29 Panini Recipes That Will Totally Make You Melt

Let’s face it: Paninis are the Brad Pitt of the sandwich world — they photograph well, they’re delicious and they make you feel warm and fuzzy inside. The lunchtime staple is often served on Italian or French bread, is usually grilled or toasted, and generally has some sort of cheese on it, making for a gooey, decadent dish.

And while paninis seem like they would require gourmet-level cooking skills, they aren’t particularly difficult to make. All you’ll need is a panini press, waffle maker or griddle, some crispy bread, and a selection of fillings. Needless to say, like Inglorious Bastards, Fight Club or Moneyball, these panini recipes are award-worthy.

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panini recipes prosciutto blue cheese and candied pecan panini
The Endless Meal

1. Prosciutto, Blue Cheese And Candied Pecan Panini

The saltiness of the prosciutto and blue cheese blends with the sweetness of the candied pecans, resulting in mouth-watering harmony. Securing a fresh baguette, however, is 100 percent necessary for the perfectly crispy outer shell—therefore, a trip to the bakery day-of is mandatory.

panini recipes mozzarella and feta pita grilled cheese
The Mediterranean Dish

2. Mozzarella And Feta Pita Grilled Cheese

OK, not all grilled cheese sandwiches are paninis, but the prominent grill marks on this sammy make it fit both categories. And the feta-pita combo makes for a Mediterranean-style treat that will transport you to paradise.

panini recipes cuban pork sandwich
RecipeTin Eats

3. Cuban Pork Sandwich

Traditionally, Cuban sandwiches are cooked on a flat plancha, according to Serious Eats, but if you have a ridged panini press, you can look forward to some delicious crispiness. RecipeTin Eats’ Cuban Pork Sandwich is inspired by the dish that was featured in the film Chef. All the food in the movie was designed by famous Los Angeles chef, Roy Choi, so you’d best believe this is nothing short of awesome.

panini recipes nutella bacon french toast panini
Whitney Bond

4. Nutella Bacon French Toast Panini

I’m sorry, we just hallucinated…what? Nutella, bacon and French toast—three brunch superheroes—unite in this incredible sweet and salty panini. If you don’t wash this down with a mimosa, you’re doing it wrong.

panini recipes italian panini sandwiches
Upstate Ramblings

5. Italian Panini Sandwiches

There are very few combinations out there that surpass that of mozzarella, tomato and basil. And although these Italian sandwiches radiate elegance, they’re seriously simple. Anne, the creator behind Upstate Ramblings, makes these for her family when her son has evening baseball games, and all they need to do is assemble and heat them on the skillet.

panini recipes cheesy pizza panini
The Recipe Critic

6. Cheesy Pizza Panini

Your favorite slice meets a drool-worthy sandwich in this epic crossover. Described as “melty and gooey,” all you’ll need aside from the bread is pizza sauce, cheese, pepperoni and butter.

panini recipes spicy chicken panini
Whitney Bond

7. Spicy Chicken Panini

Forget waiting in a drive-thru line for one of the many overrated fast food spicy chicken sandwiches. Whitney Bond’s Spicy Chicken Panini is bursting with flavor, calling for King’s Hawaiian Big Island Lava Sauce (available online), pepper jack cheese, blue cheese, carrots, green onions and celery. Yes, please.

panini recipes eggplant panini with sun dried tomatoes
Posh Journal

8. Eggplant Panini With Sun-dried Tomatoes

Whether you’re fully vegetarian or if you’re simply looking to observe the occasional meatless Monday, these veggie-filled paninis combine salty cheese with acidic balsamic and sweet sun-dried tomatoes. Just remember to grill the eggplant beforehand to bring out that charred taste we all love.

panini recipes fried chicken club sandwich panini
Rock Recipes

9. Fried Chicken Club Sandwich Panini

Although many paninis on this list can be executed in just a few steps, this one is slightly more complex, though it does have one of the bigger payouts. Inspired by the South’s legendary club sandwiches with baked ham and fried chicken, it tastes like something you’d sink your teeth into after a game of croquet, or while you’re relaxing by the pool underneath the palm trees.

