Apple Grilled Cheese with Turkey, Cheddar, and Apple Butter

If I’m ever stranded on a desert island, I hope it’s with a panini press. As long as I can cook myself an Apple Grilled Cheese with Turkey, Cheddar, and Apple Butter, I’m reasonably confident I will survive.

Turkey Cheddar Apple Grilled Cheese Sandwich. The best flavors of fall! Melty cheddar, sweet apple butter, granny smith apples, and healthy turkey make an amazing sweet and savory flavor combination that tastes like fall! Healthy comfort food that’s perfect for fast lunches and easy family meals. Recipe at wellplated.com

I realize a panini press is probably not the wisest survival tool one could choose. For all the busy nights that grown-up grilled cheese recipes like this cheddar-apple number have come to our dinner rescue, however, I’ll make the case that it deserves some consideration.

What’s that you say? The desert island doesn’t come with electric outlets to plug in my panini press? I’ll use a cast-iron skillet instead. This is survival mode after all.

Silly though it may sound, this apple grilled cheese recipe is one of the first meals that convinced me that I might actually be able to cook. I realize that sounds like an overreaction to a GRILLED CHEESE—a recipe that toddlers eat and college students successfully prepare without going to the emergency room every single day—BUT this is no ordinary grilled cheese sandwich.

Cheddar Apple Grilled Cheese with Turkey, Apple Butter, and Sage. To die for! Incredibly fall flavor, healthy, and perfect for easy meals. Recipe at wellplated.com

If I ever run a café (or a grilled cheese food truck), this Turkey Apple Grilled Cheese will never leave my menu. Each ingredient pairs harmoniously with the others, and together they make a sandwich whose tastes far exceeds its individual parts. When you taste it, you’ll feel as if you can cook like Julia Child, even though a child could make it. Your secret is safe with me.

Here’s what’s happening between the (buttery, fluffy sourdough) bread:

  • Sweet, sliced tart apples: I like Granny smith or Fuji, but any lightly tart apple you love (or pick!) will do nicely.
  • Apple butter: FABULOUS when paired with grilled cheese. It’s the whole sweet-savory thang that makes my heart flutter.
    • I’ve started making my own homemade Slow Cooker Apple Butter, and now I’m never going back to store bought because it is so easy and so darn good. If you prefer to purchase apple butter, you can usually find it either by the applesauce or jelly.
  • Sage: Adds depth, undeniable fall flair, and pairs beautifully with apple.
  • Turkey: Choose a good-quality turkey meat purchased directly from the deli counter (no prepacked meats, please). I prefer a low-sodium variety to keep the sandwich from becoming overly salty.
  • Sharp cheddar: Cheddar and apple are flavor BFFs. Think cheeseboard, come to life in epic sandwich form. I strongly encourage purchasing a good-quality block of cheddar (I like sharp white) and grating it yourself versus the prepacked slices. The cheese is the star, so this isn’t the place to skimp.

Apple Grilled Cheese with Cheddar, Turkey, and Apple Butter. Perfect for fall lunches and quick meals. Easy, healthy, and a great way to use Granny smith apples! Recipe at wellplated.com

I’m often asked if I cook dinner every night, and my answer is…

NOPE.

Turkey Cheddar Apple Grilled Cheese Sandwiches. The best fall flavors! Healthy comfort food that’s perfect for easy lunches, family meals, and all those extra granny smith apples. Recipe at wellplated.com

At the end of a long day of recipe testing, I rarely have the energy to make another meal. At the same time, however, Ben and I almost never order takeout or delivery. My secret? Panini and grilled sandwiches like today’s Turkey Apple Grilled Cheese.

Grown-up grilled cheese sandwiches take minutes to throw together and are unquestionably easier, healthier, and more delicious than anything that comes in a cardboard box. For a fast dinner, Ben and I each assemble our own, then I serve them with an easy side, such as Oven Roasted Brussels Sprouts.

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Apple Butter, Turkey, and Cheddar Grilled Cheese

Apple Grilled Cheese Sandwich. Melty cheddar, sweet apple butter, granny smith apples, and healthy turkey. DELICIOUS fall flavor. Perfect for quick dinners!

