The Best Ingredient To Make Grilled Cheese Crispy Without Mayo

There is nothing like the first bite of a perfectly made grilled cheese. Each of its few ingredients is rich in flavor, but some could argue that the main draw of this simple dish is the unique textural contrast, where the crunch of toasted bread gives way to a gooey interior that pulls back at you as you pull away. You might have heard that using mayo is the key to making the best grilled cheese, but an unexpected ingredient might actually be the secret to your new favorite version: coconut oil.

Maybe you simply don't have any mayo on hand; perhaps you're looking to try something new; or maybe you're seeking a dairy-free and egg-free option to pair with vegan cheese. In truth, there are plenty of reasons to branch out from mayo as your go-to ingredient for pan-frying a grilled cheese. But above all, you should try it with coconut oil because its subtle nutty flavor complements a perfectly crisped and melty grilled cheese deliciously.

Making grilled cheese with coconut oil

One of the great things about a grilled cheese is that it only takes a few minutes to make, and that doesn't change when you opt to replace mayo with coconut oil. Begin the process as you normally would by gathering your ingredients, grating your cheese, and slicing your bread. As you heat your skillet on the stovetop, slather coconut oil on one side of each of the two pieces of bread. The melting point of coconut oil is 78 degrees Fahrenheit, so it should be soft and spreadable at room temperature, similar to mayo.

To make the best grilled cheese, remember to spread the coconut oil and your selected cheese all the way to the edges of the bread. Cook until the cheese is melted and the bread has toasted to your liking. You'll notice that coconut oil browns especially nicely, thanks to its high fat content. Allow your grilled cheese to cool for a minute on a plate before biting into it for the ideal texture and temperature.

Flavor inspiration and health benefits of coconut oil

If you want the coconut oil to really shine in your sandwich, you can also try alternate options for the bread and cheese. For those who like to bake, making a loaf of bread with coconut flour can be fun to really lean into the coconut essence of the oil. Alternatively, you can bring out this flavor by adding a layer of coconut chutney. Taking inspiration from tropical ingredients, add slices of fresh fruit or marmalade, like mango, which pairs particularly well with goat cheese. The flavor and aroma of coconut oil on its own are very mild, and you won't likely notice its flavor too much on your grilled cheese without the addition of other coconut products.

Unlike mayo, coconut oil is a plant-based food, making it a good option for people with allergies to eggs, or other dietary restrictions. According to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, coconut oil contains no cholesterol, and may even prove beneficial in blocking the body's absorption of cholesterol.