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, I’m reasonably confident I will survive.

Cheddar and apple grilled cheese with turkey

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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 the Balsamic Blackberry Brie in my cookbook, this cheddar-apple number, or a BLT 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 cinnamon 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.

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 Roasted Brussels Sprouts.

Green apple grilled cheese being prepared on a cutting board

5 Star Review

“My husband said this was the ‘Best sandwich (he’s) ever had,’ and my 9-year old said ‘huh, surprisingly good.’ It was wonderful and enjoyed by all!”

— Peggy —

How to Make Apple Grilled Cheese with Turkey

If I ever run a café (or a grilled cheese food truck), this apple grilled cheese with turkey 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.

The Ingredients

  • Apples. I like Granny Smith (the green apple grilled cheese you see pictured here) or Fuji, but any lightly tart apple you love (or pick!) will do nicely. Since apples are rich in fiber and vitamins, they add valuable nutrition to the sandwich.
  • Turkey. Choose a good-quality turkey meat purchased directly from the deli counter. I prefer a low-sodium variety to keep the sandwich from becoming overly salty.


Like my delicious Turkey Salad and Turkey Pot Pie, this recipe is another great way to utilize leftover Thanksgiving turkey.

  • Sharp Cheddar. Cheddar and apple are flavor BFFs. Think cheeseboard, come to life in epic sandwich form.


For the best ever grilled cheese, I strongly encourage purchasing a good-quality block of cheddar (I like sharp white) and grating it yourself.

  • Freshly grated melts better and is usually better quality than prepacked slices.
  • The cheese is the star, so this isn’t the place to skimp.
  • DO NOT use preshredded cheeses, which are coated with a starchy substance to prevent clumping. That substance causes the cheese not to melt as smoothly.
  • Apple Butter. FABULOUS when paired with grilled cheese. It’s the whole sweet-savory thang that makes my heart flutter.

Make Your Own Apple Butter

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 oomph, and pairs beautifully with apple.

The Directions

  1. Spread apple butter onto the bread slices. Top with sage, cheese, apples, and turkey. Place the other bread slices on top.
  2. Butter the outsides of the sandwiches. Grill each sandwich in a skillet or panini press for 2 to 4 minutes per side. ENJOY!
A sandwich cut into halves on a cutting board

Dietary Note

  • To Make Gluten Free. Use a gluten-free bread.
  • To Make Vegetarian. Omit the turkey.

Storage Tips

  • To Store. Refrigerate leftover grilled cheese in an airtight storage container for up to 1 day.
  • To Reheat. Rewarm leftovers in a skillet on the stovetop over medium-low heat or with a panini press.

Storage Tips

This sandwich is best enjoyed the day it is made, as the bread will become soggy in the refrigerator. If you have leftovers, however, they will still be delicious!

Apple grilled cheese with turkey and apple butter

What to Serve with Apple Grilled Cheese

Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe

  • Panini Press + Griddle Combo. The ultimate sandwich-making machine.
  • Skillet. For those not wanting a panini press, a cast-iron skillet like this one or a nonstick skillet like this one make fantastic grilled sandwiches also.
  • Apple Corer. If you love apples, this is a gadget worth having.

The Best Panini Press

Turn your sandwich game up a notch with this panini press and griddle combo! It’s easy to use and will help you make perfect sandwiches every time.

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

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Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Swap the Sharp Cheddar for a Different Cheese?

While I love this as a cheddar and apple grilled cheese, you could experiment with making it a Brie and apple grilled cheese instead. I also think a gouda apple grilled cheese or apple mozzarella grilled cheese could be tasty, but the overall flavor of the sandwich will be different.

How Can I Make this Apple Grilled Cheese Gluten Free?

Apple grilled cheese can easily be made gluten free by using a gluten-free bread.

Why Do Apples and Cheese Pair Well Together?

Apples and cheese complement each other well in recipes like this. The salty, savory notes in the cheese are elevated by the sweetness and juiciness of the apples and vice versa.

Apple Grilled Cheese with Turkey

5 from 4 votes
Apple Grilled Cheese Sandwich. Melty cheddar, sweet apple butter, granny smith apples, and healthy turkey. DELICIOUS fall flavor. Perfect for quick dinners!

Prep: 7 mins
Cook: 8 mins
Total: 15 mins

Servings: 2 sandwiches


  • 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


  • Heat a nonstick skillet over medium low or preheat your panini press to medium high.
  • 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.
  • Butter the outsides of the sandwich, then once the skillet is warm or the panini press is preheated, grill on the 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.


Serving: 1sandwichCalories: 442kcalCarbohydrates: 54gProtein: 27gFat: 15gSaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 55mgFiber: 3gSugar: 19g

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Erin Clarke

Hi, I'm Erin Clarke, and I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food that's affordable, easy-to-make, and best of all DELISH. I'm the author and recipe developer here at wellplated.com and of The Well Plated Cookbook. I adore both sweets and veggies, and I am on a mission to save you time and dishes. WELCOME!

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  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

    1. 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 :)

    1. I don’t know what possessed me to try apple butter on this, but I’ve been HOOKED every sense. And yes–viva grilled cheese!

  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!!

    1. 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!

    1. You think it’s crazy…till you taste it :) If you love apple butter, then this sandwich was made for you Alaina!

  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.

    1. Glad this sammie offers some of your favorite flavors! Apples + cheddar. Sounds like an odd couple, but SO GOOD.

  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. 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!

    1. Thanks Lisa! I’m a sucker for sweet+savory. And anything oozing with cheddar cannot be bad :) PS. I want to eat at that restaurant!

  8. just made these sammies! soooo good! the sage was the perfect spice to round out all the flavors. James was super impressed.5 stars

    1. Yay!!! I’m so happy you both enjoyed them. This are one of our favorite recipes too. Thanks for taking time to share your review! Makes my day :-)

  9. 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! :)

  10. 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!

  11. My husband said this was the “Best sandwich (he’s) ever had”, and my 9-year old said “huh, surprisingly good”. It was wonderful and enjoyed by all!5 stars