Sautéed mushrooms, peppers, and onions, layered with pizza sauce, ham and pepperoni, and oozing with melted mozzarella cheese, this grilled pizza panini is ridiculously good.

Stacked up pizza panini halves with pepperoni, pizza sauce, and vegetables.

I’m on a panini kick. I’m not so sure that my husband is too crazy about this kick. He would rather not have a sandwich for dinner. He would never complain, but I can tell. He loves the Cuban panini, but I don’t think I have him converted yet. Maybe this pizza panini will do the trick. I think maybe it will.

What do you think about paninis? I love any grilled sandwich. I think it must be a weakness of mine. Have you tried this Parmesan crusted pepperoni pizza grilled cheese? Oh, so good! 

If you’re a pizza lover, and who isn’t, you’ll love this pizza panini. All the good things about pizza (think mozzarella! mushrooms! peppers! pizza sauce! pepperoni! ham!) all sandwiched between crispy buttery whole grain bread.

Close up view of panini sandwiches with pizza fillings.

How do you make a Pizza Panini?

This is a really easy recipe. In fact, I’m not really sure it is a recipe so much as it is an idea.

Begin by sautéing the onions, mushrooms, and green peppers, just until they’re slightly softened. Yum! Try not to eat them all right out of the pan. 

While they’re cooking, butter one side each of the bread. What kind of bread? Buy the best bread you can find. The better the bread, the better your panini will be. You’ll want firm bread that can hold up to a lot of filling so don’t use really soft or thin sliced bread. You could use thick cut sourdough or whole grain, ciabatta, or focaccia. 

After you’ve buttered the bread, flip it over and spread pizza sauce on the other side. Next comes a slice of mozzarella, ham, pepperoni, veggies, another slice of mozzarella, and then the other slice of bread, butter side up. Layer it up!

To grill your panini, follow the directions that come with your panini press, if you have one. A George Foreman grill will work, too.

Since I don’t have a panini press, I use a grill pan on the stove. Put the sandwich on the grill pan and press down firmly with a spatula or another cast iron pan. You don’t need to squeeze the stuffing out of your sandwiches but you want to be a little forceful.

When the panini is browned, flip it over and do the other side. You can do both sandwiches at once if your grill pan is large enough.

How to tell if your panini is done? The outsides should be golden brown, the insides warm, and the cheese should be melted. Enjoy!

Stack of pizza panini sandwiches.

Panino or panini or paninis?

I just looked up “panini” and found that actually “panino” is singular and “panini” is plural….but Wikipedia says Americans call more than one panini “paninis,” so I’ll stick with that.

Make it your own:

Like a regular pizza, you can customize this pizza panini and make it exactly the way you like it. Here’s some ideas:

  • Make it vegetarian by leaving off the meat. Just layer on extra veggies if you like, or add different ones like spinach leaves, olives, roasted red peppers, or whatever you like.
  • Use fresh mozzarella cheese and fresh basil leaves for a margherita style panini.
  • Use different Italian style meats like: salami, prosciutto, pancetta, capocollo, lardo, or soppressata. Or bacon. 
  • Make a chicken barbecue pizza panini. Use leftover rotisserie chicken, your favorite barbecue sauce, bacon, and mozzarella cheese.

Everything pizza!

I love pizza and I love making pizza style dips, pastas, and sandwiches. Try some of these ideas:

 

 

Stack of pizza panini sandwiches.

Pizza Panini

Yield: 2 sandwiches
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

Sautéed mushrooms, peppers, and onions, layered with pizza sauce, ham and pepperoni, and oozing with melted mozzarella cheese, this grilled pizza panini is ridiculously good.

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • ½ cup sliced mushrooms
  • ½ cup sliced onion
  • ½ cup sliced bell pepper
  • 4 slices whole grain bread
  • 2 tablespoons spreadable or softened butter
  • 2 tablespoons pizza sauce
  • 6 slices mozzarella cheese
  • 6 slices pepperoni
  • 4 slices ham

Instructions

  1. In a small frying pan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms, bell pepper, and onion and cook, stirring frequently, until vegetables are slightly softened, about 3-4 minutes.  
  2. Meanwhile, butter one side of each slice of bread. On the other side, spread pizza sauce.
  3. Next, layer 1 ½ slices mozzarella cheese on top of pizza sauce. Add toppings: pepperoni, ham, and sauteed vegetables. Top with remaining mozzarella cheese slices. Finish with second piece of bread, keeping the butter side face-out.
  4. Heat grill pan over medium heat. Place sandwich butter side down and press down gently with spatula. If desired, place another heavy skillet on top of sandwiches to press them. Cook for approximately 5-10 minutes, or until golden brown. Carefully flip over and  cook for an additional 5-10 minutes, or until cheese is melted and bread is golden brown. 
  5. Serve immediately.

Notes

  • If you have a panini press, follow the cooking directions that come with your press.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 2 Serving Size: 1 sandwich
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 759Total Fat: 39gSaturated Fat: 18gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 16gCholesterol: 175mgSodium: 2347mgCarbohydrates: 42gFiber: 6gSugar: 10gProtein: 60g

RachelCooks.com sometimes provides nutritional information, but these figures should be considered estimates, as they are not calculated by a registered dietitian. Please consult a medical professional for any specific nutrition, diet, or allergy advice.

Did you make this recipe?

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Verdict: Very tasty. I actually this pizza panini better than the Cuban panini (panino?), although that one is really good too. The sauteed onions and mushrooms put this one a step ahead for me.
Husband’s take: “It tastes like pizza.” He likes it but prefers the Cuban panini.
Changes I would make: None necessarily, but there are so many different things you could do with this.
Difficulty: Easy.

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