Our face-paced world requires a quick solution to ensure you get a quick bite whenever your rumbling stomach tries to interfere with your quiet moment on the bus, meeting, or relaxation at home. While there are a plethora of options you can opt for, only a handful is better than a panini.
Who doesn’t want to have a quick bite of a panini?
The word, panini, originally meant an Italian bread. But, in the English culture, it has evolved to mean a grilled sandwich. Therefore, it’s important to own the best panini press to help prepare this distant dream for reality without any hassle.
Unfortunately, the market is filled with several products, claiming to be the best option for you. Obviously, they are just trying to sell their devices. Nonetheless, we’ve shortlisted the top 9 best panini presses and cast iron panini presses to serve your purpose.
But before that;
What is a panini press?
The panini press is another awesome, must-have kitchen appliance because of the incredible versatility it brings to any kitchen. To simply put, this device is a two-sided sandwich grill designed to grill and press your sandwich simultaneously.
It’s basically two opposite grills meant to press and grill large, oddly-shaped sandwiches evenly and neatly. The press can be used in a wide range of unique ways, which allows you to be creative, depending on how you dare to be.
Do you really need a panini press?
While there are other ways to make panini, using a panini press can make your work easier, faster, and better. Plus, owning this appliance can help make a wide range of food items aside from paninis.
Reviews of Best Panini Press Consumer Reports, America’s test kitchen, Food & Wine, Wire Cutter
Top Rated Panini Maker on the market today
Top 1 – Cuisinart Griddler and Waffle Maker With Removable Plates: Best panini press
The Cuisinart Griddler Elite features a sleek brushed stainless steel construction that gleams and complements any kitchen decor. This stylish griddle boasts of several cooking functions, which allows the unit to panini press, half griddle, half grill, griddle, grill, and top melt appetizers, meats, and sandwiches.
That’s not the only thing this model brings to your countertop. It features an electronic display to let users set the timers. Plus, its dual-zone temperature control allows you to grill bacon on one plate while griddling egg on the other across the large 240 sq in of cooking space.
This unit includes reversible plates equipped with the brand’s unparalleled SuperBlast feature to help lock flavor at 500 degrees F. Also, it includes a fully adjustable top cover, which allows you to cook at high precision and perfectly customized cooking experience.
Furthermore, Cuisinart Griddler Elite comes with nonstick grill plates, which are dishwasher friendly to ensure easy clean up after cooking even stickiest BBQ sauce or gooiest sandwich. This awesome kitchen appliance includes a scraping/cleaning tool and an integrated drip tray.
- Six cooking options
- Dual-zone temperature control
- Offers sear function
- Electronic LCD display
- Brushed stainless steel housing
- On the pricey side
Top 2 – Cuisinart GR-4N 5-in-1 Griddle Grill
Another spot, another griddle from Cuisinart that is capable of handling everything from sausages to pancakes to steaks to grilled cheese, paninis, and hamburgers. This griddle has a simple to use, and its nonstick plates are removable and dishwasher.
Again, this model features a selector knob to allow you to choose the griddle or grill function. Even better, each function has adjustable temperature controls. The green and red indicator lights to notify users when the griddle is ready to cook at your desired temperature.
More importantly, it comes with five different cooking options to allow you to cook a variety of food with ease. It has reversible griddle/grill plates to let you cook an entire meal. It features brushed stainless steel housing to match any kitchen decor.
Additionally, its sturdy panini-style handle to make it easier to use this unit. With the floating cover, this model lets you fit any thickness of food. Besides, the drain grease is integrated into the drip tray for healthy cooking.
- Adjustable temperature controls
- Five cooking options
- sturdy panini-style handle
- Floating cover to support any food thickness
- Terrible warranty service
Top 3 – Hamilton Beach Breakfast Best Sandwich Maker
When it comes to making sandwiches easily and quickly, the sandwich maker cooks breakfast, lunch, or dinner sandwich in a couple of minutes. This unit is an ideal choice for on the go, quick and healthy meals.
