Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Mozzarella, Red Peppers, and Arugula

Ready to try a new kind of grilled cheese? This Grilled Cheese with Mozzarella, Roasted Red Peppers, and Arugula is sweet, peppery, and too tempting to pass up!

A grilled mozzarella sandwich with roasted red peppers and arugula
Alison Bickel

If you’ve never had this riff on a traditional grilled cheese, you’re in for a treat! Sweet and creamy with a snappy bite from the arugula, it’s a wonderfully light grilled cheese in which to indulge this fall.

Why Mozzarella, Arugula, and Roasted Red Peppers?

Back when I was writing my cookbook, Melt: The Art of Macaroni and Cheese, I had a lot of extra cheese in my house. Like, a lot of extra cheese – usually no less than 10 pounds, all scraps.

For my husband, who possesses the enviable metabolism of a high school student despite being well into his forties, this was a boon. His favorite food growing up and still to this day is a grilled cheese sandwich, and I had provided him with an inexhaustible supply of ingredients.

To him the variety is inconsequential. If it’s got bread and melted cheese, well, it’s his favorite. Brie and jam? Done. Manchego and ham? He’s on it. Taleggio and leftover bratwurst? Stinky but satisfying. He even bought a panini press so he could better, more efficiently feed his habit.

But one particular rendition stands out to us all these years later: mozzarella, roasted red peppers, and arugula. A little bit sweet, a little bit peppery, it hits all the right notes for fall.

Recipe for Mozzarella Grilled Cheese with red peppers and arugula
Alison Bickel

Roasted Red Peppers: Buy a Jar or Make Them!

Preserved, roasted red peppers can generally be purchased quite affordably at any grocery store. They’re packed in water or oil, and either type will do. Just be sure to pat off the excess liquid before making your grilled cheese. Trader Joe’s has a lovely version packed in water, while Mezzetta makes one packed in oil that can be found in many stores or purchased online.

If you’re an avid gardener with a glut of peppers coming in, or have a great source at the farmers’ market, you can also easily make your own!

Whatever peppers you use, make sure to salt and pepper them once they’re on the sandwich. All foods, including sandwiches, need seasoning. Flaky salt is best, but kosher salt also works. Avoid iodized salt; its metallic tang mars flavor.

What Kind of Mozzarella to Use?

There are essentially two kinds of mozzarella: fresh or low-moisture. Fresh mozzarella is sold in balls packed in salty brine. Low-moisture mozzarella is sold in bricks or pre-shredded and can be found alongside the cheddar, Jack, and Colby cheeses in the dairy section of a store.

For this sandwich, you’ll want to use low-moisture (also known as part-skim) mozzarella. It has a saltier flavor and greater meltability.

If you only have fresh mozzarella, that will also work. It won’t melt and become as delightful stringy as a low-moisture mozzarella, but it will still taste absolutely fantastic!

Really want to take it over the top? If you can get fresh burrata, then, by all means, give that a go. Its creamy taste and texture make it well suited to oozing apart over high heat and soaking itself deep into the bread.

Grilled Cheese, Roasted Red Peppers, and arugula sandwiches on a white plate
Alison Bickel

Easy Substitutions

Grilled cheese sandwiches are all about improvisation. Don’t have red peppers? Use tomato! Consider this more a set of guidelines than anything else.

For the bread, I love the tang of sourdough and it grills so well. But if you don’t have that, or you’d like to use a panini press, then focaccia is also great.

The only ingredients I wouldn’t skimp on are the arugula, mustard, and seasoning. Arugula delivers a powerfully peppery bite, and the pungency of the Dijon mustard helps cut through the sugars naturally found in the peppers and cheese.

More Great Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Mozzarella, Red Peppers, and Arugula

Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 20 mins
Servings 4 sandwiches


  • 8 slices sourdough bread

  • Butter, soft and at room temperature

  • Dijon mustard, to taste

  • Mayonnaise, to taste

  • Kosher salt

  • Freshly ground black pepper

  • 18 ounces jarred roasted peppers (oil- or water-packed), patted dry of excess moisture

  • 12 ounces low-moisture mozzarella, cut into 1/4-inch slices (or shredded, if that’s how you roll)

  • 2 cups arugula


  1. Prepare the sandwiches:

    Butter one side of each slice of bread. On the unbuttered sides, spread Dijon mustard, mayonnaise, and a sprinkling of salt and pepper. Place two slices of bread (or as many as you can fit), buttered side down, in a skillet over medium-low heat.

    Add about 4 ounces of the peppers, 3 ounces of mozzarella, and a good handful of arugula. Press down to keep slightly together, then place slices of bread on top, buttered side out.

    Layer the mozzarella, roasted red peppers, and arugula before making a Mozzarella Grilled Cheese Sandwich
    Alison Bickel
  2. Grill that cheese:

    Let the sandwiches cook over medium-low heat for about 3 to 4 minutes per side, flipping halfway through, making sure they don’t get too browned. After about 6 to 8 minutes total, the cheese in the sandwich should be well melted and the bread toasted. Repeat with remaining sandwiches.

    Grill the sandwich in the pan to make a Mozzarella Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Roasted Peppers
    Alison Bickel
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
648 Calories
31g Fat
63g Carbs
31g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 648
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 31g 40%
Saturated Fat 15g 73%
Cholesterol 76mg 25%
Sodium 1298mg 56%
Total Carbohydrate 63g 23%
Dietary Fiber 4g 15%
Total Sugars 11g
Protein 31g
Vitamin C 213mg 1,067%
Calcium 514mg 40%
Iron 5mg 28%
Potassium 436mg 9%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. In cases where multiple ingredient alternatives are given, the first listed is calculated for nutrition. Garnishes and optional ingredients are not included.