Let’s be real. Paninis are delicious! Who doesn’t like a toasted, warm, gooey sandwich? The good news is that you don’t have to wait until you go to your favourite coffee shop to have one if you have one of the best panini presses at home.
Check out our panini press reviews for help finding the perfect one for your home kitchen.
Oh yeah, one of these things make the ultimate gift for the foodie in your life, so get shopping for the ultimate sandwich makers.
The Best Panini Presses for 2020
Years ago, to get a top-quality grilled sandwich or panini, you’d have to shell out big bucks to go to a cafe or restaurant. However, you can grill your own delicious sandwiches at home with one of these top panini presses. Your family will love your creations! The sky is the limit in terms of creativity.
It can be a bit difficult to find the best panini press, so we’ve done the research for you. You’ll find the top 5 best panini presses so you can make the best choice. Read on for all the details and our panini press reviews!
The Cuisinart Sandwich Press is a very highly rated panini maker. It’s priced very reasonably, and although it’s a bit more expensive than some of the other panini presses, it’s an extremely high-quality product that will last for years and years, even with daily use.
1800 Watts of Power
Seriously, we love this thing and find that it’s just a step above the rest in terms of ease of use and quality. The powerful 1800-watts is among the best in the business and you’ll find that it heats up quickly, and is hot enough to do things like sear meats.
Easy to Clean
It’s also easier to clean than many of the other ones on this list. Both the top plate and bottom plate are removable, which means you can soak them in hot soapy water in the sink to get all those little crusty cheese bits off! The drip tray keeps your counter clean and tidy too.
Love it? Any kitchen appliance that’s easy to clean and is dishwasher safe is a win in our books, including this gourmet sandwich maker.
Stainless Steel Finish
The stainless steel finish looks classy and stylish on your counter, so that you can leave it there year-round! The outer surface is easy to clean with a quick wipe as well.
Key Features this Top Rated Panini Press
Weight: 6 Pounds
Size: Cooks 2 sandwiches at a time, or multiple chicken breasts, steaks, etc.
Six Cooking Options: contact grill, panini press, full griddle, full grill, half grill, half griddle, top melt (along with adjustable temperature control)
Ridges for some nice grill marks on your food
- 5-in-1 countertop unit works as a contact grill, panini press, full grill, full griddle and half...
- Brushed stainless-steel housing; sturdy panini-style handle; floating cover to adjust to thickness...
- Removable and reversible 11" x 9" dishwasher-safe nonstick cooking plates drain grease for healthy...
- Adjustable temperature controls with indicator lights; gourmet recipes and scraping tool included
- Please refer to the Product Video and the User Manual before use.
What People are Saying about the Cuisinart Griddler Panini Maker
“I’m super impressed by the warm-up time on this thing, and also the ability of it to maintain a nice temperature throughout the cooking process. Just be sure to lock the top plate into place before lifting it up if you don’t want to drip grease onto your power cord.”
“My family uses this for a whole bunch of things, from sandwiches to chicken breasts to ribs and more. It’s super versatile and also easy to clean. It heats up a lot more quickly than my old one, that’s for sure. I don’t think it’d be out of place in a professional kitchen it’s that good.”
“Love the indicator light that lets you know when it’s ready to go. Plus the variety of heating functions makes this super versatile and fun to use. The hinge can accommodate foods with various thicknesses really easily.”
More Information and Where to Buy It
Full Review: Cuisinart Griddler Panini Press Review
This best panini press is available on Amazon. Purchase yours today by clicking the button below and don’t forget to see if it’s eligible for fast, free shipping with a Prime membership:
Top Rated Panini Press #2: IMUSA Electric Panini Maker
The IMUSA Electric Panini and Sandwich Maker is one of the best panini presses. Reasonably priced, it makes an excellent option for those looking for a flat grill that can do sandwiches as well as things like french toast or pancakes. The flat bottom surface makes clean up so easy. You just have to wipe and go.
You’ll be able to make gourmet sandwiches for your family in no time with this thing.
