Using a Panini press or grill, you can add that extra spark and palatability to your food, be they vegetarian or meat dishes, and make them more unique to your guests.
Serve your kids grilled veggies or cheeseburgers, and see them devouring the food that they used to call “boring” before—now they would be licking their fingers and asking for more. Grilled food is an effective way to add nutritious eats, like vegetables and fruits, to your family’s diet, that you might otherwise find tasteless.
But before you hurry off to purchase a Panini press, note down a few characteristics that it must have to cook lip-smacking food in a jiffy! Panini presses or grills run on electricity and are highly user-friendly—plug in and press, your food is ready. So, what makes the best Panini Press? Let’s take a quick look:
1. A Height-Adjustable Top Lid
All your food items are not of the same length or width. A fat baguette sandwich will not fit if the cover shuts at only one height. Therefore choose a Panini press whose top cover or lid could be shut at adjustable heights.
Such covers are also termed as the floating hinge. If you are making an open-faced Panini, bread baser or tartine, you can adjust the upper lid so that it will hover or hang above the Panini without actually making contact with the bread surface.
This particular feature is in the first-priority list, and the good news is that most Panini makers have this specific feature, so you do not need to worry about looking for it. Most Panini presses with this characteristic fall within an affordable price range of $40 to $80.
2. An Adjustable Thermostat
This is a feature that can be found mostly in the high-end Panini maker versions. So why would you need a thermostat whose temperatures could be adjusted? This is particularly helpful when you aim to grill different types of food, like grilled burgers or grilled fish.
Burgers are grilled at higher temperatures than Paninis, therefore when you are grilling a hamburger, adjust the temperature accordingly. Fish and meat grilling take even higher temperatures.
Now the thing is, if you think you would be using your Panini Press mostly for grilling Paninis, then you would not need to search for a maker with an adjustable thermostat.
In some families, each family member has a different palate--one likes cheese sandwich with a side platter of grilled vegetables, another like roasted bacon.
In such situations, you might find yourself in a constant mess of rushing from one corner of the kitchen to another. If that is the case, you should consider purchasing a Panini press with an adjustable thermostat.
A large family or a household which hosts parties often, for them a Panini press with this feature would get value for every cent of the purchase.
3. Dials To Control Temperature
If your grill does not have a thermostat, so what? Confident Panini makers have controllable dials or knobs to regulate temperatures.
Some Panini-makers come with light indicators that flicker or signals with different colors to show the varying levels of temperatures. You can use these temperature indicators to decide if the Panini is hot enough to be taken off the grills.
These temperature controls are highly useful when you roast vegetables or grill hotdogs using your Panini maker because both these food items require variable temperatures to be cooked.
4. The Size Of The Grill
You might like to own a Panini grill depending on the size of your kitchen. Kitchens with small counters or limited space should have a smaller Panini maker, while a large kitchen could have larger ones.
Though it depends- if you have a smaller kitchen, house plenty of your kitchen utensils elsewhere, then you could aim for the larger grills too.
Again, if you are the type of person who likes to give treats to people and have guests over frequently, and often finds yourself grilling-roasting-toasting a lot of Paninis or anything else at the same time, then a more prominent grill is what you are looking for.
5. Removable Heated Top Plates
Say you are toasting or browning a cheese sandwich using a Panini maker. After some time of pressing the top lid onto the sandwich, the cheese melts and oozes out of the cracks within the Panini lids. Not only that, but the cheese also sticks to the upper Panini lid, which is quite time-consuming and hassle-some to clean later.
Suppose your Panini maker comes with removable lids? Well, guess what? Such versions are available, and you can pick one for yourself if you are not that fond of the gruesome procedure described above.
When you are making tasty but “sticky” food items like the grilled cheese sandwich, remove the lid. Removable lids are quite easy to wash as well—simply insert them into the dishwasher! High-end indoor grills usually come with this feature, but specific versions of Cuisinart Griddlers have removable upper lids.
6. Drip Trays
Certain models of Panini makers come with separate easy-to-fit drip trays. If you like fried or oily food (who doesn’t?), you might have encountered this situation where excess oil drips and burns in the Panini press. This is messy and unhealthy at the same time.
Drip trays will be at the rescue. Different sets of drill trays come with variable Panini press models. These drip trays catch excess grease or oil and prevent it from burning, thus keeping your grills clean.
Compatible drip trays are usually fitted inside the slot in front of the press grill. No extra tool is needed to fit the drip tray, and it is also very easy to remove and clean.
Types of Panini Press
Panini Presses are a cook’s grilling-dream come true! They can be used to grill, toast, roast, and brown different food items like sandwiches, burgers, vegetables, meat, and fish—and what not!
They are an all-in-one and a must-have in everyone’s kitchen. So, what characteristics should a Panini press have to make it the best?
Different versions of Panini presses offer various cooking perks. Some have dripping trays, while others have a height-adjustable or removable top lid.
Some specific models even come with adjustable thermostats and temperature regulating knobs. There is a Panini version suitable for every kitchen and every household.
If you love to make healthy food for your friends and family, get a Panini press today. Every cent would be worth it.
Related Link: Reviews of Panini Press