Grilled Cheese with Peppers

This grilled cheese with peppers is not your typical cheese sammie. It’s an unconventional yet still comforting version stuffed with three types of cheese and an attention-grabbing pepper-onion mixture along with some mustard, pepper jelly, and Parmesan crust.

A grilled cheese sandwich with peppers is cut in half and stacked on a china plate with a jar of pepper jelly on the side

This unexpected grilled cheese with peppers is pretty much grilled cheese for those of us who get a little anxious when we don’t have a bottle of hot sauce within reach. It’s layered with three types (THREE!) of cheese, sauteed peppers and onions, pepper jelly, and, just to keep things interesting, a crisp and rich Parmesan crust. It’s gonna elbow out your standard grilled cheese as your go-to comfort food fix.–Angie Zoobkoff

Grilled Cheese with Peppers

  • Quick Glance
  • (3)
  • 30 M
  • 30 M
  • Serves 4
5/5 - 3 reviews
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Turn on the broiler or preheat the oven to 450°F (230°C).

In a large, preferably cast-iron skillet* set over medium heat, warm 1 tablespoon oil. Add the onions, ginger, and Scotch bonnet pepper and season with salt. Cook until the onions are softened and beginning to turn golden, adding a little more oil if needed, 8 to 12 minutes.

To assemble the sandwiches, spread the tops of 4 slices of bread with Dijon mustard. On each slice of bread, layer a quarter each of the Gruyere, onion mixture, mozzarella, and provolone. Then spread the pepper jelly on the tops of the remaining 4 slices of bread and sandwich them, pepper jelly side down, on the cheese-topped bread. Spread the tops of each sandwich with 1 teaspoon butter.

Wipe out the skillet, return it to over medium heat, and toss in about 1 teaspoon butter. Once the pan is warm and the butter has melted, place the sandwich, non-buttered side down, in the pan. Press on the sandwich with the back of a spatula quite often throughout the cooking process. When the bread is nice and crisp and golden brown, usually after 3 to 5 minutes, flip the sandwich and repeat on the other side. When the cheese begins to melt inside and the outside is crisp, remove the sandwich from the pan and place it on a rimmed baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining sandwiches. (If you’re using quite a large skillet, you may be able to cook a couple sandwiches at once, adding more butter to the skillet as necessary.)

To finish, scatter 1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese evenly over the top of each sandwich and broil or bake it until the Parmesan is melted and slightly brown, 2 to 5 minutes. Cut each sandwich diagonally and serve with additional pepper jelly on the side for dipping. Originally published January 29, 2019.

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    • You may be accustomed to using your nonstick skillet for grilled cheese sandwiches. And you can continue to use that. We prefer not to use nonstick skillets for a lot of reasons and instead reach for a seasoned cast-iron skillet, which is also nonstick. If you don’t have either, go ahead and reach for a regular skillet but you’ll need to use a little more butter than usual to try to discourage the bread from sticking.

    Recipe Testers' Reviews

    You know those movie reviews when the reviewer says "Thumbs up. Way up!"? That was everyone's reaction to these cheese sandwiches. We all agreed that these were the best grilled cheese sandwiches we'd ever had.

    When putting them together, I thought the brush of mustard would be too light but it was just enough to give you a nice mustard taste. The onions added great flavor and nice texture and the blend of cheeses was spot on, providing the stringiness that’s a hallmark of any good grilled cheese. I would have maybe added a little more spicy pepper jelly but having it on the side was fine. And the bread was exactly right for these sandwiches—a sturdy bread that can handle the stuffing.

    The one gripe I have is I would have dropped the ginger and pepper in toward the end rather than at the beginning because they were basically cooked to a crisp by the time the onions were done. But this is a minor issues when stacked up against an amazing (and easy) grilled cheese!

    I really enjoyed this recipe and thought that it was quite easy to make and a nice twist on a regular grilled cheese.

    I'm not a fan of Gruyere cheese, however, I found it quite enjoyable in this sandwich. It made for the perfect lunch.

    I used a Tuscan white loaf and cut it into slices and it worked out really well. I wasn't able to find Provolone to grate, only round slices so it took a round slice per sandwich.

    I thought the amount of jelly in the sandwich was just enough, however, I did put the jelly on the side as per the recipe and my significant other loved that as he could put more on as he ate it.

    This made 4 perfect sandwiches.


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    1. My family is obsessed with scotch bonnets. We put scotch bonnet sauce on our eggs, dip our pizza crusts in scotch bonnet infused oil, and after trying this recipe, put minced scotch bonnets on our grilled cheese sandwiches. I make up a big batch of the onion and pepper mixture and stash it in the fridge so I’m always ready to plop it on my sandwich. You can use any bread and don’t fear the pepper, they add a great depth of flavor.

    2. Excellent! One of the best grilled cheese sandwiches I’ve made so far. The outside is crisp and cheesy, thanks to the Parmesan crust, and the cheese filling with the onions and pepper jelly is delicious! I used the recipe as a starting point but tweaked the filling to use the claret cheddar and brie I had in the fridge. For the bread, I used my homemade wild rice cranberry pecan sourdough. I always have caramelized onions in the freezer so the sandwich came together in a few minutes. I warmed the thawed onions with the minced ginger before adding to the filling. I didn’t have any peppers but found that there was enough heat from the ginger and red pepper jelly for me. Instead of adding the Parmesan cheese to the pan at the end, I pressed the grated Parmesan onto the buttered sides of the bread before cooking the sandwich. Delicious!

    3. I really would love to try this, however we are not fans of heat or spice. Do you think this might work with a bell pepper instead of the Scotch Bonnet Pepper and is all pepper jelly spicy? Thank you for an advice you can provide.

      1. Hi Lin, I’ve made this several times and it is a very adaptable recipe. If you don’t like heat, I’d be inclined to make it with just ginger in the onions, and add a bit of pepper jelly. And yes, pepper jelly can vary in heat according to the peppers used.

    4. WOW, WOW, WOW. That’s all I can say about this life changing grilled cheese sandwich. The addition of mustard, pepper jelly and scotch bonnet sautéed onions cause this sandwich to explode in your mouth and leave your lips tingling for more. I’ve made this countless times over the last month and have used different breads (whole wheat, hard dough, gluten free), different types of mustard as well as swapping out the cheese for whatever I found in the refrigerator. I’ve grilled the sandwich but have also made a quick open faced version under the broiler. The one constant is the onions. Those wonderful savory, spicy onions. As we love scotch bonnets, I found that 1 large scotch bonnet was the perfect amount of heat for 1 medium onion. I make a huge batch then leave them in the refrigerator so I can pull them out at a moments notice. Lunch anyone?

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