We may earn a commission if you make a purchase through one of our links. The LA Times newsroom or editorial staff was not involved in the creation of this content. Learn more

Review: Best Panini Presses

If you are familiar with counter top grills, then you pretty much know what a panini press is. The main difference between the two are the addition of a floating hinge. This hinge allows you to stack up a large sandwich onto the grill, and when closing the lid, you won't crush the sandwich. The hinge will automatically adjust to the thickness of the sandwich so that it will gently rest on the bread layers, while toasting them and warming up the insides. That automatic hinge adjustment is why it is called "floating," because it literally floats over your sandwich. You can technically use any countertop grill as a panini press, and many regular hinged grills will advertise that they are panini presses, but without a floating hinge, they are falling short.

To that end, all of the machines listed here will have a floating hinge. They will also have a genuine handle to lower the upper plate slowly and carefully onto the top slice of bread. There are panini presses out there that don't give you this luxury, which can lead to squashed bread, and burned toast. Each one will have easy-to-clean, non-stick grilling plates, and for best results, all of these plates will have to be seasoned first, which means wiping them down with vegetable or olive oil after every washing, so be aware of that. Many types of panini presses have removable grill plates, which makes overall cleaning a bit easier, so if you want the easiest to clean units, look for those types.

Most genuine panini sandwiches are made by using ciabatta, rosetta or other types of Italian bread, but the reality is you can use any type of bread. There may be a bit of trial and error to get your panini toasted correctly, but once you figure that out, there is no sandwich that is tastier, by far. And remember, many can also be grills, so even though your main reason to make this purchase is for great tasting toasted sandwiches, if you want this to be an indoor grill as well, look for the most versatile types. Each of these best panini presses in 2021 will have a minimum one year limited warranty, unless otherwise stated in the description, and they will also come with basic accessories like a cleaning tool and recipe booklet.

Top Picks for Best Panini Press

Cuisinart GR-4N 5-in-1 Griddler

If you want one of the best selling panini presses on the market, go with the Cuisinart GR-4N 5-in-1 Griddler with versatility and controls which put it on top of our list.
The reason why the Griddler is so popular is because it gives you total temperature control and reversible plates with a flat side for panini bread sandwiches and ridged for regular grilling. You can use the center knob to select panini or grilling, than use a side knob to select the perfect temperature. This function allows you to dial in the correct temp for excellently toasted panini sandwiches, and it also gives you amazing versatility for grilling just about anything else. Better still, the unit actually folds open and converts to a flat griddle, and there is also a selector knob for griddle use too. This unit also comes covered by a three year warranty. You can pay more for a panini sandwich maker, but the Cuisinart Griddler offers the best in both value and function.

IMUSA GAU Stainless Steel Panini Press

If all you care about is making panini bread sandwiches, then check out the IMUSA, GAU-80102, Electric Panini and Sandwich Maker. There is nothing fancy about the this unit; simply plug it in, the flat griddles heat up, put your sandwich between the press, and let it toast until you're satisfied. It has "on" and "ready" indicator lights, and the flat griddle surface will perfectly cover any size sandwich. Although the plates aren't removable, the flat non-stick surface wipes clean with a damp rag. Sure, you could use the IMUSA panini maker as a griddle, but since there are no grease ports, it may not be desirable. After all, cleaning a non-removable flat surface like this would be a real hassle. Bottom line, this unit is dedicated to making a good toasted panini, and to that end you can't go wrong.

Chef Buddy 3-in1 Panini Press

If you are looking for a low price in a panini press, look no furthur than the Chef Buddy Non-Stick Grill and Panini Press which would work great for a single person or a couple. The Chef Buddy is the smallest unit on our list, which means it will take up the least amount of counter space but it will also only make one single sandwich or two smaller sandwiches at a time. The lower griddle is reversible and can either be used flat for paninis, or ridged for grilling while the upper griddle is ridged. This panini press also has a grease port on the side if you use it as a grill as well as an indicator light which lets you know when the press is heated. The Chef Buddy panini press would make a good starter for a single person or a couple. There is only a 30 day manufacturers warranty for this product, but you can get an extended warranty if you purchase it through a major department stores. Nothing fancy here, just a decent overall unit.

Proctor Silex 4 Serving Panini Press

Big and bold, and for a family sized panini maker, the Proctor Silex 25453A Panini Press Gourmet Sandwich Maker is the way to go. This unit is the largest here and capable of making 4 enormous sandwiches at a time. And although it can become a grill, this pick excels at being a panini press first and foremost. It's simple to use, just plug it in, check the power and pre-heat lights to make sure it'sready, and go to town. The plates aren't removable, so you'll always have griddle marks on your panini, and ridges make for a little bit longer cleaning time too. However, if big sandwiches or feeding a family is your thing, the Proctor Silex Panini Press will do the job nicely.

