Want a gooey, crunchy, easy-to-handle sandwich? These five hard workers make all that good stuff happen.
1) Bialetti Grill & Panini Press
(For the multitasker)
UPSIDE Grill pan and press in one; compact; oven-safe (up to 400°); silicone-coated ergonomic handle.
DOWNSIDE Needs fiddling to reach optimal crisping temperature; tough on delicate breads like croissants; cast-iron press is not dishwasher-safe.
2) Krups Electric Panini Maker
(For the chic minimalist)
UPSIDE Large grilling surface; presses evenly; easy to use.
DOWNSIDE Non-removable plates.
3) Cuisinart Panini & Sandwich Press
(For the budget cook)
UPSIDE Inexpensive; compact; nonstick plates.
DOWNSIDE Food shifts when pressed; non-removable plates.
4) Breville Ikon Removable Plate Grill
(For the gadget lover)
UPSIDE Scratch-resistant, nonstick, removable plates for easy cleanup; large grilling surface; presses evenly; temperature control; doubles as broiler.
DOWNSIDE Expensive; requires roomy cabinet or large open space.
5) Lodge Round Grill Press
(For the outdoorsy cook)
UPSIDE Inexpensive; perfect for a single sandwich; fits in a 9-inch or larger pan; can be used on an outdoor grill.
DOWNSIDE If using indoors, must already own a grill pan or buy one separately; needs fiddling to reach optimal crisping temperature; not dishwasher-safe.
USE YOUR PANINI PRESS TO MAKE THIS RECIPE
*Prices and other details were accurate when we published this article in April 2009.