In this article, we bring you the panini presses. Ooey-gooey melted cheese and crunchy bread make the best late-night snacks.
Before you decide that you don’t need an appliance that’s dedicated solely to pressed sandwiches, consider how much you’d pay for a quality grilled sandwich at your local cafe. You can use a panini press to make everything from grilled cheese sandwiches to hamburgers.
If you want to improve the taste and texture of your grilled foods, check out our top panini press picks. These amazing appliances manage to toast, grill, and warm both sides of your food simultaneously. But we do.
Best Panini Presses
1. The Original Dash Mini Maker
The Dash Mini Maker is one of the most versatile kitchen appliances on the market. This little electric cooker is capable of producing scrumptious toasted sandwiches, waffles, hash browns, and so much more.
While small in stature, the Dash is plenty powerful. It utilizes 350 watts of electric power to evenly cook all sorts of culinary creations.
Its dual non-stick surfaces release foods with ease. Plus, the cooker will add a splash of color to your countertop without taking up too much space.
We recommend this pick for college students, bachelors, teachers, or anyone who isn’t cooking for a crowd.
- Makes paninis, waffles, and more
- Heats up in minutes
- Dual non-stick surfaces keep food from sticking to the hot plates
- Covered by a 1-year warranty
- Easily wiped clean
- Not suitable for large families
2. Cuisinart GR-4N 5-in-1 Griddler
This oversized electric cooker has five proprietary cooking configurations. You can use it as a contact grill, a panini press, a full grill, a full griddle, or a half grill/half griddle.
With its brushed stainless steel housing and durable panini press handle, you know it means business. A floating press lid ensures that home cooks aren’t limited to making paper-thin sandwiches.
Another cool feature is the cool blue LCD screen and the quartet of control dials. Cuisinart wants you to be able to step up your grill game.
It’s also worth noting that the grill plates can be removed for easy cleaning. On top of this, there is a grease tray integrated into the base unit. Both of these design elements make for easier cleanups.
We only wish that Cuisinart was a little better about honoring their warranty. Some customers said that the company failed to adequately respond to their concerns about this and other products.
- Like burnt cheese? A scraping tool is included
- 11″ x 9″ dishwasher-safe nonstick cooking plates for easy cleaning
- Integrated drip tray for healthier and less messy dining
- Five unique cooking configurations
- Adjustable toast and temperature settings
- Poor warranty service
3. George Foreman Two-Serving Indoor Grill
Where would we be without the George Foreman grill, which is arguably one of the panini grill presses on the market? This affordable and attractive cooking appliance will help you step up your sandwich game. It’s an excellent alternative to the traditional stovetop and open-flame cooking.
The non-stick grill plates are big enough for two side-by-side sandwiches. The coating is durable enough to withstand the pokes and prods of metal cutlery.
The non-stick surface has been lauded as a diet-friendly cooking alternative. So, feel free to ditch the fatty oils and butter. The sloped cook surface removes up to 42% of fat.
Naturally, it has a dishwasher-safe drip tray for the clean and efficient removal of excess fats and juices.
We only wish that the George Foreman Grill gave home cooks more control over their cooking preferences. After all, the device’s preset cooking temperatures sometimes leave foods with cold or uncooked centers.
- Large enough for two portions
- Reduces fat consumption
- Durable non-stick coating
- Removable, dishwasher-safe drip tray for less messy cleanup sessions
- No adjustable temperature settings
4. Hamilton Beach Electric Panini Press
The Hamilton Beach Electric Press is one of the panini grills on the market. This unit can be used traditionally or with both sides positioned flat like a griddle.
It has an 8-by-10-inch non-stick cooking surface. You can make delicious paninis one night and scrumptious griddle pizzas the next.
We love that both sides of this cooking unit are ribbed. You successfully brand your toasted sandwiches with grill marks without ever flipping them.
The machine heats up in just six minutes. This can feel like a long when your stomach is growling. However, an onboard readiness light ensures that you are not waiting any longer than you need to be.
The stylish red appliance will elevate the look of your kitchen.
Our only complaint is that the lid doesn’t lock down. As a result, you may be forced to manually hold it down to compress thick foods.
- Excellent options for hot days when you don’t want to power on the oven
- Works as a panini press and a griddle
- Ribs on both the top and bottom plates
- Promotes culinary creativity in even the most lackluster home cooks
- Easy to clean
- No lid latch
5. George Foreman GRP4842P Multi-Plate Evolve Grill
As arguably one of the home panini makers, the George Foreman GRP4842P Multi-Plate Evolve Grill enables home cooks to make amazing grilled meats, paninis, and waffles.
We love this device’s high-heat searing burst. This setting utilizes 90 seconds of 500-degree heat to give food restaurant-quality appearances.
The panini maker also has an easy-to-use digital control panel, complete with a temperature range that varies from 325 to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. The buttons are built into the surface of the press plate, making it easy for home cooks to wipe them down right after an impromptu cooking session.
We also love this unit’s advanced ceramic coating, which offers easy oil-free food releases.
All of the cook plates are interchangeable and subject to the machine’s preset cool release settings. For that reason, we recommend this device for older children looking for safe self-guided after-school cooking options.
- Proprietary non-stick copper coating for easier food release
- Buttons are built into the lid
- 3-in-1 interchangeable cooking surfaces
- Makes excellent breakfasts, lunches, and dinners
- Overcooks on occasion
6. Cuisinart Electric Griddler
We were super pleased with the Cuisinart Griddler’s super fast warming time. It is ready to go in just 5 minutes.
The machine also has a lovely control panel where users can dial in their target cooking temperatures and times. The settings are consistent and accurate, and foods are rarely charred to the point of being inedible.
The heavy top plate does a great job of searing dense meats. However, it is a bit too heavy for soft slices of bread and delicate fillers.
