Table of Contents

The Anatomy of a Perfect Turkey Sandwich

The Bread

  • Sourdough: The foundation of any great sandwich is the bread. Sourdough, with its tangy flavor and sturdy texture, is a top choice. It provides the perfect balance of crusty exterior and soft interior, ensuring your sandwich holds together without getting soggy.
  • Whole Grain: For those looking for a healthier option, whole-grain bread is an excellent choice. It adds a nutty flavor and a satisfying crunch to your turkey sandwich.

The Turkey

  • Roasted Turkey Breast: The star of the show, the turkey, should be freshly roasted and thinly sliced. Opt for a high-quality roasted turkey breast to ensure a flavorful and juicy experience.
  • Smoked Turkey: If you’re after a smoky, savory twist, smoked turkey is your go-to. It adds a rich, complex flavor profile to your sandwich.

The Cheese

  • Swiss Cheese: When it comes to cheese for your turkey sandwich, Swiss cheese is a classic pick. Its mild, nutty taste complements the turkey without overpowering it.
  • Cheddar Cheese: If you prefer a sharper flavor, cheddar cheese is a solid option. Its bold taste pairs well with turkey and adds a satisfying bite.

The Greens

  • Lettuce: Crisp, fresh lettuce adds a refreshing crunch to your sandwich. Romaine or iceberg lettuce works wonders in this department.
  • Spinach: For a more nutrient-packed choice, consider spinach. It’s packed with vitamins and minerals while adding a subtle earthy flavor.

The Condiments

  • Mayonnaise: Creamy and rich, mayonnaise is a must-have condiment for your turkey sandwich. Spread it on one slice of bread for a smooth base.
  • Mustard: A bit of tangy mustard on the other slice of bread provides a delightful contrast to the creamy mayo.

The Extras

  • Tomato: Sliced tomatoes add juiciness and a hint of acidity to balance the flavors.
  • Onion: Thinly sliced red onions can provide a pleasant sharpness.
  • Pickles: A few pickle slices or relish can introduce a zesty, briny element.

Now that we’ve dissected the components of the perfect turkey sandwich, it’s time for you to assemble your masterpiece. Experiment with different combinations to find your personal favorite, and don’t be afraid to get creative with variations. Whether you go for sourdough and Swiss or whole grain and cheddar, the key is to savor each bite of your expertly crafted turkey delight.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Cheese for Turkey Sandwich

Flavor Profile

The first factor to take into account is the flavor profile you desire for your sandwich. Different cheeses offer various taste experiences:

  • Mild and Creamy: If you prefer a mild and creamy cheese that doesn’t overpower the delicate flavor of turkey, options like Swiss or Provolone are excellent choices. Their subtle nutty notes and creamy texture provide a harmonious balance.
  • Sharp and Bold: For those who enjoy a more robust flavor, cheeses like Cheddar or Pepper Jack can add a zesty kick to your turkey sandwich. The sharpness of these cheeses pairs exceptionally well with the savory turkey.


The texture of the cheese can greatly influence the overall mouthfeel of your sandwich. Consider the following options:

  • Sliced Cheese: For a classic turkey sandwich, sliced cheese is the go-to. It ensures even distribution and a consistent bite with every mouthful.
  • Melted Cheese: If you’re aiming for a gooey, melty experience, consider options like mozzarella or cheddar. These cheeses melt beautifully when heated, enveloping the turkey in a comforting embrace of cheesy goodness.

Melting Point

If you plan to toast or grill your turkey sandwich, the melting point of the cheese matters. Some cheeses melt more easily than others, creating that satisfying ooze:

  • High Melting Point: Cheeses with a high melting point, such as Gouda or Gruyère, are ideal for achieving a golden, crispy crust without completely liquefying.
  • Low Melting Point: Cheeses like Brie or American cheese have a lower melting point, resulting in a lusciously melty texture when exposed to heat.

Dietary Preferences

Consider any dietary restrictions or preferences when choosing your cheese. If you or your guests are lactose intolerant, there are lactose-free cheese options available. Additionally, for vegans, there are plant-based cheese alternatives that can still enhance the flavor of your turkey sandwich.


Don’t be afraid to experiment with different cheese combinations to find your personal favorite. Mixing and matching cheeses can lead to exciting flavor discoveries. For example, combining Swiss and Cheddar can provide a balance of creaminess and sharpness that’s simply irresistible.

Top Cheese Recommendations

1. Swiss Cheese

Swiss cheese, renowned for its mild, nutty flavor and iconic holes, is a classic choice for turkey sandwiches. Its creamy texture and subtle taste enhance the turkey’s natural goodness without overpowering it. Whether you opt for slices or shredded Swiss cheese, you can’t go wrong with this timeless favorite.

