Lemon-Basil Grilled Cheese Panini

4.67 stars average

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For all of my fellow lemon lovers out there, this one is for you. Lemon zest and fresh basil make these about the most fresh-tasting grilled cheese sandwiches you’re going to find.

Lemon-Basil Grilled Cheese Panini - The Lemon Bowl

I don’t know about you, but cheese is the reason I could never be a vegan. In fact, the only thing I’ve craved more  during this pregnancy is hearty, bakery-style bread. This Lemon-Basil Grilled Cheese Panini from my friend Kathy Stahs’ new cookbook, The Ultimate Panini Press, is pretty much heaven on a plate. Filled with fresh basil, bright lemon zest and a tangy combination of feta and mozzarella cheeses, it hits the spot on every level.

Panini Press Cookbook Cover - The Lemon Bowl

Since I don’t own a panini press, my friend let me borrow her panini pan which is essentially a grill pan with a heavy lid. The panini cooked up in less than 5 minutes with a golden crust and perfectly melted cheese. With recipe ideas for breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert, I quickly discovered why my friend told me she would miss her pan while I used it!

It looks like I will be adding a panini press to my Christmas wish list….Kathy’s Greek Lamb Panini with Feta, Tapenade and Sun-Dried Tomatoes is next on my list!

No fork required.

Lemon-Basil Grilled Cheese Panini Square - The Lemon Bowl

Lemon-Basil Grilled Cheese Panini

4.67 stars average
Lemon zest and fresh basil make these about the most fresh-tasting grilled cheese sandwiches you’re going to find.
PREP: 5 minutes
COOK: 5 minutes
TOTAL: 10 minutes


  • 4 ounces shredded mozzarella (about 1 cup)
  • 2 ounces crumbled feta cheese
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh basil
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 8 slices Italian or sourdough bread (sliced from a dense bakery loaf)


  • Heat the panini press to medium-high heat.
  • Toss together the mozzarella, feta, lemon zest, and basil in a medium-size bowl.
  • For each sandwich: Brush olive oil on two slices of bread to flavor the outside of the sandwich. Flip over one slice and top the other side with a layer of the cheese mixture. Close the sandwich with the other slice of bread, oiled side up.
  • Grill two panini at a time, with the lid closed, until the cheese is melted and the bread is toasted, 4 to 5 minutes.

Last Step:

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Calories: 420kcalCarbohydrates: 57.5gProtein: 20.5gFat: 12.4gSaturated Fat: 5.2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 7.2gCholesterol: 20mgSodium: 870mgFiber: 2gSugar: 2g
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41 responses to “Lemon-Basil Grilled Cheese Panini”

  1. Gaby Avatar

    Love this sandwich! I could go for one right now!!

  2. Jeanette Avatar

    This looks so good Liz! I love Kathy’s new Panini cookbook – it’s packed with so many ideas I can’t wait to try.

    1. Liz DellaCroce Avatar
      Liz DellaCroce

      Her book is incredible!! You would love this lemon basil panini, Jeanette!!

  3. Claire Avatar

    Would never ever of thought of using lemon zest in a Panini! Never tried it with feta either but love the idea, so original! I’m with you on the cheese love, that and butter! Could never be vegan. Adding this one to the must make pile!

    1. Liz DellaCroce Avatar
      Liz DellaCroce

      I would never have thought to use the lemon zest either but I’m so glad I tried it because now I’m hooked!!

  4. Cookin Canuck Avatar
    Cookin Canuck

    I agree…I could never give up cheese, either. The touch of lemon in this sandwich would add the perfect level of brightness. Loving the vertical photos, Liz! :)

    1. Liz DellaCroce Avatar
      Liz DellaCroce

      haha – So sad that it took me so long to realize I could do vertical photos!!!!! Thank you again. :) PS: The lemon is incredible in this panini!! And yes, I’m biased. :)

  5. Kelli @ The Corner Kitchen Avatar
    Kelli @ The Corner Kitchen

    Totally wish I had this for lunch today! Love the lemon-basil combo!

    1. Liz DellaCroce Avatar
      Liz DellaCroce

      I do, too!! I had to give my friend back her panini grill. :(

  6. Lauren @ Climbing Grier Mountain Avatar
    Lauren @ Climbing Grier Mountain

    I want this for breakfast right now! Kathy’s book looks amazing. Can’t wait to get my mitts on it!

    1. Liz DellaCroce Avatar
      Liz DellaCroce

      Your mitts need these!!! Seriously – it’s perfect for savory-food lovers like us!

  7. Erin | The Law Student's WIfe Avatar
    Erin | The Law Student’s WIfe

    Oh how I love grilled cheese night! What a bright flavor combo. If I didn’t have a panini press, I think I’d buy one just to make this baby!

    1. Liz DellaCroce Avatar
      Liz DellaCroce

      Bright is the perfect word. It was so nice eating a grilled cheese that wasn’t heavy. :) I need to buy one!!

  8. Ali @ Inspiralized Avatar
    Ali @ Inspiralized

    Yummmmmm!! Nothing beats a grilled cheese, and this is a couple steps up! Great recipe, I’m gonna have to check out that cookbook!

    1. Liz DellaCroce Avatar
      Liz DellaCroce

      You’d love it Ali!! Amazing how many ideas there are for one cooking appliance!!

  9. ashley - baker by nature Avatar
    ashley – baker by nature

    I love this!!!! Might just have to be lunch today ;)

    1. Liz DellaCroce Avatar
      Liz DellaCroce

      I think it should be. ;-) And ps: the cheese/basil mixture tastes good on it’s own – lol.

  10. Rachel @ Baked by Rachel Avatar
    Rachel @ Baked by Rachel

    I need a panini press! I’m craving that crispy crust. Also… cheese is definitely one reason I couldn’t be vegan but let’s not forget bacon ;) lol

    1. Liz DellaCroce Avatar
      Liz DellaCroce

      I NEED ONE TOO!! I had to borrow one to review this book and I’m officially sold. lol good call on the bacon. I ate it twice yesterday…..