Here’s more: it allows you to create custom sandwiches with your meats, eggs, cheese, bread, and much more. They are also ideal for paleo and keto diets. The manufacturer inspires users with over 25 sandwich recipes.
In just four steps, you can build your breakfast without having to leave your house. With its removable parts, these sandwich makers are easy to clean up, thanks to its dishwasher safe. The product surfaces feature a durable, nonstick coating for easy food release.
Hamilton Beach Breakfast Sandwich Maker has a cooking plate to cook a fresh egg perfectly and slides out hassle-free to assemble your sandwich.
- Quick and easy to make sandwich
- Easy to clean
- Simple operation mode
- Allows sandwich customization
- Issues with melting cheese too much
Top 4 – George Foreman Rapid Grill Series 8-Serving Indoor Grill & Panini Press
Next on our list of the best panini press is the George Foreman 8-Serving Classic Plate Grill and Panini Press. This appliance is an ideal choice for people looking to feed the whole family and some occasional guests.
It offers a generous 120 sq inches of grilling surface to allow users to make up to eight servings simultaneously. Coupled with the durable plates, this original George Foreman Grill and Panini Press offer lean, mean grilling power to cook just about anything.
What’s more? It features the brand’s tough nonstick coating, offering impressive durability, easy cleaning, and eliminating the need for oil and butter. Thanks to its sloped grilling surface, this grill removes more fat from meat to ensure lean, tasty meals.
That’s not all: it comes with a dual cooking position to either cook on a flat or sloped surface. Like any top product, it includes a ready indicator light on top of the grill to let users know when the unit is plugged in and ready to cook.
Again, it has a floating hinge that allows you to cook any food size seamlessly. The best part of this model is its dishwasher-friendly drip tray to collect excess grease and fat, which makes cleaning a snap.
- Dishwasher-safe drip tray
- Dual cooking positions
- Ideal for feeding a family
- 3-year limited warranty
- Adjustable temperature
- Nonstick coating comes off
Top 5 – IMUSA USA GAU-80103 Electric Stainless Steel Panini Maker
The IMUSA USA GAU-80103 Electric Panini Maker is a versatile kitchen appliance with a slightly larger cooking surface than the average options. It provides even bottom and top heating for your panini, vegetables, meats, sandwiches, etc.
The smooth, durable, nonstick surface is a lot easier to clean. There is a heat and power heat indicator light to notify users when the machine is ready for use at your desired temperature. IMUSA USA GAU-80103 Electric Panini Maker includes a floating hinge top that ensures it can handle any sandwich thickness thrown at it.
And, with its elegant stainless steel exterior finish, this awesome appliance looks great in any kitchen. Besides, it includes a preset temperature to ensure every sandwich is toasted on the grill to golden brown perfection.
- Nonstick coating for hassle-free cleaning
- Large cooking surface
- Nicely polished exterior
- Heat up and power indicator lights
- Uneven heat distribution
- No temperature adjustment buttons/switch
- Lack of a drip feature
- Doesn’t leave grill marks on your foods
Top 6 – Oster Titanium-Infused DuraCeramic 2-in-1 Panini Maker and Grill
When it comes to the best ceramic panini press, the Oster Titanium-Infused DuraCeramic 2-in-1 Panini Maker and Grill can be the way to go. Its titanium-Infused DuraCeramic nonstick coating, which is resistant to peeling and flaking.
The superior cooking surface is touted to cook faster and lasts longer than other panini presses out there. This unit opens 180 degrees flat to provide two grilling surfaces, which create additional space for your veggies, meats, or sandwiches.
Another nice feature of this unit is its adjustable feet, allowing users to tilt the press for excess fat and grease to flow away. Also, it comes with two drip cups to help catch the stray grease and liquids.
Oster Titanium-Infused DuraCeramic 2-in-1 Panini Maker and Grill is designed to allow you to cook and grill with confidence without worrying about creating ugly messes that are stressful to clean.
Further, it has an adjustable heat control that offers users impressive flexibility to grill different items with ease. This ceramic panini press comes with non removable grilling plates, which means the unit is best washed by hand only.
