How to Make a Panini Without a Panini Maker

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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?

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