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Grown-Up Manchego Grilled Cheese Sandwich Recipe

Manchego Grilled Cheese Sandwich is an experience of warm buttery cheese combined with a savory mixture of caramelized mushrooms and onions over a layer of sweet fig. Once you’ve had a Manchego Cheese Sandwich, you’ll never settle for an ordinary grilled cheese sandwich again.

THIS POST HAS BEEN UPGRADED FROM 4/21/15 TO IMPROVE THE READER EXPERIENCE.

Grilled Cheese panini sandwich cut in half next to a spinach tomato salad on a white plate over a blue patterned napkin.

Manchego Grilled Cheese is my favorite grilled cheese sandwich. It may look like a fancy grilled cheese but it comes together in a jiffy.

I grew up going to religion classes on Saturday mornings.

When our classes were over, we went home to a lunch of grilled cheese and tomato soup.

Tomato soup was from a can, and our grilled cheese was a skinny yellow slice of cheese on buttered white bread. I loved it. Of course, I loved anything drowned in ketchup.

Stacked grilled cheese panini. The bread shows the grill marks and the sandwich has melted cheese oozing down the bread. It\'s all sitting next to a spinach salad with tomatoes.

The grilled cheese that we make now is a grown-up grilled cheese. My little person self would probably have turned up her nose.

My big girl self just loves every single layer of the grown-up version of this grilled Manchego Cheese Sandwich. Oh, and it doesn’t need one drop of ketchup to improve its flavor.

What is Manchego cheese?

Castello Cheeses states Manchego cheese is from Spain and made from sheep’s milk. Manchego is aged from 2 months to 2 years. This cheese is a sharp, acidic, and nutty cheese.

Often when you purchase Manchego cheese it will come with a cheese rind. I cut the rind off and store it in my freezer for when I want to add flavor to homemade soups and sauces.

Manchego is a delicious cheese on a charcuterie board or grated over fresh pasta too.

What you may need to make a Manchego Grilled Cheese Sandwich

  • Panini Press – This is the one that I have. I like that the reversible grates become a griddle and that they can be removed for easy cleaning.
  • Slotted Spatula – Also called a fish spatula. I use mine for everything.

Manchego Sandwich Ingredients & Substitutions

Top down view of ingredients used to maake a Manchego grilled cheese sandwich including bread, cheese, spinach, onion, mushrooms, and fig spread.
  • Manchego cheese
  • Fresh spinach – arugula is a good substitute that adds a hint of pepper to the sandwich
  • Fig jam – honey is a delicious substitute.
  • Butter or butter substitute.
  • Mushrooms – we used cremini but any mushroom will work
  • Onions – yellow onion was our choice but you can use what you like.
  • Fresh Thyme or rosemary or a seasoning blend such as Italian seasoning or a Mediterranean spice blend.
  • Sherry – or white wine vinegar.
  • Bread – we love our sourdough sandwich bread for this recipe. However, any sandwich bread or even a baguette will be delicious.
  • Meat – thinly sliced Serrano ham or Proscuitto would make this an amzing grilled meat and cheese sandwich.

How to make a Manchego Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Get a heavy skillet hot and add butter. Add the onions and mushrooms and cook over medium heat until the mixture is browned and caramelized. Remove from the heat and assemble.

Grilled Manchego Cheese Assembly

  1. Spread butter the outside of two slices of bread.
  2. Spread fig jam on the inside of one piece of bread for a slightly sweet sandwich or on both sides if you want it sweeter.
Two grid photo of fig jam spread on open-faced buttered bread and of sauteed mushrooms on the other half
  1. Add 1/4th of the sauteed mushroom-onion mixture.
  2. Top the mushroom mixture with fresh spinach.
  3. Finish with a layer of Manchego cheese
Two photo grid of an open-faced buttered bread layered with fresh spinach and then topped with cheese.

Grill the sandwich with the bread slices buttered side out on a preheated panini maker, grill pan, or hot skillet for approximately 4 minutes on each side or until the bread becomes golden brown.

Manchego Cheese Substitutes

What we love about Manchego cheese is that it’s nutty and buttery and melts well without being real greasy like a cheddar often is. I find that recipes that work with any of the suggested chesses will make an amazing Manchego Cheese recipe.

So when choosing an alternative to Manchego cheese you’ll want to make sure it’s a good melting cheese. Most soft and semi-soft cheeses are.

  • Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • Pecorino-Romano
  • White English Cheddar
  • Jarlesberg
  • Gruyere

FAQ’s

Does Manchego cheese melt?

Yes, Manchego is a good melting cheese.

Do you have to cook this grilled cheese sandwich in a Panini maker?

No, you do not. You can cook this grilled cheese sandwich on a griddle or in a large skillet.

Is this a Vegan Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Yes, you can make this sandwich Vegan by using a Vegan butter substitute such as sun butter or almond butter.

Tips for the Perfect Grilled Cheese with Manchego

The perfect grilled cheese is making sure all of the ingredients are cooked perfectly and finished at the same time. This is how we achieve that.

