Caprese Grilled Cheese

2 Servings
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 6 minutes
Total Time 11 minutes

Caprese Grilled Cheese is made with melty mozzarella, juicy tomatoes, and pesto all in golden brown, toasty sandwich bread. 

This recipe is the perfect twist on classic Grilled Cheese Sandwiches. Instead of cheddar or American cheese, the sandwich gets an Italian makeover with mozzarella cheese and juicy tomatoes. It’s a delicious Lunch or Dinner that your whole family is sure to love. 

Caprese Grilled Cheese cut and stacked

Caprese Salad is a traditional Italian dish made by layering fresh mozzarella and ripe tomatoes, then topping them with fresh basil leaves and dressing. The delightful salad is perfect for enjoying as a side dish, particularly in the summer when it’s quite refreshing. This recipe is inspired by the same traditional Italian flavors but transforms them into a comforting sandwich.

If you’re a Caprese lover, then this sandwich is sure to be a new favorite. The combination of melty cheese, juicy tomatoes, and toasty bread is the perfect way to get the best parts of both grilled cheese and Caprese Salad in one recipe. 

You can serve Caprese Grilled Cheese as a main dish on its own or serve it up with a bowl of soup for a café-style meal. If you’re looking for the perfect dinner idea for a cold night, it doesn’t get cozier than a cheesy sandwich with a piping hot bowl of soup. Caprese Grilled Cheese is especially outstanding with Italian soups like Creamy Tomato Tortellini Soup or Italian Chicken Soup

Caprese Grilled Cheese ingredients

Frequently Asked Questions About Caprese Grilled Cheese

What’s the best kind of bread for grilled cheese?

You want to use thick-cut white bread for the perfect grilled cheese. Texas Toast, sourdough, or brioche would work well. 

Can I add meat to the recipe?

You can absolutely add meat to your Caprese Grilled Cheese. Crispy bacon or Grilled Chicken would taste amazing with the mozzarella and tomatoes. Plus, the protein makes the recipe into a more filling entrée. Use leftover meat, or cook the meat ahead of time, then layer it into the sandwich filling. 

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Key Ingredients

  • Mozzarella: This recipe uses the same classic ingredients that you’d find in Caprese Salad for the sandwich filling. The first vital ingredient is fresh mozzarella cheese. It melts into gooey, stringy perfections, just like you want in grilled cheese sandwiches, but it also adds a distinct Italian flavor. 
  • Fresh Tomatoes: Speaking of Italian flavor, this sandwich recipe wouldn’t be the same without juicy tomato slices. Pick out some fresh, red, juicy tomatoes to layer into the sandwich. They add refreshing summer flavor to the comforting sandwich recipe. 
  • Olive Oil: Instead of the butter you’d spread over the bread in a typical grilled cheese recipe, use some virgin olive oil. It works just as well to toast the sandwich bread as butter would. Plus, its taste is more reminiscent of the olive oil dressing on Caprese Salad.
  • Basil Pesto: You can pick up a jar of pesto from the grocery store or follow this easy recipe to make your own delicious Pesto from scratch.
Caprese Grilled Cheese pesto added to bread in cooking pan

How to Make Caprese Grilled Cheese

  • Prep Time: Slice fresh tomatoes into 1/2″ thick circles, and cut the bread loaf into thick pieces if it’s not already sliced. 
  • Bread: Brush each slice of bread with olive oil on one side. Then place two pieces onto a large, non-stick skillet with the oil side down. Turn the stovetop to medium heat. 
  • Filling: Spread 2 tablespoons of pesto over each slice of bread. Then top that with tomato slices and a slice of mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle kosher salt and black pepper over the top. 
  • Finish: Top with the remaining slices of bread with the oil side facing out. 
  • Cook Time: Continue to cook for 3 minutes on each side. Once the bread is golden brown with melty cheese inside, you can remove the Caprese Grilled Cheese Sandwiches from the hot skillet and serve. 
Caprese Grilled Cheese tomato and mozzarella added to bread in cooking pan

