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She REALLY Wants a Panini Press...

I will soon be shopping for a wedding present and the bride really wants a panini press. Any owners out there? Do you love yours? Any tips on what to look for? Would a press with interchangeable plates be a good idea? Particular brands, etc. Any feedback would be helpful. Thanks!

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  1. I'm very happy with my Cuisinart. It has interchangeable plates - ridged and smooth, which I think is a great idea. If you want an old fashioned grilled cheese sandwich you'd use the smooth plates; an Italian-style grilled panini - the ridged plates.

    I haven't used it for anything other than sandwiches (it does a great job), but it also opens flat, for use as a griddle.

    5 Replies
    1. re: FlavoursGal

      I second the recommendation of the Cuisinart Griddler. I use mine not only for panani, but also for grilling kabobs, portabellos, etc. After switching to the smooth griddle plates, I use it to make pancakes. The only drawback is that the system for draining grease leaves a bit to be desired. That should be a problem only if you intend to cook bacon, hamburgers, etc. on it. For all the other applications mentioned, it works great.


      1. re: silverbear

        We love our Cuisinart and use it for many things that require grilling
        or as a sandwich press, etc.
        It is washable in the dishwasher according to Cuisinart. I spray it with olive oil for veggies
        and butter my breads.

        1. re: Bruce in SLO

          I love the Griddler as well. I also wanted a panini press and ended up getting this is due to it being so versatile as both a grill and a griddle. I haven't really seen it on sale. Most places sell it for $129. I got mine from Bed Bath and Beyond and used a 20% off coupon.

          1. re: Bruce in SLO

            I wash both sets of plates in the dishwasher routinely and have never had a problem.

            1. re: silverbear

              I love my Cuisinart Griddler, too.

              I tried the grill for hamburgers once, but there was a bit of smoke. Better off grilling non-fatty items, I suppose.

      2. I love, love, love mine, but it's not an electrical model. It's from the Mario Batali cookware line. Extremely heavy, extremely good quality. Gets a lot of use as a grill pan, not just a panini press.

        1 Reply
        1. re: themis

          Hi, Themis

          I am thinking about getting the Batali because it is so much cheaper than the Le Creuset. The reviews were mixed, but I tend to believe that it should work fine, provided it is used properly. For example, I read a reviews which recommended
          to simply heat the grill pan with the press on it so that they would both get
          sufficiently hot. Would you recommend this as well or what other suggestion do you have (the users who were critical said it was hard/slow to get the press hot enough on a burner to sear the top. I would appreciate your input. Thanks

          claire de lune

        2. I have a Krups. Very basic, ridged grill. I tried a chicken breast on it one time, but the clean-up was a pain. I'll use the panini press for sandwiches and my iron skillet for chicken!

          1. Beleive it or not, The George Forman grills do the exact same thing as the fancy pannini grills. It won't look as pretty but you can do more with it than just sandwiches too. Cleans up well.

            1 Reply
            1. re: MSK

              I was about to offer the same. It might not do as a wedding present, but the Foreman makes a great pannini press. Hell, I stuck a book under it to level the thing out and made eggs on it this morning.

            2. Panini press? If she wants it... Me? Two cast iron skillets do the trick for panini and cuban sandwiches. Personally, I would adore two well seasoned cast iron skillets over a panini press. Call me cwazy!

              2 Replies
              1. re: Wanda Fuca

                That's what I do ... and it means one less piece of equipment in my kitchen.

                1. re: MMRuth

                  Yes, I used two cast iron skillets to make panini sandwiches for my houseguests, last week, and they raved....over the sandwiches and over the method. I also use a brick which I salvaged from the walk in my backyard. It's been well-scrubbed and wrapped in layers of heavy-duty foil. It works great for one sandwich, whereas I made four with the double skillet method.

              2. I have n older Villaware model that has a large surface area, very handy when working with odd size breads. A floating hinge is a must as well as some sort of drip catcher.

                The only thing that would make my unit better is removable dishwasher safe plates.

                1. Ours is a Villaware with removable plates. It also came with plates for Belgian waffles and quesadillas.

                  1. So get her one. I heard Batali's is really nice.

                    1. I have Wolfgang Pucks, and love it.

                      I read allot of the consumer feedback AFTER I purchased it which is totally backward. I got lucky, so it's good you're doing the research ahead. I love it, however since I purchased mine his newer model has interchangeable plates, grill and one for pancakes when opened up all the way. That's good if you wanted to use it for more than pressing sandwiches. I can order the plates if I want, but as others posted they come with now.
                      The hinge should be flexible, so that the top rests on the sandwich and it is flat without squishing it. And my panini press is pretty large, so you can get a couple to three sandwiches on it.

                      Reading consumer concerns, I read about the drip issue, that the little tray that catches grease, if you were cooking bacon, there were some people that had problems with getting grease behind the press.
                      I've not experienced that, it works really well, get really hot fast.Takes awhile to cool down. I paid a little over $80 and purchased through HSN? (I think) with free shipping that day. I like this way to purchase, it is no hassle to ship the thing right back if there are problems just box it up, and reship it get a credit or, new item.

                      I do enjoy the sandwiches, all of them. I cook bacon sometimes, sausages, and grilled a few chicken breasts once or twice but not what I normally use the press for.
                      Great in the summer for sandwiches when you don't want to hang out over the stove or bbq. We ate every kind of panini the first month I had it.

                      Take large tortillas and fill with all sorts of veggies and meats fold up all around and press, sandwiches, quesadillas. Spray the grill with Pam, and make stuffed monte Kristos like sandwiches on thick bread. Heats up fast, and it cooks very quick, top and bottom heat the food evenly. This one is heavy, well that's the whole idea anyway.
                      I am sure the presses are all pretty much the same now.

                      1. My husband wanted a panini maker for our wedding registry. I thought why - it'll just collect dust - was I wrong. We love making all kinds of Paninis - our's is a Breadman Panini Press - nothing fancy but gets the job done.... We've been married 3 years and no problems

                        1. Hmmm. Sounds like something that'll wind up on the dusty closet shelf next
                          to the electric pasta maker and the bread machine real quick. If you're making
                          these things often, it's so much easier to use a frying pan over low heat. Toast
                          one side, flip, press with whatever you've got handy, and there you go. And if
                          you're not making them often, why have a single-purpose machine around?

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Chuckles the Clone

                            Maybe the case for some. Mine has paid for itself, and its a lot easier to clean, wipe it or pop the plates in the dw.

                            I have a cast iron griddle, I have used that too, pressing with another pan, that slides off and really doesn;t work all that well, least the way I make sandwiches. The little grids are PITA to clean when they get gunked up with cheese and It also doesn't heat from the bottom and the top, as the press does.

                            If you haven't yet already, maybe borrow a friend's and try it, you might see the value.
                            One man's trash, another's treasure.