For A Perfectly Crispy Grilled Cheese, Reach For Coconut Oil

The grilled cheese sandwich is possibly the ultimate comfort food — thick, toasted bread, your favorite melty cheese, and a lot of love. It's quick, easy to throw together, and temptingly upgradeable.

Using butter is considered a given when preparing grilled cheese, thanks to the lovely crisp texture it lends to the bread. There is another potential option, though, one that has even more crunch potential. More commonly used for baking and beauty, coconut oil is becoming recognized as a potential addition to the host of cooking oils in your kitchen cabinet.

Of course, butter is still a great option, but coconut oil's advantage comes down to its response to heat. Refined coconut oil has a smoke point of 450 degrees Fahrenheit, while unrefined coconut oil smokes at 350 degrees. Compare this to butter, which smokes at 305 degrees, and the conclusion is obvious. Butter smokes more quickly than coconut oil.

Coconut oil is a slow burner

You may be wondering why this matters. Simply, oils emit some pretty unpleasant chemicals when they hit their smoke point, leaving a bitter, burnt taste. We may want our grilled cheese to be nice and crispy, but we certainly don't want it to be burnt.

Thanks to coconut oil's high smoke point, particularly if you use refined coconut oil, your sandwich will be able to stay in the pan for longer and withstand a higher level of heat, leaving you with a super crispy result. Unrefined coconut oil also retains its natural taste, so unless you want your grilled cheese to taste like, well, coconut, then refined oil is your best choice. This is similar to a restaurant chef's trick of coating the outside of the bread with mayo before adding it to a buttered pan, since mayo also tends to burn more slowly. However, not everyone is a fan of mayo, so it's always best to have an alternative.