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Panini grills? If you have one, do you use it/like it?

I never thought I'd even consider adding yet another countertop electric appliance to my kitchen ... we already have way too many. But, we do use most of them frequently and I recently heard a chef talking about how he wouldn't want to go without a panini grill in his home kitchen.

Now, I am considering asking the family to get one for Christmas. What does everyone think? Just another appliance cluttering up the kitchen, or a useful tool that you really use?

The Cuisinart Griddler Express is what our local store has listed in their online catalog. Not only a panini grill, but also grills meats, veggies, etc. (Maybe they all do?) We grill a lot in the summer, but are vegetarians so only tofu and veggies. Not sure if we'd use the grill function in this appliance for much beyond the paninis.

http://www.cuisinart.com/catalog/prod...

If you do recommend a panini grill, do you have recommendations on which model to purchase? Something like the above?

Thanks!

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  1. We have one, but hardly ever remember to use it. I really enjoy panini, but usually just use the cast iron frying pan to grill sandwiches instead of dragging out the panini thing. We have a very small kitchen- it might be different if we could leave it out all the time, but it really isn't worth the trouble. YMMV.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Clarkafella

      I've had The Griddler (stupid name) for years now and we love it. I probably use it a couple of times a month and have never had an issue with it. If I were to guess, I'd say it's at least 5 years old. It can do more than panninis but that's the only thing I use it for.

      1. re: Clarkafella

        I'm in this camp as well. They only reason I've kept my panini grill is because it was a gift from my daughter. Used it once, but mainly just use the cast iron and either press it down or put a heavy pot on the sandwich.

      2. We love the Cuisinart Griddler. My husband is retired so he does most of the cooking now and he uses it at least once a week when making our meals.

        1. I'll be watching this topic because I was seized by the urge to get one yesterday too. I looked at the Cuisinart that had interchangeable flat and ridged grill plates and a larger Caphalon that seemed much sturdier but only had ridged plates. Both had plates that were removable for cleaning.

          As it is, I walked out of the store without either. Like you, I'm not sure I want one more appliance to store. And I've got a stove top grill pan and ridged top for pressing panini -- it just doesn't evenly grill the top of the sandwich as, no matter how incendiary I heat the lid, it loses heat immediately.

          1 Reply
          1. re: rainey

            I have the Cuisinart with the interchangable plates and I love it. Its a breeze to pull it out, use it and clean up. I've found that it always cooks evenly and heats up quickly.

            I love it.

          2. I have the grill you've linked to. Honestly, I hardly ever remember to use it. I think its strength is really in grilling sandwiches, so if you're not a panini die hard, you'll do fine without it.

            Frankly, I didn't love it for grilled veggies. It took longer with more fussing than just a really good saute in cast iron.

            I'd say if you're hedging to invest in a good cast iron pan. This isn't a tiny appliance to store.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Vetter

              Thanks for all the replies, thus far. Looks like the Griddler is a good option ... if I think I'd actually remember to use it! If I'm only going to make paninis a few times a year, then maybe not so much. But, yummmm, grilled cheese! Don't we all need yet another excuse to eat more grilled cheese?!

              I'll continue to check in on this thread, so I hope people continue to post their opinions.

              Thanks!

              1. re: Vetter

                My grill doesn't take up any more space than an equivalent sie cast iron pan. It will do 2-3 sandwiches at once with big bread.

              2. I have a Breville Ikon 400 grill and LOVE it! Without hyperbole, I use daily. My husband has become a panini junkie; as we both cannot develop major coronary disease, I also grill asparagus, shrimp, zucchini, Boca burgers, salmon burgers, fish and chicken. I actually grill asparagus nightly.

                The Breville heats up to 450 and sears tuna nicely. The removable plates are dishwasher safe. There are 2 grill plates and 1 griddle plate (I prefer this one for fish). The culinary options are endless. It does not open flat as the Cuisinart Griddler. However, it has ample grill space and can be used as an open grill, if needed. I prefer the build quality of the Breville over the Cuisinart. The Cuisinart controls were plastic and felt very toy-like. The Breville feels more kitchen-worthy in construction.

                I hoped I would like the panini grill; I was not prepared to love it. I am totally hooked. I have not even breached the world of quesadillas. The Breville has become my go to gift, also. My sister and husband call each other with their panini accomplishments. If you have a remote interest in a countertop grill/panini maker and you have time for a new addiction, BUY ONE STAT!

                (added promo for Breville Ikon 400...Bed, Bath and Beyond is clearing them out. Last one I bought as a gift was $70 less than Amazon's price. Local BBB had one drop shipped from another region's inventory; I paid $10 shipping but was able to use a 20% coupon).

                1 Reply
                1. re: powderhound

                  That's quite a recommendation. I'll have to check my local BBB and see if they have any in stock. I do think that after doing some reading, it's best to purchase a grill with removable plates for easier clean-up. Thanks!