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Feb 13, 2014 10:41 AM

Making paninis without a grill pan?

I really don't want to invest in a single function pan or machine but would love to make paninis at home. What would you use to get that grilled effect? Wrap a brick in foil to weigh it down, put another pan on top? What has been your most effective method, if you don't use a panini grill or pan?


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  1. I realize that this is not responsive to your post, but I was in the same position as you. I love paninis, and finally broke down and bought a Krups panini press on sale for $50...and I love it, and use it way more than I thought I would, probably 2x/week. Sure you can make paninis in a fry pan with a brick, but it's way easier with an electric press. Search the internet, and I'm sure you can find some great buys.

    1 Reply
    1. re: josephnl

      Just looked online, and saw that Williams-Sonoma has the terrific Krups machine for $60, and Target has others starting at $25!

    2. do you have an old waffle iron? lots of those have reversible plates (dimpled one side - flat the other). or a regular clothes iron! just sheath it in foil.

      a brick could work, but awkward. <edit> and I'd do the layers not as I read it pan/food/brick/pan but rather pan/food/pan/brick </edit>

      1. Thanks for the responses. I really don't want to buy a single function item, no matter how the price. It'll be another space hogger.

        I don't have a waffle iron, so no luck in that respect. I forgot I have a small George Foreman grill so I may try that.

        hill food, your layering idea is very helpful. I could also (very carefully) wrap an old book or two in foil, I've got at least one that would weigh as much as a brick!

        Thanks again!

        3 Replies
        1. re: alwayshungrygal

          I see no reason why a George Forman grill wouldn't work well. Report back, if you try it.

          1. re: josephnl

            We have a GF that got little use from day one. Not sure why we still have it but I've made grilled sandwiches on it more than anything else

            I usually just use a cast iron pan and a weight to press the sandwich

          2. re: alwayshungrygal

            Absolutely try your Foreman grill! I recently bought a Cuisinart Griddler to use while my kitchen is being rehabbed. It's very similar to the Foreman grill and it makes GREAT paninis.

          3. I'm Scotish so just don't buy into needing a special piece of cookware to make a GRILLED CHEESE sandwich?? Cast iron pan with bacon press on top work just ine for me. You don't need those big $$ grill marks... imnsho!!

            1. I use my George Foreman grill. Works PERFECTLY.
              The trick is to not use oil on the outside of the bread.
              I "smush it" down a few times during the grilling, they get grill marks and are very toasty :)

              5 Replies
              1. re: sedimental

                Aside from not wanting the extra calories or fat from using oil or butter, is there any reason not to use some butter or oil when using the GF grill? I have a Krups panini press which I love, and always lightly butter the outside of each slice of bread when making a panini.

                1. re: josephnl

                  I think it makes it more like a grilled cheese sandwich, rather than panini -a bit soggy as it cools. I butter or oil (or pesto) the inside of the bread if using drier ingredients but leave the outside plain.

                  1. re: sedimental

                    I guess it's a matter of taste. I always lightly butter the outside of the bread, and my paninis remain quite crisp.

                  2. re: josephnl

                    I always butter the bread and it turns out great, although I make sandwiches with thick slices of sourdough so the thickness of the bread might have an effect on sogginess with butter...

                    1. re: k80k

                      I use thinly sliced bread and lightly butter it. Using my Krups panini press my panini are always crisp! Using butter is simply a matter of taste. I also love Dutch tostis, which are grilled sandwiches done in a special toaster with no butter or fat whatsoever. They are delicious & obviously can be quite healthy, but I've never seen tostis nor the special toaster in the U.S.