panini recipes grilled pesto panini sandwiches
Walking On Sunshine Recipes

10. Grilled Pesto Panini Sandwiches

Pesto is easily one of the greatest panini toppings out there—that herby flavor adds dimension, preventing a cheesy sandwich from feeling one-note. With that in mind, this recipe from Walking on Sunshine gives you the option of opting for red or green pesto, depending on your preference. We’ll try both and report back.

panini recipes grilled vegetable italian panini
Whitney Bond

11. Grilled Vegetable Italian Panini

While some might think of a vegetable sandwich as dainty, this is anything but—with eggplant, roasted red peppers, portobellos and mozzarella, it’s practically bursting at the seams. Make sure you grill the veggies beforehand to get the best flavor out of the meal.

panini recipes blue cheese steak and red onion jam panini
Rock Recipes

12. Blue Cheese Steak And Red Onion Jam Panini

If you’re in the mood for the ultimate power lunch, look no further than Rock Recipes’ Blue Cheese Steak and Red Onion Jam Panini. It’s easy to whip up during the summer, especially when you already have the grill going 24/7 anyway—just set aside a little extra steak so you can make sandwiches for tomorrow.

panini recipes leftover ham and cheese panini
Stay Snatched

13. Leftover Ham And Cheese Panini

Created with holiday leftovers, this ham and cheese sandwich is several steps up from what you used to pack in your school lunch. In addition to whatever’s left of the ham you ate on Christmas morning, this easy recipe just calls for Primal Kitchen’s Ham Glaze (available on Amazon), sourdough bread, butter, Swiss cheese, cooking oil and spinach.

panini recipes chicken panini with butternut squash
Healthy Nibbles and Bits

14. Chicken Panini With Butternut Squash

This is nothing like the margarine-soaked grilled cheese Lisa of Healthy Nibbles and Bits used to loathe in her school cafeteria. Combining chicken with butternut squash, cheese and spinach makes for a seriously well-balanced lunch. And luckily, she says, “colder weather = more paninis.” We couldn’t be more ready.

panini recipes spinach artichoke turkey panini
Whitney Bond

15. Spinach Artichoke Turkey Panini

Everyone knows that spinach artichoke dip is the superior app, but what you may not realize is it makes for a killer spread on sandwiches too. Your turkey panini will never be the same.

panini recipes asparagus panini with pesto and grilled chicken
Rock Recipes

16. Asparagus Panini With Pesto And Grilled Chicken

We always love a fresh take on the classic chicken pesto sandwich. With homemade lemon grilled asparagus (which is honestly incredible on its own), it’s simultaneously super flavorful and relatively healthy—it’s safe to say we could all use one of these in lieu of a sad desk lunch this week.

panini recipes hawaiian grilled cheese
A Pretty Life in the Suburbs

17. Hawaiian Grilled Cheese

OK, we know Hawaiian pizza is highly controversial, but what about a Hawaiian Grilled Cheese that’s actually made on the grill? Combining cheese, ham and pineapple makes for the ultimate sweet-salty combo…maybe we do understand the hype surrounding the ever-polarizing slice.

panini recipes roast pork and nectarine panini with tomato jam
Clean Eating Mag

18. Roast Pork And Nectarine Panini With Tomato Jam

This sophisticated sandwich from Clean Eating Mag may be a little complex, to say the least, but it’s beyond rewarding, and will make you feel like the classy chef you really are. You’ll be making your own tomato jam from scratch and roasting the pork beforehand, but once all is said and done, you’ll be thrilled you put in all that effort.

panini recipes chicken cordon bleu panini
Yellow Bliss Road

19. Chicken Cordon Bleu Panini

Emulating the classic French dish, this tastes like a $75 meal—in the form of a handheld sandwich. And even though it’s a little more intensive, we recommend opting to pan-fry the chicken instead of grilling it. The extra effort is worth the extra flavor. Trust.

panini recipes pesto panini with arugula avocado sun dried tomato
Wendy Polisi

20. Pesto Panini With Arugula, Avocado, & Sun-dried Tomato

There’s something incredibly satisfying about eating a boatload of vegetables at lunch—and it absolutely does not have to be in the form of a salad. This loads vitamin-packed arugula, healthy fats from avocado and antioxidants in the form of sun-dried tomatoes into a pesto panini.

