How Honey Can Majorly Upgrade Your Grilled Cheese Game

Soon after there was sliced bread, there was grilled cheese. Dating back to the 1920s, when Otto Frederick Rohwedder invented the bread slicer, making sliced white bread accessible and affordable to all, people began placing the newly created processed cheese, patented by James L. Kraft, the creator of the company now known as Kraft Foods, on pieces of bread. While the OG grilled cheese sandwiches were served open-faced and broiled in the oven, once Kraft individually wrapped slices of American cheese in the 1960s, the second slice of bread was added, resembling the comfort food we love today (per How Stuff Works).

American cheese may still be the favorite choice amongst children and old-school grilled cheese lovers, but all versions have a few things in common. A perfect grilled cheese sandwich should be buttery and golden brown on the outside, providing an initial crunch when you bite into it, but then tender from the melted, salty, gooey cheese that should ooze from where you broke the dam. A tethered string of cheese from your mouth to the sandwich. Yum.

Grilled cheese sandwiches have gotten pretty bougie over the years, adding fancy cheeses, fruit, meat, vegetables, and spreads. Combinations like fig and gruyere grilled cheese and Rachael Ray's blackberries, balsamic, and basil grilled cheese are the marriage of salty and sweet, a combination universally loved. Look to the pantry staple honey to upgrade your next grilled cheese sandwich with a salty-sweet touch. Pooh bear approves.

Grilled cheese drizzled with honey

Sweet and salty foods like chicken and waffles and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are irresistible combinations, with science backing up why they are so delicious. According to a study by the Monell Center Advancing Discovery in Taste and Smell, the presence of sodium triggers our sweet taste cells allowing our brain to register sweetness. A touch of salt added to fruit or baked goods enhances the food's sweetness without making the food salty.

The next best salty-sweet combination, after popcorn and M&Ms, is grilled cheese drizzled with honey. Honey is a natural sweetener, the byproduct of flower nectar broken down into simple sugars collected by bees. There are over 300 varieties of honey in the U.S., ranging from colorless to amber and a subtle sweetness to robust, similar to maple syrup, all with a floral taste reminiscent of the flower nectar that created it.

Using a hearty bread like sourdough, smother two slices in softened butter or mayonnaise, if you prefer, before placing one piece on a hot griddle. Add a melting cheese like fontina, gouda, asiago, provolone, mozzarella, gruyere, or taleggio to the bread and top the cheese with the second piece, per Martha Stewart. Once golden brown on one side, flip the sandwich and continue to grill until the sandwich checks all the boxes for the perfect grilled cheese. Once plated, drizzle your favorite local honey over the entire sandwich and dig in. A fork and knife are required.