Specs for one of the Best Rated Panini Presses
Weight: 9 pounds
Size: Cooks 2 large sandwiches at a time
Surface: Non-stick for easy cleaning, more square in shape than other panini presses
Height: Floating hinge can handle different sized sandwiches
Power and heat indicator lights
What People are Saying about the Imusa Panini Maker
“I bought this thing when I opened up a coffee shop and wanted an inexpensive “starter” panini press. I anticipated having to replace it a few months later. Well…2000+ sandwiches later and it’s still going strong. When it does eventually die, I’ll be buying myself another one.”
“It’s ideal for making a toasted sandwich because there are no deep grill plates to cause it to burn like some of the other brands. That said, it’s not ideal for burgers, steaks, etc. because you won’t get the grill marks, plus there are no ridges to catch the grease.”
“My only wish is that it had reversible plates so that I could use it as a griddle on one side, and then grill marks with the other. However, that’d likely be way more expensive than this one is!”
More Information and Where To Buy One of the Top Products
Full Review: IMUSA Electric Grilled Sandwich Maker
The IMUSA Panini Press is available on Amazon. Don’t forget to sign up for a prime membership because you can often get free shipping along with your order:
Top Rated Panini Grill #3: George Foreman Removable Plate Grill
The George Foreman Removable Plate Grill is a top choice for a panini press because of one key feature: the removable plates. You can just wait for the grill to cool, remove the plates, throw them in the dishwasher and forget about them. We LOVE panini grills that are as easy to clean as this one.
It’s never been easier to make delicious grilled sandwiches at home. The only real negative is the size. The George Foreman is a bit smaller than the other panini presses listed here and can only cook 1 large, or 2 small sandwiches. This makes it better for a single person than a family.
If you want some grills marks on your meat or sandwiches, then look no further than the George Foreman. This is kind of what it specializes in! Get your burgers on there—you’ll be able to create the perfect meal in no time.
Specs for the George Foreman Grill
Weight: 6 pounds
Size: 1 large or 2 small sandwiches
Ceramic grill plates are dishwasher safe
Adjustable, floating hinge
Square Cooking surface
Takes up very little space on the countertop
Cool touch release feature
What People are Saying about It
“Texas summer means it too hot to go outside to BBQ. This thing allows me to stay inside in the air-conditioning but still get my BBQ on. My family uses this thing basically every single week and have been doing so for years. It’s extremely versatile and does well for grilling chicken, steaks, hot sandwiches and more.”
“My grill is finally falling apart after 10 years of serious use. That makes me a happy customer and I’ll be buying another one of them. I mainly use them for paninis and grilled cheese—the kids are ALL about them at our house. It’s easy to clean, but just be sure to get a model with adjustable temperature control, you’ll be happy that you did.”
“Love the deep grooves in it that allow the fat to drain when cooking things like steaks or sausages. It’s a nice fit for our cooking need and we use it almost every single day!”
More Details and Where to Buy It
Full Review: George Foreman Removable Plate Grill Review
This George Foreman Grill Unit is available on Amazon:
Compare Panini Presses
If you take a look online, you’ll notice that there are a ton of choices out there. It can even be a little bit overwhelming trying to choose the best one.
But, not to worry. We’ve done the hard work for you and narrowed down the choices to some of our favourites. Be sure to check out this handy comparison chart:
Best Rated Panini Press #4: Breville Duo Nonstick Panini Press
The Breville Duo Nonstick Panini Press is the most expensive panini press listed on this page, but it’s well worth it. This is a top quality product at a very reasonable price.
It’s a hefty machine, capable of cooking 2 very large, thick sandwiches with ease. The top plate has some weight to it, making it a great choice if you plan to make some serious sandwiches from thick bread.
The flat cooking surface allows you to cook a whole host of things besides sandwiches including pancakes, eggs or french toast. It’s perfect for those holiday breakfasts when you have lots of people at your house and need some extra cooking capacity.
We LOVE the cooking surface that is larger than many of the other ones out there.
4 Height Settings
There is a locking hinge with 4 height settings so you can grill sandwiches of any width. It’s large enough to cook 2-3 sandwiches at one time. The bottom is flat to allow for faster, even cooking while the top is ridged to give the sandwich those all-important grill marks.
