The word panini comes from the Italian for small bread.
And this tasty list of 20 incredible panini recipes pairs that small bread with big flavors.
20 Easy Panini Recipes
Paninis were first mentioned in a 16th-century Italian cookbook. But they really became a culinary trend in the 1970s and 80s.
Since then, creative cooks have made all kinds of amazingly weird and wonderful varieties.
I’m talking vegan, dinner, dessert, and vegetarian panini recipes.
And yes, this list covers it all.
There’s even a recipe for what I like to call the ‘Elvis’ panini (peanut butter, banana, and chocolate chip!).
Eating this panini is almost as good as taking a trip to the South of Italy.
It’s a great way to showcase the best of that region’s fresh flavors with juicy tomatoes and creamy mozzarella.
If you like Caprese salad, this will soon become your favorite panini recipe. All the essentials are there.
It has thickly sliced tomatoes, light cheese, and fresh basil.
It’s drizzled with balsamic vinegar, brushed with olive oil, and toasted on a ciabatta bun for lunch done right.
There’s no fancy Italian bread in this panini. It’s a simple, but delicious version using thickly sliced wholewheat bread.
Mashed avocado, cheese, grilled chicken, and fresh tomato makes for a flavorful filling.
Lightly toasted, it turns into a melty, warm, lip-smacking brunch, lunch or dinner.
It’s nutritious, too, thanks to the ‘good’ fats in avocado and that lean protein from the chicken.
Served with a fresh spinach salad, healthy eating doesn’t get any better than this.
Made too much turkey for Thanksgiving? Cooked up a huge bird for Sunday lunch?
Cut down on your food waste by transforming those turkey leftovers into this stacked sandwich.
This hearty panini contains turkey, cranberries, juicy pear, crunchy bacon, and two types of cheese (tangy goat’s cheese and melty Muenster).
The secret ingredient is sage. The leaves are fried until crispy and fragrant, then slipped into the sandwich like delicious hidden treasure.
Bright, juicy, and just the right amount of sweet, adding fruit to your panini can really elevate the flavor.
Here crisp apple nestles alongside shredded ham and gooey swiss cheese in a soft and crispy toasted panini.
That creamy, tangy taste is enhanced with a mayo and mustard sauce.
Yep. This one’s a keeper.
The best dessert paninis are both sweet and savory. This one combines dark, smoky chocolate with tangy, creamy brie.
It’s strange, but spectacular.
File this one under ‘must try,’ because once you bite into that soft sourdough and sweet, salty center, you’ll never look at chocolate (or panini!) in the same way again.
Healthy, filling, and very crave-worthy, this fresh panini is packed with veggies and flavor.
Make it for meatless Mondays, weekend brunches, or those times when your vegetarian friend turns up at your house hungry.
It’s loaded with cheese, tomato, avocado, and spinach. Serve with a salad to make this meal extra healthy, and extra good!
Another veggie variety, this mushroom and goat’s cheese panini will wow healthy eaters and may even convert a few carnivores.
It’s crispy on the outside, gooey, salty, and savory on the inside.
Made with sourdough focaccia, this is the perfect picnic food or finger-licking snack.
A good breakfast can make or break your entire day, so set yourself up for success with this delicious, protein-rich sandwich.
The mix of salty bacon, buttery scrambled eggs, and melted cheese will power you through the morning until you can eat it again for lunch (kidding, kinda).
You’ll need a big appetite to tackle this authentic Italian panini. Made from an entire loaf of Italian bread, it’s not for the faint-hearted.
Slice the loaf lengthwise and scoop out the bread. Fill those hollowed halves with deli meat, cheese, and veggies, then grill.
You now have a choice to make – cut into slices and share, or eat the entire thing yourself.
You’re probably already familiar with the classic turkey, brie and cranberry sandwich but this heavenly panini has other ideas.
Replacing tart cranberries with sweet strawberries is a gastronomic game-changer.
Every bite is bright, juicy, and nails the perfect balance of sweet and savory.
By far the most decadent panini on the list, this recipe isn’t actually as naughty as you think.
It’s made with dark chocolate, rich in antioxidants, and protein-rich peanut butter.
There’s banana in there too, so this is basically breakfast food.
Just choose your ingredients carefully.
Using whole grain bread, unsweetened nut butter, and cocoa-rich chocolate chips will help you lower your sugar intake while keeping the irresistible taste.
There’s a reason Italians love their pesto. A rich paste of fresh basil, parmesan, and pine nuts, it adds a zesty hit to almost any meal.
In this piquant panini, pesto is slathered on thick slices of sourdough bread along with thickly sliced tomato and melted mozzarella.
Toast ‘til golden and crispy, you’ll be transported to veggie heaven.
Prosciutto is a thinly-sliced and dry-cured Italian ham.
It’s generally thrown into dishes to give them more salty depth and flavor and works well here combined with pesto and provolone cheese.
Plus, it’s a tasty tongue-twister. Try saying prosciutto, provolone, and pesto panini 10 times.
For extra fun, try saying it with your mouth full of this delicious sandwich.
Crisp apples and mature cheddar are a match made in meal-time heaven.
This panini recipe makes the most of that tasty, tart pairing.
Cheese, apple, honey mustard, and bread – this simple but delicious panini proves you don’t have to overthink your sandwiches.
Sometimes basic is best.
15. Apple Pie Panini
Pie and panini. Be still my beating heart (and grumbling tum).
I’m swooning over this unique recipe that features honey-whipped mascarpone, juicy green apple slices and brown sugar-crusted raisin bread.
Is it pie? Is it a panini? Is it French toast? Who cares, just eat it.
If you want a meaty but healthy lunch, this panini has you covered.
It’s a restaurant-worthy plate of perfection, made in your own home.
Lean grilled chicken, salty bacon, caramelized onions, and a handful of fresh spinach leaves are pressed and toasted between soft, sourdough bread.
It’s the reason lunch was invented (possibly, don’t quote me on that).
17. Pizza Panini
Love Italy? Show your deep appreciation for that country’s stellar cuisine by combining their two most popular foods – pizza and panini.
Not only is this irresistible recipe full of flavor, it’s also short on time.
Why bother messing around with pizza dough when you can just crack a crusty loaf, spread it with your favorite toppings, and grill until melty and delicious.
This recipe suggests loading your panizza (see what I did there?) with mushrooms, ham, pepperoni, and bell peppers.
But the wonderful thing about pizza is its adaptability. Any combo of ingredients will work here (just don’t forget the cheese).
18. Nutella Panini
If you have tiny Nutella addicts at home, they’ll love this kid-friendly snack that’s melty and messy in all the right ways.
Worried about the sugar dump? Sneak in some fruit.
Bananas, strawberries, and pears would work well in this delightfully sinful sandwich.
Bruschetta is a popular Italian appetizer featuring crusty bread topped with fresh tomatoes, mozzarella and basil leaves.
Here, those core ingredients are reimagined in a cheesy, rich panini that’s much more exciting than your average grilled cheese.
Pair it with soup or salad for a full lunch, or serve as an appetizer for your fanciest dinners.
This recipe is one you’ll want to keep around for both family brunches and special occasions.
Make the most of your summer squash with this heavenly eggplant panini.
In this recipe, eggplant is brushed with olive oil and fried before being added to a hearty panini, stuffed with pesto, mozzarella, and tomato.
It’s a veggie-friendly light lunch that will remind you of warm days, cool evenings, and good times.
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