium-low flame, flip as it starts to turn golden brown, grill the other side and finally flip again to reheat the first side.

Can I use other ingredients in grilled cheese

The classic grilled cheese is strictly bread and cheese with a brush of butter or oil on both sides of bread. However, some people like to add a slice of crisp bacon and tomato along with cheese slices to fatten the grilled cheese. 

See Also: How To Make Grilled Cheese Without Butter?

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