Are you trying to make restaurant-style sandwiches at home? Restaurants have various kitchen tools like a panini press that melts the cheeses and makes them crispy. A panini press helps to hold all the elements of the panini together to enhance the taste of every bite of your panini.
But, there’s nothing like creating your own homemade version of these yummy sandwiches. If all this has made your mouth water, then you are going to need a panini press first. Like all things, even all panini presses aren’t created equal. Since a juicy sandwich makes for a flavorful treat you will need the best panini press for the job. Here’s a list of the best ones for your kitchen. Because, who needs a hot dog anyway, right? So, let’s get started.
How to Choose a Panini Press?
The material used in the construction
The material used in the construction of the panini press is a key feature as it determines the sturdiness of the kitchenware. Most of the panini press is made of stainless steel to ensure its durability as it is used to press sandwiches into a perfect shape. Chromium is added to the stainless steel to make the product free from rust and corrosion. Though it is made of heavy-duty material you need to clean it thoroughly to get durable service.
- The 9 Best Burger Press in 2022
- The 9 Best Tofu Presses in 2022
- The 12 Best Cookie Presses for Gourmet Baking at Home
- The 14 Best Garlic Presses Reviews in 2022
Fixed or removable grill plates
The grill plates are essential as most of the work is done on them. First and foremost think about the plates is that they need to release the paninis in ideal shape. Sometimes the bread gets stuck to the lid or the base and you need to scrap the panini out of the press. For this nonstick or ceramic coating is used on the plates.
Ceramic coatings are safe for regular use compared to non-stick coatings as they are not reactive when heated. According to Scientific American, the nonstick coating can flake off and be ingested with food. Though they come out of the body but the pan does not remain suitable for use.
The grill plates of some panini presses are removable. The removable plates are easy to clean thoroughly and some plates can be put in the dishwasher. However, the fixed plates are hard to clean, and deep cleaning by placing them under running water is not possible.
Option to control temperature
Controlling the temperature of your grill is a feature that needs to be added as some prefer slow-cooked grill whereas some people need fast cooking as they are running late for work. Not all the panini press has the option of controlling temperature according to one's wish. If you are grilling meat, you might wanna use the low temperature so the meat remains juicy and all the ingredients are soaked by the meat when it is fully cooked.
On the other hand, for your morning breakfast, you need your sandwiches to be ready swiftly as you will miss your bus or your school or office. Be sure to know the functions you need on your panini press before buying one.
Tray for collection the grease
Drip trays are added with the panini press to reduce the mess for grilling meat. Some brands manufacture the panini press with removable drip trays whereas others have drip cups that are totally separate from the maker. After the food is grilled, by tilting the panini press slightly you can collect the extra oil on the drip tray.
Drip trays are usually removable even if the grill plates are not. This makes the cleaning easier and also makes the food healthy.
A panini grill which has floating hinges offers more control on the sandwiches you can prepare. Floating hinges are important since they allow you to adjust the height of the top part of the grill so that it doesn’t come in contact with the bottom while preparing certain meals.
A flexible hinge helps to press the sandwiches of thicker bread and a huge amount of fillings into a densely packed sandwich. A floating hinge can be used as a full grill as well as an open grill. A variety of cooking options comes with the panini press that has a flexible hinge.
Grill or Griddle
The traditional panini press has a grill on top which results in the grill marks, while the griddle is placed in the bottom. You can get units with both a grill and griddle or one with either a grill or griddle.
How to keep the panini press clean?
The panini press runs in electricity so you can put it underwater. For this reason, some brands prefer to make the grills flexible so that you can take those out and hand wash them or clean them on the dishwasher.
However, the fixed grill plates are hard to clean and it takes time in cleaning them thoroughly. As they are fixed, it can be hard to get to the corners where oil has flown, and keeping it unclean will cause rust or corrosion. Some panini presses come with a cleaning brush to make the cleaning easier.
Top 10 Best Panini Presses
1. Cuisinart GR-4NP1 Griddler
The Cuisinart GR-4N 5-in-1 works as a contact grill, full and half grill, full and half griddle, and panini press so right off the bat you know that you’re getting yourself a versatile cooking system. Cuisinart is known for delivering high quality products every time, and the Cuisinart GR-4N 5-in-1 Griddler is no exception. The GR-4N features a robust stainless-steel frame that’s been built to last, along with a sturdy handle for the panini grill, and nicely designed floating cover to adjust the thickness of the food.
