Cuisinart Elite Griddler: Way More Than A Panini Press

We’re not kitchen masterminds, top chefs, or champion cooks here. No amount of sous vide circulator testing or successful turkey roasting can add that spark that separates the true artist from the merely capable. Recipes can be followed, and occasional inspiration can strike, but most staff are perfectly happy leaving the serious culinary planning and execution to the experts. Or they were, until we started testing out today’s nifty new kitchen appliance, and suddenly everyone wanted to come in and “test out this sandwich” or “grill up some pancakes”.

Which is to say that the Cuisinart Elite Griddler is the sort of item that can put a bit of fun back into your food prep. It might not land you on TV, but it will impress guests, and certainly delight any lucky someone who receives it under the tree this year. Cuisinart makes a wide range of products that we’ve liked- everything from steam ovens to small wine refrigerators, ice cream makers, and food processors- and the Griddler continues the trend. It’s got the same DNA- blue backlit display panel, brushed stainless steel, black accents and details, and nothing frilly or extra but with unusual and unique features.

The Griddler takes a panini press, enlarges it, and makes the two sides able to lay flat as well as reversible- so that it can be a griddle or grill as well. And it can serve with aplomb in these roles, with nonstick plates that cleaned easily and cooked evenly, and with plemty of space (a total of 240 square inches). Temperature is impressively adjustable, with dual separate zones so you can sear a cheese sandwich on one half and keep the another one warm to the side. At 20 pounds, it’s not a light item, and it will take up quite a bit of counter space even when folded up. But it heats up pretty fast, and that weight is put to great use when you press firmly down on the handle and find your delicious Cubano sandwich nicely flat, crisp, and perfectly browned.

There is a drip tray… but it isn’t that helpful, unfortunately. And on some counters with cabinets, the Griddler Deluxe can be hard to open, as the handle extends far enough to make it difficult. The cooking trays are dishwasher safe, and though it won’t quite assemble a panini for you, this Cuisinart will handle the cooking and make cleanup pretty simple. If you are looking for a multi-function tool that might just become your new best lunch, breakfast, and late night friend, then the Cuisinart Elite Griddle is for you and available for just around $200.

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