Crisp, smokey bacon sandwiched between layers of ripe juicy tomato and rich garlic basil aioli on buttery toasted bread. A jazzed-up Caprese Bacon Melt takes only a few minutes to make and the garlic basil aioli is such a simple way to really make your tastebuds sing!
I'm officially calling it....bacon melts are the ultimate summer dinner. Easy, no fuss, quick, and that crispy bacon paired with classic Caprese salad ingredients is just...*chefs kiss*.
We don't even need it to be summer! Throw this together for any dinner, lunch, heck put a runny egg on it and call it breakfast.
If you're not convinced yet, here are the homerun takeaways from this stacked beauty:
- buttery, toasted hearty bread
- garlicky aioli with fresh basil pop
- juicy ripe heirloom tomatoes
- gooey mozzarella cheese
- savory and smokey thick cut bacon
You can also up the ante with adding a little balsamic drizzle!
What's a bacon melt?
We need to rewind the tape a little to talk about sandwich classification, first. (Don't worry, its real fast.)
You see, there are grilled cheese sandwiches and there are melts. They both involve gooey melted cheese and toasted bread but there's one major difference.
A melt requires some sort of fat or protein. Tuna melt. Brisket melt. Chicken Bacon Melt. And now, caprese bacon melt.
A bacon melt is a sandwich made with two pieces of butter toasted bread, bacon, and melted cheese. Our bacon melt, however, is getting a little more oomfph than just bacon and cheese.
How to make a caprese bacon melt
To create our caprese bacon melts, we need some classic caprese salad ingredients, a little mayo, garlic and basil, and oh - do not forget that bacon!
Personally, if I'm going to bacon, it's got to be thick cut for me. (Go all in, ya know?)
You can use whichever style of bacon suits your preference, or if you want a vegetarian version of this sandwich just skip it altogether.
Cook the bacon before hand either in a skillet or in the oven (my personal fav!) so that way you can just build all your sandwiches at once.
When it comes to toasting your bread slices you have two options: Spread softened butter on the slices or melt the butter in the pan and then place the bread down.
Both work great, its just a matter of personal choice.
Next, mix together your super simple garlic basil aioli. You don't want to sleep on this part. It is a taste party for your mouth.
You can build the sandwiches on a cutting board and then toast them in a pan with melted butter or melt the butter put down your first layer of bread and build them in the pan - either works! I usually build them in the pan so nothing slips out transferring them from the cutting board to the pan.
Tips for perfect melty sandwiches
Even before having kids, grilled cheeses and melts have been a constant go to in my life. If you've been around here long enough you know how much I love soup and having a grilled cheese with some tomato soup - or any kind of soup - is a no brainer.
So here are some of my favorite tips for perfectly cheesy, toasty sandos.
- Let the cheese sit at room temp for a little bit so it melts faster
- Cast iron pans make the best toasty sandwiches
- Mayo or butter are equally awesome for spreading on bread to get that crisp 'buttery' outside
- If your butter is cold, melt it in the pan and just place the bread down in it.
- Cook over medium heat, you want to give the cheese time to melt without risking burning the bread.
- If your cheese isn't melting fast enough, remove the top layer of bread and cover the pan for 1 to 2 minutes.
Be sure to let me know if you made this recipe in the comments and I'd love if you would give a star rating!
Caprese Bacon Melt with Garlic Basil Aioli
- cast iron skillet
- 8 slices multigrain bread
- 3 large heirloom tomatoes ¼ to ½ inch slice
- 8 ounces whole milk mozzarella thinly sliced
- 12 ounces thick cut bacon about 9 slices
- ¾ cup mayonnaise
- 6 large basil leaves thinly sliced
- 1 clove garlic finely minced
- salted butter for pan cooking the sandwiches
- Cook the bacon. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Place the bacon on a parchment lined baking sheet and cook for 15 to 20 minutes depending on the thickness of the bacon slices and rotating the pan halfway through cooking.
- In a bowl, combine the mayonnaise, minced garlic, and basil. Spread the garlic basil aioli on each slice of bread.
- In a cast iron pan or skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Add two slices of bread, dry side down. Layer slices tomato and season with salt and pepper. Add bacon and cheese on top of the tomatoes. Top with another slice of bread with the garlic aioli side facing in. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes until golden brown, flip, and repeat for the other side.
- Transfer the cooked sandwiches to a cutting board and repeat the process for the remaining ingredients. Cut each sandwich in half and serve.
- I like to use hearty, bakery-style multigrain bread for these sandwiches so the end result is slightly larger than an average loaf slice sandwich.
- You can build the sandwiches on a cutting board or plate before cooking in the skillet or build in the skillet once the butter has melted.
- Letting the cheese warm up to room temperature will help it melt faster without over toasting the bread or try cooking the sandwiches with a cover on the pan for 1 to 2 minutes before adding the top slice of bread.