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Jeff Mauro's Perfect Grilled Cheese with Ham

grilled ham and cheese sandwich
grilled ham and cheese sandwichShutterstock
1 sandwich

Chef notes

The perfect grilled cheese sandwich all starts with, of course, the cheese. Instead of going just for American, use what I like to call the "trinity of cheese": provolone, American and sharp cheddar. I start with mustard, spreading it crust-to-crust (it's a must!), layering the cheese (American in the middle!), ribboning the ham to create height, and spreading the outside of the bread with mayo to create that golden crust.


  • 2 slices white bread
  • Honey mustard (or Dijon)
  • 1 slice aged cheddar
  • 1 slice American cheese
  • 1 slice provolone or mozzarella
  • 3 slices thinly sliced ham
  • Pickled jalapeño, to taste (optional)
  • Mayonnaise, as needed



Preheat a pan or griddle over medium heat. Spread each bread slice with mustard — crust to crust is a must to get full coverage so that each bite is identical.


Use a trio of cheeses in a grilled cheese to achieve perfect harmony: 1 slice of American cheese for gooeyness, 1 slice of aged cheddar for sharpness and 1 slice of provolone or mozzarella for stringiness.


Ribbon your meat onto your sandwich to create dramatic height and a smoother bite down. Don't just lay the meat flat — it makes for a flat sandwich.


Add anything else you'd like to the sandwich — I like pickled jalapeños, but you could also add some tomatoes (just make sure you season them with a bit of salt and pepper!).


Spread mayo on the outside of a grilled cheese before it goes into the pan or onto the griddle, which ensures it will be perfectly golden brown every time.


Place on the griddle; dome your grilled cheese with a metal bowl to create a vortex of heat and ensure the cheese melts without over-toasting the exterior, 2 to 3 minutes. Flip, cover again and cook until the cheese is melted and the sandwiches are golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Enjoy!