2. Cheddar Cheese

For those who crave a bold and tangy kick, Cheddar cheese is a top contender. Available in various sharpness levels, Cheddar can be tailored to your taste preferences. The sharpness of Cheddar pairs harmoniously with the savory turkey, creating a burst of flavors with every bite.

3. Provolone Cheese

Provolone cheese brings a touch of Italian elegance to your turkey sandwich. This semi-hard cheese offers a mild and slightly tangy profile, making it an ideal companion for turkey. Whether melted or layered in slices, Provolone adds a creamy, delightful dimension to your sandwich.

4. Pepper Jack Cheese

If you’re seeking a cheese with a spicy twist, Pepper Jack cheese is the answer. Infused with spicy jalapeño peppers, it provides a fiery kick that contrasts beautifully with the turkey’s mildness. Pepper Jack cheese is particularly popular among those who enjoy a little heat in their sandwich.

5. Mozzarella Cheese

For lovers of gooey, melty goodness, Mozzarella cheese is a prime choice. Whether you’re making a hot turkey melt or simply enjoy the creaminess of melted cheese, Mozzarella delivers. It envelops the turkey in a warm, cheesy embrace, creating a comforting experience.

6. Gouda Cheese

Gouda cheese, originating from the Netherlands, offers a delightful twist to your turkey sandwich. With its smooth, creamy texture and sweet, nutty taste, Gouda complements the turkey excellently. It’s especially suited for those who appreciate a subtler, more refined cheese flavor.

7. Brie Cheese

For an indulgent and decadent turkey sandwich, consider Brie cheese. This French delight boasts a velvety, melt-in-your-mouth texture and a mild, buttery flavor. Paired with turkey, it creates a luxurious, gourmet experience that’s hard to resist.

8. Blue Cheese

If you’re an adventurous eater, Blue cheese might be your choice. Known for its pungent aroma and bold, tangy flavor, Blue cheese can provide an exciting contrast to the turkey’s mildness. It’s a cheese for those who crave a unique and unforgettable taste sensation.

Warm vs. Cold Turkey Sandwiches: Cheese Considerations

The choice between a warm or cold turkey sandwich can significantly impact the type of cheese that will best complement your creation. Let’s break down the cheese considerations for each style:

Warm Turkey Sandwiches

Warm turkey sandwiches often involve heating the entire sandwich, melting the cheese and melding the flavors together. For these cozy creations, you’ll want cheese that embraces the heat and provides a gooey, comforting experience:

  • Mozzarella Cheese: Mozzarella’s ability to melt into a velvety, stringy delight makes it a top choice for warm turkey sandwiches. It creates that classic, cheese-pull moment that’s hard to resist.
  • Cheddar Cheese: Cheddar’s sharpness shines when it melts, and it can add a bold kick to your warm turkey sandwich. It complements the turkey’s savory warmth beautifully.
  • Provolone Cheese: Provolone has a mild, nutty taste that becomes even creamier when heated. It provides a smooth, harmonious blend with warm turkey.

Cold Turkey Sandwiches

Cold turkey sandwiches, on the other hand, focus on the contrast of temperatures and textures. For these refreshing options, you’ll want cheese that enhances the turkey without the need for melting:

  • Swiss Cheese: Swiss cheese’s mild, nutty flavor and firm texture make it an excellent choice for cold turkey sandwiches. It adds a subtle creaminess without compromising the sandwich’s freshness.
  • Gouda Cheese: Gouda’s sweet, slightly nutty taste and smooth texture can elevate the experience of a cold turkey sandwich. It’s all about a gentle, satisfying bite.
  • Brie Cheese: If you’re aiming for a touch of luxury in your cold turkey sandwich, Brie cheese’s velvety, creamy texture and buttery flavor can create an indulgent sensation.

Vegetarian or Vegan? Cheese Alternatives for Turkey-Style Sandwiches

Vegetarian Cheese Alternatives

For those who follow a vegetarian diet and are looking for dairy-based cheese alternatives, there are several options that can mimic the creamy and flavorful characteristics of traditional cheese:

  • Plant-Based Cheese: Many brands offer plant-based cheeses made from ingredients like nuts, soy, or coconut. These cheeses can provide a similar texture and taste to dairy cheese without the use of animal products.
  • Mozzarella-Style Cheese: Vegetarian mozzarella-style cheeses are available and can be a great addition to your turkey-style sandwich. They melt well and offer that classic stringy cheese experience.
  • Nut-Based Cheeses: Cheeses made from cashews, almonds, or other nuts can provide a rich, creamy, and slightly tangy flavor that pairs nicely with turkey.

