Ham and cheese never tasted so good, I promise. I add sautéed Granny Smith apples to give these panini a hint of sweet and tart and chopped fresh thyme for a savory and earthy essence of winter.

Serves 4


  • 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and sliced ½-inch thick
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 8 (½-inch-thick) slices country-style white bread
  • ½ cup whole-grain mustard
  • 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded Gruyère cheese
  • 8 (1-ounce) slices Black Forest ham


If you don’t have a panini press or indoor grill, use a grill pan. Preheat it before adding the sandwiches, weighting them down on top with a heavy pan, such as a cast-iron skillet. Be sure to flip the sandwiches halfway through cooking to brown the second side of them.

In a 12-inch skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the apple slices and thyme. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the apples are slightly soft, about 4 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes.

Preheat a panini press (see note).

Spread each bread slice with 1 tablespoon mustard. Arrange 1/4 cup of cheese on each of 4 of the bread slices and top each with 2 slices of ham. Divide the apple mixture evenly over the ham. Add the remaining cheese and place the remaining 4 bread slices, mustard side down, on top. Grill until the cheese has melted and the tops are golden and crispy, 5 to 6 minutes.

Reprinted from Weeknights with Giada by Giada De Laurentiis. Copyright © 2012. Photos copyright © 2012 by Amy Neunsinger. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, a division of Random House, Inc.

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