You can create the perfect Panini right at home with the wide range of Panini presses available. Most options come down to either a simple Panini grill or a multi-functional unit.
Since different Panini presses have so many different features, it can be hard to pick one, so there are websites like Panini Perfect where you can read plenty of reviews to help you make up your mind.
The typical press
With many Panini presses, you can grill both slim and thick sandwiches, which is a good thing when you want to experiment with your food and try on new recipes. Just make sure not to get a press that burns your food (which may happen occasionally) or that is not powerful enough to cook the ingredients in a thick sandwich through. A 1500-watt Panini press should be powerful enough for most home uses.
In order to counteract some of these issues, look for features such as a flat bottom for uniform cooking, as well as a large enough lid for sandwiches of all sizes. Moreover, the lid should be ribbed if you want it to leave behind the specific grill marks without burning the contents. A floating lid is able to adjust much better to a variety of sandwich thicknesses.
For a more reliable grilling, consider getting a unit with adjustable temperature controls and indicator power and preheat lights, so that you can monitor the cooking progress every step of the way.
If looks are important, then you will be happy to learn there are Panini presses with more unusual designs out there. For example, some feature a cafe-style lid that will be a perfect addition to any modern kitchen. For both durability and a stylish appearance, brushed stainless steel Panini presses are recommended.
The multifunctional Panini press
Some multifunctional presses can be put to as many as 5 different uses. Thus, a 5-in-1 unit can act not only as a Panini press, but also as a full and a contact grill, a full griddle, and part grill/part griddle.
Since the press/ grill has so many uses, it is crucial for it to distribute heat evenly. To this end, it should feature non-stick cooking plates, ideally with a ceramic coating to make them more durable. Ceramic plates don’t flake and are easy to clean, especially if they can be removed. Alternatively, the unit should have drip cups where the excess fat can drain.