A Panini Press Thanksgiving…Grilled Smashed Potatoes

{I’m making an entire Thanksgiving feast on the panini maker! Here’s Part 2 of the series: Grilled Smashed Potatoes.}

It was about four years ago at a Tom Douglas restaurant called Lola, located in the lobby of a Seattle hotel. We’d just checked in for the start of our babymoon. On the server’s recommendation my husband and I ordered the Smashed Garlic Fried Potatoes as an appetizer. Long story short, we came back to the restaurant the very next morning and ordered those darn things again for breakfast and I’ve been making my own version of them at home ever since. They were that good.

I’ve figured out what it is about these simple potatoes that makes them so irresistible: it’s the smashed part. Once the little ball of a boiled potato gets pounded (gently) and its insides break out of the skin it creates all of these surfaces that stand to get crisped up with salt and olive oil in the second tour under the heat. It’s a lot like the English muffin nooks-and-crannies appeal. I just love it.

Grilled Smashed Potatoes

I usually finish my smashed potatoes in the oven, but grilling them on the panini maker works just as well to get nice crispy tops. Especially on Thanksgiving when oven space often comes at a premium, this is great news!


Grilled Smashed Potatoes

Inspired by the Smashed Garlic Fried Potatoes at Lola in Seattle and the Pioneer Woman’s Crash Hot Potatoes.

Prep time: 5 minutes | Cook time: 40 minutes | Total time: 45 minutes

Yield: 4-6 servings


  • 1 lb small red potatoes
  • 3 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried rosemary
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper


  1. Put the potatoes in a large pot and fill the pot with enough cold water to cover them. Add 2 teaspoons of the kosher salt. Bring the pot to a boil. Continuing boiling, uncovered, until the potatoes are fork-tender, 15 to 20 minutes more. Remove the pot from the heat and drain the water.
  2. Preheat the panini grill to high heat.
  3. While they’re still hot, carefully lay out the potatoes on a cutting board and give each one a good smash with a potato masher. The potatoes should remain in intact and flatten to a round disc, like a little potato hockey puck.
  4. Drizzle olive oil over the top of each potato. Season with the remaining teaspoon of kosher salt, rosemary and black pepper.
  5. Add as many smashed potatoes as will fit on your grill (you may need to work in batches) and close the lid. Grill until the potatoes are crisp on top with golden grill marks, 4 to 6 minutes.



KathyPanini Happy, online since 2008, is more than just a sandwich blog. Here, you'll find hundreds of my original panini recipes, my guide to choosing a panini press and a whole lot of other creative uses for the panini press.
~ Kathy Strahs
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  1. This series is so much fun! I love the idea of grilling the potatoes. If you’re having a small group for Thanksgiving dinner, the panini press really can do it all.

    Posted 11.11.11 Reply
  2. Christine wrote:

    Hey Foodies, Kathy’s Thanksgiving recipe has been selected by Knapkins to be featured in a Recipe Guessing Game. Invite fans to play: http://knapkins.com/guess_games/542?source=blog

    Posted 11.11.11 Reply
  3. Mmm, love those crispy golden parts the best!

    Posted 11.11.11 Reply
  4. These look so good! Thanks so much for the idea.

    Posted 11.11.11 Reply
  5. You are brilliant, Kathy! I don’t know anyone else who could make an entire Thanksgiving feast on a panini maker. I can’t wait to see what else you come up with.

    Posted 11.11.11 Reply
  6. You’re a genius!
    How you think of these things, I have no idea.
    Looks so good!!

    Posted 11.11.11 Reply
  7. Mrs. Measurement wrote:

    Yummmm! I can’t wait to try these out with my panini maker.

    Posted 11.11.11 Reply
  8. I am LOVD wrote:

    This is certainly worth a try!!! Thanks for the recipe and I can’t wait to see what you come up with next for Thanksgiving on the Panini.

    Posted 11.12.11 Reply
  9. I love that you are doing this on the panini maker 🙂 These potatoes look crispy and delicious…yum!

    Posted 11.14.11 Reply
  10. What a fun way to make potatoes!! So making this. Thanks for the inspiration!

    Posted 11.14.11 Reply
  11. how many panini’s do you have?
    you should open a “panini food truck!”

    Posted 11.23.11 Reply
    • Kathy wrote:

      Let’s just say I’d need a whole fleet of trucks to serve my entire panini menu, lol. 🙂 Somewhere around 150!

      Posted 11.23.11 Reply
  12. Susie wrote:

    Can’t wait to try this, but I don’t have a panini maker. How do you finish them off in the oven?

    Posted 1.3.12 Reply