These Italian Grinder Sliders are a flavor-packed mini version of the classic grinder sandwich that you can whip up in just 30 minutes! It starts with sweet Hawaiian rolls filled with layers of deli meats and melty cheese topped with a savory glaze that adds an irresistible touch. But we’re not stopping there! Take it up a notch with a homemade grinder salad topping featuring a tangy dressing that pairs perfectly with the sweet roll. It’s a flavor explosion you don’t want to miss!
Hot Italian Sliders – The EASY Way!
I’m thrilled to share these incredible Italian sliders on Hawaiian sweet rolls because they have become a personal favorite. They seem to be a hit for any occasion, whether a lively gathering or a casual family dinner.
Italian grinder sliders are incredibly easy to prepare so that you can spend less time in the kitchen and more time savoring every bite with your loved ones or mingling with your guests. These mouthwatering sliders combine simplicity and irresistible flavors in the most delightful way possible!
Why I LOVE this recipe!
- Perfect for any occasion. They make a fun and tasty party appetizer, a great family-friendly dinner, or even a delicious option for lunch or brunch.
- Mini Size, Big Flavor. These pull-apart Italian sub sliders are made with sweet Hawaiian rolls, adding sweetness to each bite. Despite their small size, they are packed with all the flavors you love in a traditional grinder sandwich.
- Fun for Everyone. The sliders are just the right size for little hands, making them a hit with kids. They’re also great for adults who want to indulge in various flavors without committing to a full-sized sandwich.
- Irresistible Glaze. The glaze on top of these Italian cold cut sliders adds an extra layer of flavor and creates a beautiful golden crust when baked. The combination of butter, grated parmesan, garlic powder, and salt is mouthwatering.
- Scalable– You can easily double the recipe if you need to feed a crowd, or even cut it in half to just feed a couple.
This Italian sliders recipe is as simple as promised! Just 30 minutes for a family friendly meal or quick and easy appetizer.
In this section I am going to go through a few tips and tricks I use for how to make Italian Grinder Sliders to get the absolute best and most delicious results.
Make sure to scroll to the bottom for the FULL recipe card.
Ingredients + Substitutions
- Hawaiian rolls – These sweet and fluffy rolls provide the perfect base for the sliders. You can also substitute small dinner rolls or slider buns.
- Sliced ham – Choose your favorite thinly sliced ham, such as honey or black forest ham. If you prefer a different deli meat, you can substitute it with turkey, roast beef, or even chicken.
- Provolone cheese – Provolone cheese adds a rich and slightly tangy flavor to the sliders. If you’re not a fan of provolone, you can use Swiss cheese, cheddar cheese, or mozzarella as a substitution.
- Pepperoni – Pepperoni provides a bold and savory taste to the sliders. If you prefer a milder option, you can replace it with cooked bacon.
- Salami – Salami adds a rich and slightly spicy flavor to the sliders. Other Italian cold cuts like sliced pastrami, corned beef, or any other cured deli meat will work as well.
For the glaze
- Butter – Melted butter adds richness and helps create a golden brown crust. You can use olive oil or a non-dairy butter substitute if you prefer a different fat.
- Parmesan cheese – Parmesan cheese adds a nutty and savory flavor to the glaze. You can use grated Pecorino Romano or a blend of Italian cheeses if you don’t have parmesan.
- Garlic powder – Garlic powder enhances the savory profile of the glaze. If you prefer fresh garlic, you can substitute it with minced garlic cloves.
- Salt – Salt is essential for flavoring the glaze. Adjust the amount according to your taste preferences.
For the grinder salad topping
- Shredded lettuce – Iceberg is traditional here and what I choose to use. You can do a romaine for a little sturdier green, or shredded cabbage or a coleslaw mix is also delicious if you prefer a crunchier texture.
- Tomato – Fresh and ripe tomatoes add juiciness and brightness to the salad. You can use halved cherry tomatoes or diced roma or beefsteak tomatoes.
- Pepperoncini peppers – Pepperoncini peppers provide a tangy and slightly spicy kick to the salad. Or try it with sliced banana peppers in mild if you prefer a milder option.
