Don’t get us wrong; a basic grilled cheese sandwich is borderline magic in its ability to satisfy cravings and ward off sadness. But we think you deserve TV ad-level grilled cheese gooeyness, the kind of sandwich that has strands of cheese holding it together as you separate the halves. And now there’s an easy way to get that creaminess each and every time: Add cream cheese.
In their cookbook Cowgirl Creamery Cooks, ($16.25, Amazon) Sue Conley and Peggy Smith, the founders of Cowgirl Creamery recommend three types of cheese — because the more the merrier. They also advocate for using three different-textured cheeses, as this is the key to getting the right mouth feel.
“For the creamiest middle possible, one of those three cheeses should be a soft fresh cheese. Soft cheese “acts as a suspension; just as egg whites suspend the heavier particles in a soufflé, so does the soft cheese suspend the grated cheese and distribute it more evenly across the bread,” Epicurious explains.
Conley and Smith used fromage blanc, but any soft cheese will work so don’t feel like you have to shell out on hard-to-pronounce, fancy fromage. Goat cheese? Go for it! Brie? Mais oui!
If you don’t happen to have any soft cheeses on hand, you can substitute with cream cheese. The addition may seem nontraditional, but it’s about the change in texture — not taste — that it makes to tomato’s soup perfect pairing. Cream cheese helps evenly distribute the shredded cheese(s) you use for an unbelievably creamy sandwich center.
Just as the perfect cheese combination all comes down to preferences, so does cream cheese. Some people like using fruity cream cheese like blueberry or strawberry to balance out the tanginess of the cheese. Scallion cream cheese is another option that will add an onion-y flavor. But no one will blame you if you stick with classic cream cheese, of course.
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