Panini Maker

I have had a few of these types of sandwiches over the past few years. However, what really got me interested and my mouth watering over these panini sandwiches happened while watching Chef Bobby Flay on his Throwdown TV show. He challenged Chef Nick Vazquez to a cuban sandwich throwdown. From that moment on, I was completely hooked on these delicious sandwiches. I included a picture of a classic panini by Chef Bobby Flay just to wake up your taste buds :)

If you want to check out Chef Vazquez place on the fine art of making the ultimate Cuban sandwiches, then you can visit his restaurant at the following link – Azucar Cuban Cuisine

If you are ever in Jersey City, NJ, then I would recommend stopping by his restaurant. If not, I have an alternative solution for you to enjoy the same types of delicious sandwiches that they had on their TV show above. Below, I have provided reviews on 3 different models. Say good bye to boring sandwiches and say hello to putting your taste buds on overdrive.

Using A Panini Press

Panini makers, which are sometimes referred to as a panini press, are usually compact little appliances that do not take up much space on your kitchen counter. The lid on the machine lifts up to reveal a non-stick panini grill plate on the bottom and the top of the machine’s interior. When you power on the panini maker, the grill plates heat up. Once heated, just place your sandwich on the bottom grill plate and press the lid closed to evenly heat each side.  Within a few minutes the sandwich press turns your ordinary sandwich into a piping hot panini.

Cuisinart GR-4N 5-in-1 Griddler

If you are shopping for a new panini maker to add to your kitchen, the versatility of the Cuisinart GR-4N 5-in-1 Griddler makes it a good choice. This 5-in-1 machine works as a panini press, a contact grill, a full griddle, a full grill and a half grill / half griddle.

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The size of this appliance is just perfect for a family of two since you can only get two sandwiches on it at once. Cleanup is easy as the plates are dishwasher safe and the appliance is very easy to use.

Breville BSG520XL Panini Duo 1500-Watt Nonstick Panini Press

If you prefer a machine that is a dedicated panini maker, then the Breville BSG520XL Panini Duo 1500-Watt Nonstick Panini Press is a good choice. One of the best things about this panini press, which closely resembles more expensive professional versions, is its size. It is very thin and can be stored upright against the wall on your kitchen counter.

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The non-stick cooking plates can be easily wiped down to keep the appliance clean. The big disadvantage of this model is that the plates are not removable. That means the cleanup takes a little longer since you cannot just toss the plates into the dishwasher. However, the unit heats up very quickly and evenly and performs very well. The construction feels very solid and built to last, which is always a plus when spending money on small appliances.

Also, there is no power button on this panini press. To power it on and off, you just plug it into the outlet or remove it from the outlet. A power button would be a more convenient feature.

Hamilton Beach 25450 Gourmet Panini Press

Another solid choice is the popular and inexpensive Hamilton Beach 25450 Gourmet Panini Press. This unit has a slightly different design than the other mentioned models. On this machine, the upper lid is attached to the handle so that when you lift the handle, the lid automatically comes up as well. This type of floating lid functions very well though as it comes down when the handle comes down. It even works with the really thick sandwiches.

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In fact, it is designed to accommodate those really thick grinder sandwiches without squeezing out the sandwich ingredients. Like the Breville press, you can store the Hamilton Beach 25450 Unit upright on your counter, which is great for saving space when you have limited room on the kitchen counter.

Also like the Breville, the grill plates on this unit are not removable. Instead, you have to clean the plates by wiping them down. They do have the non-stick surface so keeping them clean is fairly simple, even when you have cheese spilling out of your sandwich onto the plates. Some users might find it odd, but there is no temperature control on this model. It really is a no frills machine, but it also has a no frills price tag compared to other models.

So, the lack of temperature control just means that you need to keep an eye on your sandwich so that you do not end up with a burned sandwich.