Yield: 2 sandwiches

Prep Time: 7 minutes

Cook Time: 8 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 4 slices whole wheat bread (I used a bakery whole wheat sourdough)
  • 1/4 cup apple butter
  • 1/2 tablespoon chopped fresh sage or 1 scant teaspoon dry rubbed sage
  • 2 ounces freshly grated sharp cheddar cheese (I love using white cheddar)
  • 1 firm tart or semi-tart apple, thinly sliced, such as Granny Smith, Fuji, or Honeycrisp
  • 6 ounces good-quality deli turkey meat
  • 1 tablespoon light butter spread, plus additional for grilling sandwich

Directions:

  1. Heat a nonstick skillet over medium low or preheat your panini press to medium high.
  2. Spread all four slices of bread with 1 tablespoon apple butter each. For each sandwich, layer one of the slices with half of the sage, half of the cheese, a layer of apple slices, and the turkey. Place the remaining bread slices on top, apple-butter-side down.
  3. Butter the outsides of the sandwich, then once the skillet is warm or the panini press is preheated, grill on stovetop (cooking each side for 2 to 4 minutes until the bread is toasty and golden—low and slow will guarantee the most melty, perfectly cooked grilled cheese) or place in the panini press, using additional butter or nonstick spray as needed to prevent sticking. Slice and enjoy hot.
  • To make gluten free, use gluten-free bread.
All images and text ©/Well Plated.

Nutrition Information

Serving Size: 1 sandwich

  • Amount Per Serving:
  • Calories: 442 Calories
  • Total Fat: 15g
  • Saturated Fat: 8g
  • Cholesterol: 55mg
  • Sodium: 1193mg
  • Carbohydrates: 54g
  • Fiber: 3g
  • Sugar: 19g
  • Protein: 27g

Did you try this recipe? I want to see! Follow Well Plated on Instagram, snap a photo, and tag it #wellplated. I love to know what you are making!

This post contains some affiliate links, which means that I make a small commission off items you purchase at no additional cost to you.

About Erin Clarke

I’m fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food taste incredible. Wearer of plaid, travel enthusiast, and firmly convinced that sweets and veggies both deserve a place at the table. MORE ABOUT ERIN…

33 comments

  1. I’m all about apples with grilled cheese but I have never thought to do apple butter! That’s such a great idea! MUST TRY

    • The apple butter is totally the “secret sauce” on this guy. There’s something about it with the turkey and cheese that has me addicted. I hope you like it too!

  2. Oh man, applebutter on a grilled cheese? My kind of sandwich! And I totally agree– grilled cheese is the kind of sandwich to be celebrated all year round :)

  3. Another delicious combination Erin!! I’ve never tried apple butter… do you make your own? I love the idea of combining sweet apple with turkey, cheese and a touch of fragrant thyme. Sounds so perfect for a quick weeknight supper in front of the television. And yay for grilled cheese month… I might try and start it up in Australia too (haha – wish me luck!). Yum!!

    • You know Laura, I THINK about making apple butter every fall…then somehow end up with apple pie instead, lol. It’s available in every grocery store here, but if you can’t find it down under, you can definitely make your own. I think it even works in the crockpot! And YES for bringing grilled cheese month to Australia. The country will thank you :)

  4. What a crazy combination! I love it! Im all about these fun grilled cheese! And I loove apple butter!

  5. Apples with sharp cheddar is only my most favorist thing in the whole wide world! And then the combination of turkey with the crispy bread, I have reached grilled cheese nirvana.

  6. Hi Reba,
    Although I buy a mass amount of apples every fall, they always seem to end up in my desserts ;-) I have heard that it’s pretty simple though and have seen quite a few crockpot recipes. Maybe this will be the year!

  7. Apple + turkey + cheddar = true love. Beyond awesome recipe, Erin!

  8. cookingwithcurls Reply

    We have a restaurant here in town with a similar version of this sandwich. I thought it sounded strange the first time I tried it, but now I make it at home all the time:) Awesome flavor combination!

  9. Now THAT’S my kind of sandwich! Oh yum!

  10. Pingback: Apple Butter, Cheddar, and Dill Biscuits | The Law Student's Wife |

  11. just made these sammies! soooo good! the sage was the perfect spice to round out all the flavors. James was super impressed.

    Rating: 5
  12. This was/is amazing! This will be my family’s go to sandwich from this day on……y u m m y!

    Rating: 5
  13. Mmmm your Apple Grilled Cheese looks so fantastic!! I just pinned it to my Main Dish Recipes board and I can’t wait to try it! Awesome pictures too- I love your photography! :)

  14. This looks SO insanely amazing~!!!!

  15. I could eat a dozen of these sandwiches!

  16. I just made apple butter Tuesday. I just need to pick up some deli turkey, and we have tonight’s dinner. Thanks!

  17. Can I just say that I LOVE YOU more for adding the apple butter? SWOOOOON! best grilled cheese ever

  18. Loving all of the flavors of this grilled cheese. Apple butter = genius! 

  19. Yum!! That is an ultimate sandwich. Love the sound of that apple butter (:

  20. I need this sandwich like right now! I seriously love sandwiches, so if I’m on an island with you and you’ve got the panini press, I’m in good shape! Yum!

  21. The apple butter really puts this thing over the top! Thanks for the great recipe.

  22. This sounds oh so perfect and just screams autumn!

  23. Oh, my…this combo sounds DELISH!

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