Budget Bytes

Pesto Grilled Cheese with Sun Dried Tomatoes


$2.45 each

I went all Splurgy McSpurgison on this Pesto Grilled Cheese Sandwich, but you know what? It was so worth it. And still a fraction of what it would cost to buy a fancy schmancy sandwich like this at a deli. So here it is. When you need a little splurge in your life, or you just have some leftover pesto that needs to be used up, make this Pesto Grilled Cheese with Sun Dried Tomatoes. You won’t regret it.

Two halves of a Pesto Grilled Cheese Sandwich stacked with cut sides facing the camera. Blue background.

What Kind of Pesto Should I Use?

I used my homemade Kale Pesto for this sandwich, but it works just as well with store-bought pesto, of any flavor. 

What Kind of Cheese Should I Use?

I used fresh mozzarella because I love the way it melts, but you can use block or grated mozzarella in its place (that’s usually more affordable as well). Other types of cheese that would work great with pesto are: smoked mozzarella, gruyere, swiss, brie, or white cheddar. 

What Kind of Bread Should I Use?

You definitely want to get some sort of sturdy, crusty bread for this sandwich. Pesto is fairly oily in nature, so it will soak right through a delicate sandwich bread. Go for something thick, robust, and sturdy. If you want to make your own, try my No Knead Bread.

Add-Ins for Your Pesto Grilled Cheese

I added some sun dried tomatoes to my Pesto Grilled Cheese, which added a nice sweet-tart pop of flavor against the creamy cheese and salty pesto. The sun dried tomatoes are totally optional, but they do take things to the next level. Some other add-in ideas are: fresh spinach, fresh tomatoes, avocado, roasted red peppers, olives, or ham. OMG, I’m totally drooling right now.

Two hands pulling the pesto grilled cheese sandwich in half, with the cheese pulling between and sun dried tomato pieces exposed.


Pesto Grilled Cheese

Whether you’re using up leftover pesto or just want to treat yourself to something special, this Pesto Grilled Cheese is next level!

Keyword: Gourmet, Sandwich

Total Cost: $2.45 each

Author: Beth – Budget Bytes

Servings: 1

  • 2 slices hearty bread ($0.75)
  • 1 Tbsp butter ($0.13)
  • 2 Tbsp pesto ($0.42)
  • 2 sun dried tomato pieces ($0.55)
  • 2 oz. mozzarella ($0.60)
  • Spread 1/2 Tbsp butter over one side of each piece of bread. Spread 1 Tbsp pesto over the opposite side of each piece of bread. The butter sides will be facing out on the sandwich and the pesto sides facing in.

  • Cut the sun dried tomatoes into small pieces. Sprinkle them over one of the pesto coated surface of bread. Add the mozzarella on top of the sun dried tomatoes (shred or break the mozzarella into small pieces to facilitate fast melting). Place the other piece of bread on top, pesto side facing in.

  • Place the sandwich in a small skillet and heat over medium-low until golden brown on one side. Flip and cook until golden brown on the other side, and the cheese is melted on the inside (about 3-5 minutes each side). Serve hot.

Scroll down for the step by step photos!
Two stacked pieces of pesto grilled cheese next to a bowl and small knife with pesto on it.

Step by Step Photos

Pesto being spread onto two slices of bread, a bowl of pesto on the side.

Smear 1/2 Tbsp of butter over one side of two pieces of bread. Flip the bread over and spread 1 Tbsp pesto on the opposite sides. The butter sides will be facing out on the sandwich, and the pesto sides facing in.

Sun dried tomato pieces added to pesto on bread.

Cut two pieces of sun dried tomato into small pieces, then sprinkle them over one half of the sandwich.

Add mozzarella to sandwich, in small pieces.

Add 2 oz. mozzarella on top of the sun dried tomatoes. If you’re using shredded mozzarella, add as-is. If you are using slices, break them into small pieces so they’ll melt faster.

Cooked Pesto Grilled Cheese in the skillet

Close the sandwich by placing the second piece of bread on top, pesto side facing in. Place the sandwich in a skillet and cook over medium-low until the bread is golden brown. Flip the sandwich and cook on the second side until the bread is golden brown and the cheese is melted on the inside. I find that cooking on a slightly lower heat (medium-low instead of medium) gives the inside time to heat and melt the cheese before the outside burns.

Hands holding a stacked pesto grilled cheese facing the camera.

Serve while the pesto grilled cheese is still hot and melty!! (And no, I didn’t plan my nail color to match the toothpick! Happy accident!)

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