Vegan Cheese Alternatives

If you’re following a strict vegan diet, there are cheese alternatives that are entirely plant-based and cruelty-free:

  • Dairy-Free Cheese Slices: Vegan cheese slices are designed to melt and mimic the texture of dairy cheese. Look for options labeled as “meltable” for the best results in a warm turkey-style sandwich.
  • Nutritional Yeast: Nutritional yeast, often referred to as “nooch,” is a popular vegan cheese substitute. It has a cheesy, umami flavor and can be sprinkled on your sandwich for added depth.
  • Cashew Cheese: Cashew-based cheese spreads or slices can provide a creamy and indulgent texture that complements turkey-style sandwiches.

Serving Suggestions

  • Grilled Panini Style: To take your turkey and cheese sandwich to the next level, consider grilling it panini-style. Use a panini press or a hot skillet with a weight on top to achieve that irresistible crispy crust and melty cheese interior. This method works exceptionally well with cheeses like Mozzarella, Cheddar, or Provolone.
  • Cold and Refreshing: For a refreshing twist, serve your turkey sandwich cold. Layer your favorite cheese with turkey, crisp lettuce, juicy tomatoes, and creamy condiments on freshly baked bread. This option is perfect for hot summer days when you crave a chilled, satisfying meal.
  • Soup and Sandwich Combo: Pair your turkey and cheese sandwich with a steaming bowl of soup for a comforting and hearty meal. A classic tomato soup or a cozy bowl of chicken noodle soup can be the ideal companions to your sandwich.
  • Toasted Perfection: If you prefer a warm and toasty experience but don’t have a panini press, you can achieve a similar effect by toasting your sandwich in a toaster oven or a regular oven. This method can bring out the flavors of cheeses like Swiss or Gouda beautifully.
  • Sliced or Melted: Whether you enjoy your cheese sliced and cold or melted to ooey-gooey goodness, the choice is yours. Some cheeses shine when melted, while others add a pleasant creaminess when served cold. It’s all about your personal preference.
  • Accompanying Sides: Consider adding some delicious sides to complement your turkey sandwich. Crispy potato chips, a fresh garden salad, or a side of fruit can enhance your meal and provide a balanced combination of flavors and textures.
  • Dipping Delights: If you’re serving a grilled or toasted turkey sandwich, don’t forget about dipping options. Tomato soup, homemade aioli, or even a zesty salsa can add an exciting dimension to your sandwich experience.
  • Family-Friendly Buffet: When serving a crowd, create a turkey and cheese sandwich buffet. Lay out an array of cheeses, condiments, and toppings, allowing everyone to customize their sandwiches to their liking.

Storing Leftover Turkey and Cheese Sandwiches

Whether you’ve prepared too many sandwiches or simply couldn’t finish your culinary masterpiece, knowing how to store leftover turkey and cheese sandwiches properly is key to preserving their freshness and flavor.


The refrigerator is your best friend when it comes to keeping your turkey and cheese sandwiches fresh. Follow these steps for proper refrigeration:

  • Wrap It Up: Wrap your leftover sandwich tightly in plastic wrap, aluminum foil, or place it in an airtight container. This helps prevent the bread from drying out and the cheese from absorbing unwanted odors.
  • Label and Date: Always label the container or wrapping with the date you prepared the sandwich. This ensures you can keep track of how long it’s been stored.
  • Temperature: Store the wrapped or containerized sandwich in the refrigerator at a temperature of 40°F (4°C) or lower.
  • Placement: Place the sandwich in an area of the refrigerator where it won’t be crushed or squeezed by other items. Ideally, store it on a shelf rather than in the door, as temperatures can fluctuate there.


If you have more leftover sandwiches than you can consume within a few days, freezing is an option:

  • Wrap and Package: Wrap each leftover sandwich individually in plastic wrap or aluminum foil. For extra protection, place them in a sealable freezer bag.
  • Label and Date: As with refrigeration, always label and date the wrapped sandwiches.
  • Freezer Placement: Store the wrapped sandwiches in the freezer, ensuring they are flat and not stacked on top of each other. This prevents them from becoming squished.
  • Use Within 1-2 Months: While properly frozen sandwiches can remain safe to eat for several months, they are at their best quality if consumed within 1-2 months.


