Air Fryer Panini

If you’re looking for the crispiest, crunchiest panini sandwich, all you need to do is pull out your air fryer!

As you already know, I recently fell in love with making air fryer grilled cheese. It got me wondering what other sandwiches I could make in there. Would an air fryer panini work?

It turns out, air fryers are a great way to cook a panini! The bread gets extra crunchy and toasty and the cheese gets super gooey and melted.

I love making air fryer panini with all of my favorite fillings. 9 times out of 10 that means Caprese. I just can’t get enough of that classic tomato, mozzarella, and basil combination! Sometimes I’ll add a chicken breast, like I did here, to make a chicken Caprese panini. Yum!

Chicken Caprese Panini Ingredients

For this recipe, you just need a few basic ingredients.

First up, is a crusty roll, like ciabatta, or a hunk of Italian bread. You can make panini sandwiches on sliced bread, but using something with more crust helps it get extra crispy.

Next, you’ll want some chicken. You can follow these instructions for cooking chicken breast in the air fryer or you can buy pre-grilled chicken.

You’ll also need a tomato and some fresh mozzarella.

Basil is my favorite part of a Caprese panini. Fresh basil is nice, but for even more flavor I like to make pesto mayo by mixing together equal amounts of pesto and mayonnaise. It really adds that special something to my sandwich!

How to press a panini in the air fryer

A panini that isn’t pressed is just a sandwich, so you’ll need to press yours.

If you have a panini press that fits in your air fryer, that’s ideal. Otherwise, see what you have on hand that might work. I like to use a 3 pound barbell weight that I wrap in foil. A small cast iron pot lid also works.

If you don’t have anything that fits inside your air fryer, you can press down on your sandwich for a few minutes with a heavy pot to smoosh it before it cooks. If you do this route, it’s helpful to use a few toothpicks to hold the top piece of bread in place; otherwise it the air fryer fan might blow it off.



Air Fryer Panini

  • Author: Lauren Keating
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 8 minutes
  • Total Time: 13 minutes
  • Yield: 1 sandwich


If you’re looking for the crispiest, crunchiest panini sandwich, all you need to do is pull out your air fryer!


  • 1 ciabatta roll
  • 1 grilled chicken breast
  • 1 small tomato, sliced
  • 1 oz. fresh mozzarella, sliced
  • 1 Tbsp. pesto
  • 1 Tbsp. mayonnaise
  • Cooking Spray
  • Cast iron panini press or small weight


  1. Heat your air fryer to 350°F.
  2. Split the roll crosswise. Place the chicken on the bottom half.
  3. Top the chicken with tomato slices. Arrange the cheese over the tomatoes.
  4. In a small bowl, mix together the pesto and mayonnaise.
  5. Spread the pesto mayonnaise onto the cut side of the top roll half. Cover the sandwich with the top of the roll.
  6. Place the sandwich into your air fryer basket. Spray with cooking spray.
  7. Place a panini press or small weight on top of the sandwich to weigh it down.
  8. Cook for 5 minutes.
  9. Carefully remove the weight and cook an additional 3-4 minutes, until the sandwich is crispy and the fillings are hot.