If you love cooking, you’ll understand the benefits of a cast iron panini press as soon as you place it on your counter. Cast iron is one of the most versatile cooking utensils in existence. It can sear meat and fish, bake pastries and breads, even braise a tough cut of lamb or beef. However, these properties are not what make a cast iron panini press so great—what they do is give you an easy-to-use tool that makes your food taste better because the heat comes right up to contact with the food instead of being blown all over it by traditional grill pans.
Why cast iron is great for making a panini press
– It’s inexpensive
Panini presses made of cast iron can be found for as little as $20 on Amazon.com. Now, the style and quality will vary from brand to brand, but it’s a great investment for any cook who makes sandwiches or paninis regularly and wants to elevate their sandwich game.
– It’s simple to clean
Cast iron is one of the easiest pieces of cookware to clean on the market today. You can wipe out excess food with a paper towel; scrape away burnt bits with a wooden spoon. However, I don’t recommend doing this as it can damage your panini press.
– It’s hard to ruin
If you have an issue with your panini press (it’s always an issue), you can use a little bit of oil and easily remove the burnt food with a paper towel. The moving parts don’t wear out or break, which is why cast iron is the absolute best choice for anyone who makes a lot of sandwiches or paninis at home.
– It heats up evenly
When it comes to making panini sandwiches, you want your food to be cooked evenly. You don’t want one side of your sandwich to be underdone and the other side overcooked. If one half of the panini press is larger than another, they won’t cook at the same rate or temperature. This will result in unevenly cooked and unappetizing sandwiches.
– It’s sturdy
A lot of panini presses are flimsy and cheap, which leads to malfunctioning pieces that can break down at any time. The split stud system used in some models is also prone to breaking down over time which causes many kinds of damage (the ugly kind).
The best cast iron panini presses
1. Lodge Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Grill Press with Cool-Grip Spiral Handle
- One Lodge Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Grill Press With Cool-grip Spiral Handle, 6.75...
- Cool-grip Spiral Handle provides a safe, comfortable grip
- Unparalleled heat retention and even heating
This Lodge press is one of the best in terms of price and quality. It’s a cast iron panini press made from 18/10 stainless steel which greatly improves the lifespan of your product. The cool-grip handle is perfect for holding the weight of your sandwiches without having to use crushing force to do so. Lodge ’s cast iron panini presses are excellent for cooking a variety of foods and you’ll be proud to own one of these.
2. Cuisinart Grill Press
- CAST IRON CONSTRUCTION: Durable cast iron press weighs 2.1-pounds
- WOOD HANDLE: The wooden handle provides a comfortable grip with a stylish touch
- HEALTHY GRILLING: Press out unwanted excess fat and oils from meats, The press...
This 2.8 pound panini press has a sleeve that is designed to fit any sandwich or panini placed on it. The sandwich will sit in the pan and not move as you work on it. As with all other pre-seasoned cast iron products, the manufacturer recommends using oil before using this product so that the cooking results are not compromised. Aside from that, this is a great option for anyone who wants panini presses for cooking sandwiches every day.
3. Bellemain Panini Press
- THE SECRET TO THE BEST BACON: Take control of tangly bacon on the pan or grill...
- FOOD GRADE PRESS | 100% HEAVY-DUTY CAST IRON: Avoid harmful PTFE or PFOA...
- EQUALIZED WEIGHT DISTRIBUTION FOR PERFECT GRILL MARKS EVERY TIME: Pre-heat your...
This 8 inch panini press has a cast iron base which is designed to be sturdy but not heavy. The weight of the sandwiches stays in the pan and is distributed evenly, making this product perfect to use for your sandwich needs. It’s also great for grilling meat, vegetables and other foods that can be cooked on a panini press.
4. Victoria Fireplace Cast Iron Grill Panini Press
- CAST-IRON COOKING: Our heavy-duty cast-iron press features a perfectly textured...
- MADE FOR GREAT MEALS: This cast-iron pan features an engineered design that...
- EASY TO USE: Upgrade your cooking by using cast-iron cookware. Durable, rugged,...
Victoria Fireplace’s cast iron panini press is both pleasing to look at and easy to use. It has a handle that locks in place when you want it to stay open, so you won’t have to worry about your hands getting burnt. It’s also the perfect size for cooking most sandwiches and paninis, which makes this product ideal for anyone who likes home cooking.
