Havarti Grilled Cheese with Apple

This gourmet Havarti Grilled Cheese with Apple is the perfect mix of sweet, savory, and crunchy. It’s great for a quick lunch or dinner and can be cooked in the oven, toaster oven, or air fryer!

A white plate with two grilled cheese halves next to a green apple.

During hectic times (like the holidays), sandwiches and wraps are my go-to. They’re the trifecta of low-stress dinners: fast, easy, and filling.

Right now, we’ve got this yummy grilled cheese with apple and Havarti on repeat. It’s satisfying without being heavy and has a nice fall-harvest vibe.

The ingredients are easy to customize to your liking, especially the condiments. Tim likes a big smear of mustard on his sandwich.

During the holiday season, I always reach for leftover cranberry sauce or these balsamic roasted cranberries. The combination of apples + cheese + cranberries is irresistible!

Ingredients arranged on a table and labeled.

Ingredient Notes

Bread: We like to use crusty whole-grain or sourdough bread slices for our grilled cheeses. A soft and squishy bread will toast faster – to keep the sandwich from overcooking you’ll need to lower the temperature (to 400°F) and/or reduce the cooking time. 

Cheese: Havarti is creamy and melts wonderfully but a smoked Gouda or sharp cheddar would taste fantastic.

Greens: Peppery arugula is my favorite but baby spinach is a good option too.

Nuts: A small handful of walnuts or pecans adds a fun and unexpected crunch. If you have a few minutes to spare toast the nuts first.

Bread slices on a cutting board topped with cheese, mustard, and cranberry sauce.

Recipe Tips

1. Add more cheese if you please. We tend to use 1½ slices of cheese per sandwich (or 2 slices if the bread is giant like the sourdough pictured above). If you prefer even more cheese – you do you!

2. Preheat the oven and the sheet pan. The hot pan will act like a mini griddle for your sandwiches. You should hear a sizzle when you add them to the heated pan.

First side of sandwich lightly toasted on a sheet pan.

3. Don’t skip the flip. In an oven (and toaster oven) the heat is concentrated at the bottom. Flipping the sandwich halfway through the cooking time will ensure even browning and melting. 

4. Your bread may toast differently. Don’t worry if the bread only looks lightly toasted after flipping, it will continue to brown as the sandwich cooks. Conversely, if you see that the bread is getting too dark, turn down the temperature by 25 degrees. 

Two grilled cheese halves on a white plate.

Can you make this grilled cheese in an air fryer? 

You sure can! We love a good air fryer grilled cheese. Just reduce the temperature to 350°F. Flip the sandwich after 4 to 5 minutes, then keep cooking until golden and browned, about 2 to 5 minutes more.

Air Fryer Tip: In a drawer-style air fryer the top slice of bread tends to move around when the sandwich is first cooking. To keep it from sliding off, secure the bread with toothpicks or by placing a metal trivet on top until the cheese has melted a little.

Air fryer basket with sandwich topped with trivet and a cooked grilled cheese.

More Tasty Sandwich Recipes

Gooey sandwich slices stacked on a plate with piece of green apple.

Havarti Grilled Cheese with Apple

Yield: 2 Sandwiches
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes

Grown-up gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches featuring Havarti cheese, crisp apple slices, and arugula.


  • 4 slices Whole Grain Bread
  • 4 teaspoons Butter, softened
  • 3 to 4 slices Havarti Cheese
  • 2 tablespoons Chopped Walnuts (optional)
  • 2 handfuls Arugula or Spinach (about 1 cup loosely packed)
  • 1/2 Granny Smith Apple, seeded and thinly sliced

Condiment Ideas:


  1. If using a toaster oven, adjust the cooking rack to the bottom position and select the BAKE setting. For a traditional oven, use the middle rack level.
  2. Place an empty baking sheet inside the oven and preheat to 425°F.
  3. Lay the bread slices on a cutting board and spread butter over one side of each slice. Flip the bread over so the un-buttered side is facing up.
  4. On two of the bread slices layer half of the Havarti cheese, the walnuts, arugula, and apple slices. Then top with the remaining cheese.
  5. Spread the other bread slices with your condiment of choice and place them on top of the sandwiches, sauce side down.
  6. Using oven mitts, carefully remove the preheated pan. Add sandwiches to the pan and return to the oven.
  7. Cook until the bread facing the pan is starting to brown, about 4 to 6 minutes. Carefully remove the pan, and flip the sandwiches with a spatula. Continue cooking until the bread is golden brown on both sides and the cheese is melted about 3 to 5 minutes more.
  8. Cool slightly, then devour!


Air Fryer Directions

  1. Preheat the air fryer to 350°F. Assemble sandwiches and carefully add them to the hot air fryer basket.
  2. Air Fry for 4 to 5 minutes, flip sandwiches, and continue cooking for about 2 to 5 minutes more or until the cheese is melted and the bread is browned

Air Fryer Tip: The circulating air may move the top bread slices a bit. To keep that from happening, secure the top slice with toothpicks or by placing a metal trivet onto the sandwich. Remove the rack and/or toothpicks before flipping the sandwich.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 2 Serving Size: 1 Grilled Cheese
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 419Total Fat: 21.3gSaturated Fat: 11.8gCholesterol: 48mgSodium: 497mgCarbohydrates: 38.1gFiber: 11.7gSugar: 10.3gProtein: 16.7g

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  1. This looks Devine. I always have a variety of good melting cheeses in my fridge. We have a food chain out here in the Seattle WA area called Grocery Outlet. Sells food stuff that are reaching their sell date, or have had packaging changed, or whatever the manufacturer did wrong to the packaging, like misspelled words. Anyway. there are all kinds of goodies if one is willing to search-from all over the world. Anyway, I go there for the cheese. Artisnal, varietal, American, and International. Amazing cheese at amazing prices. The most recent find was a whisky laced gouda. Can’t wait.

    My go to meal is grilled cheese in all it’s glory. WE get some amazing stuff from Wisconsin, a lot of it is organic as well. Anyway….These Ideas sound great. I have recently downsized my living space to a studio, and only have a toaster/convection oven.

    These are great tips for making grilled cheese in my toaster oven. I would never have thought of heating the pan and using the hot pa as the grilling surface. I was thinking I was forever going to have to have open-faced broiled grilled cheese sandwiches. Now there is a place for them, but….. And the idea of cranberry sauce. Smashing. I love it, make it myself, no-one else in my family eats it, and some always goes to waste. Now I know what to do with it. And apples and nuts? That is just nuts! I’m going to have a field day with your suggestions, thank you so much. Happy fall cooking….

    1. Hi Jiwa,

      That Grocery Outlet sounds like premium cheese heaven! I just looked and there might be one near us – thanks for the tip, I can’t wait to check it out.

      Always fun to meet a fellow grilled cheese fanatic 🙂 here’s a page with all the different ways you can try making them in your little oven (depending on the ingredients, some methods work better than others): https://toasterovenlove.com/toaster-oven-grilled-cheese-recipes/

      Hope you have lots of fun with your grilled cheese experiments!