This Italian Grinder Sandwich Recipe is a TikTok viral trend that 100% lives up to the hype!!! This epic sandwich starts with delicious, crusty bread that’s piled with layers of meat, and cheese then topped off with the most amazing, creamy grinder salad!
If you haven’t heard about this Grinder Salad Sandwich that took TikTok by storm in March of 2022, allow me to introduce you. Peeps–this is one of my favorite sandwich recipes of all time! And my family gives it a 10 out of 10…which is pretty darn high praise coming from these picky people!!
Ya’ll–it’s SO FREAKING GOOD and if you have the right bread, it’s better than any deli sandwich you can buy!
Layers of meat are piled on top of sliced cheese, then toasted until the bread and crispy and the cheese is melted. Then, the sandwich is topped off with this irresistible grinder salad–which is like an Italian homemade slaw!
The best part? It’s super easy to make and can be whipped up for a quick lunch, dinner, or picnic (see make-ahead instructions in the recipe card)!
Not all of the viral TikTok trends live up to the hype, but this one definitely does! Need a few other viral recipes that are 100% worth making? Try Hailey Biebers Pizza Toast, this amazing Salmon and Rice Bowl, and the MOST FAMOUS of them all: Gigi Hadid’s Vodka Pasta (this one is on repeat at our house almost every week!).
WHY YOU’LL LOVE THIS RECIPE
- Italian deli quality sandwich made by YOU!
- Lots of delicious ways to customize and use your favorite sandwich ingredients
- Hands down, the creamy, delicious grinder salad is the STAR of this sandwich!
You’ll need the following ingredients to make this amazing TikTok Viral Italian Grinder Sandwich Recipe:
Bread: The bread is super important for this sandwich. Be sure to get crusty bread, french bread or sturdy hoagie rolls from the bakery section of the grocery store. “Bagged” sandwich rolls like these are too soft and will cause your sandwich to get soggy really quickly.
Cold Cuts/Italian Meat Suggestions: The original TikTok video used: turkey, ham capicola (gabagoo), prosciutto, sopressata and mini pepperoni. Feel free to use a variety of meats, an assortment of Italian meats, or just stick to your family’s favorite deli meat(s)! Other yummy deli meat suggestions: salami, roast beef, roast chicken.
HOW TO MAKE THE VIRAL TIKTOK GRINDER SALAD SANDWICH: STEP BY STEP
Here are some quick visual instructions. Remember that full instructions with exact ingredients will be in the printable recipe card below!
Step 1: Preheat oven to 400°F. Slice hoagie buns in half lengthwise. On top of the bread, layer slices of cheese and deli meats. Bake for 5-6 minutes until bread is toasty, cheese is melted, and meats are heated through.
Step 2: While sandwiches are baking, make the salad. Whisk together salad dressing ingredients: mayo, red wine vinegar, garlic powder and oregano. Then, add shredded iceberg lettuce, pepperoncini and red onion. Toss to coat in the dressing. Season with salt and pepper.
Step 3: Then, season tomatoes with salt and pepper. When sandwiches come out of the oven, sprinkle a layer of Parmesan cheese onto your sandwiches. Layer on tomatoes.
Step 4: Last, pile on a generous amount of the creamy salad! Sprinkle with more Parmesan and chili flakes (if using). Close the sandwich and enjoy right away!
RECIPE TIPS & TRICKS
- Any leftover grinder salad is AMAZING as a “dip” for potato chips….the original TikTok video suggested this and man, was she right!
- “Fold” your meats when you lay them onto your bread to give your sandwich some height!
- Give the sandwich a good SMASH at the end to make it easier to eat!
⭐️ CONFIDENCE TIP ⭐️
This sandwich is customizable in SO MANY ways! Feel free to make it your own! Use deli meats and cold cuts that YOU love! Use cheese that YOU love! As long as you have the grinder salad piled on this sandwich, I promise, you can’t go wrong!
- Storage: This sandwich is best eaten right away. The grinder salad and tomato tend to make any leftover sandwiches soggy. You can store any leftover salad in the fridge for a few hours. If it gets too soggy, add the other half of the head of iceberg lettuce to add some crunch. See the make-ahead instructions in the recipe card.
ADDITIONS AND SUBSTITUTIONS
Here are a few additions you can try:
- Spice: Red pepper flakes are a great addition for a little spice! Sprinkle them onto the sandwich at the end or add them to the salad.
