This Italian Grinder Sandwich was a TikTok sensation thanks to the tossed salad topping made with chopped lettuce and pepperoncini in a tangy dressing. Piled high with your favorite Italian lunch meats and melted cheese on a crust roll, this is one heck of a sandwich. It's no surprise that it caught the attention of millions and gets rave reviews!

A TikTok viral Italian grinder sandwiches on a wooden cutting board.

Table of Contents
  1. What You'll Need
  2. How to Make This Recipe
  3. Recipe FAQ's
  4. Tips for Success
  5. What to Serve With Grinder Sandwiches
  6. More Sandwich Recipes
  7. TikTok Viral Italian Grinder Sandwich Recipe Recipe

If you are tired of your regular lunch routine, this viral TikTok sandwich is the answer to your midday meal boredom. Whether you call it a hoagie or a grinder, it's a meaty, satisfying way to make a sandwich shop quality sub at home. This sandwich went viral on TikTok a while back and we're still loving the bold, intense flavor combo. It reminds me of the many grinders I enjoyed while living in New Jersey.

A grinder typically refers to a sandwich with hot fillings, while a sub is more of a sandwich with cold fillings, at least in my mind. I personally don't think we need hard and fast rules about the nomenclature of sandwiches as long as they taste delicious, but some folks have strong feelings about it.

The real secret to this viral TikTok grinder might be the 6 different kinds of meat used in it - turkey, ham, prosciutto, sopressata salami, capocollo, and pepperoni - or it could also be the dressed salad filling that goes into the grinder on a long Italian roll. Either way the combo is unbelievably fantastic.

Rather than piling lettuce and adding mayo and mustard, you whisk up a quick dressing with red wine vinegar, garlic, and spices, then toss it with thinly chopped crispy iceberg lettuce, thinly sliced red onions, and chopped sharp pepperoncinis before piling it on with the toasted cheese and meat so there is a tangy bite in every mouthful.

If you enjoying trying viral TikTok recipes, some of our other favorites are TikTok Cinnamon Rolls, TikTok Baked Feta Pasta, and TikTok Beet Pasta.

What You'll Need

Scroll down to the recipe card below this post for ingredient quantities and full instructions.

  • Meat - This part of the "recipe" is sort of a free for all with your favorite lunch meats. A base of turkey or ham provides some healthy lean protein, but then you add slices of a variety of cured Italian meats like your favorite salami, pepperoni, prosciutto, or capacolla (aka gabagool) until you have as much meat as you like.
  • Cheese - I like a combination of sliced muenster and provolone, but havarti or colby jack would also be good on this sandwich.
  • Bread - The original TikTok sandwich was made on sliced focaccia bread, but I'm partially to a crusty Italian loaf instead.
  • Iceberg Lettuce - Thinly sliced fresh, crisp iceberg lettuce is the perfect choice for the grinder salad. I don't recommend using romaine.
  • Red Onion - This also needs to be very thinly sliced. You might even want to use a mandolin, if you have one.
  • Red Tomatoes - Nice thick slices of sweet, juicy tomatoes add a nice contrast to the rich meats and the sharp and tangy salad.
  • Parmesan Cheese - Use freshly grated parmesan cheese, not the powdered or pre-grated kind for best results.
  • Sliced Pepperoncini Peppers - Look for the sliced golden Greek pepperoncini peppers by Mezzetta that are medium heat.
  • Mayo, Olive Oil, and Red Wine Vinegar - These are the basis for the creamy, tangy dressing for the salad part of this sandwich. Use real mayo and a good tasting olive oil.
  • Garlic - I highly recommend grating or finely mincing fresh garlic rather than using the jarred garlic, which has a much more muted flavor.
  • Salt & Pepper - For seasoning to keep things from being bland.
  • Crushed Red Pepper Flakes - Adds a little heat. Feel free to add more if you like things spicier.
  • Dried Oregano - For that classic Italian flavor. You could use fresh oregano if you have it on hand, but dried oregano works just fine.
Ingredients for making an Italian grinder sandwich.

How to Make This Recipe

  1. Toast the bread and cheese. Split your bread in half whether you are using a crusty Italian loaf or a large piece of focaccia bread. Arrange the cheese, overlapping the slices a bit so you get a mixture of both flavors. Stick them in a preheated 425°F oven or under a broiler under the cheese is melted and toasty.
  1. Arrange the meat. Pile on the slices of meat so that they are fluffy like loose ribbons rather than folded and compact. Start with a base of ham and turkey on each side of the bread, then add the prosciutto, salami, capacolla, and pepperoni. Sprinkle with some of the freshly grated parm. Toast the sandwich back in the oven for a few minutes to heat up the meat and crisp the pepperoni.
  2. Layer tomatoes and season. Add sliced tomatoes on top one side of the sandwich, drizzle with a little olive oil and season with coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper. We're building layers of flavor with this beast of a sandwich.
  1. Make the dressing. Combine the mayo, olive oil, red wine vinegar, grated or minced garlic, salt, pepper, oregano, and crushed red pepper flakes in a large bowl. Whisk together well.

PRO TIP: Using a large bowl to whisk your dressing lets you toss the salad in it and saves dirtying another dish.