Specs for the Breville Panini Maker
- 8 pounds
- Stainless steel construction
- Free shipping
- 5 x 13 x 12 inches
- 1500 watts of power
- Scratch resistant cooking surface
- Flat bottom for fast cooking and ribbed top for grill marks
- Floating hinge with 4 height settings
- On/ready lights
- Non-slip feet
- Locking mechanism for storage
- User manual and recipe book included
- 1 year warranty
What People are Saying About the Breville Panini Duo
“No smoke, no burnt sandwiches and it’s super easy to use and clean-up. Not sure what more you could want in a panini maker? It’s certainly one of our favourite kitchen appliances at our house and has a permanent place on our countertop.”
“I thought the fact that the plates aren’t removable might be an issue but it’s actually not. It’s designed in a way that makes it easy enough to clean with just the wipe of a cloth. It heats up quickly, and is powerful enough that you can make paninis with frozen bread. We use this thing at least once a week at our house for weekend lunches.”
“This thing makes a nice addition to our kitchen appliances because it cooks sandwiches, meats and other things faster than any other method. We use it so much that we just leave it on the countertop! I love that you can set it for a wide variety of temperatures, depending on what you’re cooking.”
It’s extremely durable and should last you for years, even with consistent use. Breville is a trusted name in this space and has a reputation for quality products.
Some Small Complaints about It
The only complaints about this product are similar to other panini presses, namely the lack of on/off switch or temperature setting and non-removable plates which can make cleaning a bit of a hassle. For a more expensive panini press, these things really should be included though so perhaps this one is a miss.
More Details and Where to Buy this Best Rated Panini Press
You can get this highly-rated panini press on Amazon today. Click the button below to check for the best prices and also to see if this product is eligible for fast, free shipping with a Prime membership:
Best Panini Presses #5: Hamilton Beach Panini Press
The Hamilton Beach Press is a very affordable option for those on a budget. It contains a surprising number of features that usually can only be found in the more expensive models including upright storage and a floating, lockable lid to cook thick sandwiches with ease. If you’re looking for some serious value for not much money, look no further than this one.
The only real negative is that the top plates and bottom plates are not removable. This makes clean-up slightly more difficult, although the price certainly reflects this.
Specs for the Hamilton Beach Panini Maker
Weight: 6 pounds
Sized for multiple sandwiches: 2 large, or 3-4 small ones
Stainless steel outer surface
Floating lid for even cooking of sandwiches of varying thickness.
Power and reheat lights
Upright storage to save countertop space
- Great for paninis and more: use this panini press to try savory sandwiches, quesadillas, and sweet...
- Floating lid: this hot sandwich maker features a café style floating lid that evenly presses any...
- No need to flip: nonstick top and bottom panini press grids heat and brown the sandwich, giving you...
- Green means Go: for best results, preheat sandwich maker 6 minutes before use; Built in ready light...
- Top lid lock: lock panini press lid to create an easy bruschetta or open face sandwiches
What People are Saying about It
“It’s super handy and it’s kind of a workhorse in my kitchen—paninis, quesadillas, burgers, etc. I do wish it had a temperature control that I could adjust, but for the price? I can’t really complain too much! It seems durable enough so far.”
“The non-stick coating on the surface makes pretty easy cleaning, despite not having removable plates. Just be sure to use plastic to turn your sandwich or burger because this stuff can get damaged pretty easily by metal kitchen tools. I love how evenly it seems to cook things.”
More Information and Where to Buy it
Full Review: Hamilton Beach Panini Press Review
You can get this affordable panini press on Amazon:
Check out this Panini Recipe
Okay, so you’ve chosen your panini press, but you’re now probably wondering how to use it. The good news is that it really is quite simple.
All you have to do is choose your bread, cheese, and then add some (cooked) veggies or meat. Put it all together and grill it, and then you’ll be well on your way to a delicious toasted sandwich!
You can learn more here: Basic Panini Recipe.
Learn more about making the perfect panini in this video below:
How do you Make a Panini?
There are a few simple steps you can follow if you want to make a panini:
- Spread olive oil on the inside of two pieces of bread (ciabatta, focaccia or sourdough work well).
- Put a piece of cheese on each slice.
- Add meat, veggies or other toppings.
