Caprese Panini With Pesto

This simple caprese panini with pesto, fresh mozzarella, and tomato is an easy and delicious vegetarian lunch you can make in 10 minutes.

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We all love a good caprese sandwich, but you know what’s even better? A toasty caprese panini made with basil pesto, fresh tomato, and creamy mozzarella cheese. 

These three simple ingredients are transformed into a whole new sandwich simply by toasting it on a panini press or frying pan. The cheese becomes gooey and melts in your mouth, the tomatoes get extra juicy and warm, and the pesto adds a depth of flavor to this toasted sandwich that rivals fresh basil. So next time you’re craving a bright and fresh yet crispy sandwich, try this caprese panini recipe – it’s easy, it’s delicious, and it’s vegetarian. What’s not to love?

Two halves of a caprese panini stacked on a serving stump

What Goes In A Caprese Panini

Traditionally, three ingredients make up a caprese sandwich: tomato, mozzarella, and basil. However, our caprese panini recipe is made with basil pesto (rather than fresh basil) for a unique spin on the classic sandwich that doesn’t rely on fresh herbs. Meaning you can easily make this panini any time of the year!

Here’s what you’ll need to make this caprese panini:

  • Basil pesto
  • Fresh mozzarella cheese
  • Sliced tomato
  • Fresh Italian or French bread
  • Butter
A caprese pesto panini cut in half and stacked on a plate

How To Make A Caprese Panini

Making a panini at home really only takes 2 simple steps – assemble the sandwich, then toast it on a panini press, frying pan, or cast iron skillet. Here’s how to make a caprese panini sandwich:

  1. Butter the outsides of two slices of bread, then set one aside and put one butter side down on a plate.
  2. Spread basil pesto on the not-buttered side of the bread, then top with a layer of fresh mozzarella.
  3. Add a layer of sliced tomato, then add another layer of fresh mozzarella.
  4. Close the sandwich with the other slice of bread (butter side up), then carefully transfer to a panini press or frying pan.

There are a few different ways you can cook a panini at home – check out our Pesto Chicken & Spinach panini recipe here for more detailed information and tips for making the best homemade panini.

A toasted caprese panini with pesto sliced in half on a serving stump

Try our caprese panini recipe with pesto for a quick and easy vegetarian lunch and let us know what you think in the comments!

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Caprese Panini With Pesto

This simple caprese panini with pesto, fresh mozzarella, and tomato is an easy and delicious vegetarian lunch you can make in 10 minutes.
Servings 1 panini
Prep Time 2 minutes
Cook Time 8 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes


  • 2 slices fresh bakery bread French or Italian
  • 2 tsp butter
  • 2 tsp basil pesto
  • 4 oz fresh mozzarella sliced
  • 2 slices red vine tomato


  • First, assemble the panini. Spread about 1 tsp butter on the outside of each slice of bread, then carefully place one slice of bread butter side down on a plate. Spread the basil pesto onto the bread, then top with half of the mozzarella cheese. Add the tomato slices, then top with the remaining mozzarella cheese. Close the sandwich with the remaining slice of bread, butter side up.
  • Heat a cast iron pan over medium-low heat. Carefully transfer the panini to the pan once it's warm and cook until the bottom is crisped and golden-brown, about 3 to 4 minutes. Carefully flip and cook until the bottom is crisped and golden-brown again, another 3 to 4 minutes. (Alternatively, you can use a preheated grill press on top of the sandwich to crisp both sides at once and avoid flipping your panini.)
  • Transfer panini to a cutting board and slice diagonally in half. Serve immediately.


Cooking methods: If you have a panini press, you can easily toast this sandwich on it in about the same amount of time as it takes on the stove. Alternatively, cook the sandwiches on a cast iron griddle and optionally use a cast iron grill press to toast both sides at once.
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Author: Nicole & Alex
Calories: 684kcal
Course: Dinner, Lunch, Main, Main Course
Cuisine: American, Italian
Keyword: basil pesto, butter, fresh bread, fresh mozzarella, lunch, panini, panini press, tomatoes


Calories: 684kcal | Carbohydrates: 26g | Protein: 29g | Fat: 51g | Saturated Fat: 28g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 13g | Trans Fat: 0.4g | Cholesterol: 112mg | Sodium: 1020mg | Potassium: 303mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 15g | Vitamin A: 1668IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 597mg | Iron: 2mg

If you have any questions regarding the information presented in this post, please refer to our Nutrition Disclaimer here.

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