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The Best Panini Presses for Indoor Grilling

locrifa/Shutterstock.com
🕚 Updated August 2021

A panini press is a home cooking device that allows you to create and prepare delicious meals with greater convenience. Why go to a deli when you can create the tasty, toasty magic in your own home?

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  Best Overall Best Budget Best Cooking Options Most Interchangeable Plates Best Premium Option
 
  ISILER
Panini Press Grill
George Foreman
Grill and Panini Press
Cuisinart
5-in-1 Griddler
OSTBA
3-in-1 Panini Press
Yedi Houseware
6-in-1 Digital Grill and Waffle Maker
 
Our SummaryA compact panini maker for people who are constantly on the go.An affordable panini press that offers optimal convenience.A 5-in-1 griller that you can use for cooking larger portions of food.This user-friendly panini press will make cooking meals a lot easier.This 6-in-1 panini press provides impressive features and versatility.
ProsNon-stick coating, dual-plate grilling, optimal thermostat controls.Removable plates, indicator lights, fat-removing design.Multifunctional and easy to use, simple controls, non-stick removable plates.Three detachable plates, non-stick coating, double-sided cooking plates. Easy-to-use digital controls, removable plates, works for more delicate foods.
ConsNot a great size for more than one or two people.Sized to cook for multiple people. Buttons to hold plates in place aren't as durable, won't last forever.Leaves behind more residual grease.More expensive.
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6 Hours Researched

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The Best Panini Presses for Indoor Grilling

A panini cooks on a panini press with melting cheese and a ridged texture on the bread.
locrifa/Shutterstock.com

We’re not here to lecture you on what goes into making the perfect panini. It could be ciabatta buns with chicken. Heck, it could be honey wheat with roast beef. You dress up your sandwich however you like it, but when you’re ready to grill it, you just have to make sure that it’s done in a panini press. After all, that’s how the sandwich really gets its name. They’re grilled to perfection and mashed ever so slightly to gift you an experience that you’ll want to relive every lunch break. Of course, you can do so much more with a panini press than just grill a sandwich. They can create something for every meal of the day, so if you’re in the market for a one-stop grilling console, here are a few panini press options that you ought to check out.

Buying Guide for Panini Presses

A sandwich cooks on a panini grill in a kitchen.
George Foreman

Why buy a panini press?

How much money are you spending collectively when visiting your local deli on a daily basis? Also, wouldn’t you rather explore more flavor options and come up with your own culinary creations? A panini press will allow you to branch out and satisfy your curiosity when cooking delicious meals with unique ingredients. You can use a panini grill on sandwiches, meats, quesadillas, vegetables, and more, so really, the question should be, “Why not buy a panini press?”

What should you look for in a panini press?

  • Heating Process: A good panini press should provide you with a convenient heating process, one that you’re comfortable working with, given your preferences. The most popular kind of panini press is electrical, so all you’ll be required to do is plug in the console and keep your fingers out of the way. Most of these are designed to provide even heating throughout each grove of their cooking area. However, if you aren’t as keen on electrical units as you are on something a bit more old-fashioned, then you should check out a grill and press set. They ensure maximum heat potential, courtesy of a cast iron or aluminum body that rests on top of a stove or open flame.
  • Versatile Cooking: It’s important to consider a press that’s adaptable between different types of meals and cooking processes. While a cast iron or aluminum press for stovetops will feature a built-in bottom groove, electric options can feature multiple detachable plates (top and bottom) that you can swap out, depending on the meal that you’re grilling.
  • Press Care: It’s also important to consider how to take care of your panini press after the last sandwich has been pressed. If you’re buying an electric option, be sure that your console features cooking plates with a durable nonstick surface as well as a dishwasher-friendly design. This will ensure easy cleanup after cooking, so no more scraping burnt cheese off the pan when things get messy.

Are there any drawbacks to owning a panini press?

Like with many other cooking devices, you’ll need to clean your panini press regularly and every time after using it. Otherwise, food scraps and bacteria will accumulate inside your panini press, damaging it and causing it to smell. Make sure that you consistently clean your panini press inside and out after it’s cooled down. If the plates aren’t removable, the best way to clean a panini press is by wiping it down. Removable, dishwasher-safe, and nonstick plates and parts are the most convenient ones. One other slight inconvenience that comes with owning a panini press is that you’ll have to store it. Small kitchen appliances can add up fast and take up a lot of room. However, many people find that a panini press is worth the extra space and maintenance.

Our Picks for the Best Panini Presses

Best Overall

ISILER PaniniPress and Grill

Take your cooking skills to the next level with this panini press.

Pros: With food-grade aluminum that heats up fast and evenly, this panini press and grill is ideal for those who enjoy getting things done the classic way. It features raised ridges that not only leave those coveted char marks when you’re finished cooking, but that also allow the fats on your meat to drain into the grooves between each ridge. The press measures over 10 inches in length for adequate cooking space.

