15 Best Recipes for Paninis and Grilled Sandwiches

Tummy-Warming Grilled Sandwiches

Grilled Chicken and Bacon Panini Sandwich

The Spruce / Victoria Heydt

Tired of the same old lunch? Makeover your usual midday meal with our best recipes for paninis and other grilled sandwiches. Crispy, gooey, and comforting, these scrumptious sandwiches are packed with tasty ingredients, easy to assemble between two slices of bread (or waffles!), and guaranteed to fill you up until dinnertime. Whether you use a panini press, a cast iron grill pan, or an outdoor grill, find inspiration here for grilling up lunch.

  • 01 of 15

    Grilled Chicken and Mozzarella Panini

    Grilled Chicken and Mozzarella Panini

    The Spruce

    Grill some lean, healthy chicken breasts, then use the same grill to craft a delicious panini. It's easy to assemble the simple combination of warm and melty mozzarella cheese, sliced chicken, juicy tomatoes, store-bought Italian dressing, and crusty, toasted bread, and the results are super satisfying.

  • 02 of 15

    Vegetarian Apple Cheddar Panini Sandwich

    Vegetarian Apple Cheddar Panini Sandwich

    The Spruce / Jolinda Hackett

    Fruity apple slices bring sweetness and crunch to a grilled cheese sandwich with cheddar. This gourmet spin on grilled cheese needs only four ingredients and makes a tasty, 10-minute lunch or dinner idea. It's an excellent low-calorie, high-protein option when you are eating meatless.

  • 03 of 15

    Grilled Macaroni and Cheese Sandwich with Braised Short Ribs

    Grilled Macaroni and Cheese Sandwich with Braised Short Ribs

    The Spruce / Grilled Cheese Social

    Bursting with melting macaroni and cheese, tender, braised short ribs, and umami-rich steak sauce, this is a grilled cheese sandwich to write home about. It's a great way to use up leftover cooked ribs and makes an excellent lunch or dinner when you can't decide between a beef braise or a pasta dish. Grab that panini press and put the sammie in there since it melts the cheese evenly and toasts the bread at the same time.

  • 04 of 15

    Grilled Chicken and Bacon Panini Sandwich

    Grilled Chicken and Bacon Panini Sandwich

    The Spruce / Victoria Heydt

    Crispy, salty bacon adds a welcome savory component to a tender, warm chicken sandwich. You need only 6 ingredients for this tasty grilled chicken sandwich with bacon and melted cheese. Use a store-bought rotisserie chicken, pre-cooked bacon, and prepared pesto sauce as shortcuts that make assembly a cinch.

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  • 05 of 15

    Fried Chicken and Waffle Grilled Cheese Sandwich

    Fried Chicken and Waffle Grilled Cheese Sandwich

    The Spruce / Grilled Cheese Social

    Mashup a Southern-style chicken and waffles breakfast with a grilled cheese sandwich and you've got a combo that can't lose. Featuring crispy fried chicken, melted American cheese or cheddar, and a sweet and spicy sauce all grilled between two buttery waffles, this grilled breakfast sandwich will change your brunch game forever.

  • 06 of 15

    Buffalo Chicken Grilled Cheese Sandwich With Blue Cheese

    Buffalo Chicken Grilled Cheese Sandwich With Blue Cheese

    The Spruce / Grilled Cheese Social

    There's nothing quite like crispy pieces of fried chicken tossed in a rich and spicy Buffalo sauce. Add melted cheddar, buttermilk ranch, crumbled blue cheese, and crispy, buttery bread to the equation, and this grilled cheese sandwich is even more swoon-worthy. Use a thick-sliced Italian or French loaf, which is sturdy enough to handle these hearty sandwich ingredients.

  • 07 of 15

    Grilled Meatloaf Sandwich

    Grilled Meatloaf Sandwich

    Tieuli Anthony / Getty Images

    Crisp ciabatta bread, melted Swiss cheese, and warm, tender meatloaf make an unbelievably delicious grilled sandwich. It's a tasty way to use up leftover meatloaf from the fridge or freezer and makes a rib-sticking lunch or dinner on chilly fall and winter days.

