Panini is the plural of the Italian word “panino”, meaning “little sandwich.” In the United States, panini refers exclusively to warm sandwiches grilled using a panini press or sandwiches that are pressed between two pans. They are also a lot of fun to make since you can use any combination of meats, cheeses, fruits, veggies, and spreads.
Panini is best served on dense bread, like Ciabatta, baguette, or focaccia, that can stand up to both your fillings and the weight of the panini press. This list presents some of the best panini recipes that make for award-worthy, melt-in-your-mouth sandwiches!
This is a gourmet breakfast sandwich made right in your home kitchen! Crisp and chewy sourdough bread and soft scrambled eggs cradle crispy fried bacon, apples, spinach, and melty Brie cheese for a delightful combination of texture and flavor. These sandwiches assemble in minutes, and you’ll have time to fix your coffee while they grill!
If you want a heat-and-eat breakfast to take on the go, this easy recipe is for you! Simply make the sandwiches with tasty ingredients like shaved honey ham and whole green chiles on sourdough bread. Wrap them in parchment or wax paper and freeze them. When ready to eat, heat up the sandwiches in the oven for 20 minutes — enjoy!
Your kids will go crazy for these delicious breakfast paninis! To speed up prep and make these on a busy morning, you can make the French toast ahead of time and store it in the fridge or freezer. Thaw, add the banana slices, and fire up your sandwich press. Serve with butter, syrup, powdered sugar, or Nutella!
Making this sweet breakfast or dessert panini is as easy as toasting a bagel! Just spread cream cheese and raspberry jam or preserves onto challah, butter the outsides, and let your sandwich press do its thing! Try mixing up your jam choices like orange marmalade, blueberry preserve, or lemon butter spread.
Crispy, buttery brioche or challah is the perfect bread for these yummy chocolate paninis. Simply sandwich some semisweet chocolate chips between buttered bread slices, then pop it in your press for supreme meltiness. Try adding sliced strawberries or bananas if you absolutely have to have fruit, but it’s better served on the side to preserve peak chocolate perfection.
#6. Pizza Panini
This pizza panini uses store-bought pizza crust to hold an abundance of cheese and toppings. Use fresh mozzarella for the ultimate pizza experience together with your favorite toppings. Try not to go overboard with the toppings though, because then your panini will be too thick to press properly and too messy to eat.
An easy vegetarian panini for summer, you can make this simple sandwich with a skillet and a panini press. If you really don’t want to use your stove at all during the day, make the veggies the night before. Serve with a side salad, fruit, or pasta salad for a cool and fresh meal.
Here’s a classic panini featuring simple ingredients wrapped in buttery golden bread. Use homemade pesto or a store-bought one, this panini will taste awesome either way. Fresh tomatoes and mozzarella complement the fragrant pesto when all the flavors melt together. This is one panini that really stands up to a hearty, rustic bread like focaccia or ciabatta.
Warm, creamy, and rich avocado makes for the perfect spread in this 100% veggie sandwich. Sauteed portobello mushrooms paired with kale, cherry tomatoes, and shallots topped with melty provolone or mozzarella, all grilled between buttered wheat bread with a creamy avocado spread — this has to be one of the best ways to get your veggies in!
A sandwich doesn’t get much more Southern than one stuffed full of these classics! Creamy and delicious pimento cheese surround crispy breaded slices of fried green tomato. Grill in your panini press or on a griddle to make the pimento cheese all melty, and you have a sandwich fit for the gods!
In this easy panini, homemade balsamic fig jam wonderfully complements the richness of sharp cheddar cheese. The secret to the delightful crispiness of the bread is that you use mayonnaise instead of butter. If you prefer milder cheese, use mild cheddar, muenster, or Monterey Jack instead.
You might think that the cheese is the star of this panini, but you would be wrong! Sweet caramelized onions and woody, meaty baby Bella mushrooms are front and center. Sauté them in plenty of butter, herbs, mushroom broth, and Worcestershire sauce. Paired with French bread and provolone cheese, this panini is oozing with flavor!
People put all kinds of fruit into sandwiches, so why not cherries? Their sweetness pairs well with tangy balsamic and lemon, and the asparagus is crunchy and fragrant when tossed in mint and pistachio oil. Add two kinds of cheese and a toasty baguette, and you have culinary perfection!
Packed with protein and healthy fat, this vegetarian panini will fly off the grill. It features light, refreshing flavors, and while this is a great sandwich any time of year, it is at its best in the spring and summer when avocados are in season. Add a strong-tasting cheese or go cheese-less for a vegan meal.
A flavorful pesto chicken salad, with a healthy handful of spinach, and tart Swiss cheese go the distance in this panini. Ciabatta is the best bread for this sandwich. If you get a long loaf, you can make multiple sandwiches. Or just buy ciabatta rolls for effortless prep.
