Grinder Sandwich – the ultimate twist on a classic deli sandwich! Served on an Italian Hoagie with deli meat piled high, provolone cheese and topped with an irresistible grinder salad.
Grinder Sandwich (TikTok Viral Recipe)
Italian Style Grinder Sandwiches took the internet by storm! Everyone was making this mile high sandwich. If you have never had one you are in for a real treat.
There is nothing like a deli sandwich piled high on a crispy Italian bun. But… did you know that a deli sandwich can get EVEN better just by adding a grinder salad on top?! Imagine your favorite deli sandwich topped with a creamy, tangy salad with lettuce, red onion, parmesan cheese and pepperoncini peppers.
A Grinder Sandwich is a must try for sandwich lovers! It is such a unique combination of flavors that pair so well together.
What is a Grinder Sandwich?
An Italian Style Hoagie bun, or panini bun, or submarine bun is used to make a Grinder Sandwich. The signature part of the sandwich is the grinder salad which is an iceberg lettuce base salad. Almost like a coleslaw but better! Iceberg lettuce, red onion, pepperoncini peppers and parmesan cheese come together for the salad.
The dressing is a simple mix of mayonnaise, red wine vinegar, garlic, Italian seasoning, and chili flakes. It is creamy, garlicky and tangy. What more could a sandwich ask for?!
A Grinder Sandwich uses a variety of deli meats – turkey, ham, prosciutto, capicola, and salami. Provolone cheese is the perfect melty cheese for this sandwich. You can really use any combination of deli meats that you like and instead of provolone use Swiss cheese, mozzarella, smoked gouda or a spicy havarti!
What is in a Grinder Sandwich
Grinder Salad Ingredients
- Mayo – the creamy base for the salad dressing. Swap for greek yogurt for a healthier option.
- Red Wine Vinegar – this tangy vinegar pairs perfectly with the parmesan cheese and pepperoncini peppers. You can swap for white vinegar or balsamic.
- Iceberg Lettuce – classically this sandwich is made with iceberg lettuce for the perfect crunch but you can also use romaine or green leaf lettuce.
- Red Onion – my favorite onion and I especially love them raw! The dressing cuts down the sharp flavor of the onions but you can also soak the onions in cold water for a few minutes to soften them up a bit.
- Garlic – everything is better with garlic!
- Pepperoncini – these pickled peppers are often served on the side of deli sandwiches. For the grinder sandwich the peppers are very finely diced into the salad. You can swap for pickled banana peppers, or even fresh bell peppers.
- Parmesan Cheese – a bit of parmesan goes a long way in this salad adding a salty flavor.
- Spices – Italian Seasoning, Oregano, Chili Flakes, Salt, Pepper – classic ‘sub sauce’ or ‘house sauce/dressing’ is often a homemade Italian salad dressing. These spices flavor the grinder salad like sub sauce!
Grinder Sandwich Ingredients
- Hoagies – the ideal bun for a grinder is one with a crusty exterior. The sandwich is big so you need a bun that can hold all the fillings in!
- Deli Meats – below are the traditional deli meats in a grinder but you can use any of your favorite deli meats.
- Provolone Cheese – a classic cheese for Italian style deli sandwiches. Swap for mozzarella, Swiss, smoked gouda, spicy Havarti or pimento!
- Tomato – as if the grinder salad wasn’t enough, this sandwich also has fresh tomatoes.
- Parmesan Cheese – right before closing the sandwich and digging in, additional parmesan cheese is sprinkled on top of the grinder salad!
How to Make a Grinder Sandwich
Full Printable Recipe at Bottom of Page
Prepare the Grinder Salad
1 Prepare the salad ingredients. Shred the iceberg lettuce into thin strips. Thinly slice the red onion. Finely chop the pepperoncini pepper. Finely mince or grate the garlic clove.
2 In a medium sized bowl combine the mayonnaise, red wine vinegar, parmesan cheese, Italian seasoning, oregano, chili flakes (if using). Mix until evenly combined.
3 Add the lettuce, red onion, pepperoncini and garlic. Toss until evenly coated. Taste and season with salt and pepper as desired.
4 Set aside in the fridge while you assemble the sandwich.
Assemble the Grinder Sandwich
1 Slice each hoagie or submarine bun through the centre and place on a sheet pan cut sides up.
2 Place 3 slices of provolone cheese on the top half of each bun. Evenly distribute and layer the deli meat on the bottom halves.
