All you need is one countertop appliance and some refrigerator dough.

By Stacey Ballis
March 08, 2021

Let's face it: A freshly baked treat always takes breakfast and brunch to the next level. But whether that's a biscuit or a cinnamon roll, a breakfast sandwich or French toast, often these dishes just feel a bit too fussy to make. Wouldn't it be amazing to have those treats without having to fuss with the oven or stovetop?

The answer lies in one little kitchen appliance.

Your secret breakfast weapon: a panini press!

Did you impulse-buy a panini press this holiday season? Or is one tucked away at the back of your cabinet since you got it as a gift?  Either way, pull it out, because a panini press is a breakfast godsend. For one, you can use it to cook bacon, sausage, and crispy hashed browns, but you can also use it to make your favorite breakfast carbs (not to mention revive others past their prime). This is pure appliance magic. 

For starters, all you need is refrigerated dough or day-old pastries. Biscuits and cinnamon rolls from a tube, refrigerated pie crust, yesterday's donuts or croissants: They all can get the panini treatment! Here are five great baked breakfast pastries to make with your panini press.  

How to make biscuits and cinnamon rolls on a panini press

Give your hot panini press a light spray of neutral oil. Then simply lay out the rounds of biscuits or cinnamon rolls evenly on the panini, and gently close the lid, using the floating hinge to let the top rest lightly on the top surface. Between 3-5 minutes, depending on your specific unit, and you should have fully baked fresh treats, ready to drizzle with icing or split and fill with butter and jam.

Cinnamon Buns
Credit: Getty / Janna Danilova

How to make "waffle-style" biscuits or cinnamon rolls on a panini press

Prep your panini press the same way, but this time, use the press feature to squish the dough between the plates, to create flatter "waffles" that can be stacked and syruped, used to make breakfast sandwiches, or become a base for eggs Benedict.

How to make breakfast sandwiches on a panini press

Prep the panini press with a light spray of cooking oil. Using the same tube biscuit dough, split the biscuits in half across the equator, and press the dough out into two flat discs. Lay the first disc on your panini press. Add a slice of cheese, some cooked bacon, ham, or a cooked sausage patty, and some scrambled eggs or sliced hard-cooked eggs or an over-hard fried egg, then top with the second disc of dough. Close the press and cook till your unit until the indicator light goes on, and you should have a killer sandwich on freshly baked biscuit thins!

How to make breakfast pockets on a panini press

Prep the panini press with a light spray of cooking oil. Cut a disc of refrigerated pie crust in half. Fill one half of one piece of dough with the filling of your choice; you can go savory with eggs and cheese, or sweet with jam or Nutella, leaving a ½-inch space around the edge. Use about ½ cup of filling. Fold the crust over and seal the edges with a fork. Put in the panini press and close, but do not press down; let the floating hinge keep the top plate resting lightly on the pockets. Cook until the indicator light goes off.

How to make fancy French toast on a panini press

If you have leftover croissants or donuts, make them into panini French toast! Slice in half through the equator, soak in your usual French toast mix of eggs and milk, lay on a lightly greased panini maker and close the lid. If you like it fluffier, leave it lightly closed, if you want crispy edges, seal as you would for paninis. Cook until the indicator light goes off.