- Italian Dressing: Some variations of this recipe include adding a little Italian dressing or submarine sandwich oil to the salad.
- Avocado: I have also seen variations on TikTok that add avocado…I mean..what could go wrong?!
Here are a few substitutions you can make:
- Bread: The original TikTok video uses focaccia bread. That would be excellent, too!
- Cheese: I prefer slices of Provolone cheese but use your favorite cheese! Havarti, pepper jack, white cheddar, and mozzarella cheese all work well!
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Hoagies, subs, and grinder sandwiches are all about the same, it just depends on where you live, according to thekitchn!
Grinders are sandwiches most popular in New England and can be served hot or cold. They got the name “grinder” because these sandwiches are typically thickly layered with meats and cheese and made with thick bread–and they require lots of “grinding” or chewing to eat them!
The original video came from the TikTok account: ohheyimgray in March of 2022. What I love about it, is she just posted this video of her boyfriend (a chef) making her a sandwich and titled it: BF MAKES ME ANOTHER SANDO! She had no idea it would go viral!
Since this video, there have been THOUSANDS of other TikTok versions of this sandwich. I’ve included the original recipe and how her boyfriend made it, but the beauty of this sandwich is you can customize it and make it your own!
As long as you have the creamy grinder salad piled on your sandwich, you’re good to go!
The original, TikTok viral recipe used homemade focaccia bread (YUM!). But a good, sturdy hoagie roll, french bread loaf, Italian bread, or baguette work just as well! Try to grab your bread from the bakery section at your grocery store vs. pre-packaged bread—bakery bread tends to hold up much better. Using bread that is too soft will result in a soggy sandwich.
Nice, thick potato chips are my first choice…why?! Because you can use them for dippers for any leftover grinder salad you have! SOOOOO DELISH–TRUST ME!!
French fries and potato salad are also yummy sides. Need more side ideas? Check out these 32 Perfect Sides for Sandwiches (not chips!).
TOOLS FOR THIS RECIPE
TRY THESE NEXT…
Italian Grinder Sandwich (TikTok Viral)
- 2 large hoagie rolls See Note 1
- 8 slices of cheese provolone, havarti, pepper jack, white cheddar and mozzarella cheese work well!
- 1-1 1/2 lbs. sliced deli cold cuts ham, turkey, salami, etc. (See Note 2)
- 1 large tomato, sliced
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese + more to taste
Grinder Salad Ingredients
- 1/2 head of iceberg lettuce, sliced/shredded thinly about 4 cups
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1/2 cup sliced pepperoncini peppers or banana peppers
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder or 1 clove fresh garlic, minced
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 1/2 small red onion, sliced about 1/2 cup
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes, optional
- fresh ground black pepper, to taste
- Prep: Preheat oven (or toaster oven!) to 400°F. Season tomato slices with a little salt and pepper.
- Start the Sandwich: Begin by slicing your bread in half lengthwise. Place bread on a sheet pan and add two slices of cheese to each half. Then, pile on the Italian meats or cold cuts onto both halves.
- Warm: Place the sandwiches in the oven for 5-6 minutes until the bread is toasty, the cheese is melted and meats are warmed through.
- Make the Grinder Salad: While the subs are baking, make the salad. In a medium bowl, stir together: mayo, red wine vinegar, pepperoncini, garlic powder, and oregano. Add red onion slices and shredded lettuce. Toss until lettuce is well coated with the dressing. Season with 1/2 tsp kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- Assemble: Remove sandwiches from the oven. Sprinkle on half the Parmesan cheese. Then, add the seasoned tomato slices to the top of the baked deli meats. Top one side of each sandwich generously with the grinder salad. Sprinkle with the rest of the Parmesan cheese for an extra layer of flavor! Close each sandwich, slice in half and enjoy immediately!
- Complete steps 1-3 above. Then wrap each sandwich in aluminum foil.
- Whisk together salad dressing ingredients: mayo, red wine vinegar, garlic powder, oregano, and salt & pepper. Store in an airtight container.
- In another airtight container, store shredded lettuce, pepperoncini, sliced red onion, and tomato.
- When you are ready to eat, add sliced tomato to the sandwiches. Toss together lettuce, onion, and pepperoncini to the dressing. Top your sandwiches with the salad and enjoy right away!