This ooey, gooey Chicken Pesto Grilled Cheese was a heavenly meal that got rave reviews from the pickiest husband around! 

Shaking up the classic Grilled Cheese Sandwich Recipe by adding pesto, roast chicken, and peppers to your favorite melty cheese is a delicious twist!

Chicken Pesto Grilled Cheese halves stacked on a white plate.

Why You Must Make

  • Who doesn’t love grilled cheese? It’s my go-to dinner when Bill is out of town, though hardly gourmet as it’s usually just a grainy bread and cheddar cheese.
  • When we visited my high school friend in LA after Christmas, she pulled out her panini maker and treated us to a lunch including this grilled cheese sandwich.
  • The whole family gobbled down those delicious chicken pesto grilled cheese sandwiches. I knew it was a winning combination with my first bite.

Reader Endorsements:

  • From Facebook: My family thanks you for your Chicken pesto grilled sandwich recipe!
  • Beth said, “The red peppers really added a lot of flavor! Even the pickiest of my girls ate it up.”
Chicken Pesto Grilled Cheese view from above on a white plate with a basil garnish and a red handled fork.

Ingredient Notes

  • Kitchen Staples – Room temperature Butter, Salt, Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • Sliced Bread – Hearty whole-grain or Sourdough
  • Homemade or Jarred Pesto
  • Shredded Gruyere and Monterey Jack – You may use any favorite cheese. Sharp Cheddar, Havarti, Emental, and Comté (though not a true Swiss, it comes from the border of France and Switzerland) are all good options. Two varieties give a nice depth of flavor.
  • Sliced Cooked Chicken – Use leftovers or slices from a Rotisserie Chicken.
  • Roasted Red Bell Pepper – You can roast them yourself, but using from a jar is just as good and much easier. Just make sure to pat them dry before adding to your sandwiches.

Recipe Tips

  • I wanted to recreate those marvelous upscale grilled cheese sandwiches we ate with such abandon. Plus, I couldn’t resist giving them my twist. I added some Monterey Jack to the Gruyere plus roasted bell pepper slices for a pop of color.
  • Use your favorite cheeses or try this sandwich recipe with thin slices of roasted ham instead of chicken.
  • PRO-Tip: Shredded cheese melts more quickly than cheese slices, so give it a try!
  • I’ve seen some toasted cheese sandwiches made with mayonnaise used of butter to make a crispy, browned crust. If you’re curious, give it a try!
  • Having no panini maker, I dug out my grill pan and impatiently waited for the cheeses to melt. Boy was the aroma intoxicating as the pesto warmed and the cheese oozed. The hubby asked for an encore, a sure sign these grilled cheese sandwiches with chicken were a home run hit.
  • PRO-Tip: Cook low and slow giving the cheese time to melt before the bread gets too dark.
  • Try sourdough or another favorite instead of whole wheat bread.
Chicken Pesto Grilled Cheese on a white plate on a floral napkin.

Best Grilled Cheese Sandwich Sides

Did you know April is National Grilled Cheese Month? It’s a wonderful excuse to make loads of gooey, toasted, cheesy sandwiches. I selected a Pinot Grigio to accompany my spectacular chicken pesto grilled cheese. I adore the fruity undertones of this varietal with hints of citrus, tart apple, and white peaches. Besides grilled cheese, this wine is lovely with salads, rich seafood, grilled poultry, and dishes featuring acidic ingredients like lemon and tomatoes.

For the red wine lovers in your house, a Pinot Noir is another winner. Its berry nuances and subtle earthy flavors pair well with roast chicken (it would also be perfectly delightful with my chicken grilled cheese), meaty fish, and mushrooms. A medium-bodied dry wine with a smooth finish, it’s a terrific red to have on hand for that unexpected company.

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the Key to the Best Grilled Cheese Sandwiches?

Use shredded cheese, coat the bread with butter, and cook them low and slow. And make sure to serve them hot while the cheese is gooey.

What Are Some Favorite Types of Cheese for a Grilled Cheese?

Ditch the Velveeta and try some classic melty cheeses. Pairing two gives even more flavor to your sandwich. Try Mozzarella, Aged Cheddar, Gruyere, Havarti, Gouda, Fontina, Brie, and/or Monterey Jack.

You May Also Like:

Stay in touch through social media @ InstagramFacebook, and Pinterest. Don’t forget to tag me when you try one of my recipes! And if you love the results, please give it a 5-star rating in the recipe card.

Chicken Pesto Grilled Cheese | An over the top grilled cheese sandwich

Chicken Pesto Grilled Cheese

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Yield 1 sandwich

An  out of this world grilled cheese sandwich with chicken, pesto, peppers and two cheeses!


For each sandwich:

  • Two slices bread, hearty whole-grain preferred
  • 1 tablespoon butter, at room temperature
  • 1 ½ teaspoons prepared or homemade pesto (more or less) depending on size of bread slices)
  • ¼ cup shredded Gruyere cheese
  • ¼ cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 3 slices cooked chicken (rotisserie chicken is a terrific shortcut)
  • 2 slices of roasted red bell pepper, optional
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste


  1. Butter one slice of bread and place it butter-side down on a grill pan or saute pan.
  2. Spread pesto over the other side, then layer with cheeses, chicken (sprinkled with salt and pepper to taste), and peppers, if using.
  3. Butter the second slice of bread and top the sandwich with the butter side up.
  4. Cook over medium heat till the bottom slice of bread is browned and the cheese is beginning to melt. Carefully flip and cook till the second side is browned and the cheese is completely melted, adjusting the burner temperature as needed.
  5. Slice in half and serve.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:

1 sandwich

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 1172Total Fat: 74gSaturated Fat: 33gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 35gCholesterol: 354mgSodium: 1430mgCarbohydrates: 33gFiber: 2gSugar: 4gProtein: 89g


Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Pinterest