The secret to making the perfect panini? Others may argue it’s getting the gooiest cheese or whipping up the perfect sauce. But for us, it’s all about choosing the best bread for paninis!
Now there are many types of bread suitable for this hot, mouthwateringly tasty sandwich. So how do you choose the right one to create the king of all paninis?
We’re here to help with our rundown of the best types of bread for paninis.
Each one on our list can take your sandwich game to the next level, so read on to find your favorite!
|Type of Bread
|Dense bread that’s made without gluten
|Pesto, tomatoes, chicken salad
|Italian bread that’s suitable for paninis with dry or wet ingredients
|Italian meats, cheeses, flavorful sauces.
|French bread with a long shape, crusty exterior, fluffy interior, and generally neutral flavor
|Ham and brie, Swiss or cheddar cheese, pork roast, Dijon mustard
|Compact and sturdy rolls with a firm crust, dense interior, and sweet and rich taste
|Pesto, sliced tomatoes, mozzarella, figs, prosciutto. Infuse dough with herbs like rosemary for homemade rolls.
|Popular choice for wet paninis due to its tangy flavor, chewy texture, and open crumb
|Roasted or grilled vegetables, tender meats, balsamic vinaigrette, turkey and cranberry
|Italian flatbread with a fluffy interior and crispy exterior
|Meats, cheeses, sweet fruits, spreads, various herbs and spices.
|Dense and coarse bread with a distinctive nutty, malty, and earthy flavor
|Smoked salmon, pastrami, corned beef, sauerkraut and pickles
|Rosemary olive oil bread
|Sturdy and slightly chewy bread infused with fresh rosemary and rich olive oil
|Sun-dried tomatoes, mozzarella, prosciutto, roasted vegetables, grilled chicken, and goat cheese
|Fiber-rich option with a mix of grains and seeds that adds texture and nuttiness to paninis
|Lean meats, roasted vegetables
|Mild-tasting flatbread suitable for dry paninis
|Dry salami, ham, fresh herbs, olive oil
|Flatbread with a soft, chewy, and sturdy texture
|Ground beef, cheese, greens, veggies, falafels, hummus
|Rich, buttery French bread with a delicate crumb, tender texture, and a slightly sweet flavor
|Turkey, chicken, crisp vegetables
The Best Bread for Wet Paninis: 7 Delicious Options
You'll love a wet panini if you enjoy juicy, flavorful fillings in your sandwich!
However, it’s important to find the right bread that won’t become soggy even with layers of wet ingredients on top.
Let's explore the best bread options for making perfect wet paninis every time so you can enjoy all the yummy flavors without any of the mess!
1. Gluten-Free Bread
If you have gluten sensitivities, don't worry; your panini can still be delicious with gluten-free bread.
This is a type of bread made without gluten, a protein usually found in wheat, barley, and rye. Instead, each type — like coconut or almond flour — uses a specific gluten-free alternative, so expect its taste to vary from flavorless to nutty or sweet.
Now what makes this a great bread for wet paninis? Gluten-free bread tends to be denser and more moist than traditional bread, so it doesn't get soggy all that easily.
Top tip: Gluten-free bread gets a bad rap for being flavorless and unpleasantly crumbly, but there are bread brands like Canyon Bakehouse that are impressively similar to regular bread’s flavor and texture.
Originating from Italy, ciabatta is the best bread to use for paninis with either dry or wet ingredients.
Not only is it strong enough to hold up well to sauces and spreads, but the airy interior of ciabatta bread allows the fillings to be spread evenly throughout your panini, letting you enjoy each one to the fullest.
Ciabatta's large size also allows for big, mouthwatering sandwiches with large pieces of Italian meats, cheeses, and a flavorful sauce.
Top tip: If you’re making your own ciabatta to use for a panini, remember to go for all-purpose flour if possible. This ensures
A French classic, the baguette is an excellent artisan bread for wet paninis.
Its long shape, crusty exterior, and fluffy, chewy interior provide an ideal base for wet ingredients.
The bread's usual neutral flavor (some may taste like sweetened butter) also allows the seasonings of the fillings to shine through.
For a tasty panini sandwich, stick with French fillings like ham and brie.
You may also enjoy Swiss or cheddar cheese, pork roast, and Dijon mustard for another savory take on panini.
Top tip: The rounded top of baguettes can make it difficult to grill in a panini press. You can resolve this issue by either removing it or placing the sliced baguette with the flat side up on the grill.
4. Hard Rolls
Hard rolls (or crust rolls) are also compact and sturdy enough for a wet panini!