This is another great option for anyone who is looking for a sturdy, large and heavy cast iron panini press that will do a good job at cooking any kind of food you put on it.
How to make a panini with a cast iron press
The best cast iron panini presses make great sandwiches. How do you know? They’re made to put on heat and hold the weight of your sandwich without buckling. However, to get the perfect panini with a cast iron press, you’ll need to do three things:
- Preheat and clean your cast iron press
If you preheat it and wipe down your press before using it, your panini will cook evenly as the heat will be distributed across its surface. If you don’t preheat it and clean it first, this task will be extremely difficult and one side of your sandwich will be cooked more than another—this leads to burnt bread or cold meat .
- Adjust the heat to be just right
There’s a temperature difference between the bottom and top of your panini press. The bottom is usually cooler while the top is usually hotter. This means that one side of your sandwich will cook faster than the other. To avoid this, use a thermometer to check both sides and adjust to a medium temperature so that they cook at the same rate.
- Use butter or oil sparingly
When paninis are done with them, there’s nothing more delicious than melted cheese and crispy bread in between two slices of bread (or mushroom caps on flatbread). However, after using your panini press, do not wipe the grease off with a paper towel because this can cause permanent damage to your cast iron product. Instead, cut away any excess grease with a knife or spatula.
How do you season a cast iron panini press?
If you want your panini press to be able to make perfect paninis for a long time, it’s important that you season it well. Seasoning is easy because you just add a little bit of oil to the bottom of your panini press and rub it into the pores of the cast iron before wiping out excess food with a paper towel.
To season your panini press, just pour a few teaspoons of oil into the bottom and place your cast iron on high heat. Use a spatula or wooden spoon to scrape up any pieces of food stuck on the surface, then wipe out excess food with a paper towel. You can repeat this process every week or two until you finish seasoning everything in your kitchen.
Is a George Foreman grill the same as a panini press?
Yes. It is. However, you can use your George Foreman grill for paninis too. If you buy a George Foreman grill, keep in mind that it’s called a grill press and not a panini press. That said, the same principles apply when using it to cook paninis or other foods.
Can you cook eggs on a panini press?
Yes. You can definitely cook your eggs on a panini press. However, some presses are better suited for cooking eggs than others. Using a cast iron panini press to cook your eggs will make them crispier than if you use any other product that is used for the purpose.
How long should I panini press?
The cooking time and temperature of every product varies slightly, but it’s usually recommended that you panini press for two to three minutes on high heat. When you’re done, let the sandwich cool down for a few minutes before placing it on a plate.
Can you cook a steak on a panini maker?
Yes, you can cook a steak on a panini press. You should just preheat and clean the surface of your press first before cooking your steak.
Are there non-stick panini presses?
Yes, there are non-stick panini presses. However, it’s not recommended that you use them for cooking eggs because the coating is usually thinner than a cast iron press and may not last as long as ones that don’t have this feature. Non-stick pans are also more likely to get scratched than cast iron cookware , so it’s important that you find ones that have thick enough coatings to prevent any damage to the surface of your panini maker.
What is the difference between a grill and a panini press?
Grill presses are made for grilling food on the flat surface of the grill, while a panini press is used to cook sandwiches and food on the flat metal surface of a panini press. A grill is made for grilling meat, vegetables and other foods that can be cooked on a grill. With a panini press, you can cook your food right on the pan in between two slices of bread or mushroom caps on flatbread.
What is the difference between a sandwich maker and a panini maker?
A sandwich maker is a smaller, compact product that can be used to prepare sandwiches and other types of food without a grill. However, these products are not typically used as cookers. On the other hand, a panini maker is designed to be used as an actual grill or griddle. A sandwich maker usually is not large enough to fit more than one loaf of bread or mushroom cap on its surface while a panini press can hold multiple sandwiches at once.
What are some benefits of getting a cast iron panini press?
Cast iron cooking products have many benefits . One benefit is their durability and their ability to withstand heavy weight of food placed on them without any damage whatsoever. Cast iron presses are also able to distribute heat across the entire surface of a sandwich so that no meat or bread is burnt. Cast iron pans are also good at retaining heat and saving energy because they’re able to keep food warm for longer periods of time without any problems.
Can you use regular bread in a panini press?
No, you can’t. Unfortunately, regular breads do not work well with a panini press because they are not able to hold up to the heat in order to stay together. Therefore, it is recommended that you use breads that are made specifically for panini presses such as English muffin bread , croissants, or sour dough breads.