Updated January 30, 2020 by Karen Bennett

The 10 Best Panini Presses

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This wiki has been updated 26 times since it was first published in May of 2015. The only thing preventing a cold and unappetizing sandwich from becoming a toasty delicacy with melted cheese is a panini press. This easy-to-use device can take an ordinary meal from good to great with little effort. It is our firm belief that every household could benefit from one of these, so we've put together a selection that will surely satisfy your hunger in no time. When users buy our independently chosen editorial selections, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki. Skip to the best panini press on Amazon.

10. Hamilton Beach Gourmet

9. Lodge Square

8. Oster Extra Large

7. De'Longhi Contact

6. Imusa Electric

5. George Foreman Evolve

4. Dash Mini Maker

3. Calphalon Contemporary

2. Breville Duo

1. Cuisinart Gourmet 5-in-1

Special Honors

Avantco P78 This 1,750-watt commercial model comes with grooved plates and a 14-inch by 8.75-inch cooking surface, and it allows you to prepare a wide variety of foods while taking up little space. It has an overall 17-by-12-inch footprint and is great for making sandwiches, quesadillas, and hamburgers in your sandwich shop, concession stand, or food truck. The grooved plates provide appealing grill marks on your food, and the cast iron plate construction ensures long-lasting durability. The onboard grease tray is conveniently removable, and the specialized hinge allows the top plate to lie flat against the food, for uniform results. Thermostatic controls allow you to adjust the temperature between 120 and 570 degrees Fahrenheit. And you can rest assured the handle will remain cool to the touch. avantcoequipment.com

Galaxy P60S This model’s smooth grill plates ensure complete contact with food for even cooking of paninis and other sandwiches. The front rotary dial allows you to adjust the temperature between 120 and 570 degrees, and the handy LED indicator lights let you know when it’s powered on and when it’s hot. It’s made from durable stainless steel construction and cast iron plates. It’s CE listed and comes with a NEMA5-15P plug. webstaurantstore.com

Editor's Notes

January 28, 2020:

A panini press comes in handy when you’re looking to make restaurant-quality sandwiches from the comfort of your own home. The sky’s practically the limit as far as the type of sandwiches you can make, especially since today’s models often come with hinges and grease trays for cooking burgers and other meats at an angle so that fat can slide right off. The Dash Mini Maker is a highly popular single-serving option that joins our list today. It's available at an affordable price (less than $15 as of this writing) and trendy color options as well as neutral black and white. Its small foot print makes it convenient to take with you to a potluck or when you’re in a small kitchen, college dorm, or RV. Just plug it in, wait for the heating light to turn off, and place your food on the grill. The handle lifts easily and stays cool to the touch, and the cooking surfaces are made without PFOA for less mess and easy cleaning. Nonslip feet keep it in place securely on your countertop. Included is a free recipe guide to get you started. It comes from a company known for its conveniently compact appliances like mini waffle makers.

The Cuisinart Gourmet 5-in-1 retains its top spot on our list, and it’s a choice that’s hard to beat for versatility and quality. It’s two 11-by-9-inch plates are reversible, so they can each be flipped over for a flat, non-ridged surface that’s great for bacon and eggs, or anything else you’d like to fry. The Breville Duo doesn’t disappoint, either, thanks to its powerful, 1,500-watt heating element, stainless steel exterior, and scratch-resistant quantanium cooking surfaces. The top plate sports ridges for grill marks, whereas the bottom one is flat to ensure thorough, even cooking.

No matter which you choose, be sure to follow the included directions carefully for safe, healthy cooking, and unplug the machine when it’s not in use. Always supervise little helpers closely in the kitchen and around hot appliances.

What Should I Look For In A Panini Press?

Non-stick surfaces may entice, but that surface can also erode.

Unless you want to stand over your sandwich in a pan pressing it to death or rest a nasty brick on top, you will want a panini press.

Seriously, that's how it was done without one, and who has bricks just laying around? Well, Martha Stewart does.

You will have to choose between grill ridges or flat. Both have their pros and cons, but many people want to see grill marks on their panini. This holds true if you end up using the press to grill meats.

Removable plates also work wonders for cleanup. Some might be dishwasher safe. Health conscious folks might want to go ceramic because it lacks toxins, but beware, it can crack easily. Non-stick surfaces may entice, but that surface can also erode. In either case, brushing the bread with oil will suffice.

A press should not be flimsy. Remember, you're applying pressure to it. This means the handle and any temperature knobs should be firm as well. Without pressure, you will not have a panini, just a hot sandwich you could have cooked on the stove. That's no fun and a waste of money.

Press Your Panini Luck

You know you want one of these. They're safe, easy to use, and create a masterpiece of a sandwich that will make you feel like a pro.

They're safe, easy to use, and create a masterpiece of a sandwich that will make you feel like a pro.

It may be a little time consuming to stand and wait for it to grill, meaning choosing one with a larger surface is optimal especially if you can fit two or three sandwiches on at the same time. Its also important for the press to have both plates heated for even grilling and a quicker cooking time.

Count on keeping the larger one on your counter just like you would a giant mixer that won't fit anywhere else. Smaller ones can stow away in a cabinet. You have to find what is more convenient for you.

Given that you need to spread the bread with oil or butter anyway, picking a non-stick surface may not be too important.

A press with ridges will churn out restaurant-quality paninis while saving money and giving yourself a chance to get creative from the comfort of your own home.

A Brief, Pressing History of the Panini

Only recently in America have the terms "panini" and "panini press" been used. There's no difference between them and a grilled sandwich.

The name is just derived from the Italian word for bread, which is "pan". So there: everything Italian does sound better.

Two plates heat up and grill the sandwich on both sides at the same time.

A light bulb will go off in your head when you hear who invented the first press. No, not some old Italian man with calloused and burned hands from pressing a brick onto his sandwich.

It was none other than some unknown inventor you've never heard of, Thomas Edison.

It was named a very non-Italian "sandwich grill", but the make-up is nearly identical today. Two plates heat up and grill the sandwich on both sides at the same time. For some reason it did not become popular and disappeared by the 1930's like Amelia Earhart.

The first modern rendition hit the market in 1974 when Breville released a "sandwich maker". It was popular all over the place, especially in Australia; so much so that grilled sandwiches are called "Brevilles" today. What an exciting life those Australians have.

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Karen Bennett
Last updated on January 30, 2020 by Karen Bennett

Karen Bennett lives in Chicago with her family, and when she’s not writing, she can usually be found practicing yoga or cheering on her kids at soccer games. She holds a master’s.degree in journalism and a bachelor’s in English, and her writing has been published in various local newspapers, as well as “The Cheat Sheet,” “Illinois Legal Times,” and “USA Today.” She has also written search engine news page headlines and worked as a product manager for a digital marketing company. Her expertise is in literature, nonfiction, textbooks, home products, kids' games and toys, hardware, teaching accessories, and art materials.


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