- Resistant to peeling and flaking
- Cooks faster and last longer
- Adjustable feet and two drip cups
- Premium nonstick coating
- Nonremovable grilling plates
Top 7 – Hamilton Beach Electric Panini Press Grill
The Hamilton Beach Electric Panini Press Grill is great for making paninis and allows you to try out savory sandwiches, and quesadillas. Coming in two sizes, large and medium, there is a panini press that works best for you. This product sports a durable and attractive exterior chrome finish to complement your kitchen decor.
This electric panini press is designed to grill your panini, regardless of the thickness, thanks to its easily adjustable floating lid that presses your sandwiches evenly and perfectly.
That’s not all: Hamilton Beach Electric Panini Press Grill includes preheat and power lights. That way, users can keep an eye on the cooker while focusing on other things. And, after cooking, cleaning is a breeze. On top of that, there is a nonstick surface, which allows you to wipe and clean with ease.
Besides, storing this unit takes very little space and requires less if positioned upright. The medium-sized option is ideal for two to three servings, which should be enough to go around in a few minutes.
- Attractive and durable exterior finish
- Two size options
- Power and preheat lights
- Nonstick coating
- Requires small storage space
- Adjustable lid for grilling and pressing any sandwich thickness
- Very fragile
- Uneven heating
Top 8 – George Foreman 4-serving Removable Plate Grill and Panini Press, Black, grp1060b
If you need to serve up to four people, George Foreman 4-Serving Removable Plate Grill and Panini Press is perfect for making breakfast, lunch, and dinner for your entire family. Like other products from this brand, this press features a sloped grilling surface to drain fat for healthy meals.
Also, it sports advanced George Tough nonstick coating that is more durable and eliminates the need for excess butter and oil during cooking. It comes with removable, dishwasher safe plates that ensures cleanup is a breeze.
More so, George Foreman 4-Serving Grill and Panini Press have an inch adjustable hinge that allows users to fit in a variety of cuts of meats and vegetables without any challenges. Similarly, it includes a dishwasher-friendly drip tray to collect grease run-off for hassle-free cleaning experience.
That’s not all: this press has an indicator light to notify users when the device is plugged in and another indicator light that tells when the grill is preheated and ready. Even better, the appliance heats up quickly for an easy and fast meal, making it a perfect fit for your busy lifestyle.
- Quick cleanup
- Fast heat up
- Large grilling area
- Exclusive design for removing more fat
- Getting the removable plates to stay in can be tricky.
Top 9 – Norpro Mini Cast Iron Panini Pan with Press
If you’re in the market for the best cast iron panini press, then this model might be just what you need. It offers fast, even heat distribution with superior retention. Norpro Panini Press comes pre-seasoned, which means it’s ready to use for making tasty meals straight out of the box.
With this model, users can easily make quesadillas, sausages, bacon, fish, chops, burgers, steaks, grilled cheese, panini sandwiches, and more. Its raised ridges allow fats to drain into the grooves and leave perfect grill marks on your food.
Even better, this product is ideal for indoor and outdoor use. But it’s advised not to use the dishwasher but handwash and never soaked.
- Even heat distribution
- Superior heat retention
- Leaves grill marks
- Ideal for indoor and outdoor use
- Not dishwasher safe
Top 10 – Norpro Italian Cast Iron Panini Sandwich Press And Steak Chicken Grill
Coming last on the list but not the least best panini press is another product from Norpro. This equipment is designed to help you make perfect Italian panini sandwiches from the comfort of your home.
On the same note, this press lessens your grilling time since it allows users to grill on both sides of the unit simultaneously. Norpro Italian Panini Sandwich Press And Grill is made of enamel coated cast iron, which makes it ideal for chicken, burgers, and steaks.
Remarkably, it offers heats up quickly and grills evenly for amazing results. This press is best washed by hand to ensure this unit serves your purpose for an extended period. For the sake of durability, this unit features a stainless steel construction that adds to your kitchen decor.
- Speedy heat up
- Stainless steel construction
- Dual cooking space
- Even heat distribution
- Cleaning can be tiring since it’s not dishwasher compatible.