- Sprinkle with salt and pepper
- Close the panini and butter the outside
- Put onto a hot panini press and cook until crispy and brown on the outside.
What Should I look for in a Panini Press?
There are a few different factors that you should consider when deciding which panini maker is right for you. Here are a few of the most important ones.
Floating Hinge, or Not
Some panini makers have a floating hinge mechanism that allows you to adjust the height of the lid. This is ideal if you plan to make a large amount of food on the grill at the same time. If you don’t have this feature, you’l find that the sandwiches at the back get more cooked than they ones at the front.
Removable, Dishwasher Safe Plates
All other things considered, this is probably the most important thing that people consider. Are the plates removable, and can you throw them in the dishwasher? If you answer yes to both these questions, you’ll find that your clean-up is much quicker and easier than those without this feature.
Size of Panini Presses
If you want to make just a couple sandwiches at a time, then consider getting a smaller one that’ll take up less space in your cupboard or on your counter. However, for a big family, consider getting a bigger one that can toast up to 4 sandwiches at a time.
Grill or Griddle Plate
If you plan to cook only sandwiches, then opt for the grill plate. This also works well for things like hamburgers or chicken breast.
However, the griddle plates are a bit more versatile and you can use them for things like pancakes or french toast too.
Some panini makers have only an on/off switch. This means that you can’t set the desired temperature, while some of them have this feature.
We generally prefer the adjustable ones because they’re a bit more versatile for cooking food besides sandwiches.
If you make a sandwich with lots of cheese, or something like a fatty steak, it can get pretty messy. That’s why it’s ideal to have a drip tray for the fat to go into, instead of just absorbing back into the food. This also makes it ideal for cooking bacon.
Price of Panini Presses
There are certainly some toasted sandwich makers that come in at around $30, while some can be found for 2-3x that amount. While the cheaper ones certainly get the job done, the more expensive ones are a bit more user friendly. They heat up more quickly, have adjustable temperature controls, as well as removable plates for easier cleaning. It’s for these reasons that we recommend these higher priced ones if you can afford them.
As with anything, it’s usually prudent to check the reviews online for a specific product that you’re considering. A website like this is a good place to start, but also be sure to check the panini price reviews on Amazon. We pay closest attention to the 3-4 star ones because they usually give the most accurate picture of a product’s true strengths and weaknesses.
Panini Press FAQs
Here are some of the most common questions that people have about making delicious toasted sandwiches at home with one of these grills.
What Bread is Best for Making Paninis?
The most delicious paninis start with a bread that stands well on its own and have some structure to them such as focaccia, ciabatta or a baguette. Avoid light and airy bread like Wonderbread or other kinds of regular sandwich bread or sourdough because they don’t grill very well and you’ll have a very flat, dry sandwich.
Can you Use Regular Bread in a Panini Press?
For best results with a panini press, start with a bread that stands well on its own like ciabatta. Regular bread that’s light and airy won’t grill well and will become too flattened. You’ll end up with bread that’s super crispy and dry and you’ll find that you won’t have great results.
Do you Oil a Panini Press?
To get that nice crunch on your sandwich, you should oil your panini press by brushing olive oil or melted butter on it. If you’re calories conscious, you could consider using a butter flavoured cooking spray. Also be careful with ingredients that have a lot of moisture content in them like tomatoes if you want a crispy sandwich.
Do you Spray a Panini Press?
Most panini recipes recommend brushing the outside of the bread with olive oil or melted butter in order to get the crispy crunch on your sandwich. However, if you want to save some calories, then consider using butter flavoured cooking spray directly onto the panini press instead.
Can you Cook Chicken on a Panini Press?
A panini press can also be used to cook chicken and it works well as an indoor grill. Here’s how to do it:
- Heat up your panini press
- Take your thawed chicken breast out of the fridge and brush with oil
- Season with salt, pepper and other spices
- Put onto the panini press and cook for 4-5 minutes, or until no longer pink in the middle
Can you Cook Burgers in a Panini Press?
A panini press is ideal to cook burgers on because you can apply pressure on both sides of the meat which means faster cooking times. You’ll also ensure even cooking and have the ability to eliminate much of the fat with a panini grill. The presses with ridges are best for cooking burgers or other types of meat.