  1. Combine salad ingredients. Thinly slice a head of iceberg lettuce into ribbons. It's thicker than shaved lettuce, but still pretty thin. Add that to your large salad bowl of dressing along with thinly sliced red onions, sliced pepperoncini peppers, and freshly grated parmesan cheese.
  1. Toss salad & pile onto the sandwich. Use tongs to toss the salad ingredients together with the dressing until everything is evenly coated. Pile it onto one side of the sandwich, then carefully close up the sandwich by putting the other side of bread, meat, and cheese on top.
  1. Cut in half and serve. Use a sharp knife to cut the sandwich in half or fourths (this sandwich is plenty big for sharing), then enjoy right away while the meat and cheese is still warm and the salad is crisp and cold before it has a chance to get soggy.

Recipe FAQ's

How do I store leftovers?

Like most sandwiches, these are best eaten fresh and they don't keep well. The dressed salad tends to get soggy and you lose the freshness of the bread and toasted meat and cheese.

What can I do to make these ahead to feed to a crowd?

If you need to prep ahead, you can slice tomatoes, chop lettuce, whisk the dressing, and even layer the meat onto parchment paper so it's ready to easily pile on if you want to be able to serve these to a larger group or at a party. Then when you are close to being ready to serve, it's mostly just about assembly, heating, and tossing the salad fresh.

Tips for Success

  • You might want to hold these sandwiches together with toothpicks. They are substantial and stuff is going to fall out regardless. So having a fork or maybe some chips to scoop up and eat every last morsel of that delicious salad is a good idea.
  • Buy a cured Italian meats variety pack instead of buying each type of cured meat individually. It's usually so much cheaper and convenient to buy an assorted pack of cured meat rather than each individual cut, even if it isn't exactly the same cuts used in the original version of this sandwich. You can find prepacked assorted meats for charcuterie boards in the deli section of the grocery store that work well and are more economical.
  • Use a sturdy bread that holds up to the fillings. A soft hoagie roll will simply fall apart under the load of meat, cheese, and filling contained in one of these grinders. A sturdier Italian loaf, ciabatta bread, or focaccia bread is a better choice both in terms of flavor and sturdiness.
A viral TikTok salad sandwich on a wooden cutting board.

What to Serve With Grinder Sandwiches

More Sandwich Recipes

Did you make this recipe?

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TikTok Viral Italian Grinder Sandwich Recipe

No ratings yet
Amy Nash
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 8 minutes
Total Time 23 minutes
Course Dinner
Cuisine American
Servings 4 servings
This Italian Grinder Sandwich was a TikTok sensation thanks to the tossed salad topping made with chopped lettuce and pepperoncini in a tangy dressing. Piled high with your favorite Italian lunch meats and melted cheese on a crust roll, this is one heck of a sandwich. It's no surprise that it caught the attention of millions and gets rave reviews!


Grinder Salad

  • ½ cup mayo
  • 1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes (more if you like spicy)
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced or grated
  • ¼ cup sliced pepperoncini peppers
  • cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 3-4 cups iceberg lettuce


  • 1 large loaf crusty Italian bread (or focaccia or ciabatta sliced in half)
  • 4 ounces sliced muenster cheese (or havarti or Colby Jack)
  • 4 ounces sliced provolone cheese
  • ¼ pound roasted turkey breast, thinly shaved
  • ¼ pound ham
  • 3 ounces sopressata salami
  • 3 ounces capocollo (aka gabagool) or genoa salami
  • 3 ounces prosciutto
  • 2 ounces deli sliced pepperoni
  • cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 medium beefsteak tomato
  • olive oil
  • Salt & pepper, to taste


  • Whisk mayo, vinegar, salt, oregano, Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, and garlic together in a bowl.
  • Add sliced pepperoncini, red onion, and lettuce. Toss well with tongs until thoroughly coated. Set aside.
  • Preheat oven to 425°F. Slice bread in half. Layer cheese on both sides of the bread and toast until the cheese is bubbly and the bread is toasted (about 3-4 minutes). Pile meat on top of the cheese on both sides of the bread (ham and prosciutto on one side with turkey, soppressata, capocollo and pepperoni on the other) by folding it so it's kind of fluffy and ruffled instead of flat. Then toast again until the meat is warm and bread is toasted (another 3-4 minutes). Sprinkle with fresh parm.
  • Layer sliced tomato over the meat, then drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Piled the lettuce mixture and additional grated Parmesan cheese on top. Add the top piece of bread, slice in half or fourths and serve!


  • Inspired by @ohheyimgray on TikTok. From what I can tell this was the genesis of this viral sandwich.


Calories: 909kcal | Carbohydrates: 10g | Protein: 48g | Fat: 76g | Saturated Fat: 28g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 18g | Monounsaturated Fat: 26g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 167mg | Sodium: 3319mg | Potassium: 620mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 1245IU | Vitamin C: 13mg | Calcium: 575mg | Iron: 2mg
Tried this recipe? Show me on Instagram!Mention @HouseOfNashEats or tag #houseofnasheats!

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About the author

Hi, I'm Amy

I enjoy exploring the world through food, culture, and travel and sharing the adventure with mostly from-scratch, family friendly recipes that I think of as modern comfort cooking.

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