Their firm crust and dense interior make them great for holding wet ingredients such as sauces, spreads, and juicy meats.
And aside from their texture, hard rolls also have a sweet and rich taste that no sandwich lover can resist, making it a superb choice of bread for a panini.
With this bread, you can mix and match your favorite fillings to create a unique and satisfying panini. You can go with a more traditional combination of pesto, sliced tomatoes, and mozzarella or a more exciting one like figs and prosciutto.
Top tip: Making your hard rolls from scratch? Amp up their flavor by infusing the dough with herbs like rosemary before baking.
A crowd favorite, sourdough's taste and texture make it an excellent choice for wet paninis since it can handle wet fillings without disintegrating.
It’s made using a natural fermentation process instead of commercial yeast, resulting in bread with a uniquely tangy flavor, a chewy, dense texture, and an open crumb. These characteristics make it distinct from other types of bread.
Sourdough pairs particularly well with roasted vegetables, tender meats, and a splash of balsamic vinaigrette.
We recommend trying out a turkey and cranberry panini or a grilled vegetable panini with sourdough bread!
Top tip: Brush your sourdough bread with olive oil or butter before grilling. This makes the bread’s exterior crispier and helps prevent the sourdough from sticking to the grill or pan.
Focaccia is an Italian flatbread characterized by its fluffy interior and crispy exterior. It has a similar base to pizza dough, so it's a bit chewy and soft but not easily made soggy.
The flavor profile of focaccia generally depends on the herbs and spices used. Some like to add fresh basil, rosemary, and thyme, while others opt for olives and tomatoes topped with sea salt.
With its typically savory flavor, focaccia complements a wide range of fillings, from meats and cheeses to sweet fruits and spreads. This makes focaccia bread a versatile choice for a panini!
Top tip: The flavor and airy quality of homemade focaccia reach their peak when the dough is left to proof overnight before baking.
7. Rye Bread
Rye bread's distinctive nutty, malty, earthy flavors and dense, coarse texture make it perfect for a panini sandwich.
With its robust taste, this dark-colored bread pairs well with strong, savory fillings like smoked salmon, pastrami, or corned beef — perfect for a classic like a Reuben!
Put together, they create bold flavors for a satisfying lunch.
Plus, rye bread’s toughness makes it sturdy enough to accommodate all sorts of sauces and wet ingredients.
Top tip: Add a layer of sauerkraut or pickles to the sandwich. The tangy flavor of the sauerkraut or pickles pairs perfectly with the earthy flavor of the rye bread, creating a delicious and unique flavor combination.
The Best Bread for Dry Paninis: 5 Amazing Choices
To help you make the right choice that suits your sandwich preferences, we’ve separated the best bread options for dry paninis from those for wet paninis.
Dry paninis are a popular variation of the classic Italian sandwich, with the same crisp and toasty exterior but without sauces, dressings, spreads, or other wet ingredients. This allows the bread, cheese, meat, and vegetables to stand out in every bite.
If this is the kind of panini you're going for, here are the most ideal choices for you:
1. Rosemary Olive Oil Bread
Infused with the aroma of fresh rosemary and rich olive oil, this bread adds an enticing Mediterranean flair to your dry panini.
Apart from its piquant flavor, it’s also sturdy and slightly chewy texture, making it a satisfying and delicious choice for any panini.
Complement the bread's herbaceous notes with sun-dried tomatoes, mozzarella, and prosciutto for an unforgettable dry panini experience. You can also experiment with roasted vegetables, grilled chicken, or goat cheese.
Top tip: For a comforting meal, use rosemary olive oil bread for your panini and pair it with chowder or chicken noodle soup.
2. Multigrain Bread
Multigrain bread is a fantastic choice for those seeking a healthy, fiber-rich option. It is a bread made with two or more types of grain, such as wheat or oats.
With its hearty mix of grains and seeds, this bread provides added texture and nuttiness to your dry panini, making it a delicious and satisfying option that can withstand the heat and pressure of the panini press.
Layer lean meats and roasted vegetables on your multigrain bread for a nutritious and satisfying panini lunch.
Top Tip: Multigrain bread tends to be dry itself so that you can add softer, creamier foods like avocado to your panini for a moister texture.
3. Flour Tortilla
Yup, tortillas are not just for wraps; you can use them for panini sandwiches too!
But take note that due to its flat shape, this mild-tasting bread for paninis can only hold up a certain amount of fillings. So it's more practical to use this for dry paninis and ditch any saucy condiment since this could spill out of the flatbread.