This panini grill also features adjustable temperature controls that comes with indicator lights, so you know exactly when your meal is prepared. This also avoids burning the bread. The removable and reversible non-stick cooking plates in the Cuisinart GR-4N 5-in-1 Griddler have been designed to drain the grease, making it possible for healthy cooking.
There’s no need to worry about making a mess, because the Cuisinart GR-4N has an integrated drip tray. Another feature that the users are going to appreciate with the Cuisinart GR-4N is the removable and reversible dishwasher non-stick cooking plates, which makes cleaning this system a breeze.
2. Hamilton Beach Panini Press
If you’re looking to make amazing paninis at home, then the Hamilton Beach 25462Z Panini Press Gourmet Sandwich Maker is just the thing you need. Hamilton Beach is a household name in kitchen cooking systems and has really out done its capabilities with the Hamilton Beach 25462Z Panini Press Gourmet Sandwich Maker. This sandwich maker has been built with premium quality materials ensuring that you are going to enjoy sandwiches made in it for a long time.
The two-color design gives it a premium look and it’s easy to see why this sandwich maker is a preferred choice for many people. The sandwich maker features brilliant power and reheat indicators and can easily house two to three sandwiches at a time. With this sandwich maker you get to enjoy equally heated, and equally pressed sandwiches.
You also get to make sandwiches of various thicknesses thanks to the floating lid that does not come in contact with the contents of the sandwich maker. Its non-stick design makes it easy to clean after you’re done, and its upright storage option, means that it can be easily stored once you’re finished creating your scrumptious masterpiece.
3. George Foreman Panini Press
With this panini press, you can prepare the sandwiches for you and for your family's lunch in less time. Firstly, the plates are 72 soiree inches that can accommodate 5 sandwiches easily. The drip tray at the base collects all the grease without causing any mess on the countertop.
The best feature about this kitchen appliance is the sloped grilling surface that removes 42% fat from meat. As the plates become oily with butter and meat fats, thorough cleaning is essential. You can place it on the dishwasher for removing all the grease and ready to use for the next serving. Moreover, it has a ceramic coating to make the plates harder and durable for long service. The PTFE and PFOA coating prevents the sandwiches from sticking. Also, preheating the press takes less time in grilling the sandwiches.
4. George Foreman Evolve Grill
One thing’s for sure. Beautiful things happen when you put bread into the George Foreman GRP4842P Multi-Plate Evolve Grill. This 3-in-1 panini grill system offers great range in cooking options. You can also cook some amazing chicken, burgers, steaks and veggies with ease. The George Foreman GRP4842P Multi-Plate Evolve Grill features a 500 searing burst, which is an extremely high temperature that this particular grill has been designed to reach in under 90 seconds.
So, you wouldn’t want to be anywhere near the handle while its warming up. There’s also a digital control panel that tells you the cooking time along with the grill temperature. Another great design feature of the GRP4842P is that all the control buttons have been conveniently placed with the grill exterior, making it easier to clean.
The premium quality grill plates have been covered with a multi-layer nonstick ceramic coating which makes cleaning the George Foreman GRP4842P Multi-Plate Evolve Grill easy; it also reduces the need for using too much oil while grilling. The plates on the GRP4842P are also PFOA and PTFE-free, so they are safe for people and the environment.
The cool-touch feature makes the grill easy to handle, and the grill plates themselves are removable, which also means that the George Foreman GRP4842P Multi-Plate Evolve Grill is easy to clean.
5. Chefman Panini Press
A product that has the 3-in-1 function serves various dishes which is possible with this Chefman Panini Press. It can be used as a flat lay grill, contact grill, and panini press as it has the flexibility to open 180 degrees. With the help of the floating hinge, you can press any size sandwich into an even and compact one in minutes.
Moreover, the drip tray and function of tilting to remove the grease from food are available on this maker. The non-stick coating releases the sandwiches in the perfect shape. However, some butter is needed to add for greasing the grill plates. Moreover, the dishwasher can only be used for cleaning the drip tray. The non-stick plates need to be hand-washed to keep the coating intact.
Furthermore, the LED light notifies when the maker is ready for use. You can easily fit 4 regular sandwiches on the grill plates. Though it has no temperature control panel to cook the way you prefer.