Cons: In terms of max output for heating power, this isn’t the best available option. Also, it doesn’t come with removable plates, which makes it less convenient to clean up. It’s made of cast iron, meaning that users must handwash and dry it thoroughly, and soaking it will damage it.

Bottom Line: This panini press offers you a hands-on way to grill steaks, burgers, bacon, quesadillas, and any kind of sandwich that you desire. Now, you can simplify the way that you go about cooking dinner while also experimenting with different flavors and ingredients.

 

Best Budget

George Foreman Grill and Panini Press

An affordable panini press that offers optimal convenience.

Pros: This panini press utilizes a nonstick coating that’s twice as slick as previous models from the brand’s past. Additional features include its dishwasher-safe drip tray and a 35% faster heating process. Its set of indicator lights notify a user when the grill is plugged in and when it’s ready to cook. It will fit multiple servings of food to get dinner on the table faster, and its grill plates are removable for easy cleaning.

Cons: This particular panini press and grill is more suitable for families. If you’re only cooking for yourself, then you might want to look elsewhere. Plus, it only has one temperature.

Bottom Line: This George Foreman Grill and Panini Press is an easy-to-use console that offers enough plate space to cook large meats or entire meals with sides included. It offers a fast, simplistic, and effective way to prepare delicious meals for yourself and your family.

 

Most Versatile

Cuisinart 5-in-1 Griddler

A 5-in-1 griller that you can use for cooking larger portions of food.

Pros: This Cuisinart Griddler provides five types of cooking abilities and a half or full cooking top. From hamburgers to paninis to pancakes, home cooks can prepare their meals between several unique tops: the contact grill (cooks everything in a closed position), the full grill (dual grill plates in open position), the full griddle (dual flat griddle plates in open position), the half grill and half griddle (one grill plate, one griddle plate in open position), the panini press (dual grill plates with a panini-style handle to press down). Each cooking plate is nonstick, dishwasher-safe, and BPA-free. Additionally, the console’s adjustable temperature controls allow for precise and thorough grilling, and the outside stainless steel design makes it look nice while it works its magic.

Cons: The plastic buttons that keep the plates in place aren’t the sturdiest, and it can take a while to heat up fully. This isn’t the longest-lasting option on the market, so if you’re looking for something that will last a lifetime, you should probably look elsewhere.

Bottom Line: This is an incredibly multifunctional countertop unit that offers incredible ease of use. The intuitive layout of the controls will simplify the way that you prepare and cook your dinners, and its versatility will help you save space in your kitchen.

 

Most Interchangeable Plates

OSTBA 3-in-1 Sandwich Maker

This user-friendly panini press will make cooking meals a lot easier.

Pros: This press features three sets of detachable cooking plates: a sandwich plate, a waffle plate, and a grill plate (offering six plates in total). Like other dependable options, each plate features a nonstick coating that keeps your food intact and makes for easy cleanup after a meal. And while it’s a portable option that measures just 9.8 by 8.6 inches in total, it also packs a wallop of cooking heat. Powered by a 120-volt and 750-watt system, this console’s waffle maker reaches its optimum cooking temperature in just under four minutes.

Cons: This device often leaves behind more residual grease than most standard panini presses and grills. It’s not very big, so if you’re cooking for a large family, you’ll want to look elsewhere.

Bottom Line: This 3-in-1 panini press is capable of grilling your breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner with ease. It has a compact size that can save you space on your countertop, and you can cook your waffles until your desired outer crunch is achieved.

 

Best Premium Option

Yedi Houseware Total Package Digital Grill

This 6-in-1 panini press provides impressive features and versatility.

Pros: This premium panini press comes with grill, griddle, and even waffle plates for greater variety while cooking at home. It includes special culinary molds for cooking eggs and pancakes, too. You can even cook some more delicate food with this particular press, including fruits and vegetables. If you want a highly functional option, this is a great one to have.

Cons: Although incredibly reliable and easy to use, this premium panini press is more costly than average. If you have certain budget restrictions, then you’ll be better off searching for a panini press and grill from another manufacturer.

Bottom Line: In terms of high-end and high-performance options, this is the best panini press you can buy. With six cooking functions and a simple interface/design, you can’t go wrong with this digital panini maker and waffle grill.

Final Thoughts

Choosing the right panini press and grill can be challenging. However, as long as you know how you plan on using it, then you should be able to easily find a great one in order to bring the deli to your home. You’ll be able to cook and serve delicious meals with incredible ease and convenience.

Hollis Mills Hollis Mills
Hollis Mills is a freelance journalist and a content writer for LifeSavvy. He has a bachelor's degree in English literature, and as an undergraduate at Texas A&M University, Hollis wrote and edited for the nationally recognized student newspaper, The Battalion. When he's not writing, you can find him complaining about Boston Celtics basketball or giving plenty of peanut butter biscuits to his always-hungry Catahoula dog, Blue. Read Full Bio »
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