Justine Doiron and Pepperidge Farm reveal the secret to the perfect grilled cheese, interview

Hannah Waddingham for Pepperidge Farm Hearty White Bread
Hannah Waddingham for Pepperidge Farm Hearty White Bread / Pepperidge Farm

While the basic premise of the sandwich is just cheese and bread, the reality is that the perfect grilled cheese is not that simplicist. Since the bread is the foundation to that delicious, impeccable bite, Pepperidge Farm encourages everyone to choose wisely. During a recent conversation with Justine Doiron, aka Justine Snacks, the secrets are revealed to the best grilled cheese ever.

According to Pepperidge Farm, the “average American adult eats 36 grilled cheese sandwiches each year.” With people eating this type of sandwich at least once a month, food debates run rampant. From the better bread to the type of cheese, people have definite opinions on their preferences.

Recently, FoodSided spoke to Justine Doiron, grilled cheese enthusiast, recipe developer, and cookbook author known as Justine Snacks. With a few loaves of Pepperidge Farm, some delicious cheese, and a willingness to get ooey and gooey, it was time to heat up some delicious bites.

Cristine Struble/FoodSided:  When it comes down to a grilled cheese, is the bread’s thickness important? If so, do you double up on the bread if the cut is too thin?

Justine Doiron: Oh, it’s super important. For me, the bread needs to be thick! It makes for a sturdier grilled cheese to hold extra toppings or perfectly melt into the cheese. And America is on the same page! 42% of Americans prefer thick cut slices to make a great grilled cheese sandwich. My go-to thick slice is Pepperidge Farm Farmhouse Hearty White Bread. The loaves are so thoughtfully crafted, with a baker’s touch and special attention to detail, which speaks to my heart: split on top, flour-dusted and cut into thick slices. I’m hooked.

CS: People can debate butter vs mayonnaise for a crispier texture. Does the bread and the “fat”
combination matter more versus the “fat?”

JD: One of the hottest grilled cheese debates is the choice of spread and that is the key for a perfect crispy exterior. Classic American cheese calls for mayo, ensuring an even golden color and a nice crisp, but for a more adventurous twist, opt for butter, adding spices like cumin and cayenne for extra flavor. Despite the hype, butter remains the top pick for 70% of Americans. While mayo may seem more spreadable, softened butter works just as well. And contrary to belief, both spreads will give your bread a crispy outside and pillowy soft inside. Americans prioritize a bread that toasts well (57%), followed by having a crispy outside (51%) and holding together the ingredients (39%). To achieve all three, my advice is to look for a high-quality bread like Pepperidge Farm Farmhouse Hearty White, satisfying both mayo and butter enthusiasts alike.

CS: Have you ever used two types of bread in the sandwich? If so, what are some interesting pairings?

JD: Americans are deeply invested in their grilled cheeses preferences, whether it’s the cheese, bread, or cooking technique. The recent Pepperidge Farm survey uncovered that more than half of America (57%) ranks white bread as the best for grilled cheese, and I couldn’t agree more! Despite experimenting with various combinations, I've found that nothing beats the nostalgic charm of grilled cheese made with white bread. When it comes to white bread, Pepperidge Farm Farmhouse Hearty White is my top choice for crafting the perfect grilled cheese. It truly elevates the experience.

CS: Does the bread/cheese combination matter? What are some of your favorite Pepperidge Farm bread and cheese pairings?

JD: The bread and cheese combo definitely matters! It's why I'm working with Pepperidge Farm to invite you to elevate your grilled cheese for National Grilled Cheese Day. My go-to recipe features Pepperidge Farm Farmhouse Hearty White paired with cheddar, butter, and thinly sliced honeycrisp apples, a delicious twist on the classic. While the national survey from Pepperidge Farm confirms that “American” is the most popular cheese to use for a grilled cheese, 49% of folks are cheddar lovers like me. Additionally, ham (38%), bacon (35%), and fresh tomatoes (22%), are popular add-ons, but I’m hoping to win some over to the apple side!

CS: What is the most outrageous, over the top grilled cheese that you have ever made?

JD: I love to play around with grilled cheeses and have created tons of different recipes. One that stands out is my honeycrisp apple and sharp cheddar version. For National Grilled Cheese Day, Friday, April 12, I’m  excited to debut my custom grilled cheese recipe with Pepperidge Farm! Sharing the recipe below and follow along on Justine_Snacks and Pepperidge Farm social channels to see it come to life!

Justine’s Cheddar Apple Grilled Cheese

Serves 2


4 slices of Pepperidge Farm Farmhouse Hearty White Bread

6 tablespoons salted high-quality butter, softened

5 ounces sharp cheddar cheese

1 small honeycrisp apple


Spread a tablespoon of butter on one side of each slice of Pepperidge Farm Farmhouse Hearty White Bread.

Thinly slice the cheddar and honeycrisp apple.

To the unbuttered side of the bread, add two ounces of sliced cheddar. Layer half of the apple slices on top, then top with another slice of bread, ensuring the buttered side faces out. Repeat this with the remaining two slices of bread.

Set a cast iron skillet over medium-low heat. Let this heat up for 5 minutes, this will help regulate the temperature. Add one tablespoon of butter to the pan and let it melt until it sizzles. Grate in 0.5 ounces of cheddar cheese so that it melts into the butter. Add one sandwich directly on top of the cheddar/butter mixture. Cover the pan and cook for 4-5 minutes, or until the sandwich is lightly golden brown. Flip, cover and cook an additional 4-5 minutes.

Repeat this with the second sandwich, then slice and enjoy!

From National Grilled Cheese Day to enjoying the classic comfort food on any day, that simple, delicious sandwich always delivers a great taste. Ready to grab some bread, cheese, and other ingredients to create your signature sandwich?