A classic grilled cheese sandwich taken up a few levels with provolone cheese, turkey, tomato, and the most amazing pesto-mayo spread. This recipe is total comfort food at its best and great for a quick and easy lunch or dinner!
Today I’m sharing the best grilled cheese sandwich! Or at least my family’s favorite. This has been a staple in my house since 2009!
If you are a purist, you might squawk because this isn’t your traditional white bread, American cheese version. And I get you 100%. I love a simple, classic grilled cheese. But this is so much more.
Every single time I make this sandwich (which is usually once a week, either for lunch or dinner), my husband and kids all say, “this is the absolute best grilled cheese sandwich.” And I agree.
Let’s break this grilled cheese down…
Ingredients for this grilled cheese sandwich
- Bread – ditch the flimsy sandwich bread for this grilled cheese. You want a sturdy, rustic bread like French or Italian, with nooks and crannies, and delivers a nice crunch.
- Butter – you want real salted butter. Salted butter provides added flavor and also helps create crispness and a nice golden color. (Spreading the outside of the bread with mayonnaise is also delish, but since we’re using mayo in our spread, we’re going with butter this time.)
- Spread – the spread, you guys. It’s a mixture of pesto and mayonnaise. I use my homemade pesto sauce recipe, but you can also buy it. I just want to put this spread combo on everything. I seriously think it makes the sandwich. Sigh. So good.
- Cheese – use fresh and thinly sliced quality cheese. The key is for it to be thin and fresh from the deli, not the packaged stuff, which doesn’t melt properly.
- Add-ins – honestly, if you stopped right before you got here, you’re still going to have a killer grilled cheese, but we take it a couple steps further with fresh tomato slices and roasted deli turkey, which add to flavor and make it more robust and filling.
Tips for this grilled cheese recipe
- Your ingredients should be room temperature – if you try to spread the bread with cold butter, it will rip it apart, cold cheese will take too long to melt, and turkey right from the refrigerator probably won’t warm all the way through. You’ll end up with a grilled cheese that’s perfectly crispy on the outside, but cold on the inside.
- Press down – press down with a spatula after the first flip so both sides of bread develop a crust.
- Peeking is ok – give your bread a quick peek underneath from time to time to make sure it’s not browning too quickly. If so, adjust your heat.
- Be patient – grilled cheese sandwiches are crazy simple and easy, but you still need to be patient. If you rush the sandwich, your bread won’t toast at the same pace that the cheese melts. Low and slow, my friends!
- Add some thinly sliced ripe avocado.
- Swap out the deli turkey for chicken.
- Provolone, Swiss, Muenster, Fontina, and Gruyère cheese are all great for this sandwich.
- Make a cheesy crust by sprinkling some Parmesan on the outside of the bread before it hits the hot pan.
You just can’t beat a good grilled cheese sandwich, whether it’s basic or piled high. It’s the ultimate in satisfying comfort food, no matter how young or old you are – it never disappoints!
Other sandwiches we love!
- Dill Pickle Sloppy Joe Grilled Cheese
- Classic Reuben Sandwich
- Chopped Cheeseburger Sliders
- Philly Cheese Steak Sloppy Joes
Pesto Grilled Cheese Sandwich
- 1 tablespoon pesto (<< that link is for my homemade recipe. Or use store bought.)
- 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
- 1 1/2 tablespoons salted butter , softened, divided
- 2 slices sturdy bread , such as French or Italian
- 2 slices provolone cheese , divided
- 2 slices tomato
- 2 slices deli turkey meat
- Heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the pesto and mayonnaise.
- Spread half of the butter on 1 side of each bread slice. Spread half of the pesto-mayo mixture on the unbuttered side of each bread slice.
- Transfer 1 slice of bread in skillet, buttered side down. Top with 1 slice provolone, the tomato, turkey, ending with the remaining Provolone. Place second bread slice on top, buttered side up.
- Cook, flipping once carefully, until both sides of bread are golden brown and cheese has melted, about 4 minutes per side, pressing down with a spatula after the first flip so both sides develop a crust.
- (Give your bread a quick peek underneath from time to time to make sure it's not browning too quickly. If so, adjust your heat.)
- Cut in half and enjoy with some potato chips!