This is the secret ingredient I use to make a surprisingly irresistible grilled cheese.

By Ananda Eidelstein
Updated October 23, 2018
Credit: Peter Ardito

Back in high school, I used to sit on the kitchen island at my parents' home, convincing friends I'd just come up with the tastiest after-school snack. A slice of American cheese, the kind you get sliced at the supermarket deli, slathered with Nutella and then rolled up. Of course everyone thought it was a questionable combo, but I was on to something.

Describing this childhood snack throughout the years has resulted in many raised eyebrows. I love cheese deeply, and everybody loves Nutella: To me, the combination was a no-brainer. Controversial, perhaps, but definitely a good match. I told my snack story to Real Simple Food Director, Dawn Perry, and my Nutella Cheese Roll-Ups turned into an idea for a brilliant, never-before-seen grilled cheese recipe.

I’m constantly on the hunt for the best grilled cheese, but also how to make grilled cheese in the best way possible at home. I’ve experimented with a 5-minute technique for grilled cheese, using the broiler to maximize flavor and melt. But this time, I’m letting the skillet do all the work:

Start with 2 slices of white sourdough bread and room temperature butter. Butter one side of each slice and then slather the other (un-buttered) sides with Nutella. Top one Nutella-ed side with 2 slices of American cheese and close the sandwich. Last step: Cook the sandwich in a nonstick skillet over medium-high until golden on the outside and the cheese is melted for about 5 minutes.

I sliced it on a diagonal and gave one half to Dawn as I held the other. I swooned when I took my first bite as I was transported back to my parents' kitchen island. I watched Dawn, partly in fear that I’m trying to sell her on this low-brow combination in a professional kitchen, but also with excitement and nostalgia. As she bit into it, I could see her hesitation dissolving as her as eyes got wide and she said, “Why is this so good?”

Sweet creamy Nutella, salty melted American cheese, buttery toasted bread: What could be better than that?

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Keep this wacky but delicious grilled cheese recipe close and file it under Nutella recipes and best grilled cheese recipes. It fits the bill for both.