Are you hoping to make delicious paninis and hot sandwiches at home? Are you looking for a quick, easy and effective way to make your own favorite fillings? A panini maker can take the hassle out of making paninis at home and ensure that you always have delicious sandwiches whenever you need them.
We looked at the best panini makers available and chose the Cuisinart Griddler Elite for its variety of functions and usability features. We've chosen our 10 best panini makers for you to consider and also created a handy buying guide reviewed by a chef to help you make your choice.
Before buying a panini maker, there are a few points you should take into consideration. To help you with this, we've put together this handy buying guide!
A floating hinge allows you to close the grill at different heights. This means you can grill sandwiches of different sizes and thicknesses with the same grill. Whether you’re putting together a high, multi-layer baguette full of fillings or a flat sandwich of cheese and two slices of bread, a floating hinge will do them both.
A floating hinge also allows you to grill open-face paninis as you can set the upper plate to hover above the sandwich without touching it. Most panini presses have this feature, but smaller and more portable panini makers often don't have floating hinges.
Another option is a grill pan and press. These are non-electrical presses that can be used on the stovetop with electric or gas burners. The pan has the same raised ridges that plates on electrical presses have and comes with a heavy iron lid that acts as the top plate.
There are a few main considerations when it comes to which size of grill is the best for you. The first is the size of your kitchen. There is no point in buying a large panini press if you don’t have either the space to store it or the space to use it.
You need enough space to lay out the press to prepare your panini and the ingredients. You also need to ensure that you have enough space above to fully lift the lid as you will need to open and close the press.
The second consideration is how much food you will make at once. If you’re going to be making paninis or toasted sandwiches for one, then a large grill is unnecessary. If you’re going to be cooking for a larger family, then you might want to grill several paninis at once to save time and ensure everyone gets their food at the same time. Look for grills that are larger than 10 inches by 10 inches.
You should also consider the shape of the grill. Many panini grills are rectangular to match the long style of the bread usually used, but it's also common to find grills that are more square. If you have narrow counter space, then a rectangular grill will potentially fit better than a square one. Larger square ones are good for cooking multiple paninis at once.
When it comes to making that perfect panini, an adjustable thermostat is a desirable feature. The best temperature for your panini will depend on the ingredients, the type of bread, and how much cooking it requires. If you're making thinner paninis, then lower temperatures of around 200 are best. For thicker paninis or paninis made with large cuts of meat, higher temperatures of around 375 degrees will get the paninis cooked quicker but might burn your bread if you're not careful.
You can use lower temperatures to cook meat-filled paninis, but be prepared to wait for a longer period of time. Some paninis have an even bigger range of temperatures so that they can cook more than just paninis. A press that can sear meat might have a top temperature nearer 500 degrees, which is great for things like making burgers, but these kinds of temperatures aren't necessary if you're only looking to cook paninis.
Some high-end panini presses might have a digital display that will clearly show you the grill temperature. If the press has a timer, the display will also let you see how much longer the press has before your panini is finished. Other presses might show they've reached their temperature or finished cooking by using lights, instead.
Paninis and grilled sandwiches are notorious for losing some of their fillings while being cooked, especially if cheese is involved. Removable plates can make your life much easier when it comes to cleaning and might even be suitable for the dishwasher, making the clean-up even easier.
If the press doesn't have removable plates, then make sure they are non-stick. If cleaned while still warm you can often just wipe them clean. Make sure they're not still red-hot though, as you run the risk of burns.
Another bonus with removable plates is that it is possible to get different types of plates for different types of grilling. For example, you can find diagonal grill plates for toasted sandwiches, smooth ones for burgers, or even plates to make waffles. Some panini presses will come with these different plates so they can be used for more than just paninis.
Try to get a press with a coated or heat-resistant handle so it won't burn your hand when you lift or lower the press. Many presses come with a drip tray that can be used to catch any excess oil or grease produced by the food.
