If there is a silver lining to working and studying all the time, it’s that the breaks I take in between study periods feel exceptionally awesome. Suddenly 15 minutes of “free” time is like an amazing gift to be enjoyed to the fullest. This is spent in a variety of ways…finding after-the-exam projects on Ravelry (…seriously, I’m going to knit all the things), surfing around Goodreads finding fun books to read, and of course, planning all sorts of future vacations. And because it’s fall, my mind also keeps returning to the wonderful trip we took to Vermont a couple of years ago around this time. We had a lot of fabulous meals during that trip, but one that always stands out was lunch on our first full day there. It was memorable mostly because that was the first time I met my dear friend Tara in person, but the awesome lunch we had also stands out in my mind.

For months after the trip, I wished I could have another panini like I did that day. So finally, I made it a happen. The combination may sound a bit odd but I promise, it’s all good.  It just works.  The sweet apple butter, the salty ham, crisp apple slices and gooey cheese?  Irresistible. If you come away from a visit to the apple orchard looking for ideas to use up your goodies, this sandwich is a great place to start.


8 slices sturdy bread, such as sourdough
3-4 tbsp. butter, at room temperature
Sliced white cheddar cheese, about 4 oz.
2-3 thinly sliced apples, such as honey crisp or gala
Thinly sliced deli ham, about 6-8 oz.
½ cup apple butter


  • 01

    To assemble the sandwiches, separate the slices of bread into 4 pairs.  Generously butter one side of each slice of bread, and then place them butter side down on a work surface.  (This will be the outside of the sandwich.)  On one slice of each pair, layer white cheddar, apple slices, and ham.  On the remaining slice of bread of each pair, spread a generous layer of apple butter.  Sandwich the pairs together so that the buttered sides of the bread are facing outward.

  • 02

    Warm a cast iron skillet or grill pan over medium-high heat.  Cook the sandwiches, turning once, until both sides are golden and the cheese is melted.  Slice in half and serve immediately.

  • Katie

    This looks delicious and so fitting for the first day of October.

    My husband and I leave for a NY (his college reunion) and VT (inspired by YOU!) trip next week. I loved reading all about your trip last year and couldn’t get it out of my head. Thank you for all of your wonderful recommendations. We are SO looking forward to our getaway!

  • thelittlekicks

    wow, how creative! i bet this tastes fantastic

  • Sara L’arcobaleno di Sara

    wow!!! It’s so delicious idea!!!!

  • HalfBakedHarvest

    Mmm! I love making sandwich with apple butter. So good!

  • Annie, this sandwich looks so perfect for fall! One of the things I miss most about living in New England is that you can really enjoy fall with all the apples and cooler weather.

  • I think my kids would love this!

  • Oh Annie, I absolutely ADORE this combination. I can’t believe I’ve never thought to put apple butter on a sandwich. And the photos are gorgeous!

  • Margaret

    Awesome idea! Have you seen apple sweaters on Etsy? If I knew how to knit, that would be my first project for a teacher or myself. Those things are adorable, and are totally you!

  • Kelsey

    I am so behind this combo. Love the pics, too!

  • Christina

    This is a great idea. Can’t wait to try it! I’ll make them for lunch tomorrow.

  • Jacqueline

    Already made this, and reposted about it!! What a great recipe to share for fall! Thanks so much!

  • blissmamaof3

    Oh my, I think this is dinner tomorrow night. It sounds fantastic!

  • I just posted an apple butter recipe too – great minds think alike :)

    No but really, I love this panini, especially the fresh apple slices!

  • such a great idea Annie! I may just have to make this for dinner tonight! Good luck with all your studying

  • lizardmom

    A restaurant here in town makes a sandwich similar to this- grilled cheese (gruyere and fontina) with apples and fig preserves. The fig and apple combination is fabulous.

  • Abbie E

    These sandwiches look awesome! I love how you used apple butter.
    Gorgeous photos!

  • nessa

    What a great combo!

  • Jackie

    This is delicious–thank you for sharing!

  • Carrie

    Made these last night and they were fantastic! Perfect taste for fall

  • sweetsugarbelle


  • Susan

    Just had these for dinner with some butternut squash soup. Delicious! Such a wonderful combination. We’ll definitely be making them again.

  • mom244evermom

    Made these tonight, used Stonewell Kitchen’s Caramel Apple Butter (http://www.stonewallkitchen.com/shop/speciality-foods/fruitbutters/161015.html). LOVED them. Best sandwich I ever had, seriously.