Things to Consider Before Buying a Panini Press
Before splurging on any panini press that makes its way to your screen, there are some key factors to bear in mind to ensure you end up with the right unit that serves your purpose.
In this section, we’ll consider some things to consider for a smart decision:
Power and Capacity
If you want to make more paninis faster, then you should consider a bigger device. Nonetheless, it would be best if you opted for a model that is best suited for your cooking needs.
For instance, if you have often had a couple of friends over or family, a larger press works best for you. But keep in mind that these larger presses tend to consume more power. But for personal use, a medium or small-sized model will be a decent choice.
While there is hardly any panini press that offers a single function, they still differ in terms of versatility, with some offering more than others. A versatile model should let you do more and replace many kitchen appliances or eliminate the need to purchase another device.
The best panini presses should come with a durable nonstick feature for quick food release. This way, cleaning the device afterward is a breeze. Also, the device should include removable plates that are easier to clean and dishwasher compatible.
Additionally, the cooking plates should deliver even heat distribution, eliminating hot and cold spots, ensuring that your food is golden brown.
Finally, it’s up to pick a design that suits your style. Cooking plates are available in three types of plates: the mixed, grooved, and smooth. The mixed options have one side smooth and the other grooved. While the grooved cooking plates leave grill marks on your food for a more visually-appealing finish, they can be hard to clean. Last, the smooth plates are much easier to clean.
Adjustable temperature and timer are nice features a panini press should come with. A timer lets users operate the device with ease. The temperature setting lets you explore different food tastes, and texture.
Hinges and drip tray are hardware features to take note of when trying to figure out the best panini press for you. A drip tray is meant to catch oil dripping from your food automatically. If this process is not automated, it’ll cause a lot of mess and make cleaning a bit of trouble.
The hinges make the top plate adjustable and allow users to press any sandwich of any thickness you throw in there.
Electric or Manual?
When it comes to these options, it boils down to personal preference. Obviously, the electric panini press will make your work easier and hassle-free compared to the other variants.
How to use panini press (instructions)
Like most kitchen appliances, the panini press requires proper usage and maintenance to ensure you make the best out of it.
So, let’s take a look at the few tips to ensure you get the most out of your panini press:
Read The User Manual
Before you start using your newly purchased panini press, you need to read the instructions in the user manual in the packaging box to understand how the device works. Either you are a first-time user or not, each model has a different operational mechanism.
To prevent damaging the equipment, you should take note of things that are permitted or prohibited when using the press for making paninis or other food items. Similarly, to take the guesswork out, and ensure you use the model as instructed.
Preheat The Press
Like any oven or pan, you need to preheat your press before using it. Once properly preheated, you can start preparing your panini. Since making paninis takes a short while, it’s important to preheat your device before placing the sandwich for impressive, and more consistent results.
Clean The Machine
The press should be cleaned after each use. The method of cleaning these awesome panini makers depends on the model you opt for. Models with removable cooking plates and dishwasher compatible make cleaning a breeze.
But if your press’s cooking plate is not removable, you might scrub the entire inner grill surface with a damp sponge. Also, take extra caution to ensure you do not splash the equipment’s electrical part.
All in all, always empty the drip tray and wash to remove excess oil and fat on the tray.
What is the best panini press, sandwich maker with removable plates?
This brilliant press from Cuisinart packs a lot of features. This product comes with an expandable grilling surface, and its high compatibility with a wide variety of food is just amazing. On top of that, this product does not include any harmful chemicals and offers a superior nonstick surface, which makes this unit easy and safe to use.
Even better, it drains and collects the excess oils automatically for healthier meals. Also, it’s dishwasher safe, which means cleaning this equipment after use just got better.
Owning the right equipment can transform how you grill your burger, meats, sandwiches, and panini. Our buying guide section contains key factors that you should bear in mind to ensure you make an informed decision.
You should consider the nonstick cooking surface, temperature control, cooking plates (removable or not), number of heating zones, floating hinges, and others before splurging on a panini press.
After that, you can confidently pick a product from our list of the top 9 best panini press and cast iron panini press for making that yummy meals.