For 1 sandwich:
- 1–3 slices of cheese, or shredded to taste
- 2 slices of bread
- Any bread that toasts well: generally white bread (including sourdough).
- margarine can be used, but is not recommended, as direct heating tends to negatively affect the taste of margarine
- other ingredients as necessary (see below).
The key variable is the ratio of cheese to bread; this depends on the thickness and density of the bread, and the amount of cheese used, and varies according to taste; generally more cheese is preferred, so that the bread doesn't overwhelm the cheese.
With presliced bread and cheese, there is very little preparation.
If using grated cheese, which some recommend for more even melting, then one needs to grate the cheese. Especially if mixing the grated cheese with chop onions or other ingredients, it is easiest to grate into a bowl, mix with other ingredients, and then spoon onto sandwiches, otherwise it can be messy.
Buttering the bread makes the outside of the bread brown, rather than dry and burn, and is widely recommended.
Butter the slices of bread, then place butter-side down (the butter is on the outside of the bread), in the pan or on other cooking surface. Follow this by placing the grated cheese or sliced cheese on top, then the other slice of bread, butter-up. Do not place the butter side down on a prep surface, as it will come off and make a mess.
Alternatively, one may melt butter in a pan, and then place the bread on it; when flipping, one should add more butter, then flip the bread.
There are many methods of grilling a sandwich; the main variants are grilling on a stove-top, most common in US, and toasting in an oven, most common in the UK and Australia. There also specialized sandwich toasters or sandwich grills.
Ovens are useful if making multiple sandwiches, rather than grilling one at a time; they also allow one to make open-faced sandwiches.
The goal is to get a nicely browned sandwich with melted cheese in the middle.