How to Make A Grinder Sandwich (aka TikTok’s ‘Salad Sandwich’)

Updated: Oct. 13, 2023

This grinder sandwich is well worth buying all the deli meats.

It doesn’t get better than a classic Italian grinder sandwich. Filled with deli meats, cheeses and a saucy salad, it hits all the right notes. The grinder isn’t a new sandwich, but its popularity is stronger than ever due to the viral TikTok version!

What Is a Grinder Sandwich?

Generally speaking, it’s a sandwich layered with different deli meats and cheeses, lettuce, some type of dressing like oil and vinegar or mayonnaise and some sort of pickled element like pepperoncini. The bread tends to be crusty on the outside and softer in the middle. It reportedly earned the name “grinder” because of how hard your teeth have to grind to chew the sandwich.

Who Calls a Sandwich a ‘Grinder’?

Where I grew up in the Midwest I knew this kind of sandwich as an Italian sub, but they’re known as grinders in parts of the East Coast and throughout New England. They can be served hot or cold, though sometimes subs are thought of as cold sandwiches and grinders as warm. You might also know them as hoagies or heroes.

How to Make A Grinder Sandwich

They’re typically served on a long roll of Italian bread, also known as a hoagie bun, though the famous TikTok grinder sandwich is served on focaccia. This recipe makes 2 grinders.


  • 2 hoagie buns
  • 4 ounces sliced provolone
  • 4 ounces sliced other cheese
  • 4 ounces turkey
  • 4 ounces ham
  • 4 ounces soppressata
  • 4 ounces capicola
  • 4 ounces prosciutto
  • 1 handful mini pepperonis
  • Parmesan cheese, to taste
  • Tomatoes, sliced thin

Grinder salad:

  • 2 cups iceberg lettuce, shredded
  • 1/2 cup mayo
  • 1/2 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Pepper, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 garlic clove, grated
  • 1/2 cup pepperoncini
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced very thin


Step 1: Make the salad

In a medium bowl, combine the iceberg lettuce, mayo, red wine vinegar, salt, pepper, oregano, red pepper flakes, grated garlic, pepperoncini and red onion. Mix very well and set aside.

Step 2: Melt cheese

cheese on breadRisa Lichtman for Taste of Home

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Cut the buns horizontally, open them and cover both sides with the cheeses. Melt in the oven for a few minutes, then remove.

Step 3: Add meats

meat on bread while assembling grindersRisa Lichtman for Taste of Home

Layer the deli meats on the cheese by folding them so they do not lay totally flat. Place turkey on one side and ham on the other. Add soppressata and capicola to the turkey side, then add the prosciutto to the ham. Cover both sides with pepperoni. Sprinkle some fresh grated Parmesan on top. Repeat with the second sandwich.

Heat for another couple minutes until the pepperonis start to cup up and the meat is sizzling. Remove from the oven and set aside.

Step 4: Top grinders

assembling grindersRisa Lichtman for Taste of Home

 Place a handful of the grinder salad on the bottom side of the buns, then add another layer of fresh grated Parmesan. Top with sliced tomatoes and another sprinkle of salt.

Step 5: Enjoy!

Grinder assembled on a cutting board, view from the sideRisa Lichtman for Taste of Home

Close up your grinder and slice in half. Enjoy with a bag of your favorite chips and many napkins.

Tips for Making a TikTok Grinder Sandwich

What are some variations of the TikTok grinder sandwich?

There are plenty of ways to make this sandwich your own. Switch out the provolone for Swiss, Muenster, mozzarella or whichever cheese is your favorite. Feel free to swap any of the deli meats in this recipe with pastrami, capocollo or salami. You could even add more veggies, like cucumbers, banana peppers or hot peppers. The variations are endless!

How do I store a leftover TikTok grinder sandwich?

Keep the sandwich and lettuce separate if you’re storing any leftovers. Tightly wrap the sandwich in plastic wrap and refrigerate to keep the sandwich good for up to two days. Keep any grinder salad refrigerated in an airtight container for up to three days. If you don’t want to remove the lettuce from a half-eaten sandwich, store it by wrapping the whole thing in plastic wrap, but the lettuce might make the sandwich a little soggy by the time you return to it.