- LCD screen with temperature and timer display
- Removable and reversible dishwasher-safe nonstick cooking plates
- Dishwasher-safe scraping tool for easy cleanup
- Adjustable temperatures from 175-450 degrees
- No way to limit the pressure of the squeeze
7. Cuisinart GR-1 Griddler Panini and Sandwich Press
This is one of our favorite panini sandwich makers. First off, this appliance has a lovely brushed stainless steel exterior. Plus, its upper and lower grill plates can be removed for easier cleaning.
The unit has an 11-by-7-inch cook surface. Its floating hinge encourages home cooks to make sandwiches of any size.
A readiness indicator light lets cooks know when the unit is warm and ready for grilling. Meanwhile, the large press-style handle makes it easy to raise and lower the heated lid.
We love to imagine the magic that home cooks can work with such a large and powerful cooking device at their disposal. If anything, this griddle/grille will help families squeeze some tasty treats into their otherwise unforgiving weekday schedules.
If Cuisinart would just add a grease tray, then we’d be 100% satisfied with this offering.
- Preset temperatures for perfectly toasty grilled sandwiches
- Beautiful stainless steel housing
- Large ergonomic press handle
- Floating hinge for sandwiches of varying sizes
- No grease drain
8. Breville Smart Grill
The Breville Smart Grill is an excellent investment for home cooks who can’t get enough grilled sandwiches. The unit’s adjustable height control system ensures that the lid doesn’t put too much pressure on delicate slices of bread and toppings. Meanwhile, an adjustable plate tilt ensures that fats and juices are directed onto a drip plate instead of your counter.
This machine is highly versatile. Tilt it open to make pancakes, eggs, burgers, and open-faced sandwiches. Or else, see what toasty creations you can whip up in panini mode.
The heating elements are built right into the cook plates. As such, you can be sure that no heat is lost during the cooking process. Unlike many of the alternatives, this press is rearing to go after every toasting session.
The device also has a proprietary AI heat adjuster called Element IQ. It is programmed to automatically drop the temperature of the griddle when cold ingredients are introduced. You can also utilize the temperate control dial on the right side of the orange LCD screen to dial in your target cook settings.
If you’re looking to upgrade from a run-of-the-mill George Foreman grill, consider this snazzy smart press. The price is high, but you can cook everything from steak to grilled cheese sandwiches in a matter of minutes. The finished products are nothing short of phenomenal.
- Opens flat for “barbecue mode”
- The onboard LCD screen lets cooks know what they’re doing
- Dial-in timer and temperature controls
- Temperatures range from 320 to 450 degrees Fahrenheit
- Removable non-stick plates for easy cleaning
9. IMUSA USA GAU-80102 Large Electric Panini Press
Here we have yet another one of the home panini presses for quesadillas and sandwiches. The Imusa panini press features two heated flat plates that can be compressed together to create all sorts of tasty treats.
While the machine doesn’t offer a lot of pressure, it’s perfect for delicate, cheese-filled selections.
Cook times can be a little lengthy. However, the preset temperature settings seem to offer that slow, gradual heat that’s essential to toasting.
The machine is quite compact, and it has a lid lock. As such, you’ll have no trouble squeezing this device into the corner of a small kitchen cabinet or pantry.
- 1,400 watts of power
- Elevating brushed stainless steel finish
- Onboard indicator lights
- Takes up very little room
- Difficult to close
10. Lodge LPP3 Cast Iron Square Ribbed Panini Press
For those looking to go a more traditional route, there’s always Lodge’s one-piece cast iron panini press. This ribbed cooking press has an 8.25-square-inch cooking surface.
Lodge designed this low-key kitchen accessory to be paired with their 10.5-inch square skillet. However, you can also couple it with round skillets that are 12.5 inches or greater in diameter.
The preseasoned press offers consistently easy releases. All you need to do is wash and dry it when you’re done cooking.
We only wish it was big enough to produce two paninis at once. Until they release a jumbo cast iron panini press, we’ll just have to work on our patience.
- Pairs well with large nonstick griddles and cast iron pans
- Preseasoned with vegetarian-friendly soybean oil
- Durable cast iron will last a lifetime
- Easy to clean and maintain
- Requires additional cooking accessories
The Ultimate Guide to Choosing
Before we show you our favorite panini presses, let’s go over a few key considerations.
We’re not very fond of kitchen accessories that only serve one purpose. Whenever possible, we recommend opting for a panini press with interchangeable flat and ribbed cooking plates. This way, you can make eggs, pancakes, steaks, and sandwiches using the same machine.
Opt for a panini press that has a generous cooking surface. If you live alone or don’t have a lot of kitchen space, you might be able to get away with having a single-serving cooker. If you’re cooking for a crowd, you’re going to want to make sure you can cook two sandwiches simultaneously.
If you want to wow your friends and family with amazing paninis, you’re going to need a press with adjustable temperature controls.
Removable Cook Plates
Cleanup can be quite a hassle when you have no other option than to scrape every bit of burnt cheese and bread crumbs from a machine’s ribs. If you want to save yourself a headache, removable plates are a must-have.
You might have to pay a premium for this sort of upgrade, but we promise it’s worth every penny to be able to toss those messy cook plates in the dishwasher.
Floating hinges adjust to accommodate foods of various thicknesses. This is an essential element for anyone who wants to avoid putting too much pressure on fragile foods.
We hope you enjoyed our rundown of the top 10 panini presses. It wasn’t easy, but we had to choose one winner. In our humble opinion, the top panini maker of 2022 has got to be the Original Dash Mini Maker. While the Dash delivers a wide variety of delicious treats, it’s not the only one to earn our accolades. Be sure to check the list above for budget and upgrade options galore.
Do you have a favorite panini recipe? Share it below!