Variations on Caprese Grilled Cheese

  • Bread: You can try out different kinds of bread to make your Caprese Grilled cheese. Crusty sourdough bread, Italian bread, ciabatta, brioche, or pumpernickel would all taste wonderful. Just slice the fresh bread and toast it up as usual for the perfect sandwich. 
  • Fresh Basil: Caprese salad uses fresh basil, but for this recipe use pesto instead. If you’d prefer to use fresh basil leaves, you can layer them between the tomato and cheese in the bread slices. 
  • Cheese: The mozzarella cheese is essential to making this sandwich recipe reminiscent of a Caprese salad. However, you can always add a second kind of cheese into the filling along with the mozzarella. Parmesan, cheddar, or provolone would taste particularly good. 
  • Seasonings: You could add some seasonings to the olive oil used to brush on the bread. Garlic infused olive oil will add a nice Italian flavor to your grilled cheese. A sprinkling of salt and pepper on the outside of the bread would also add additional flavor with every bite. A light sprinkling of parmesan cheese on the outside of the bread would add a decadent, nutty, salty, cheesy Italian flavor, and a gourmet grilled cheese experience.
  • Balsamic Glaze: You can use fresh balsamic glaze to dip your sandwiches in or spread over the bread slices before cooking. To make the balsamic glaze, mix ½ cup balsamic vinegar and 3 tablespoons honey or brown sugar. Add the mixture to a small saucepan over medium heat. Then, reduce the heat to medium-low once the mixture starts to bubble. Continue to simmer for about 10 minutes until the glaze reduces. Then let it cool before using it on your sandwiches. 
Caprese Grilled Cheese in cooking pan

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How to Store Caprese Grilled Cheese

  • Serve: After cooking Pesto Caprese Grilled Cheese, don’t leave the sandwiches at room temperature for more than 2 hours. 
  • Store: Although Grilled Cheeses are best fresh, you can store leftovers in the fridge for 1-2 days. Wrap them carefully in plastic wrap. Then when you’re ready to enjoy the leftovers, reheat the sandwiches in your heavy skillet until the cheese is melty again. 
Caprese Grilled Cheese cut and stacked

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Caprese Grilled Cheese

Caprese Grilled Cheese is made with melty mozzarella, juicy tomatoes, and pesto all in golden brown, toasty sandwich bread. 
Yield 2 Servings
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 6 minutes
Total Time 11 minutes
Course Sandwich
Cuisine Italian inspired
Author Sabrina Snyder


  • 4 slices thick cut sandwich bread
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup basil pesto
  • 1 vine tomato , sliced 1/2" thick
  • 4 slices fresh mozzarella , cut thick
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper


  • Brush one side of each piece of bread with olive oil.
  • Place two pieces of bread, oil side down in a large, heavy skillet on medium heat.
  • Spread 2 tablespoons of pesto on each piece of bread.
  • Top with tomato slices and mozzarella cheese.
  • Sprinkle on the salt and pepper.
  • Top with the remaining bread, olive oil side out.
  • Cook for 3 minutes on each side until golden brown.


Calories: 560kcal | Carbohydrates: 31g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 40g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 14g | Trans Fat: 0.01g | Cholesterol: 47mg | Sodium: 1178mg | Potassium: 249mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 1522IU | Vitamin C: 8mg | Calcium: 449mg | Iron: 2mg
Caprese Grilled Cheese collage

About the Author: Sabrina Snyder

Sabrina is a professionally trained Private Chef of over 10 years with ServSafe Manager certification in food safety. She creates all the recipes here on Dinner, then Dessert, fueled in no small part by her love for bacon.

Sabrina Snyder is a professionally trained personal and private chef of over 10 years who is the creator and developer of all the recipes on Dinner, then Dessert.

She is also the author of the cookbook Dinner, then Dessert – Satisfying Meals Using Only 3, 5 or 7 Ingredients, published by Harper Collins.

She started Dinner, then Dessert as a business in her office as a lunch service for her coworkers who admired her lunches before going to culinary school and becoming a full time personal chef and private chef.

As a personal chef Sabrina would cook for families one day a week and cook their entire week of dinners. All grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning was done along with instructions on reheating. As a private chef she cooked for private parties and cooked in family homes in the evenings for families on a nightly basis after working as a personal chef during the day.

Sabrina has been certified as a ServSafe Manager since 2007 and was a longstanding member of the USPCA Personal Chef Association including being on the board of the Washington DC Chapter of Chefs in the US Personal Chef Association when they won Chapter of the year.

As a member of the community of food website creators Sabrina Snyder has spoken at many conferences regarding her experiences as a food writer including the Indulge Food Conference, Everything Food Conference, Haven Food Conference and IACP Annual Food Professionals Conference.

Sabrina lives with her family in sunny California.

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