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Griddle or Grill For The Best Panini: 1 Clear Winner

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Ever want the best panini but cant make up your mind between which will cook it better, a griddle or a panini? Well, we’ve done some testing and have the new panini cooking king to share with you!


I love a grilled panini as much as the next person – who doesn’t, right? But like everything in the cooking world right now, there seems to be a gadget for everything.

I suppose that’s a good thing, because it allows people to have the perfect tool for every job, and in many ways a grill panini is the perfect device to use when making a grilled panini (clues in the name I guess).

But where I take issue with these newer gadgets, is whether or not they are strictly necessary. Before I pick up any new gadget for cooking, I ask myself if it is essential. And if it isn’t, then I tend not to buy one.

But rather than having these internal debates alone, I thought I’d share with you a glimpse of what it’s like to be in my head, by writing this post looking at whether you need a grill panini when you already have a griddle.

And who knows? Maybe my verdict will shock you. Or not…

Why Buy A Grill Panini?

If you’re looking at a panini grill, then you’re obviously somebody who is a fan of a panini. These grills are specifically designed with panini making in mind, so, unsurprisingly, they do their job very well.

The design of the grill means that you will get those delicious charred lines across your panini, giving your lunch a very traditional look and feel whilst eating. That’s a huge plus in my book.

But if I’m picking up a product for one dish only, then maybe I’m doing something wrong? So instead I look at whether or not a grill panini is versatile. Essentially, will it do more for me than just make my panini look and taste great?

And the answer to that question is yes, it will. There are many uses for panini grills out there, including cooking vegetables, meat, cheese, fruits, and even desserts.

However, panini grills really lack the cooking real-estate needed to do much else than a sandwich.

So now I’m looking at a grill panini and I’m thinking that maybe picking one up isn’t such a waste of my hard earned money. If it can do more than just grill my panini, then maybe it’s worth the purchase.

But then I look at the reality of the situation, and I’d encourage you to do the same if you’re thinking about picking up a grill panini for yourself. We can use a panini grill for all those things above, but ask yourself this: will you?

When I answered that question, I thought that I probably wouldn’t. I have a griddle anyway for all those things, so why would I use a smaller surface panini grill in its place?

But then, my friends, we get to the real question. Can I still make a delicious panini on my griddle?

Can You Use A Griddle Instead?

Yes, you can. It is possible to make a grilled panini on your griddle, and it’ll taste just fine. The bread will be crisp on the outside, and soft and warm on the inside, exactly what you’d expect.

Whatever you choose to put inside your panini will be warm and melted and delicious. But you won’t get those charred lines across the surface of the bread, because a griddle is a flat surface.

So I suppose the question then becomes ‘how much do I care about the charred lines on a panini?’.

If you care a great deal, then a griddle isn’t going to be an effective way for you to grill your panini. If, like me, you think that maybe it isn’t such a big deal, then a griddle is a perfectly viable option when it comes to cooking your panini.

However, I will give you a word of warning here. I’ve cooked panini on a griddle many times before, but I’ve had mixed results.

Because you’re essentially cooking by eye on a griddle (rather than by the handy timer of a grill panini) you have to remain vigilant.

It’s all too easy to burn the entire base of your panini before you flip it, because a griddle can become so much hotter than a panini grill. Its also another great reason to learn your griddle heat zones.

And let’s be honest, you might miss those charred black lines, but you don’t want your whole panini to turn the color of charcoal.

If, however, you are careful and get your timings and temperatures just right, you can have a perfectly satisfying panini from a griddle.

The Right Tool For The Right Job

Now, there are many of you who will have just read that and thought ‘well, yes, I can also fry an egg on the pavement when it’s hot enough outside too, but that doesn’t mean I do it.’

Your argument is a sensible one. Sometimes you need the right tool for the right job to do something perfectly, and there’s no denying that a grill panini will create better results than your griddle will.

Just like frying a steak on your panini grill will result in a poorer meal than if you had used your griddle to cook it instead.

So I guess what I’m trying to say is that if you’re passionate about panini, then you probably ought to have a grill panini to help you create the perfect ones.

My Verdict

So then, ladies and gentleman, we come to the final act of my thought process (and believe me; I don’t blame you if you’re exhausted at this point – but try living in my head for 24 hours and you’ll see that I have these internal debates far too regularly).

My verdict then. Do I like panini? Yes. Do the charred lines matter to me that much? I guess not. Will a griddle create a satisfactory panini? Yes. Do I need a grill panini? No. Will that stop me from buying one? Also, no.

But I think that’s sort of the point of all these gadgets isn’t it? Manufacturers create something that is perfect for a specific task, and we feel the need to buy it because it will help us create dishes that are tastier, or complete tasks more effectively.

So, no, I don’t need a grill panini. But you can bet your bottom dollar that I’m heading straight to my panini grill after writing this to make a delicious lunch!


Lover of the outdoors and great food. If I'm not in my backyard cooking up a feast, I'm deep in the backcountry camping....and cooking up a feast! Follow along and let's create something great.