Buyer's Guide

If you love buying paninis from your local deli or restaurant you should consider buying a panini press. This is the easiest way to make them from the comfort of your own home. You will also save a lot of money in the long run.

A panini press is primarily used to heat paninis to perfection as well as grilling meat and vegetables.

The construction is fairly simple. A panini press consists of one fixed base grill and one grill that moves downwards on top of it. The two grills work in tandem to cook your food evenly on both sides.

A panini press sounds like a simple device. However, with so many features being added to new products every year, it may seem like a difficult task to choose one. To help you find the best panini press for you, we have come up with this handy buying guide.

Continue reading for all our tips and information.

What can you do with a panini press?

Do you think a panini press is only for grilling sandwiches? Think again! A panini press is a versatile kitchen appliance. Here are some of the cool things you can do with them.

Press paninis

Panini presses, as the name suggests, will grill a panini, leaving the bread a little crispy and warm. Pro tip: If you want the perfect panini don’t press too hard - this will prevent your filling from falling out.

Bacon

If you want crispy bacon in under 6 minutes, use a panini press. The press will cook the bacon evenly on both sides without the need to flip it. Cooking bacon on a panini press usually requires zero oil as the material of the grills is often non-stick. This makes panini press bacon a healthier alternative to the pan-fried variety.

Veggies

There are a variety of ways you can cook vegetables, but one of the tastiest and healthiest ways is to grill them. Recreate the memories and the flavors of a summer BBQ by using a little olive oil, rosemary, and of course, a panini press.

Burgers

Cooking burgers on a panini press is much faster than cooking them under a conventional grill oven.

Quesadillas

A panini press allows you to grill your quesadillas on two sides at once. This means you will be able to enjoy the melted cheesy goodness of a quesadilla much faster than if cooked under a conventional grill oven. If you think about it, a quesadilla is just a Mexican panini really!

Chicken breast

You can also cook chicken breast on your panini press! Just make sure the meat is fully cooked before serving.

Things to consider when buying a panini press

With so many panini presses on the market, it can be difficult to make the correct purchase. After all, no two panini presses are created equal.

Size

If you have a small kitchen, we recommend that you purchase a small panini press. This will help save space. You can also buy one that stands upright when not in use.

Removable grills

If you want a panini press that is easy to clean, you should look for one with removable non-stick grills.

Angled grills

If you are planning on using your panini press for more than just paninis, opt for one with a downward slant. When cooking fatty foods such as meat or fish, the fat will run down the grill and drain into a tub, ready for you to throw away. It also drains excess moisture from vegetables.

Temperature

Most panini presses heat up to one specific temperature. These kinds of panini presses usually have a light to indicate when the panini press is heating and when the panini press is at the correct temperature to start cooking. If you want something a little more sophisticated and versatile, you can opt for a panini press with an adjustable temperature.

Non-stick


All panini presses should be non-stick. You can find this information in the list of specifications. We do not recommend buying a panini press that doesn’t specify it is non-stick.

Scratch-resistant

This is a good feature to look for in your new panini press. If your panini press is not scratch-resistant, the non-stick coating of your grill will be more easily damaged.

Flat grill

As well as the classic ridged panini press, you can also get a flat grill. This allows for even grilling throughout your panini and other food items. However, the ridges of the grill are what give the panini its classic grill lines. If the presentation is important to you, go for a ridged panini press.

Lock lid

Purchase a panini with a locking lid so you don’t need to manually hold the top grill down. This will let you prepare other food while waiting for the panini to cook.

Floating hinge

A floating hinge on a panini press allows you to grill a wider range of thicker foods. It will hold the top grill open at different angles as well as allowing the panini press to fully close.

Other considerations

When you see a panini press that has all your desired features, look at the customer reviews on Amazon to see if it performs well. Pay particular attention to the customer reviews of people with a verified purchase. If you cannot choose between two devices, always choose the product with a warranty.

Panini press price range

You can buy a panini press for home use between the prices of $25 and $60.

FAQ

How long should I cook a panini on a panini press?

Grill your panini on a panini press for 3-5 minutes, or until the bread is crispy and the cheese has melted. This is the general recommendation for most panini presses. However, you are always best to follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

What are some sides I could have with my panini?

A warm panini goes well with a caesar salad, coleslaw, and some french fries. Alternatively, you could enjoy your panini dipped in a healthy vegetable soup.

What vegan toppings can I put on a panini?

Try topping your panini with avocado, mustard, mango chutney, and cashew nuts. Another option is hummus, olives, sundried tomatoes, and spinach. Alternatively, you can get a vegan version of any meat, cheese, or condiments.

bestcovery team.jpg
Our research team searches out the best of everything so that you can confidently pick the perfect products and services for your needs.
Related Content
Go to top