It's also important to get a press that tells you when it is fully preheated and ready to go. Not all panini makers have on/off switches, and many will start heating as soon as they're plugged in. If this is the case, make sure the unit has a light so you will know whether it is on or not.
Some higher-end models might allow you to control the temperatures of the top and bottom plates independently to give you even more options when it comes to cooking. Some can also open fully flat so you can make open-faced sandwiches or use both surfaces as a large grill.
We've used our buying guide criteria to find the best panini makers available. We've picked a variety of makers with different sizes and features so there is bound to be a panini maker for you!
*Please note that these products were chosen after extensive research by mybest writers. The choices are not necessarily affiliated with or recommended by Jim Quast.
Countertop Panini Press
The Rock Panini Grill
Multi-Plate Evolve Grill
Livenza All-Day Grill, Griddle and Waffle Maker
Mini Maker Portable Grill Machine
Mini Cast Iron Panini Pan
Electric Griddle - Crepe Maker
Best Multi-Function Maker
Best for Effortless Cooking
Best for Easy Storage
Best Panini Maker With Safety Features
Best for Easy Cleaning
Best Panini and Waffle Maker Combo
Best for a Large Cooking Surface
Best Portable Option
Best Non-Electrical Option
Best for Making Paninis and Grilling Together
|Hinge style||Floating||Floating||Floating||Floating||Floating||Floating||Floating||Folding||Separate lid||Folding|
|Dimensions||14.7 x 16 x 8 in.||14 x 13 x 6 in.||About 6 x 14 x 13 in.||11.4 x 10.1 x 4.7 in.||12.8 x 12.6 x 7.3 in.||9 x 14 x 14 in.||18 x 14 x 7.5 in.||5 x 6.4 x 2.8 in.||6 x 6 x 1 in.||5.27 x 12.53 x 12.53 in.|
|Controls||Temperature, plate, timer, sear||Temperature, preset programs||None||-||Temperature||Temperature, timer||Temperature for each plate||-||-||Temperature|
|Extra features||Sear function, reversible plates, LCD display||Cook from frozen, reheat, drip tray, dishwasher-safe||Lid lock, power and preheat lights||Indicator lights||Opens flat, dishwasher-safe plates||Searing option, ceramic plates, dishwasher-safe, waffle plates||Dishwasher-safe plates, hanging top plate||Various colors||Hand wash only||Drip tray, griddle plate|
|Dimensions||14.7 x 16 x 8 in.|
|Controls||Temperature, plate, timer, sear|
|Extra features||Sear function, reversible plates, LCD display|
|Dimensions||14 x 13 x 6 in.|
|Controls||Temperature, preset programs|
|Extra features||Cook from frozen, reheat, drip tray, dishwasher-safe|
|Dimensions||About 6 x 14 x 13 in.|
|Extra features||Lid lock, power and preheat lights|
|Dimensions||11.4 x 10.1 x 4.7 in.|
|Extra features||Indicator lights|
|Dimensions||12.8 x 12.6 x 7.3 in.|
|Extra features||Opens flat, dishwasher-safe plates|
|Dimensions||9 x 14 x 14 in.|
|Extra features||Searing option, ceramic plates, dishwasher-safe, waffle plates|
|Dimensions||18 x 14 x 7.5 in.|
|Controls||Temperature for each plate|
|Extra features||Dishwasher-safe plates, hanging top plate|
|Dimensions||5 x 6.4 x 2.8 in.|
|Extra features||Various colors|
|Hinge style||Separate lid|
|Dimensions||6 x 6 x 1 in.|
|Extra features||Hand wash only|
|Dimensions||5.27 x 12.53 x 12.53 in.|
|Extra features||Drip tray, griddle plate|
We've collated some more recommendation lists to help you make that perfect sandwich. Check out these other great products to get even closer to sandwich nirvana.
If you're still looking for some ideas, why not check out the best-selling panini makers on Amazon?
This expert reviewed the contents of the buying guide for accuracy and provided factual corrections when necessary. They did not participate in the product selection process, nor are they affiliated with any of our choices unless explicitly stated so.
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