Best Panini Press of May 2017: Reviews & Buyers Guide

Toasted bread, melted cheese, and a slice of turkey.

It’s time to talk about what I consider to be the best Panini press options on the market today.

A panini press is essentially a sandwhich grill that is relatively small in size with hinges that are used to clamp a plated lid over the sandwhich. This creates a tasted golden brown color with a crisp texture and melted cheese. Creating a Panini requires a delicate balance of heat, so it is crucial that your press have a solid grasp of temperature control options. You will also see that generally speaking, a Panini press does not get up to the temperature that a griddle would (on purpose).

Top 5 Panini Press Options


Cuisinart GR-150: Editors Top Rated Option

pp2Stacked with features and producing over 1800 watts of power have sure made this panini maker stand out. In fact, we consider this to be our top rated panini sandwich press because of its versatility, its price, and the amount of options you can do with this thing. It can be used for not only Panini’s, but also searing steaks making pancakes, toasting hamburger buns, and much more.

Our Cuisinart GR-150 review also wants to make note of its large size. While that is beneficial during cook time, it can make storage bit more difficult, however you’ll find many people just make this a counter accessory. It comes with 2 non-stick aluminum plates (both capable of being removed and reversed, aka dishwasher safe). You can also full the top of the griddle 100% back and use it as a two sided grill for things like eggs, hamburgers, etc. Each griddle plate features its own temperature control system, allowing you to have full control of doneness and cooktime.

Likes
  • Removable and reversible cooking plates
  • Can lay flat to cook like a grill

Dislikes
  • Plates are made of aluminum
  • Size can make storage tough

Dad’s Note: Our top vote. It’s not too expensive, and is extremely versatile. I wouldn’t say that replacing the plates is necessary until the non-stick starts to peel (if it even does), however when it does upgrade to cast iron plates. 

Cuisinart GR-11: Budget Friendly Option

pp4bVoted the best cheap panini press, we’re pleased to be reviewing this tool. It doesn’t break the bank, it does what it says, and it’s created by a reputable brand Cuisinart. It’s extremely versatile and has been known to make some fantastic ham and cheese sandwiches as well as some top of the line grilling. Both cooking plates just like the GR-150 are removable and can be put directly into the dishwasher after use.

Unlike the GR150’s large size, the GR-11 takes up substantially less counter space and offers a smaller cooking area. This means, if you’re making multiple items of food, you will need to probably cook them one at a time.

Likes
  • Budget friendly
  • Dishwasher safe plates

Dislikes
  • Small in size, makes it difficult to cook for multiple guests at once

Dad’s Note: I don’t have much to add, other than this is your pick for a cheap and affordable panini press. No fancy bells and whistles, but it gets the job done. 

 How To Use A Panini Press

What To Look For When Purchasing

Are the plates removable?

This is important for cleaning. If your plates are removable, this will mean that you can easily put them in a dish washing machine, requiring less physical work to maintain the press properly. Removable plates increase the lifespan of the press and keep results high.

What are the plates made out of?

You will generally find that your press plates are either made out of aluminum, ceramic, or cast iron. Typically aluminum are the cheapest as well as the least durable. You may see non-stick coating peel off the aluminum after usage, so keep a look out. Ceramic panini press plates are higher quality than aluminum and they don’t contain PFOA or PTFE harmful substances found in non-stick. They also cook at a quicker rate than just about any other type of plate you will find.

Our favorite type of press plate is cast iron, they only come with expensive units, but the cooking and the flavoring that they provide is bar none. It’s also important to note that you may have to season them depending if your purchase comes with pre-seasoned plates or not. Expect these to last a lifetime.

Is there a temperature control?

Cooking a Panini is all about very fine temperature control. You need to melt the cheese, heat the meat, and make the bread a golden brown with a nice crunch. Temperature control dials will allow you to optimize your temp process in order to create the perfect representation.

What is the cooking surface area?

Easy answer – how many Panini can you cook at once? In order to know that you need to understand the surface area that your press allows!

Does A warranty exist?

A warranty is essentially a method of protection for you the buyer. If your product malfunctions within the given timeframe a warranty allows you access to a replacement unit or at least a fix to your existing unit. Seek out panini press reviews which offer one.

Russ Kannigan
 

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