How to Make a Panini Without a Panini Maker

Food & Party 9

recession guide


Ham and cheese panini

Sadly, I do not own that magical (yet expensive) machine known as the panini press. So you can imagine my excitement when I discovered that it is possible to make a panini without a panini maker!

I'm sure everyone is going to write in and tell me that I didn't make a panini—I made a "grilled sandwich." And you know what? You're probably right. But I don't want to hear it! LOL! Sometimes you just have to be happy with what you have...

Panini Happy has a helpful guide about how to make paninis using pans and equipment you most likely already have in your kitchen:

  • Grill pans are ideal for making paninis, especially if you absolutely HAVE to have grill marks on your sandwich. According to the guide, you just heat a bit of olive oil or butter in the pan over medium-high heat; cook panini until golden brown/toasted on on side; then flip to the other side, pressing down with spatula.
  • Follow the exact same cooking process with a griddle.
  • Or, you can use a toaster oven—also good for those obsessed with grill marks! Preheat the oven to medium-high heat (375F), and bake until cheese is melted and panini is toasted (about 5-6 minutes).
  • You can also use the regular oven to make paninis (follow process for the toaster oven). This method is perfect if you have to make a lot of paninis.

Using Panini Happy's handy guide, I decided to try my hand at making my paninis in a skillet. I bought a loaf of fresh sour dough bread from our local bakery. I sliced it very thick and made sandwiches using stuff we had in the fridge: some ham, a few slices of turkey, sliced cheese, and leftover pesto spread. Here's how I did it:

1. Heat a few drops of olive oil and 1/2 tablespoon of butter in large skillet.

2. Cook one side of panini until golden brown. Occasionally press down on sandwich with smaller skillet, like so:


Making paninis in a skillet

4. Flip panini and cook other side, pressing down with second skillet.

5. Serve! Ignore the fact that the sandwich does not have grill marks. Bask in the glory of making delicious paninis without an expensive press!

It sort of gives new meaninig to your ordinary grilled cheese sandwich, doesn't it?

dinner, everyday celebrations, family meals, food, kid-friendly, lunch, recession guide, recipes, suggestions


To add a comment, please log in with

Use Your CafeMom Profile

Join CafeMom or Log in to your CafeMom account. CafeMom members can keep track of their comments.

Join CafeMom or Log in to your CafeMom account. CafeMom members can keep track of their comments.

Comment As a Guest

Guest comments are moderated and will not appear immediately.

eema.... eema.gray

You can also do this with a hot brick wrapped in foil

roach... roachiesmom

I would think you could do this with a George grill, too.  That's how my kids make burritos. 

aprue... aprues001

I have used my George Foreman grill to make paninis. I got the recipe off of one of the groups here, but I cant remember which one.  I used left over honey baked ham from Christmas and they were awesome.

coutt... coutterhill

I do my panini's in my quesidilla maker.

medic... medicmomof2

I use my double sided griddle. You know you can open it for two sided grilling or close it to smoosh the food. I have always done this. I used to use my George Foreman, but I got a new one.

Cindy Cindy

We use the George Foreman grill... workds GREAT!

CSRod... CSRodriguez

Hey mama it is a pannini    I think a pannini might have been invented pre  gadet era

 so  don't let   Negetive Nellies deter you   I  think you would love to use    a cast iron skillet   so you don't really have to push down 

nonmember avatar Big_Ed

 I use an Iron set on cotton. Beware though, it will leave butter stains on your expensive dress shirts...such is the price of a good panini.

nonmember avatar Way Station 49

WARNING about using toaster ovens, especially as recommended in this article:

Many toaster ovens have air vents in back. If you use the grill rack, and cheese, for example, drops on to the elements below and begins to burn, it can and DOES start an appliance fire!!!! This can happen in seconds.

Mine went up in flames in about 10 seconds, and caught the kitchen curtains on fire behind the counter. NEVER leave a toaster oven unattended. VERY DANGEROUS.

Keep a fire extinguisher close at hand and "watch" your stuff while it is cooking  -- or better yet, get rid of the appliance.!

I was loyal to this appliance before the fire and have not owned one since. Had I not been standing close enough to grab the fire extinguisher, our condo fire could have killed us, our pets, neighbors, who knows?

Using the grill rack on its own -- never a good idea. In our case, it was leftover pizza slice that caused the fire. A teeny tiny piece of cheese dropped off onto the elements below.

1-9 of 9 comments