Can You Cook a Steak in a Panini Press?
It’s possible to cook a steak in a panini press by following a few simple steps:
- Bring the steak up to room temperature
- Brush with oil and season with salt, pepper and other desired spices
- Heat up your panini press to high
- Place steak inside and cook for 7-10 minutes, or until desired doneness
- Take off the press and let rest of 2-3 minutes before slicing
Do I Need a Panini Press?
If you don’t want to buy a panini press to make toasted sandwiches, you don’t strictly need one. Use a heavy skillet and place your sandwich in it. Then, put a heavy cast iron pan on top of it to press it down. Flip over the sandwich once it’s grilled on the one side and grill the other. However, the best panini presses make this job so much easier!
What is the Difference Between Ciabatta and Focaccia?
The main difference is that focaccia is a flatbread while ciabatta is baked in loaves. Focaccia makes an ideal base for pizza, or topped with veggies, meat or cheese and then grilled. Ciabatta is commonly used for sandwiches. Both of these delicious bread are ideal for paninis.
What is the Difference Between Ciabatta and Panini?
Ciabatta is a kind of bread that’s popular for making toasted sandwiches. The difference between it and a panini is that a panini is simply an Italian name for sandwiches (plural or Panino), however in North America, the name implies a toasted sandwich. A panini can be made from many kinds of breads, including ciabatta.
What Temperature Should a Panini Press Be?
The ideal temperature for panini presses is 375 degrees which is considered to be medium-high. It should take around 3 minutes to cook your panini at this temperature. But, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for your panini press in order to get the best results.
How Long Does it Take to Press a Panini?
Follow the manufacturer’s directions with regards to preheating. Then, it usually takes 3-5 minutes to press a panini until it’s golden brown and crispy. However, this will strongly depend on the temperature of the machine.
Can you Make Toast in a Panini Maker?
If you don’t have a toaster, you can use your panini maker to make toast. Heat up your panini press and then put bread in it. Cook for 5-10 minutes until toasted to your desired doneness. To make it extra delicious, consider adding butter to the bread before cooking in panini presses.
What Cheese is Used in Panini?
You can use any type of cheese in a panini sandwich. However, mozzarella is one of the most common choices. Or, consider a 4 cheese blend of mozzarrella, fontina, gorgonzola and provolone to take your take your toasted sandwich making to the next level.
How do you Heat up a Panini?
Paninis are best eaten fresh off the grill. However, if you must heat up a panini, then consider doing it in a toaster oven or conventional oven for 8-10 minutes at a low temperature. Do NOT heat up your panini in the microwave as this will cause it to get very soggy.
Can You Put a Panini in the Toaster?
It’s not recommended that you put a panini in regular toaster, either for cooking or reheating. When it heats up, the cheese will drip into the heating element because it’s sitting vertically and can cause a fire or ruin your toaster. However, you could consider heating up a panini in a toaster oven where it can lay down flat.
Can you Eat a Cold Panini?
Most people prefer to eat paninis when hot, right off the panini press because the cheese will be melted and gooey. However, it is also possible to eat them cold and you’ll find that they’re quite good as well! Or, consider heating it up in the toaster oven.
What is the Plural of Panini?
In Italian, panini is plural while panino is singular. However, in English speaking countries, panini refers to both singular and plural. However, some people form the plural by adding an S—paninis.
Can you Use a George Foreman Grill as a Panini Press?
It is certainly possible to use a George Foreman Grill as a panini press because the back hinge on it allows the top plate to sit higher up, allowing enough room for a full sandwich. Think beyond the steak and chicken for your George Foreman as it can certainly do a nice job for toasted sandwiches.
Can you Make a Panini in a Waffle Maker?
In a pinch, you could consider using your waffle maker as a panini press but you’ll get the waffle like pattern on the outside of your sandwich, not the nice toasted grill marks. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for heating and you’ll certainly want to butter the outside of the bread for cooking in a waffle iron.
Have your Say about these Panini Presses
What are your thoughts about these top-rated panini grills? Are you considering one of these, or another brand to make a delicious toasted sandwich? Leave a comment below and let us know what you think. We’d love to hear from you.
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Last update on 2020-01-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API