6. ISILER Panini Maker
The ISILER panini maker produces 1200 watts of heat energy to uniformly grill the sandwiches on all sides. You can use the upper lid as a plate by laying it flat on the countertop. As a result, you grill more food at a time. You can use the floating hinges to press the sandwiches together.
The feature we like about this maker is that the digital thermostat turns off the heating after a certain fixed temperature. This will prevent any accidents and will not burn the sandwiches for your breakfast. The indicator light lets you know when the maker is preheated and you can put your food for grilling.
However, it does not come with a drip tray which leads to making a mess on your countertop. On the sides, a drainage system is designed to collect the extra oil and grease from food and make the meal healthy. The food-grade non-stick reduces the use of oil by releasing the paninis easily.
7. Cuisinart Panini Press
With a two-color combination and a glossy finish, the Cuisinart GR-1 Griddler Panini and Sandwich Press ooze with style. But, it’s sleek look isn’t the only thing this sandwich maker has going. The Cuisinart GR-1 allows you to enjoy restaurant-style sandwiches and much more by simply being a well-made device, that functions perfectly at all levels. This makes it the perfect addition to your kitchen, especially if you enjoy delicious paninis, and don’t want to leave your house to get one.
Both the upper and lower grill plates of this unit have a non-stick coating, so cleaning it is a breeze. The non-removable grill plates also lend to the perfectly crusty results while making your own panini, and don’t get in the way while cleaning. Then, there are the other minute details that make this a great option for a sandwich maker. There’s a drip spout that discharges the excess oil, and gives it a strangely professional look for its particular price point.
The sandwich maker features a power and ready to cook indicator light, along with a preset temperature to make sure those paninis are golden brown and perfectly crisp. You also get a cleaning tool and a recipe book if you want to get creative with your sandwich making skills.
8. De'Longhi Panini Press
This panini press from De'Longhi provides the option of grilling your sandwich as well as grilling meat or fish. On the control panel, it has a flexible knob that allows you to set the temparature range to low, medium, and high. You can set the maker for preheating and a green light will let you know when the maker is ready for grilling sandwiches.
Furthermore, the grill plates are easy to clean as you can grain the excess oil in a separate cup and then wipe the plates with a wet towel. As the plates are not dismountable, the sides of the grill can not be thoroughly cleaned. Also, the handle is long and gives a sturdy grip to easily hold down the lid to make the perfect grilled sandwich.
9. Ovente Panini Press
Sandwiches are known as a swift and easy meal and to make the grilling easier this panini press heats the grilling plates swiftly to give an evenly cooked sandwich. It has a flexible hinge that can be opened up to 180 degrees to create extra space for grilling meats or veggies. Also, the hinge resists the heat to make the grilling easier.
The control panel has an on/off switch button, LED, and temperature controlling knob that helps in operating the panini press easier. However, the grill plates are not removable and a free brush is given along with the panini maker to clean the remnants.
10. Salton Panini Press
Lastly, we have a compact panini press that is great for small families. It is constructed with stainless steel and the non-stick grill plate requires less oil or butter to avoid sticking food. The non-stick makes it easier for cleaning as you can simply clean with a wet cloth and soapy water.
However, it does not have a drip tray and has no drainage system to collect the extra oils. You cannot also control the temperature as it does not have a temperature controlling button. Before placing the sandwich on the grill plates, preheating them is necessary and you will get a visual alert when the press is ready for use.
Which type of bread is compatible with the panini press?
All types of bread can be used for making panini. However, Italian pieces of bread like ciabatta, focaccia, etc holds all the ingredients together in a sandwich.
Is it necessary to season the grill plates with butter?
No, it is not necessary as the grill plates have a non-stick coating. But preheating the panini press is required to prepare the sandwiches quickly.
How long does it take to make a panini in a panini press?
The durations are usually mentioned on the manual book of panini presses as some have pre-set temperatures. On the other hand, you can manually set the temperature for making a panini. It takes 3 to 5 minutes to make a perfect panini.
Whether you are looking for a panini press for your home or for your restaurant, the press needs to reduce the workload as it is tiresome to clean the grill plates. As the panini presses are also used for grilling meats, fishes, the grease can be stubborn to clean. A drip cup helps to remove the extra oil that makes it easier to clean.
Besides, a temperature control feature helps to make sandwiches as well as warm the cold sandwiches. In our article, we have discussed the features in detail to help you choose the best panini press for you.