Small kitchen appliances aren’t exactly known for their versatility. They are typically designed to perform a limited number of tasks, which may or may not be useful to you depending on what types of things you make frequently in your kitchen.
With that being said, sometimes a little creativity can turn a relatively straightforward appliance into a versatile and valuable cooking tool! And that’s exactly what I hope to achieve in today’s post, where I’ll be sharing 9 surprising things you can cook in a panini press.
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Which Press Is Best?
You can cook the items listed below in just about any panini press or press-style grill. But if you’re looking for a model that offers the most versatility and usefulness, it’s hard to beat the Cuisinart 5-in-1 Griddler (shown in the photos throughout this post.)
Its two cooking plates are reversible, non-stick, and dishwasher-safe. You can even open it all the way up and use it like a standard griddle or grill!
The Hamilton Beach Electric Panini Press is another good option, and it’s slightly cheaper than the Cuisinart model while still offering a range of useful features.
9 Surprising Things You Can Cook In A Panini Press
Making bacon is quick and easy in a panini press! Simply arrange strips of bacon on the cooking surface in a single layer, close the lid, and turn it on.
In around 5 minutes, you’ll have perfectly crisp bacon to eat, crumble, or save for later. And cleanup is a breeze too—just pour the bacon fat into a container, then wipe the rest up with a paper towel!
A fresh, warm piece of naan is a true pleasure (especially when it’s slathered in a generous amount of garlic… but that’s just my opinion!) With the help of your trusty panini press, it’s surprisingly easy to whip up a stack of homemade naan!
For all the details on how it’s done, plus a great naan recipe, check out this post from Ethnic Spoon.
I don’t know about you, but I’m already missing grilling season, especially because of my fondness for grilled veggies! But with the help of my panini press, I can now easily replicate the delicious grilled veggies I enjoyed all summer from the comfort (and warmth) of my kitchen!
All you have to do is thinly slice your veggies of choice, toss them in olive oil and your seasonings of choice, then arrange them on the grill surface in a single layer. Close the lid, cook for a few minutes, and you’ll be enjoying delicious grilled veggies in no time!
Another way you can use a panini press to keep grilling season alive is by grilling up some burgers! As an added bonus, the dual cooking surfaces will cook your burgers through even faster than you can do it out on the grill!
Just keep an eye on your burgers while they cook, and use a thermometer to make sure they are cooked to perfection.
Quesadillas couldn’t be easier or faster to make in a panini press! The dual cooking surfaces melts the cheese evenly throughout with no need to flip or fuss.
That means that whenever a quesadilla craving strikes, you can rest assured knowing you’re only minutes away from melty, cheesy goodness.
Your panini press can help you whip up a taste omelet in no time! Start by tossing a handful of sliced veggies in a bit of oil with your favorite seasonings, then cook them for a minute or two on your panini press.
Pour two beaten eggs over the veggies, then close the lid and cook for one more minute. Open the lid, roll up your omelet, and enjoy!
7. Chicken Breasts
When you need chicken in a hurry for a weeknight dinner, look no further than your panini press. Fire it up, grease the cooking surface, then cook your seasoned chicken breasts until the inside reaches 165°F.
One advantage of using a panini press is that you can pretty much walk away while your chicken cooks. This gives you time to finish up a side of rice, veggies, or whatever else you want to serve with dinner!
Thin fish fillets take just a minute or two to cook on a panini press. And even thicker, oily fillets like tuna and salmon only take about 4 minutes each!
This is a quick and easy option for getting a healthy dinner on the table without too much fuss or effort.
When I first read that you could make cake in a panini press, I was highly skeptical! But as long as the upper part of your panini press tilts enough to accommodate the height of a ramekin, it’s not only possible to make cake with it, but it’s downright easy!
Learn how to use your panini press to make a mini two-layer carrot cake with maple cream cheese frosting at Betty Crocker.
Do you have a panini press in your kitchen?