- Mayonnaise – The mayo serves as the base for the dressing and adds creaminess. If you prefer a lighter option, use Greek yogurt or a combination of yogurt and mayonnaise.
- Red wine vinegar – Red wine vinegar provides tanginess and acidity to the dressing. If you don’t have red wine vinegar, try subbing with white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar.
- Italian seasoning – Italian seasoning blend adds a flavorful herbiness to the dressing. You can use a store bought variety or a homemade Italian seasoning blend.
- Salt and pepper
- Layer the meats and cheese. When layering the ham, pepperoni, and salami, distribute them evenly across the sliders so each bite has a balanced combination of flavors.
- Place the cheese at the bottom of the sliders under the meat. Adding the cheese at the bottom acts as a barrier between the bread and the meat, helping to prevent the bread from becoming soggy. More so, it makes it easy to lift off the top bread layer when adding the salad without disturbing the meat and cheese layers.
- Glaze for extra flavor. The buttery cheese glaze adds even more flavor to the sliders. Be generous when spreading it on top of the rolls for a savory, crisp top.
- Prepare the grinder salad last. Tossing the grinder salad with the dressing right before serving is best to prevent the sliders from becoming soggy. The extra moisture from the salad could make the sliders lose their crispy texture if they sit too long.
- Customize the dressing. Adjust the dressing for the grinder salad as you like. Add a little sugar to balance the flavors if you prefer a less tangy dressing, although I love how the tanginess of the dressing balances with the sweetness of the Hawaiian rolls!
- Double the recipe for larger gatherings. This recipe can easily be doubled if you’re hosting a party or have a larger group to feed. Simply adjust the quantities accordingly and use a larger baking dish. A 9×13 baking dish fits 24 sliders perfectly.
Recipe Short Cuts
If you need to make this recipe, but are extra short on time, here are a few ideas that can help make this recipe even faster!
- Make-ahead sandwich assembly. You can prepare the slider sandwiches in advance by layering the meats and cheese, then covering and refrigerating them. When ready to bake, brush the glaze and pop them in the oven.
- Pre-made dressing. If you’re short on time, you can use store-bought Italian dressing instead of making the dressing from scratch. Look for a high-quality option with a flavor profile you enjoy.
- Serve cold as a make-ahead option. If you prefer a cold slider option or need to prepare them in advance for a picnic or lunchbox, these Italian Grinder Sliders can also be served chilled. Assemble the sliders as instructed and refrigerate, reserving the glaze until ready to serve. The flavors will meld together, and the sliders will be a refreshing and convenient option for on-the-go meals or outdoor gatherings.
If you love this recipe as much as we do and want some quick ways to change it up for variety, these little tips will do the trick!
- Italian Turkey Sliders. Replace the ham with thinly sliced turkey for a lighter option. You can use either roasted turkey breast or deli-style turkey slices. The rest of the recipe remains the same, including the provolone cheese, pepperoni, salami, and glaze. The combination of turkey and Italian flavors will give these sliders a delicious twist.
- Spicy Grinder Sliders. If you enjoy a bit of heat, add a kick to your sliders by incorporating sliced jalapenos or banana peppers along with the other deli meats. These spicy additions will bring some zing to your sliders, balancing the flavors of the meats and cheese.
- Mediterranean Sliders. Give the sliders a Mediterranean twist by replacing the Hawaiian rolls with mini ciabatta or focaccia rolls. Instead of the glaze, drizzle the tops of the rolls with olive oil and sprinkle them with dried oregano and grated Parmesan cheese. Layer the deli meats, provolone cheese, and a few slices of roasted red peppers on the rolls, and proceed with baking. This variation will add a Mediterranean flair to your sliders.
What to Serve with Italian Sliders
Since this dish has the classic flavors of that classic Italian grinder sandwich, it will pair well with many of your favorite sandwich side dishes. There are both traditional options and some healthy options to keep it light.
Side Dish Ideas
- Baked Potato Wedges – Bake these with your grinder sandwiches. These baked wedges are crispy on the outside and have the best fluffy potato on the inside. A classic pairing for any sandwich!
- Caprese Salad – Keep it light and fresh with a classic Caprese salad. Combine sliced tomatoes, fresh mozzarella cheese, and basil leaves, then drizzle with balsamic glaze or a simple vinaigrette.