  • 08 of 15

    Grilled Cheese With Smashed Spaghetti and Meatballs

    Grilled Cheese With Smashed Spaghetti and Meatballs

    The Spruce / Grilled Cheese Social

    It sounds like a crazy science experiment, but this grilled cheese sandwich with spaghetti and meatballs inside begs to be devoured. Crispy, garlicky, cheesy, and rich, it's an inspired concoction that combines leftover cooked spaghetti and frozen meatballs with the classic grilled cheese sandwich. Who knew it could be so good!

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  • 09 of 15

    Curried Grilled Paneer Sandwich With Pickled Vegetables

    Curried Grilled Paneer Sandwich With Pickled Vegetables

    The Spruce / Grilled Cheese Social

    Meet the Indian-inspired grilled cheese of your foodie dreams. Two crispy pieces of grilled naan flatbread sandwich chewy slices of paneer cheese, quick-pickled vegetables, and a schmear of store-bought yellow curry sauce in this gourmet-style, protein-packed vegetarian paneer sandwich.

  • 10 of 15

    Garlic Bread Grilled Cheese

    Garlic bread grilled cheese

    The Spruce / Diana Rattray

    Enjoy a gourmet version of a grilled cheese sandwich with this glorious garlic bread rendition. Simply made with cheese and just a few extra ingredients, this sandwich can be enjoyed on its own, or dipped in some marina sauce for that extra tasty zing! It's a fantastic lunch or a good ending to the day when combined with soup or salad. 

  • 11 of 15

    Breakfast Grilled Cheese With Avocado, Egg, and Sriracha

    Breakfast Grilled Cheese With Avocado, Egg, and Sriracha

    The Spruce / Grilled Cheese Social

    Breakfast on the run never tasted so good. This savory breakfast grilled cheese pairs nutty gouda with creamy avocado, a perfectly-cooked medium boiled egg, and a dash of Sriracha hot sauce, all grilled between two buttery slices of whole-grain bread.

  • 12 of 15

    The Perfect Grilled Cheese Sandwich

    Make a Grilled Cheese in a Panini Press

    The Spruce / Grilled Cheese Social

    Gooey, melted cheese and perfectly toasted bread that is evenly grilled can only be achieved by using a panini press. Quick and easy to make, this grilled cheese sandwich can be savored at lunch, as a snack, or as a side with tomato soup to get that comforting, filling meal for you and your family to enjoy.  

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  • 13 of 15

    Kale, Mushroom + Beet Grilled Cheese

    Kale, Mushroom + Beet Grilled Cheese

    The Spruce / Grilled Cheese Social

    Are you craving a grilled cheese but trying to get in your veggies? This grilled cheese sandwich hits the mark. It's filled with kale, mushroom, cooked beets, and goat cheese. Healthy and fairly easy to make, this sandwich delivers a ton of mouth-feel with the crunch of the beets, the texture of the mushrooms and kale, and soft, creamy goat cheese. 

  • 14 of 15

    Apple Butter, Pepper Jack and Croissant Grilled Cheese

    Sweet and Savory Apple Butter and Croissant Grilled Cheese

    The Spruce / Grilled Cheese Social

    This grilled cheese sandwich is the ultimate explosion of flavors, providing both sweet and spicy to the mix with pepper jack cheese and apple butter on a yummy, flaky croissant. Perfect at any time of day, it can be enjoyed at breakfast, as a dessert, or treat yourself and pair it with a glass of wine in the evening. 

  • 15 of 15

    Blistered Blueberry Grilled Cheese with Mascarpone and Brie

    Blistered Blueberry Grilled Cheese with Mascarpone and Brie

    The Spruce / Grilled Cheese Social

    Grilled cheese for dessert? With this deliciously sweet and tart sandwich made with blueberries, basil, mascarpone, and brie cheese on a crunchy bagel, you can! This unique dessert will be enjoyed by all and make a memorable ending to any meal.