I enjoy both toasted and grilled cheese sandwiches, but I generally only alternate between havarti and muenster cheese. I would like to branch out but don't know where to start. These are the factors I think are important in melted cheese sandwiches:

  1. Melt well and fairly quickly
  2. Fairly mild taste and texture
  3. Generally available
  4. Be a natural, dairy cheese (aka not Cheeze Whiz or American cheese)

What cheeses fit these requirements? Are there other components that are vital to the cheese element of melted cheese sandwiches?

  • 1
    Confused about #4: I thought the whole point of Whiz and American cheese is that it melts without oily separation.
    – benzado
    Sep 20, 2011 at 18:08
  • 1
    Yeah, good point. I've edited - I think those aren't good options because they taste chemically and bad to me.
    – Katey HW
    Sep 20, 2011 at 18:12
  • 2
    I like a nice smoked gouda in my grilled cheese, and I'm only half only saying that to bug you.
    – hairboat
    Sep 20, 2011 at 23:01
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    I can't agree about #2. A strong cheddar makes for a wonderful cheese on toast.
    – slim
    Sep 21, 2011 at 14:03
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    Make your own meltable cheese instead, using any kind of cheese you like. The usual approach is fondue-like, but the newest Food Lab has this awesome idea of using gelatine and a bit of evaporated milk for creating the perfect meltable (and re-meltable) cheese from anything including an aged hard cheese. The article is a must-read. aht.seriouseats.com/archives/2011/09/…
    – rumtscho
    Sep 27, 2011 at 12:58

12 Answers 12


Gruyere is DELICIOUS. It melts without getting too gooey or soupy, and it is the traditional cheese component of a Croque Monsieur (if you're into that ham thing...). You could actually probably use any of the cheeses in that "variations" list, but I love Gruyere so that's my recommendation. It's widely available but tends to be kind of pricey here in the US.

Brie is also a good choice; since it is soft to begin with, it melts nicely. (Just make sure to cut off the rind before putting in the sandwich - that would be a weird texture combo.) It's great in grilled or toasted cheese sandwiches because of the richness and slightly buttery flavor.

As a local reference, check out Gorilla Cheese's menu for some tasty ideas; they do classic grilled cheeses with cheddar, American, gruyere or mozzarella, but they make others that have additions of other non-cheese components.

  • I grabbed a package of fontina last night, will report back.
    – Katey HW
    Sep 21, 2011 at 15:55
  • +1 for Gruyere... Expensive (in the states) but delicious! Also, in the same vein of fondue cheeses is Ementhaller (spelling)
    – Rikon
    Sep 22, 2011 at 21:05
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    Cutting rind off Brie sounds like a terrible waste :(
    – Benjol
    Feb 7, 2012 at 12:09

I'm not sure if this counts as 'natural' - but you can transform nearly any cheese into a melting cheese transform nearly any cheese (a better version!) into a melting cheese. Wondra flour and a little cream go in with your crumbled/shredded cheese into the steamer and steam till its gooey - it forms a stable emulsion. Then you can pour and cool it into slice, a burger, or into a delicious toasted cheese sandwich.

Other natural good choices include Gruyere and Comte.


Provolone and mozzarella fit your spec, although I find them frankly too mild for grilled cheese. Brie separates slightly, but is otherwise excellent in grilled cheese (particularly if you add sweet notes to the dish. I've not tried Camembert, but it should work about as well as Brie, I would think, and be slightly more flavorful.

  • 1
    You should try Provolone piccante then. Very tasty! ;)
    – nico
    Sep 20, 2011 at 18:53
  • If you don't want too mild, try a smoked provolone. Or add something like a little pesto on the inside.
    – Joe
    Sep 23, 2011 at 2:38

No matter what cheese you end up using (cheddar with a little mustard is my favorite), if it is semi-hard like cheddar or provolone, it will melt more evenly if it is grated.


colby cheese? Wisconsin cheddar? i always like pepperjack, but if you want a mild taste that may not work (its slightly zingy)


Mimolette is my favorite. It melts extremely well and has a nutty enough taste that it complements other flavors quite nicely, rather than just adding texture or fat/calories. :-)

It's also great on its own in a toasted cheese sandwich.

Of course, the appearance, the story about its appearance, and its history are all nice as well if you're in a pedagogical mood when presenting it.


My favorite combo is swiss and american. I know you said no processed cheeses but those two compliment each other really well. A lil pepper and mustard and hmmm thats damn good.


It shouldn't be a surprise, but, the fattier the cheese, the better it melts. Cheddar is a good example.


smoked Havarti and marbled cheddar are great for grilled cheese sandwiches


My kids love a take on aa sandwich they saw on food network. When you butter the bread dip it in some fresh grated parmasean. And in the sandwich. Lotsa cheese american swiss mozzerella monterey jack a slice of each! Enjoy


Manchego. Went to a nice restaurant in San Diego, and as an appetizer they served grilled cheese sandwiches with (what I think was) creamy vodka sauce for dipping. The sandwiches used Manchego cheese on Sourdough bread. And they used truffle butter, but I haven't been able to find that at the store. But in recreating it, the sourdough/manchego dipped in vodka marinara sauce is the best grilled cheese sandwich I've had, and it's wonderfully simple.


Gruyère/emmenthal (same cheese) is best. Cheddar is thick, gooey, and more difficult to digest. Gruyère/emmenthal is much lighter and so much tastier!

  • Hello and welcome! Please note Gruyère (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gruy%C3%A8re_cheese) and Emmental (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emmental_cheese) are definitively not the same cheese. Yes, they are both from Switzerland, but from different regions and taste significantly different. If you are still in doubt: E. has large holes, G. has none. Please edit you post accordingly. Also, health claims (being easier to digest) are off-topic here, unless you have scientific proof for this statement. As far as taste is concerned, I wholeheartedly agree.
    – Stephie
    Jan 18, 2015 at 18:10

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