5 Recipes That Prove Panini Presses Aren’t Just for Smooshed Sandwiches

Photo: Stocksy/Nicole S. Young
Here's a (semi-)objective fact for you: paninis will always be better than sandwiches. The cheese melts to gooey perfection, the toast becomes buttery-yet-crunchy, and all the veggies taste fresh out of the oven. There's no better glow-up for two pieces of bread and all the fixin's, but if you're only using your panini press to make rainbow sammies, I'm here to tell you that you're missing out in the kitchen.

Peruse YouTube for panini press recipes and you're in for a real treat. Besides every combination of hot, pressed lunch you can think of, you'll also find some, shall we say, "out-of-the-box" uses for the kitchen gadget. In general, people tend to get creative with their air fryers and Instant Pots, but the panini possibilities have launched innovative cooking into the stratosphere.

5 panini press recipes that aren't sandwiches

Grilled Chicken

After spicing your bird with the desired combination of salt, pepper, garlic powder, et cetera, you simply place the chicken on the panini press and leave it be for 15 to 20 minutes. To up your meal prep game, you could totally whip up five at a time on Sunday and top your salads with protein all week long. (Vegans and vegetarians can substitute tofu for equally delicious results.)


Okay, so in a way—quesadillas are sandwiches. However, if you normally have Mexican night by sweating over the hot oven and timing your spatula flipping perfectly, this is a much more lax way to go about enjoying black beans, tomatoes, guac, and so forth.

Crispy vegetables

If you've gotten your protein all settled, but if it's sides you seek, we've got you covered. Just line your panini maker in foil, chop up a bunch of veggies (Brussels sprouts, zucchini, potatoes, onions), add your seasonings, and leave them to cook for about 10 to 15 minutes.


For a dinner that just couldn't be easier, spread pizza dough (of the keto or normal variety) onto your panini press, add your desired topping, and shut the lid. When you open it up 10 minutes later, a flatbread fit for the hills of Tuscany awaits.

Build your own omelette

Every cook needs to know how to prep a standard omelette, right? And the panini press makes it beyond easy. Just whip your eggs, pour them into press, and pop the lid shut. Once they're mostly cooked through, add your veggies, cheese, and/or meats, fold the egg in half, and close the lid once more. Breakfast is served.

If you don't own an egg cooker yet, here's a very compelling argument for buying one. Plus, the kitchen gadgets cooking experts love

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