Upgrade this basic bacon, tomato, and avocado sandwich to a deluxe panini by adding a little chicken and cheese. In this recipe, the chicken cooks with the bacon, but you can use rotisserie chicken, sliced deli chicken, or even leftovers to make this. Smothered in chipotle sauce, this will take you to sandwich heaven!
#17. BBQ Chicken Panini
When you’re seeking the warm flavors of a classic barbecue but don’t want a heavy meal, how about a barbecue chicken panini? Melty cheddar, tangy sauce, and spicy red onion support the chicken here. You can sub in pulled pork or slices of brisket or even use a meat substitute if you’d rather go vegetarian.
Roasted turkey breast, bacon, fresh mozzarella, and cranberry sauce create a delicious bundle of yum inside crusty, chewy bread. And you’ll definitely need a firm bread like rye for this panini to hold the weight of the delicious filling. You can also make this with roasted or rotisserie chicken.
One bite of this panini will take you back to college days of wings and beer! Spicy buffalo chicken loaded with cayenne hot sauce pairs with (what else?) tangy bleu cheese and creamy Colby Jack. This recipe is so good you won’t even think about making substitutions. It gives you all the flavors of buffalo chicken wings in a cheesy sandwich!
Bold Southwestern flavors of chipotle pepper, cilantro, and lime make this panini the stuff of dreams! Spice up your family dinners by serving this sandwich alongside Southwestern grilled corn and sliced avocado. Just adjust the chipotle if you’re not sure about the spice.
Turkey, sage, and apple — you can’t beat these flavors for winter. Biting into this crunchy and juicy panini will transport you back to warm kitchens and watching the snowfall. Serve with a bowl of tomato soup or a hearty stew brimming with winter squash, beans, and sweet potatoes for an easy dinner on a cold night.
The Cuban sandwich, or Cubano, may very well be the most classic of all paninis! This flavorful combo of roasted pork, ham, mustard, pickles, and cheese is deliciously crave-worthy. If you can get them, Cuban rolls work best. Serve with frijoles negros and rice, sweet potato fries, or fried plantains, and don’t forget the café con leche!
Here’s an accessible version of a traditional French café favorite. Ham and cheese is a lunch staple, but you’ve never had one quite like this! Simple bechamel, or white sauce, supports melty cheese and salty ham, while peppery arugula offers a nice counterpoint. Use French white bread or sourdough for crispy and chewy bites.
Either you’re a tuna fan or you’re not. And if you are, it doesn’t get better than a warm and tasty tuna melt. This recipe is your basic tuna melt jacked up to 100. Make your own peppery mustard so you can adjust the heat level, and you can always use a different cheese if the spice is too much.
Use up your leftover corned beef from St. Paddy’s Day or go for the thin sliced deli-style meat, this panini will turn out excellent. It really is all about those Guinness onions, so pile them on. Cheddar cheese and rye bread round out this corned beef version of a patty melt!
#26. Reuben Panini
Dark rye or pumpernickel and roasted cabbage are the main switches between a traditional Reuben and this updated, slightly more up-scale version. You can serve this panini with a pickle spear and kettle-cooked chips for a classic deli replica, or try sweet potato fries and coleslaw for something different.
#27. French Dip Panini
You might think the French dip is slightly out of date or old-fashioned, but there is a reason why you will always find it on the menu — it is a sandwich that has stood the test of time. This panini version doesn’t change much, but caramelized onions and melty Swiss just add to the delicious simplicity.
Enjoy the classic flavors of Philly cheesesteak in an easy-to-eat panini recipe that’s ripe for experimentation. If provolone is not your style, try American or sharp white cheddar for a distinctive bite. While the lettuce and tomatoes taste amazing on their own, feel free to grill some pepper, onion, or mushroom if you want some more flavor!
Rather than using plain cheese, this panini features an exceptional horseradish cheese sauce that more than makes up for the lack of that melty goodness. Add some caramelized onions (that you can make in your crockpot!) and roast beef, and you’ll have a panini that would rival any sandwich shop!
#30. Meatball Panini
Usually, when you think about meatball sandwiches, you think about those satisfyingly messy sub rolls. We can’t guarantee that this version will be less messy, but there will be less bread! Whether you make your own meatballs and sauce or go for convenient store-bought options, these paninis are loaded with authentic Italian flavor and will not disappoint.
This panini is excellent for using up holiday leftovers but would be fine with deli roast beef, too. You work with what you have, right? Feel free to substitute pear for the apple in a pinch, but don’t even think about leaving out the cheddar! Layer it all up with horseradish sauce on sourdough bread, and dig in!
#32. Italian Panini
Made with ham, salami, and pepperoni, this classic Italian cold cut sandwich gets a further boost from the tomatoes, cheese, and pepperoncini! This recipe calls for regular Italian dressing for that zing of flavor, but you could use creamy Italian, raspberry vinaigrette, or even olive oil and balsamic if you prefer.