By Carl Hanson
June 30, 2016
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With all the hype about finding water on Mars and editing the human genome, you may have missed the most important scientific discovery of our young century: Science has discovered the best cheeses for making grilled cheese.

What are the best cheeses for grilled cheese? We reveal them here, and offer 4 additional tips for making the best grilled cheese sandwiches.

How to Make a Grilled Cheese Sandwich

1. Let Science Choose the Cheese

First of all, let's agree: When it comes to the ideal grilled cheese, we want gooey and stretchy, not greasy and gross. So what type of cheese consistently gives us these results?

Science is prepared to weigh in. The bottom line: Your cheese should hit a sweet spot of pH balance. A lower pH means a weaker calcium structure, which means -- gooey, stretchy, perfect grilled cheese. But low pH is preferred only up to a point! Because if the pH is too low, you get a big greasy mess.

Here's more on the science:

So which cheeses hit the pH sweet spot? Four cheeses with perfect pH are Manchego (the Spanish sheep's milk cheese), Gouda (the mild Dutch cheese from cow's milk), Cheddar, and Gruyère (the hard yellow cheese originally from Switzerland).

From top left, clockwise: Manchego, Gouda, Cheddar, Gruyere

For more on the science of food, including the science of melty cheese, check out The Kitchen As Laboratory: Reflections on the Science of Food and Cooking.

Give this recipe a try: Gouda Onion Bacon (GOB) Grilled Cheese

2. Put Some Cheese on the Outside

The second key to making a great grilled cheese is the toasty bread. Here, Chef John goes next level on us, with his patented "inside-out" method. That's right. Cheese on the inside, cheese on the outside. The trick here is to toast it slowly over medium-low heat so the cheese is crispy and caramelized not burned. Watch the technique:

Get the recipe for Chef John's Inside-Out Grilled Cheese Sandwich.

3. Chips on the Inside

Unleash your inner kid. Put some crunchy potato chips on the inside for a 5-star textural experience. Texas toast optional.

Texas Toast Grilled Cheese with Potato Chips | Photo by Meredith

4. Or Go Healthy, and Add Fermented Deliciousness

A forkful of pickled peppers, pickled cucumbers, pickled onions, or sauerkraut adds tangy crunch to the inside.

Grilled Cheese with Pickled Peppers | Photo by Meredith

Or slice up an apple and add some fresh thyme. "The apple adds a little crunch and pop of tartness, and the thyme gives it freshness with just a tease of its flavor, just enough to make this sandwich special," says lutzflcat.

Photo by lutzflcat

5. Seal the Deal with Dipping Sauces

Could be a marinara sauce, could be tomato soup, could be homemade harissa sauce, could be something completely outrageous. Your call.

Grilled Cheese with Marinara dipping sauce | Photo by Meredith

Check out our collection of Grilled Cheese Sandwich Recipes.