Which indoor grills are best?
If you love steaks and burgers but don’t have an outdoor grill, don’t fret. Indoor grills allow you to enjoy these foods simultaneously, and some of them are even capable of making paninis and open-faced sandwiches.
Indoor grills are tabletop appliances that cook food almost exactly like outdoor grills. They’re equipped with convenient features for easy cleaning and cooking, making them ideal for anyone looking to cut down on clean-up and prep time. If you’d like an indoor grill with pre-programmed settings, T-fal OptiGrill XL Indoor Electric Grill is the top choice.
What to know before you buy an indoor grill
How indoor grills work
Indoor grills have one or two nonstick plates that heat up to cook foods, including steaks, burgers, kebabs, chicken breast and vegetables, just to name a few. Although several models are on the market, they’re grouped into either open or contact indoor grills categories.
- Open indoor grills have a single grill plate that emulates the design of traditional outdoor grills. Because they only cook one side at a time, users must flip food as needed during grilling. Open indoor grills are ideal for cooking certain grilled foods that can’t be cooked on contact grills, such as open-faced sandwiches.
- Contact indoor grills have two grill plates that essentially “sandwich” food between them. They cook both sides simultaneously, which cuts down on overall cook time. Contact indoor grills are considered more user-friendly than open indoor grills, as well. They’re preferred among those who also want the option to make paninis.
Cooking surface area
Generally speaking, the size of the cooking surface is usually expressed in square inches. Most grills include how many servings the grill accommodates, but it’s not an accurate representation as many buyers have found. For example, some indoor grills state they’re four-serving models, but that only refers to smaller burgers and steaks. Instead, many people have discovered that the indicated serving sizes are generous estimates.
What to look for in a quality indoor grill
The first indoor grills had built-in nonstick plates that you had to wipe to clean. Although they were fairly easy to clean after use, they weren’t conducive to deep cleanings. These days, many indoor grills have removable plates for easy, no-hassle cleaning. Many of them are even dishwasher-safe, just like most drip trays and indoor grill accessories.
Several mid-range and premium indoor grills are equipped with pre-programmed settings. They offer one-touch cooking of popular grilled foods, such as steak, bacon or burgers. A growing number of indoor grills include settings for cooking frozen food, too.
Entry-level indoor grills offer only one temperature setting, which is usually around 400 degrees.
More advanced models, however, offer a temperature range of approximately 200 to 500 degrees. The feature is ideal for those who don’t want to compromise on precision grilling, especially for specific proteins requiring precise cooking temperatures.
How much you can expect to spend on indoor grills
Entry-level indoor grills cost $20-$30, but if you’re looking for one with a larger cooking surface or more features, be prepared to spend $35-$80. High-end indoor grills with pre-programmed settings, custom temperature ranges and other advanced features range between $100-$300.
Indoor grill FAQ
What does it mean if an indoor grill has embedded heating elements?
A. Most indoor grills have heating elements beneath or behind their nonstick plates. Those with embedded heating elements are built into the plates. This allows the plates to heat up more evenly and quickly and to grill at much higher temperatures.
Should I use nonstick spray on indoor grill plates?
A. Because the grill plates are nonstick, it’s not necessary to spray them with butter or cooking spray. In fact, these substances may damage plates in the long run and cause their nonstick coatings to deteriorate. Or, the butter and cooking spray may burn onto the plates and leave a permanent residue.
How do I clean an indoor grill’s cooking plates?
A. Indoor grill plates should only be cleaned when they’ve completely cooled down, which may take a couple of hours. Removable plates are usually dishwasher-safe. However, some people prefer hand washing them with a soft cellulose sponge and gentle dish soap. Indoor grills with built-in plates must be wiped clean with a soft cloth or cellulose sponge lightly saturated with a mixture of water and dish soap.
What’s the best indoor grill to buy?
Top indoor grill
What you need to know: A premium option, this T-fal indoor grill takes the hard work out of cooking with nine pre-programmed settings.
What you’ll love: The 1,800-watt grill has a wealth of convenient settings, including indicator lights, defrost mode and dishwasher-safe tray. It’s ideal for cooking steak since the grill optimizes cooking based on size and thickness.
What you should consider: Because it’s a contact grill, users can’t truly make open-faced sandwiches.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top indoor grill for the money
What you need to know: A classic grill made by the brand that began the craze, this affordable model is user-friendly and ideal for everyday grilling.
What you’ll love: It has a 35% faster heat time than earlier iterations. This newer model has removable plates that are dishwasher safe for easy cleaning. The spacious cooking surface is large enough to make four burgers at a time.
What you should consider: It lacks bells and whistles, like pre-programmed and adjustable settings.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: As an open indoor grill, this De’Longhi model delivers a traditional grilling experience.
What you’ll love: The grill has nonstick plates and a removable nonstick tray for easy cleaning. It has an adjustable thermostat for convenient precision cooking. With 192 square inches of cooking space, the grill is ideal for cooking large steaks and kebabs.
What you should consider: The grates are open, which means food and crumbs may fall between them during cooking.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Sian Babish writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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