Who doesn’t love a great panini? These warm, crispy bits of sandwich heaven are the perfect option for just about any meal, and they can be made with an endless combination of ingredients, from the classic turkey and swiss to more adventurous creations like bacon, strawberries, and brie.
What’s even better, you don’t have to make your way to a gourmet sandwich shop to score a quality panini. They’re actually quite easy to make at home—especially with a high-quality panini press.
These are the best panini presses you can buy right now:
We know what you might be thinking: “Can’t I just make a panini in my toaster oven?” Technically, yes. But a panini press is a fantastic kitchen tool to have if you’re looking to elevate your ordinary sandwiches with beautiful grill marks, perfectly melted cheese, and crispier crust. In short, buying a panini press offers you a way to instantly upgrade anything in between two slices of bread. Plus, panini presses aren’t limited to just sandwiches. You can use a panini press as a quick way to grill bacon, make crispy hashbrowns, or even whip up a breakfast omelet.
If you’re ready to step up your sandwich game, we found the best panini presses to help in just about any situation. From a space-saving solution to a five-in-one cooking companion, all our picks are effective, easy to use, and inundated with impressive customer reviews.
With its sleek stainless steel exterior, the Cuisinart Griddler Five ranks high in just about every “best of” list on the internet—and with good reason. Not only will its contemporary design fit into any style kitchen, but this gorgeous gadget is actually five appliances in one: a panini press, contact grill, full grill, full griddle, and half grill/half griddle. The panini press option features an adjustable height to accommodate various thicknesses of bread, while the grill and griddle can be used to cook burgers, chicken, vegetables, and quesadillas with a simple flip of the reversible cooking plates. Plus the easy-to-read LED screen displays the setting, temperature, and timer, so there’s never any second-guessing.
To buy: $80 (originally $100); williams-sonoma.com
For those of the “bigger is better” school of thought, consider the Duo panini press by Breville, which allows you to make two sandwiches—or one generously packed panini—with the press of a lever. Customers love the adjustable thickness level, which can accommodate even the heartiest slice of artisan bread, as well as the options of both flat and ridged grill plates for those days where grill marks are a must. Plus, the quick-heating nonstick surface prevents sandwiches from sticking to your panini press and falling apart. One happy customer said, “I have wanted a panini press for a couple of years. I’m so glad I bought this one. It is so easy to use! Cleans up fast.” They also mentioned how easy it is to store: “I love how it will stand upright when not in use.”
To buy: $70; wayfair.com
If you’re a city dweller or college student living the dorm room life, kitchen space isn’t probably something you have much of. But that doesn’t mean you have to give up on your panini-making dreams. The solution: the Dash Express Pocket Sandwich Maker. This convenient little appliance—priced at under $20—makes delicious paninis in minutes without sacrificing precious kitchen counter real estate. Measuring a modest 5.4 inches wide and 7.7 inches deep, this little guy is called the “pocket” because it easily slips into a drawer when not in use. One reviewer wrote, “I bought one for my 18-year-old and one for my 10-year-old. They both love it! It is perfect for pizza sandwiches, grilled cheese, or any other warm sandwich. It cooks very quickly!”
To buy: $10 (originally $18); kohls.com
Whip up savory sandwiches, quesadillas, sweet fruit turnovers, and more in this easy-to-use electric panini press by Hamilton Beach. Featuring nonstick top and bottom plates and a floating lid for even heat distribution, you’ll get perfectly toasted sandwiches every time. The top lid also extends open 180 degrees for easy grilled pizzas and open-faced sandwiches. One Amazon buyer called this an “excellent little grill,” writing, “This one is nice because there aren’t a lot of settings to worry about. Just turn it on, watch for the light, and you’re ready to throw your sandwich on there.”
To buy: $43 (originally $54); amazon.com
Whether you’re a pro chef or simply like to invest in commercial-quality kitchen gear, this Italian-stlyle panini press by Waring is sure to impress. With 120 volts of power and brushed stainless steel construction, this powerful appliance makes everything from paninis and other hearty sandwiches to grilled meats and vegetables with the help of strong cast iron plates that provide even heat distribution and fast cooking times. There’s also a removable drip tray to catch any messes. One satisfied customer said, “This beast doesn’t mess around. Super heavy and industrial. Looks like it’ll last a lifetime.”
To buy: $445; amazon.com
There’s a lot to love about cooking on ceramic. For one, ceramic cookware goes the extra mile when it comes to being nonstick, so there’s never a need to cook with extra fat or oil. Ceramic is also non-reactive, which means you never have to worry about funky chemical additives sneaking into your food. Besides offering a ceramic plate, this panini press by Oster ranks high among customers for its floating hinge system (great for thicker sandwiches) and its lid that opens up 180 degrees to double-function as a countertop grill. “It’s been five years I’ve been using this panini maker, and it’s still in great condition,” one happy customer wrote.
To buy: $65; amazon.com
If you fancy paninis with beautifully deep grill marks, you’ll want to consider this option by Lodge. Made of classic cast iron, it features heavy ridges to achieve those perfect grill marks on sandwiches, burgers, and steaks. Plus, cast iron offers the added benefit of even heat retention and distribution, so everything you make will be deliciously uniform. This option also comes pre-seasoned for added convenience. One reviewer said, “ My husband and I debated purchasing a panini press but opted for this to avoid another clunky appliance. So glad we did—it works perfectly and takes up little space!”
To buy: $30; crateandbarrel.com