3 Place the sheet pan in the oven or toaster oven on ‘broil’ for 2-3 minutes, or until the cheese has melted (or air fry on 400°F for 2-3 minutes).
4 Slice the tomato into thin slices and layer on top of the deli meat.
5 Top with the grinder salad and sprinkle on the grated parmesan cheese.
6 Close the sandwich and enjoy!
Tips for the Best Grinder Sandwich
- Salad – the Grinder salad is really the star of the show in this sandwich! For best results prep the salad just before assembling the sandwich. This will allow the flavors to develop without the lettuce getting soggy.
- Bread – try to find Italian style hoagies or panini buns. They have a crunchy exterior that holds up well against this massive sandwich! You can also use submarine/sub buns, they have a softer exterior but they are still great for this recipe.
- Deli Meats – for the best flavor use a variety of deli meats such as turkey, chicken, ham and salami. Prosciutto is a classic ingredient in this sandwich and I highly recommend including it.
- Spicy Option – for a bit of extra spice use a combination of spicy genoa salami, hot capicola and/or hot calabrese salami!
- Cheese – Parmesan cheese adds a salty and unique flavor to the grinder salad. An additional sprinkling of parmesan is added on top of the sandwich just before serving. Provolone cheese is the cheese traditionally used in the sandwich but you can use Havarti, mozzarella or even a smoked cheese for added flavor!
- Spicy Option – if you like it spicy use a spicy Havarti or pimento cheese!
What to Serve with a Grinder Sandwich
- Chips – for a classic deli experience serve your sandwich with a side of chips!
- French Fries – I always love a side of fries with a deli sandwich and ranch for dipping.
- Soup – enjoy a classic soup and salad pairing with one of my most popular soup recipes!
- Loaded Baked Potato Soup – creamy potato based soup filled with all the classic baked potato toppings – sour cream, cheese, bacon and green onions.
- Wonton Soup – one of the most well known soups and one of my personal favorites! So quick and easy to make at home. Perfect for a quick lunch or side dish for your next dinner!
Looking for More Easy Lunch Recipes?
- Strawberry Panzanella Salad – a perfect year-round salad made with California grown Strawberries and a tangy honey vinaigrette!
- Mediterranean Orzo Salad – a quick 20 minutes side dish or perfect meal prep lunch! Combining all your favorite Mediterranean flavors with a simple delicious Greek salad dressing.
- Dill Pickle Chopped Salad (Costco Copycat Taylor Farms) – one of the most irresistible salads! A creamy and tangy dill pickle ranch dressing paired with a mix of crunchy vegetables. Perfect for pickle lovers!
Disclosure: I only recommend products I would use myself and all opinions expressed here are my own. This post may contain affiliate links that at no additional cost to you, may earn me a small commission.
Grinder Sandwich (TikTok Viral Recipe)
- 2 Italian Style Hoagies, or submarine buns
- 1 medium beefsteak tomato, or tomato of choice
- 6 slices deli ham
- 6 slices deli roasted turkey, or chicken
- 4 slices prosciutto
- 8 slices capicolla, or salami of choice
- 8 slices Genoa salami, or salami of choice
- 6 slices provolone cheese, or mozzarella
- 2 tbsp parmesan cheese, grated
Prepare the Grinder Salad
- Prepare the salad ingredients. Shred the iceberg lettuce into thin strips. Thinly slice the red onion. Finely chop the pepperoncini pepper. Finely mince or grate the garlic clove.
- In a medium sized bowl combine the mayonnaise, red wine vinegar, parmesan cheese, Italian seasoning, oregano, chili flakes (if using). Mix until evenly combined.
- Add the lettuce, red onion, pepperoncini and garlic. Toss until evenly coated. Taste and season with salt and pepper as desired.
- Set aside in the fridge while you assemble the sandwich.
Prepare the Grinder Sandwich
- Slice each hoagie or submarine bun through the centre and place on a sheet pan cut sides up.
- Place 3 slices of provolone cheese on the top half of each bun. Evenly distribute and layer the deli meat on the bottom halves.
- Place the sheet pan in the oven or toaster oven on ‘broil’ for 2-3 minutes, or until the cheese has melted (or air fry on 400°F for 2-3 minutes).
- Slice the tomato into thin slices and layer on top of the deli meat.
- Top with the grinder salad and sprinkle on the grated parmesan cheese.
- Close the sandwich and enjoy!