Learn how to melt cheese properly so that it doesn't separate, turn rubbery, or refuse to melt at all!
Just the thought of melted cheese is enough to get the taste buds tingling - but there's an art to melting cheese, and if yours has ever turned into an unappetizing mess, you'll know that it's not quite as easy as you'd think!
When learning how to melt cheese and get the results you want, the main thing to consider is the type of cheese you're using.
Different cheeses melt in different ways, so don't be too quick to substitute one type of cheese for another in your recipes. Using Cheddar in place of mozzarella is not going to produce the same kind of ooey-gooey stretchiness on your homemade pizza, for example.
You also need to be very careful about the amount of heat you use.
If you heat certain cheeses for too long - or at too high a heat - you can cause their proteins to tighten up. Have you ever had your melted cheese turn into a lump of rubber swimming in a greasy puddle? Overheating is the reason!
Which cheeses melt well?
Cheeses low in fat and with low moisture levels - Parmesan or Romano, for example - will only melt a little, but not enough to make a creamy, cheesy sauce.
Cheeses with lots of moisture and lower melting points - think Swiss or Cheddar - will give much better results!
Tips for melting cheese
Whichever method you choose, there are three main things to remember before you start:
- Shred the cheese
- Allow it to come to room temperature
- Heat it as gently as possible
Make sure you don't swap steps 1 and 2 - it's much easier to shred cheese when it's cold from the fridge.
Wondering if you can skip step 1 and buy shredded cheese instead? You can - but cheese that you grate yourself melts much better than pre-grated cheese.
Method 1 - Microwave
- Tip the shredded cheese into a microwave-safe bowl.
- Heat on the lowest possible setting for 15 seconds.
- Remove from the microwave, stir well, then return and heat for another 15 seconds.
- Continue heating in 15 second bursts, stirring in between, until the cheese has fully melted.
Method 2 - Stovetop
- Tip the shredded cheese into a nonstick saucepan.
- Place on the stovetop and apply the smallest amount of heat possible.
- Stir often, until the cheese is fully melted.
Method 3 - Double boiler
- Fill the bottom part of your double boiler with water and place the other half over the top.
- Place on the stovetop and apply a very low heat.
- Put the cheese into the top part of the boiler and move around until it starts to melt. Once it has started to melt, stir often.
For extra smooth results - and to add a little flavor boost to your cheese - stir in a little wine or beer as it melts. You're welcome!
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