- Rotini Pasta Salad – Prepare a refreshing pasta salad with colorful veggies like cherry tomatoes, bell peppers, and red onions. Toss the pasta with your favorite Italian dressing or a tangy vinaigrette.
- Roasted Vegetables – Roast a medley of vegetables, such as zucchini, bell peppers, and eggplant, tossed in olive oil, garlic, and Italian seasoning. The caramelized flavors of the roasted veggies will complement the sliders nicely.
- Wedge Salad – Serve a classic iceberg wedge salad alongside the sliders topped with tomatoes, crispy bacon and a creamy blue cheese dressing.
- Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower – Enjoy a lighter side dish with crisp roasted cauliflower florets that can roast up while you bake the sliders.
- Chips- Anything from potato chips to tortilla chips can pair well with these little sandwiches.
- Veggies and dip- Try doing an assortment of veggies (or whatever you have on hand) like carrot sticks, celery, tomatoes, bell pepper and pair it with homemade ranch, blue cheese, or creamy Italian dressing for dipping.
You can choose one or add a few sides to make a wholesome, well rounded dinner.
Baked Italian Sliders Leftovers
If you have leftovers after making these delicious mini Italian grinder sandwiches, they save and reheat heat perfectly! But only if you don’t add the salad topping. Unfortunately, once the salad is added to the sandwich, it won’t save very well because of the added moisture it adds. If you think you will only eat part of the recipe, it’s best not to dress some of the sliders with the salad. Then, you can refrigerate or freeze them and reheat them later with a fresh salad topping.
To save leftovers, separate into meal sized portions and then place in an airtight container and store:
- in the refrigerator for 3-4 days
- in the freezer up to a month
More Sandwich Recipes
If you enjoyed this recipe, I really hope you will take a moment to grab a few more easy recipes for another busy night!
You can check out all of my sandwich recipes here, or see a few of our readers favorite recipes below.
- Steak and Mushroom Sub
- Chopped Brisket with Spicy Slaw
- Italian Turkey Meatball Sub
- Roast Beef Sliders
- Meatball Parmesan Sliders
For the sliders
- 12 hawaiian rolls
- 8 ounces ham, thinly sliced
- 4 ounces provolone cheese, sliced
- 3 ounces thinly sliced pepperoni
- 3 ounces thinly sliced salami
For the glaze
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons grated parmesan
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
Grinder Salad topping
- 8 ounces shredded lettuce
- 1/2 cup diced tomato
- 1/2 cup sliced pepperoncini peppers
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- Preheat the oven to 350˚F.
- Cut the hawaiian rolls horizontally. Lay the bottoms in a baking dish.
- Layer the provolone cheese on the bread. Then add the ham, pepperoni, and salami on top. Place the tops back on the rolls and cut through the sandwiches between each roll.
- Combine the butter, parmesan, garlic powder, and salt. Spread over the tops of the slider sandwiches. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the tops are golden brown.
- While the sandwiches bake, make the grinder salad by whisking together the mayonnaise, red wine vinegar, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, and garlic powder to form a dressing.Toss the lettuce, tomatoes, and pepperoncini peppers together with the dressing.
- Once the sandwiches are done, remove the tops, add the grinder salad and put the tops back on. Serve immediately.
- Hawaiian rolls – You can also substitute small dinner rolls or slider buns.
- Sliced ham – If you prefer a different deli meat, you can substitute it with turkey, roast beef, or even chicken.
- Provolone cheese – If you’re not a fan of provolone, you can use Swiss cheese, cheddar cheese, or mozzarella as a substitution.
- Pepperoni – If you prefer a milder option, you can replace it with cooked bacon.
- Salami – Other Italian cold cuts like sliced pastrami, corned beef, or any other cured deli meat will work as well.
- Butter – You can use olive oil or a non-dairy butter substitute if you prefer a different fat.
- Parmesan cheese – You can also use grated Pecorino Romano or a blend of Italian cheeses if you don’t have parmesan.
- Garlic powder – If you prefer fresh garlic, you can substitute it with minced garlic cloves.
- in the refrigerator for 3-4 days
- in the freezer up to a month