Instead, you can just add deli meats like dry salami and ham, fresh herbs, and olive oil to complement the bread's simplicity and balance your panini. Then dip your panini into your preferred sauce.
Top tip: To avoid burning or over-toasting the flatbread, try grilling it for a shorter time or using a low to medium-low heat setting on your panini press.
Originating from the Middle East, pita bread has a soft, chewy, yet sturdy texture that can handle hearty and dry panini fillings.
When sliced, pita bread creates a pocket at the center, which you can stuff with ground beef, cheese, greens, crunchy veggies, falafels, hummus, and any ingredients of your choosing.
You can also use two pita breads and place your filling, such as grilled vegetables, meat, and other ingredients, between them to create a mouthwatering dry panini.
Top tip: If you prefer to fill up a pocket pita bread when making a panini, lightly brush the inside with olive oil or butter to help the bread crisp up and prevent it from becoming too dry.
Brioche is a rich, buttery French bread known for its delicate crumb and slightly sweet flavor. Its tender texture works splendidly for a dry panini.
To bring out the best of brioche's characteristics, try pairing it with mild meats like turkey and chicken and some crisp vegetables.
But steer clear of wet ingredients because brioche can easily become soggy when paired with sauces.
Top tip: Go for thick bread slices of brioche. Thin slices can easily become too pressed when grilling, causing them to break or become too dense.
Factors To Consider When Choosing Bread for Paninis
The bread you choose can make or break your panini. Now the options we’ve listed above can withstand the pressure and heat of the panini press and hold the fillings together.
But how do you select the perfect one for your sandwich?
Here are some tips to help you make the right choice for your tastes and preferences:
When selecting bread for your panini, consider the flavor profile you want to achieve.
Different breads have unique flavors that can enhance or complement the ingredients inside your sandwich.
Some — like rosemary olive oil bread — are enhanced with herbs, which is ideal for those who want an added layer of complexity in their sandwich.
But if you want a type of bread that makes your fillings the star of the sandwich, go for neutral-tasting options like pita.
Thickness and Hardness of the Bread
A thick or crusty loaf or a sturdier bread is ideal as it maintains its structure and texture when pressed. Artisan breads like focaccia and baguette typically fall under this category.
Meanwhile, thinner breads like soft sandwich bread are more likely to buckle under pressure and become soggy or lose their shape when heated.
So it’s best to avoid softer types of bread when making a panini, which include the following:
- White bread
- Some types of pre-sliced bread
Tips and Tricks for Making Panini Sandwiches
Making the perfect panini sandwich requires a bit of finesse and attention to detail.
From choosing the right panini bread to selecting the perfect fillings, there are key tips to remember when crafting your ideal panini.
Whether you're a seasoned pro or a first-time panini maker, these tips will help you create a delicious and satisfying sandwich that's sure to impress.
- Brush bread with butter before grilling. Brush both sides with melted butter, olive oil, or non-stick cooking spray to prevent sticking, and add a crispy crunch.
- Layer your fillings properly. Start with a layer of cheese on each slice of bread, followed by the wet ingredients (such as roasted vegetables or sautéed mushrooms), and finish with a layer of dry ingredients (such as sliced meats or fresh herbs).
This layering technique helps prevent the bread from becoming too wet.
- Pat wet ingredients before placing them in the sandwich. Avoid a soggy sandwich by patting wet ingredients dry with a paper towel before layering and placing them in the middle to protect the bread.
- Remember that you don't always need a panini press. A high-quality panini press guarantees you can make amazing paninis.
But if you don’t have one, don’t worry! You can make a delicious panini with a grill pan or stovetop griddle. Press and flip to grill both sides evenly.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Long Should You Toast a Panini Sandwich?
Toasting a panini sandwich takes around three to five minutes, depending on the type of panini press or grill you are using.
Remember that different breads and fillings might require different cooking times, so adjust accordingly.
Are Panini Sandwiches Healthy?
The healthiness of a panini sandwich depends on the ingredients you choose and how you prepare it.
Opting for whole-grain breads, lean meats, and vegetables can make paninis nutritious.
Indulge in a Freshly Grilled Panini With the Right Type of Bread!
Now that you know which breads work best for paninis, it's time to start experimenting with different fillings and flavors!
Whether you prefer a more robust bread for a dry panini or a softer one for a wet sandwich, there's no limit to the delicious panini creations you can come up with.
With these tips and a bit of creativity, making a tasty and satisfying panini sandwich is easier than ever before.
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