  • Precook the mushroom onion mixture until it’s an al dente.
  • Make sure all of the ingredients are “bite-size” so every bite of your sandwich is perfect.
  • Slice the Manchego thinly. That will assure that the cheese melts at the proper rate.
  • When grilling your manchego cheese sandwich, apply even pressure to the bread whether you’re using a panini maker or a spatula. Harder pressure will press the ingredients from the sandwich, and too light of pressure will make it harder for the ingredients to melt together.
  • Once the bread on this sandwich is grilled to a golden brown, you will want to stop cooking this sandwich.
    • If the cheese needs a little more melting, you can wrap it in foil and put it in a warm oven for 5 minutes. The foil will stop the bread from cooking and create an “oven-like” environment perfect for melting the cheese.
3/4 view of a grilled cheese sandwich

If you like this fancy grilled cheese sandwich, here are a few more you may enjoy

So, I may not have been great at memorizing my religion, but I aced grilled cheese!

And, the tomato soup was there too, a bumped-up big person version called Easy Tomato Florentine Soup!

Pin it!

A sliced sandwich showing melted cheese, mushrooms, onions, and spinach.

If you like this recipe, we would appreciate your comment and a 5-star ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ review!

Stacked grilled cheese panini. The bread shows the grill marks and the sandwich has melted cheese oozing down the bread. It's all sitting next to a spinach salad with tomatoes.
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5 from 19 votes

Grown-Up Manchego Grilled Cheese Sandwich Recipe

Grown-Up Manchego Grilled Cheese Sandwich is simple to make but is fancy enough for company. It's buttery, sweet, savory and absolutely delicious.
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 35 mins
Servings 4
Author Hostess At Heart

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons unsalted butter divided

  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme

  • 1 yellow onion sliced thinly
  • 16 oz mushrooms

    sliced


  • 2 tablespoons cooking sherry

    or white wine
 vinegar

  • 3 ounces Manchego cheese shaved

  • 2 cups Fresh baby spinach stems removed
  • 2 tbsp 
Fig jam or chutney
  • 8 slices Sandwich bread of your choice

Instructions

  • In a heavy skillet, melt 1 tablespoon of butter. Add sliced onions and mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper. Cook on medium heat until browned and caramelized.
  • Add sherry and continue cooking until sherry has evaporated. Stir in fresh thyme.

Assembly

  • Butter one side of each slice of bread.  On the non-buttered side, spread a thin layer of fig jam or chutney on only one slice.  Layer 1/4 each of the mushroom-onion mix, fresh spinach, and Manchego cheese. Top with the second piece of bread, buttered side out.
  • Place the sandwich in a panini maker or *heated skillet.  Cook the sandwich 7 to 10 minutes or until the bread is browned and the cheese is melted.

Video

Notes

You can use a hot skillet if you don’t have a panini maker.  After placing the sandwich in the pan, top it with another pan to lightly press the sandwich.
I used slightly thin sourdough bread.  You can use any mild tasting bread. 

Nutrition

Sodium: 385mg | Calcium: 367mg | Vitamin C: 5.3mg | Vitamin A: 180IU | Sugar: 11g | Fiber: 3g | Potassium: 458mg | Cholesterol: 28mg | Calories: 312kcal | Saturated Fat: 7g | Fat: 12g | Protein: 14g | Carbohydrates: 38g | Iron: 2.5mg
This recipe was calculated using the exact brands and measurements I used to make this recipe. If you are following a strict diet please note changing anything will cause the nutritional info to change. My calculations are intended as a guide only.
Tried this recipe? That’s awesome!Mention @hostessatheart or tag #hostessatheart!
Recipe Rating




Colleen - Faith, Hope, Love, & Luck

Tuesday 2nd of March 2021

So much goodness on one lil' ol' sandwich! No complaints from me...especially since Manchego is one of my fave cheeses!

Julie Menghini

Tuesday 2nd of March 2021

Thanks, Colleen!

Dorothy Reinhold

Monday 1st of March 2021

Talk about a glamourous grilled cheese! It hits everyone of the perfect flavor notes!

Julie Menghini

Tuesday 2nd of March 2021

Thank you, Dorothy!

Rebecca

Sunday 28th of February 2021

Grilled Cheese aren't just for kids and this recipe proves it! WOW, I love the added flavor from the Fig Jam. This sandwich is perfect. So good.

Julie Menghini

Monday 1st of March 2021

Thank you, Rebecca! It's our favorite grilled cheese!

Amy (Savory Moments)

Sunday 28th of February 2021

I absolutely love this flavor combination with the mushrooms and the figs. So flavorful and delicious!

Julie Menghini

Monday 1st of March 2021

Thank you, Amy! You don't need meat when you have those delicious mushrooms.

Liz @ Books n' Cooks

Sunday 28th of February 2021

I might have just drooled a little bit. Between the manchego, the fig jam and those mushrooms - this sandwich sounds like heaven!

Julie Menghini

Monday 1st of March 2021

LOL! Thanks, Liz!