Turkey Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Pickled Onions

SandwichComfort FoodTurkey

Two slices of light rye bread, sauteed in butter, with slices of jack cheese, leftover turkey, arugula and pickled onions.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

Do you still have some leftover turkey?

Here’s an idea for a quick turkey grilled cheese sandwich. We just happened to have some sweet pickled onions in the fridge, and some arugula growing in the garden, hence the throw-together sandwich.

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We’ve done something a little similar with cranberries and arugula, but this one is a grilled cheese sandwich. I think the onions are essential; I would have piled on more if we weren’t already running out.

What’s your favorite leftover turkey sandwich combination? Please let us know about it in the comments.

Turkey Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Pickled Onions Recipe

  • Prep time: 5 minutes
  • Cook time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: Makes 1 sandwich

We use rye bread here, but really any bread will do. Just make sure it is sturdy enough to hold up to the ingredients,.


  • 2 slices of rye bread
  • 2-3 Tbsp butter
  • 3-4 slices leftover turkey
  • 2-3 slices Monterey jack cheese
  • 2-3 pieces of arugula (optional)
  • A handful of sweet pickled onions or another sweet pickle


1 Heat a frying pan, preferably a cast iron one, over medium-high heat for 1-2 minutes.

2 Assemble the sandwich: While the pan is heating, assemble the sandwich, starting with a layer of bread, then cheese, then turkey, arugula, pickles, and another slice of bread.

3 Butter and cook one side: Butter the side closest to the cheese and place the sandwich butter-side down on to the hot pan to cook.

4 Butter top side, flip sandwich, and cook other side: Once the bottom of the sandwich is browned, about 2-3 minutes, butter the top of the sandwich and carefully flip the sandwich over in the pan. Toast for another minute, then turn the heat to its lowest setting and cover the pan. Watch the cheese, and when it melts you're done. Eat immediately.

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Jalapeño bread and butter pickles - these also make a great pickle to use in this turkey sandwich

Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

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12 Comments / Reviews

No ImageTurkey Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Pickled Onions

Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Gary

    Turkey Melt.

  2. Judy

    I made a Turkey Wrap instead of a sandwich, with butter-sauteed leftover roast turkey meat, with lettuce and cherry tomatoes and drizzled with a mayo-mint sauce mix! Great way to use up the turkey and its accompanying sauce with a light twist. It was all then wrapped up in a flour tortilla and chowed down while watching holiday movies =D

  3. Tempy

    We spent thanksgiving here down at my roomate’s mom’s house. Being southern to the bone, no matter how many years she lived in Cali, we had plenty of cornbread and collard greens left over. She makes a very spicy and tender rendition of the greens. For the last of the left-overs we had turkey sandwiches with collard greens, swiss cheese, turkey meat and a little bit of left over gravy on some think texas toast bread. It was great!

  4. Maggie

    I usually put the turkey, or another type of meat such as: eye of round roast, ham, pepperoni, etc., on a tortilla with red onion slices, shredded low – fat Cheddar, low – fat Mozzarella and Monterey jack cheeses and a piece of whatever lettuce I have handy. Then wrap it all up and heat it on a non – stick grill over medium heat until all sides are browned and the cheeses are melted. I don’t use any butter and the low – fat cheeses lower the calorie count.

    However, your recipe was great and I enjoyed it immensely. Thanks for the recipe I e-mailed it to a friend I know will love and appreciate it.

  5. Akrista

    Great idea for a “grown up” grilled cheese sandwich. I love adding extra ingredients to spice up my grilled cheese sandwiches or any sandwich for that matter – and the pickled onions are on my list of must try recipes. I suppose the recipe would work just as well with sweet onions (my favorite), or both red and sweet – hmmm…., that’s an idea.

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Turkey Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Pickled Onions