When you’re ready to enjoy your leftover turkey and cheese sandwich, here’s how to reheat it:

  • For refrigerated sandwiches, simply remove the wrapping and heat in a microwave for about 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until warmed through.
  • For frozen sandwiches, thaw them in the refrigerator overnight before reheating as mentioned above.

FAQ Best Cheese for a Turkey Sandwich Recipe

When visiting a deli, what’s the best cheese to pair with deli turkey for a grilled cheese sandwich?

Monterey Jack cheese is often considered the best cheese for turkey sandwiches due to its mild, creamy texture and flavor that complements rather than overpowers the taste of the turkey. When melted in a grilled cheese sandwich, it creates a delightful contrast with the meat, enhancing the overall flavor profile.

How do you make a turkey club sandwich using sliced turkey from the deli?

To make a turkey club sandwich, start with three slices of toasted white bread. On the first layer, spread mayonnaise, add lettuce, tomato, and 2-3 slices of turkey, then place the second slice of bread on top. Add more mayonnaise, bacon, lettuce, and tomato. Top with the third slice of bread, cut diagonally, and secure with toothpicks.

For a delicious turkey cranberry grilled sandwich, what kind of cheese and additional ingredients should you use?

Havarti cheese is perfect for a turkey cranberry grilled sandwich because of its creamy consistency and mild flavor that pairs well with the sweet-tartness of cranberry sauce. Along with deli turkey slices, add a spread of cranberry sauce, slices of Havarti, and some spinach or arugula between two pieces of bread. Butter the outside of the bread and grill until the cheese is melted and the bread is golden brown.

Which cheese goes well with a turkey sandwich made from smoked turkey breast for a cold sandwich option?

Colby Jack cheese pairs excellently with smoked turkey breast, offering a unique blend of Colby and Monterey Jack’s flavors. Its smooth, mildly tangy taste complements the smoky flavor of the turkey, making for a delicious cold sandwich, especially when paired with a mild mustard and crisp lettuce.

I want to make a hot turkey sandwich with cheese using deli meat. How do I ensure the cheese is melted and the meat is warm without making the bread soggy?

To make this sandwich, first lightly toast the bread in a toaster or oven to strengthen it against moisture. Then, layer your sliced turkey and cheese on one slice, and place it in a warm oven or under a broiler just long enough for the cheese to melt and the turkey to warm. Add your desired cold toppings and condiments after heating to prevent sogginess.

What type of cheese is best to add to a turkey sandwich with avocado and what other toppings enhance the flavor?

Swiss cheese works wonderfully with turkey and avocado due to its nutty and sweet flavor. For additional toppings, consider adding crispy bacon for a salty crunch, tomatoes for a juicy tang, and a touch of spicy mustard or garlic aioli for an extra flavor kick, creating a delicious sandwich with complex flavors and satisfying textures.

I have leftover Thanksgiving turkey; how can I use it to make the best turkey sandwich recipe?

A great way to use leftover Thanksgiving turkey is to make a turkey cranberry sandwich. Take two slices of your favorite bread, spread a generous amount of cream cheese on one side (to add creaminess and tang), and cranberry sauce on the other (for a sweet-tart contrast). Add thick slices of your leftover turkey, a slice of mild cheese like Havarti (optional), and some spinach or lettuce for crunch. Grill or serve as is for a delicious, flavor-rich sandwich.

When creating a hot turkey sandwich with cheese, how do I choose the best cheese to make sure it enhances the taste of the turkey?

When choosing the best cheese for a hot turkey sandwich, consider the flavor profile of the turkey. For smoked turkey, a strong cheese like Gouda complements the meat’s robustness. For traditional roasted turkey, a mild cheese like Provolone or Monterey Jack can enhance the turkey’s natural flavors without overwhelming them.

For making turkey sandwiches, does a hard Italian cheese work well, or should I stick with something creamier?

While making turkey sandwiches, creamier cheeses tend to work better as they melt nicely and complement the turkey’s texture. Hard Italian cheeses, though flavorful, can overpower the delicate taste of turkey and don’t provide the same gooey consistency desired in a hot sandwich. However, they can be used sparingly as a flavorful accent in a cold turkey sandwich, paired with complementary condiments.

I want to add flavor to my next turkey sandwich; what are different types of cheese that work well with the mild taste of turkey meat?

To add flavor to your turkey sandwich, you have several cheese options. Swiss cheese offers a nutty, sweet profile, Pepper Jack provides spicy notes, Havarti gives a creamy texture and mild taste, and Cheddar offers a sharp, pungent flavor punch. Each cheese can bring a different taste aspect, complementing the mildness of turkey meat in your next delicious sandwich.