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. 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

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

2 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
Grilled Cheese, Pear and Smoked Turkey Sandwich - from Cooking with Amy
Turkey and Cranberry Grilled Cheese Sandwich - from Wandering Chopsticks

Showing 4 of 11 Comments / Reviews

  • Garrett

    We made grilled cheese with leftover turkey, brie, cranberry sauce, and a wee bit of lightly sauteed kale. Outstanding.

  • rebecca h.

    We had thin slices of roasted butternut squash and whole roasted onions leftover too, so we put turkey, squash and onion slices in ours, along with some green pea shoots I’ve been growing and some quince paste. Lush toasted in some fresh bread from the baker!

  • Patti

    My mom makes an awesome post Thanksgiving sandwich. Turkey, mayo, lots of crispy bacon and a healthy slice of jellied cranberry sauce (yes, from the can!) on toast. Creamy, salty, sweet and toasty. Gotta love it.

  • marla {family fresh cooking}

    Love those turkey sandwiches with melted cheese. Here is a link to my Thanksgiving Monte Cristo:

  • Susan

    I just love pickled onions on a sandwich. You get the flavor of the onion without that raw taste that lingers on your breath all afternoon!
    I’ll have to try your version of the turkey melt. I usually make mine on a toasted hoagy roll with whipped cream cheese topped with toasted sliced almonds, cranberry compote, a layer of turkey w/salt and pepper, then a layer of sauerkraut-(that I make with caramelized onions, the kraut, good splash of turkey stock and caraway seed) and finally, lettus and a little mayo on the top bun. Oh, Mama!

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Turkey Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Pickled Onions