A panini or panino (meaning “bread roll”) is a sandwich made with Italian bread usually served warmed by grilling or toasting.
With the telltale grill marks sewn into the bread, you will recognize Italian-style panini sandwich.
This classic sandwshot is pressed in a semi-union of melty deliciousness between two hot grill dishes, which sear the bread and smooth ingredients. And although there are many delicious ways to put together a panini, you’ll usually find a mixture of meat, cookies and veggies sandwiched between two pieces. Delizioso! Are you watering your mouth yet?
Aside from tortillas, I don’t think I have bought any type of bread since I got my bread machine a few months ago. Since I meal plan every week, I know in advance when we are going to need some type of bread so I plan to have time to make it earlier that day.
Check out our tips and top class recipes to achieve panini pro status (whether or not you have a panini press). And find out more about best bread for panini reviews.
Panini Like a Pro
From assembly for how to cooking this dish, follow these easy tips for panini success.
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- Start with the right bread. We recommend using a bread that can take the heat. Literally. Italian breads like focaccia, ciabatta, and baguettes are usually heartier than, say, sourdough, and they hold up better to grilling.
- Bring the heat. Be sure to get your grill nice and hot before putting your panini on—it’ll make for better grill marks.
- For maximum crunch. Brush melted butter or olive oil on the outside of the bread, and if you’re including “wet” ingredients like tomatoes, layer them in the center of the sandwich with meats and/or cheeses on either side so they don’t drown the bread.
- Keep the goods contained. Though you’ll want to keep the fillings to a respectable minimum, if you’re worried about things spilling out while cooking—particularly if there’s a good dose of cheese in there—wrap your panini in parchment paper to keep everything together before putting it on the grill.
- No panini press? No problem! If you have a grill on your stove top, you can grill one side at a time. Mimic a traditional press by placing something heavy on top of the panini like a couple stacked plates or a heavy pan. You can do the same thing on an outdoor grill, or even in a frying pan—even without the grill marks, you’re still in for a delicious meal. Another great way to panini without a press? Use a waffle iron! Place the sandwich in the waffle iron, close the lid, and press it down with a heavy skillet.
Top-Rated Panini Recipes
Now that your brain is primed with pro tips, let’s work on putting paninis on your plate with these tasty recipes:
- Ham and Pear Panini : Savory meets sweet in this unique panini recipe. ZenChef says, “The combination of ham, mustard, and pears gives it a very flavorful and fresh taste!”
- Turkey and Bacon Panini with Chipotle Mayonnaise : Adobo sauce gives this recipe a spicy kick that recipe-submitter chefmommy says is “also excellent as a vegetarian sandwich if you leave out the turkey and bacon.”
- Chicken Pesto Paninis : This recipe only takes five minutes to prep and is ready in just twenty. Other home cooks suggest using rotisserie chicken as a convenient option.
- Turkey Avocado Panini : To make this easy, light panini, spread avocado mayo onto ciabatta rolls, then layer on provolone, mesquite smoked turkey, roasted red peppers, and fresh spinach.
- Tuna Panini Melt : A traditional tuna melt is given the panini treatment in this recipe, which serves two and is done in less than 15 minutes.
- Deluxe Pizza Panini : It’s two classic Italian favorites in one! Recipe-submitter Raquel Teixeira says this “grilled pizza panini is a creative way to jazz up the boring sandwich and predictable pizza. Great to heat up as leftovers also for lunch the next day!”