panini recipes scallop po boy wrap panini
Clean Eating Mag

21. Scallop Po’boy Wrap Panini

Bring the taste of New Orleans to your kitchen by whipping up a spin on the classic Po’ Boy. By broiling the scallops instead of frying them, swapping out mayo for a homemade lemon-avocado sauce and using a tortilla instead of thick French bread, this one is going to be a little lighter—that way, you won’t fall into a food coma during your 9 to 5.

panini recipes turkey apple and cheese panini with hot pepper jelly
Saving Room For Dessert

22. Turkey, Apple, And Cheese Panini With Hot Pepper Jelly

Those who crave the kick of spice will love this augmented turkey and cheese sandwich, which calls for a generous layer of hot pepper jelly. In the cheese department, it’s chef’s choice—either camembert or brie—but regardless of what you have lying around, it’s bound to make all of those holiday leftovers taste so much better.

panini recpies pancetta mac and cheese panini
Damn Delicious

23. Pancetta Mac And Cheese Panini

Mac and cheese with pancetta on a sandwich may sound incredibly heavy, but it’s most likely about to be our go-to comfort meal on every upcoming snow day. The mac—which is made with cheddar, Asiago and romano—makes for an extra-fulfilling alternative to just plain cheese, and the salty pancetta is seriously to die for.

panini recipes vegan balsamic veggie sun dried tomato hummus panini
Oh My Veggies

24. Vegan Balsamic Veggie & Sun-dried Tomato Hummus Panini

Yes, vegan paninis do exist—and this combination of flavors is arguably one of our favorites. Swapping cheese for hummus makes for an equally creamy filling, and the balsamic adds some much-needed acidity.

panini recipes honey peach and brie panini with bacon butter
Half Baked Harvest

25. Honey, Peach, And Brie Panini With Bacon Butter

Deemed “not your average panini,” this sammy blends bacon butter with honey, peach and brie. It’s undoubtedly the perfect summer creation, after you’ve picked more peaches than you know what to do with. Just remember to make a little extra bacon butter, because you’ll want to slather it on everything going forward.

panini recipes prosciutto pineapple and pesto paninis
Gimme Some Oven

26. Prosciutto, Pineapple And Pesto Paninis

Somewhat akin to a Hawaiian slice, these paninis bring homemade pesto into the mix, adding an extra savory element. Ali, the creator behind Gimme Some Oven, heavily stresses the importance of getting fresh mozzarella instead of the pre-shredded kind—it’ll create a better cheese pull in the end (and that’s what we’re all here for, right?).

panini recipes strawberry basil and goat cheese panini
Cookie and Kate

27. Strawberry, Basil, And Goat Cheese Panini

Who knew that stuffing sweet, warm strawberries, sharp goat cheese and refreshing basil leaves between two slices of golden, buttery whole grain bread could be so delectable? It’s served with a side of homemade balsamic honey dipping sauce, which is inspired by a recipe from an Alice Medrich recipe—we promise you’ll be licking your fingers when you’re done.

panini recipes grilled chicken broccoli wrap
Feel Good Foodie

28. Grilled Chicken Broccoli Wrap

Wrapping up the iconic duo of grilled chicken and broccoli into a tortilla—and then grilling it—really changes the game. It mostly requires ingredients you likely already have on hand: chicken, mozzarella, some spices, sour cream and tortillas. To make sure your tortilla doesn’t break, though, we’d advise heating it in the microwave for a few seconds before wrapping it all up.

panini recipes italian grilled chicken panini sandwich
Dude That Cookz

29. Italian Grilled Chicken Panini Sandwich

Eric Jules, the creator behind Dude That Cookz, says it best: Eating this panini transports you to a small Italian sandwich shop. Pressing marinated chicken breast, melty provolone, basil pesto, tomato sauce and spinach between buttery slices of sourdough makes for a simple, yet delicious on-the-go lunch.

purewow author
Lizzy Rosenberg

Freelance PureWow Editor

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