The 10 Best Panini Presses
10. Oster Extra Large
- ptfe- and pfoa-free
- adjustable feet for stability
- difficult to clean
|Rating||4.1 / 5.0|
9. Hamilton Beach Gourmet
- simple to use design
- readiness indicator light
- grill plates are not removable
|Rating||4.2 / 5.0|
8. Lodge Square
- nonstick surface improves with use
- seasoned with oil for natural finish
- requires another pan
|Rating||3.9 / 5.0|
7. De'Longhi Contact
- cool-touch handle never gets hot
- built-in safety lock system
- adjustable thermostat
|Rating||3.8 / 5.0|
6. Aicok Grill
- cafe-style floating lid
- upright or horizontal storage
- backed by a two-year warranty
|Rating||4.0 / 5.0|
5. Calphalon Contemporary
- three layers of nonstick coating
- brushed steel handle stays cool
- oven-safe up to 450 degrees f
|Rating||4.2 / 5.0|
4. George Foreman Evolve
- adjustable angle
- high-heat searing option
- plates are dishwasher-safe
|Rating||4.5 / 5.0|
3. Imusa Electric
- reliable even with heavy use
- large cooking surface
- heats up in less than four minutes
|Rating||5.0 / 5.0|
2. Breville Duo
- stainless steel construction
- cooking surfaces made of quantanium
- nonstick and scratch-proof
|Rating||4.9 / 5.0|
1. Cuisinart Gourmet 5-in-1
- gourmet recipes included
- comes with a scraping tool
- convenient plate release buttons
|Rating||4.8 / 5.0|
What Should I Look For In A Panini Press?
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.
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.
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.