Italian/ Main Dishes/ Sandwiches/ Vegetarian

Pesto Grilled Cheese

Pesto Grilled Cheese

Pesto Grilled Cheese. Pesto and Mozzarella sandwiched between Parmesan crusted bread and then grilled to perfection.

Every once in a while I just need a good grilled cheese. One where the bread is crunchy and buttery and the cheese just oozes out as soon as you slice it. Simple, Grilled Cheese perfection.

That is exactly what this Pesto Grilled Cheese Sandwich is.

There are a few things that helped make this Pesto Grilled Cheese one of my favorite things.

First, I made my own pesto. SUPER easy guys. Basil, garlic, pine nuts, parmesan, crushed red pepper and olive oil. In a food processor and BAM pesto. If you don’t have the time, store-bought pesto would be fine.

Next comes the mozzarella. For this recipe, I wanted to use fresh mozzarella. It’s the stuff you find in the deli either vacuum packed or in a container of water. If it’s in water just pat it dry. Trust me, you really want to use this stuff. It’s creamier and has so much more flavor than the other stuff.

Finally, I couldn’t just have buttered bread for this grilled cheese. No. I needed to do something a little different so I shredded some fresh Parmesan cheese and pressed the buttered bread into it. That way when it grilled up, the outside was like this buttery, Parmesan crisp.

Pesto Grilled Cheese. Pesto and Mozzarella sandwiched between Parmesan crusted bread and then grilled to perfection.

So lets run through this again, we’ve got the fresh pesto. The creamy, gooey melted mozzarella. The crunchy buttery bread. And the crisp, golden brown Parmesan.

Yeah. There’s no denying it. This Pesto Grilled Cheese is kind of amazeballs.

Pesto Grilled Cheese. Pesto and Mozzarella sandwiched between Parmesan crusted bread and then grilled to perfection.

Dip it in some tomato basil soup and you’ll have pure, unadulterated Pesto Grilled Cheese heaven.

Pesto Grilled Cheese. Pesto and Mozzarella sandwiched between Parmesan crusted bread and then grilled to perfection.

Pesto Grilled Cheese

Print Recipe
Serves 4 Prep Time: Cook Time:

Pesto Mozzarella Grilled Cheese Ingredients:

  • 8 slices crusty bread (such as Como)
  • 2 - 3 tablespoons softened butter
  • 1 cup freshly shredded parmesan
  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced
  • Pesto (homemade or store-bought)

Pesto Ingredients:

  • 2 cups packed fresh basil
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • pinch crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil



Prepare the pesto first by combining basil, garlic, pine nuts, Parmesan and crushed red pepper in a food processor. Pulse until basil is minced fine. With the food processor running, slowly drizzle in olive oil until emulsified. Set aside until ready to use.


To make a sandwich: Spread softened butter on one side of two slices of bread. Turn slices over and spread a generous amount of pesto on the other side. Place two slices of cheese on one slice of bread and top with the other slice, butter side out. Repeat with remaining ingredients until 4 sandwiches are made.


Place the shredded parmesan cheese on a plate. Press the the sandwiches, on both sides, into the Parmesan. Place the sandwiches in a pan. Cook over medium heat until the outside is golden and the cheese has melted. About 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate, cut in half and serve.



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  • Arman @ thebigmansworld

    Pesto + cheese = amazing. Grilled in a sandwich? Even better.

  • I am loving this sandwich, I wish I was going to be home today so I could make one for lunch!

  • Now this is a fantastic grilled cheese sandwich!!!

  • The first time I had this sandwich was when my mom came to help me after having my first son. She had made her own pesto and put it on everything. I fell in love and eat it all the time now!

  • I am so ready for fall but not ready to let go of all the summer produce! You had me at grilled cheese and there is nothing better than homemade pesto!

  • Cristina @ Teenie Cakes

    I can never get my bread to look like that on a grilled cheese. I’m going to try crusting it with the Parmesan as you’ve shared here. Luv this pesto grilled cheese you’ve shared and that bread caramelization is perfection! I could hold to summer too, just a little longer if for only the produce alone. ;)

  • Food Done Light

    I should be able to get one last batch of basil from our garden to make pesto. Love the idea of adding it to grilled cheese.

  • Love the addition of pesto to grilled cheese!

  • Pesto is always a winner! This looks amazing. I posted a kale pesto recipe today as well.

  • Heather @FrenchPress

    oh YES! It is hard to pass up grilled cheese, and that pesto YUM

  • Krista

    This is just has me drooling… oozing cheese and fresh basil pesto! LOVE this! All I need now is a bowl of tomato soup!

  • What a yummy Italian twist on grilled cheese!!

  • Susan S. Bradley

    LOVE the parmesan crisp coating.What a great idea! Can’t wait to try this grilled cheese.

  • Now that’s what I call a grilled cheese sandwich with a fun twist. Looks yummy.

  • This looks insanely delicious. Like dangerously delicious. Like I’d make one for my husband, eat his before he knew what I was even making, and then feel just a little guilty. And I’m all for homemade pesto! So easy and way better than storebought.

  • YUM! Going to go make this now!

  • Jessica @ Sprinkle Some Sugar

    This looks SO ridiculously good. I’m in love with those crispy edges!

  • Karen Powell

    I made this last night ..and WOW! The best thing I have ever made. Pressing the bread into the Parmesan cheese is BRILLIANT! I used my own pesto I had already made. This is a new weekly (or maybe daily) favorite!

  • Yay!! I am so happy to hear that you enjoyed this Karen! It is one of our favorites too and I’m sure (if my basil does well in my garden this year) it’ll be on our weekly menu this summer too!

  • Lou FA

    I made this today and added thin slices of a fresh tomato to the filling. For extra kick, I swiped a bit of chipotle mayo to the inside of the sandwich and then proceeded with your recipe. Every bite sent me back to Italy. I think I’m in heaven now.

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