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Panini Makers

Tuesday, 14 November 2006 | Tags: , ,

All you need is imagination, some fresh ingredients, and a good panini maker to create endless combinations of this popular, Italian-inspired sandwich. We take a look at some products on the market to see if we can find our perfect sandwich maker.

The Basics

  • If you like to use thick buns and fancy breads, get a panini maker with an adjustable top plate that has a floating hinge, which allows you to close the lid without squishing everything out of your sandwich. 

  • A drain pan catches juices from meats and other ingredients for a crispier, less fatty sandwich, and easier clean-up.

  • Indicator lights signal when the grill is on, and when the set temperature has been reached.

  • Adjustable heat control allows you to set the temperature. Many machines only have an on/off switch, with no ability to control temperature. 

  • Most grill plates are specially coated for fast and simple clean-up.

    • Flat grills are a little easier to clean than ribbed ones.

    • Some ribbed grills come with handy cleaning combs to get between the grooves.

    • Ribbed grills create the authentic-looking grill lines on the bread, whereas flat grills don’t.

Other Considerations

  • Many indoor grills can also work as panini makers.

TEST CRITERIA

With the help of an experienced deli owner specializing in fresh paninis, we tested these four machines:

Our test products: . BUY IT
  • Breville (flat): $80
. . Amazon.ca Amazon.com
  • Krups (flat): $100
. . Amazon.ca Amazon.com
  • Villaware (ribbed grill): $120
. . Discontinued Discontinued
  • Delonghi (ribbed grill): $130
. . Amazon.ca Amazon.com

(Note: prices listed above are approximate and in Canadian dollars)

     

Grill Test

  • It was close between the Villaware and the Delonghi. They both did a great job of grilling up our sandwiches.

  • The Delonghi’s adjustable heat control was a big plus

  • The Villaware had a more industrial-like, heavy duty construction.

OUR TOP PICK

For just over $100, we think a panini maker makes a great addition to any kitchen. Though the ribbed design requires a little extra cleaning, the Villaware was our top choice (now discontinued, unfortunately), with the Delonghi a very close second.

 

 

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