Grinder Sandwich Recipe

Grinder Sandwich Recipe

While the origins of the grinder are unclear, they’re a decidedly New England affair. Some say the sandwich is named after dockworkers, while most claim it’s named for all of the hard work your jaw has to do to eat the giant, jam-packed sub. No matter what you call it, the grinder is a memorably delicious experience.

While the lines between grinders, hoagies, and subs have blurred over the years, this much is true: Grinders must be loaded with meats, cheese, shredded lettuce, and thinly-sliced veggies. These days, a new trend has emerged on Tiktok, breathing life back into the grinder discussion.

A Tiktok grinder has the usual components: A roll topped with cheese, often toasted, then loaded with a variety of meats, sliced tomato, and sometimes a pile of grated Parmesan cheese. What really sets this sub apart is the salad. Instead of spreading mayo on the bread, adding a pile of lettuce, and calling it a day, the components are combined to make a crispy, creamy salad that is condiments and veggies all in one. Our version gets an upgrade from sliced cherry peppers, olives, and sun-dried tomatoes.

It’s easy to scale this grinder up to serve a party or take on a picnic. The recipe makes extra salad, but you’ll be glad it did—it makes an incredibly delicious dip for potato chips.

Food Fights: Hoagie, Hero, Sub, or Grinder?

“This sandwich was tasty and filling, perfect for picnics, parties or just a regular weekday meal. The salad was crunchy and fresh and the addition of olives and pepper made it extra flavorful. I used maple glazed turkey slices and it created a great flavor combination.” —Bahareh Niati

A Note From Our Recipe Tester


  • 1/2 small head iceberg lettuce

  • 1/4 medium red onion

  • 1/3 cup sliced cherry peppers, or banana peppers

  • 2 tablespoons sliced green olives, optional

  • 1 heaping tablespoon finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes, optional

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise

  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper

  • 1 large or 2 medium submarine sandwich rolls

  • 4 to 6 slices provolone cheese

  • 6 to 8 slices ham or turkey

  • 4 to 6 slices salami

  • 3 to 4 slices prosciutto

  • 1 medium tomato, sliced

  • 2 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan cheese

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients to make grinder sandwiches

    The Spruce Eats / Bahareh Niati

  2. To make the salad topping, chop the iceberg lettuce into 1/2-inch ribbons. Thinly slice the red onion. Add both to a medium bowl.

    Sliced lettuce and onions in a bowl

    The Spruce Eats / Bahareh Niati

  3. Add the cherry peppers, olives, sun-dried tomatoes, mayonnaise, red wine vinegar, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper. Mix until well combined. Taste, adjusting the seasoning as needed.

    Salad topping for sandwiches in a bowl

    The Spruce Eats / Bahareh Niati

  4. Heat the broiler to high.

    Use a serrated knife to split the roll(s) in half lengthwise, leaving the roll(s) attached on one side so that it opens like a book. Place on a rimmed baking sheet.

    Two sliced rolls on a baking sheet

    The Spruce Eats / Bahareh Niati

  5. Place the cheese in a single layer on both halves of the open roll(s). Broil until melted, 2 to 3 minutes.

    Two sliced rolls with melted cheese

    The Spruce Eats / Bahareh Niati

  6. Top the melted cheese with layers of ham, salami, prosciutto, and tomato.

    Two slices rolls topped with meats and sliced tomatoes

    The Spruce Eats / Bahareh Niati

  7. Top with a generous helping of the salad mixture. Top with grated Parmesan. Close the sandwich(es), then slice in half, if desired. Serve immediately.

    Two finished grinder sandwiches topped with salad and parmesan cheese

    The Spruce Eats / Bahareh Niati


  • If you don’t have Italian seasoning, use 2 parts dried oregano and 1 part dried basil or thyme.
  • For a superior sandwich, use high-quality deli meats, cheeses, and bread. Italian-style hoagie rolls with a crisp exterior and a soft interior are best when making grinders.
  • If you like extra toasty subs, you can toast the grinder again after adding the meats to heat them up.
  • To take some of the bite out of the onions (and help keep your breath fresh), soak the slices in cool water for about 10 minutes before using.
  • This recipe makes enough salad topping for about 4 sandwiches. Enjoy any leftover salad with potato chips. It makes a crispy, creamy dip.

Recipe Variations

  • Use your favorite combination of Italian meats for this sandwich, using as little or as much as you like. Good options include mortadella and pepperoni.
  • If desired, add extra provolone or Parmesan cheese for an ultra cheesy sandwich.
  • Add red pepper flakes for more spice.
  • For a seriously upgraded sub roll, dress it up before assembling. Brush the top of the bread with melted butter and sprinkle with Italian seasoning. Toast just until slightly crispy.

How to Store

  • Leftover salad can be stored in a container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
  • If you're assembling the grinder ahead of time, skip melting the cheese and toasting the bread. Tightly wrap the roll topped with meat and cheese and store in the fridge for up to a day. Store the salad separately and add it just before serving.


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