Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Cookware >
Oct 31, 2006 06:44 PM

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!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  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.