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Best Panini Sandwich Presses Recipes For Grilled Sandwich Makers

Updated on August 29, 2013

One of the things I loved growing up was when my mother would make grilled cheese sandwiches in our sandwich toaster and my love of hot sandwiches never went away. Naturally then, one of the first kitchen gadgets I bought when I moved out of home was my very own sandwich toaster but my cheap and nasty $20 purchase wasn't quite what I bargained for when it came to such things as actually cleaning up after it myself. Non-removable toaster plates and gunky cheese wrapped around the lid hinges quickly turned me off the idea of making my own toasted sandwiches this way, I didn't and still don't have my mother's patience!

Thankfully though, my loving wife came to my rescue one Christmas with the purchase of a panini press grill I had been eyeing in Costco for some time. Man, compared to a basic sandwich toaster this is a god among sandwich makers. A panini outside of Italy is basically a kind of toasted hot sandwich which is pressed between two hot plates to give a crisp toasted outside. The application of a little to the plates or butter to the outside of the bread slices gives it that signature crispiness which we have all come to love. You can make a grilled sandwich without a panini griller but for the best results, and for the signature grill lines in the bread, a panini toaster is a must have purchase.

There are two styles to choose between here, with the choice being between a stovetop panini pan with a cast iron press, or an electric panini press sandwich maker many of which have removable plates which makes them also usable as a flat griddle for burgers and chicken and some have waffle plates so you can use it as an electric waffle iron too. The following selection of panini presses are highly rated by their owners so you can find a great sandwich making machine with ease.

Editor's Pick For Best Electric Panini Press & Sandwich Maker

Cuisinart GR-4N 5-in-1 Griddler, Silver, Black Dials
Cuisinart GR-4N 5-in-1 Griddler, Silver, Black Dials

This is the panini press I personally own and I love it and so do the people who have had the joys of dining on paninis cooked with much so, at least two people I know went out and bought their own after seeing it in action!

This is a top rated panini press from Cuisinart, who make several other great panini presses in addition to this one. It features interchangable removable plates and converts from a panini sandwich press to a contact grill or griddle with ease. The hinged lid is ideal for making large sandwiches or for use as a contact grill for grilling chicken, burgers etc. and the nonstick coating combined with the removable plates makes it a breeze to clean up afterwards.

Better still, you can save over $100 off the list price by buying at Amazon.


Hot Tip : Buy A Panini Press With Removable Grill Plates

One of the things which you should definitely consider to be a must have feature when you are looking for a Panini sandwich maker, is that it has removable grilling plates. Panini presses can get messy with all those delicious cheesy ingredients, sauces and sandwich fillings so you want them to be as easy to clean as possible. Choosing to buy a removable plate Panini press over a fixed plate model is something you will definitely come to appreciate when it comes to cleaning up after a sandwich making session. These removable grill plate Panini makers often come with different types of replaceable grilling plates so you can switch out and interchange them for different types of cooking. Mine comes with both ribbed hot plates or smooth plates which can be switched out in seconds to cook different foods and this has proved very useful to me.

I use my Panini press for much more than just making Panini sandwich recipes at home. The most basic Panini makers are good for just that, making sandwiches, which is great but for more versatility it is definitely worth investing in a more feature rich machine.

Mine opens out flat and has two different types of grill plate which turns it from a sandwich maker into a flat griddle great for making pancakes, bacon, sausages, eggs and other breakfast items. I’ve also used it to grill burgers and hotdogs and I know other people use theirs for grilling pork chops and many other purposes. I have a George Foreman grill too but the panini press generally does exactly what that does and more, so it has become somewhat pushed to the back of the cupboard in favor of the more versatile panini maker and grill.

How To Choose The Best Panini Maker Machine

There are numerous panini makers on the market ranging from cheap panini presses which just toast paninis, to more versatile panini and griddle contact grills which are capable of cooking more than just sandwiches, to the commercial panini presses seen in sandwich bars and bistros around the country.

Which type you choose and which is the best panini press for you, specifically, will depend upon your own personal requirements. There are a few things you should always be on the lookout for however, in order to make an informed buying decision.

Firstly, there are cast iron panini presses which need to be seasoned before use, or panini presses with non stick grill plates to choose between. Personally, I like the convenience of nonstick grilling plates but many people prefer the cast iron grill plates.

Secondly, you need to look at how easy to clean the panini press is. An easily cleanable panini press is almost a must have if you are going to truly enjoy your new kitchen gadget. Toasted sandwiches are greasy, they ooze cheeses and other filling which touch the hot surfaces and burn on...and basically, it can get pretty messy, especially when you get adventurous and start really loading up your sandwiches with ingredients. Some panini presses have fixed plates whilst others have removable plates are more easy to clean up after use. Even the non-stick plates are easier to clean when you can remove the top and bottom plates and throw them in a bowl for cleaning.

Thirdly, you want to consider your size requirements. If you are liable to be making one or two paninis at a time then a cheap single sandwich panini maker may be perfect for you, and it'll be easier to store as well as being a little cheaper than a larger model. One of those larger models is perfect however for couples, who get to cook their sandwiches two at a time side by side and eat at the same time, or for larger families or get togethers so you can cook more at one time. A double panini press, or twin panini maker is large enough to cook two Italian panini sandwiches side by side between the hot plates...or four burgers, several pieces of chicken etc. basically a larger machine gives you more cooking options.

Once you know what you are looking for, the easiest way to find the best Italian panini sandwich maker machine for your needs is to look at reviews and ratings online. All the products featured on this page are amongst the top rated by real consumers at Amazon with ratings of at least 4 - 5 stars out of 5. The top rated panini press machines are more likely to give you what you require and last longer and a quick scan through real user comments will give you real user experiences from people who have actually used the Italian panini sandwich making machine rather than a paid magazine reviewer's opinion.

Gourmet Panini Sandwich Recipes

If you are looking for grilled panini recipes for making the best paninis with your new sandwich toaster then there are many great resources to look at online which can be found with a quick google search. I personally feel you can't beat the basic mozarella cheese, tomato and basil panini but there are plenty of different panini recipes out there.

There are also numerous great books you can pick up with recipes for paninis and instructions on how to make awesome sauces etc. to boost the flavor of the ingredients inside. I own the books listed below and can vouch for them containing excellent panini sandwich recipes which are well worth the cover price.

The Best Panini Cookbooks

Yummy Panini Recipes For The Adventurous Sandwich Lover

A panini press lets your imagination run riot when it comes to finding fun recipes all the family will love. The humble toasted sandwich can become something of a gormet delight given a little imagination and some culinary flair. Italian panini sandwich makers are the ideal vessel for allowing your creative juices to flow and if you need a little inspiration, check out some of the more adventurous panini recipes below.

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  • kabbalah lm profile image

    kabbalah lm 4 years ago

    Panini sandwiches are great

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    anonymous 4 years ago

    I love Panini sandwiches, and these presses would make it a snap.

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    AnimalHouse 5 years ago

    These are good selections. This lens is a good reference for when I decide to buy a Panini sandwich press.

  • Scarlettohairy profile image

    Peggy Hazelwood 5 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

    I can see where this machine could get a lot of use! Good to know what to look for!

  • OrganicMom247 profile image

    OrganicMom247 5 years ago

    Great selection of sandwich makers.

  • OrganicMom247 profile image

    OrganicMom247 5 years ago

    Great selection of sandwich makers.

  • profile image

    iamtreehugger 5 years ago

    a must have

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    getmoreinfo 5 years ago

    I need to get one of these sandwich makers they look great.