The perfect panini press and griddle
Summary : An upgrade from the original, the Griddler Deluxe has more features, is larger and the grill/griddle plate is reversible. Perfect for paninis, pancakes, bacon, eggs, steaks and more!
A number of years ago, I received the Cuisinart Griddler for Christmas. I was extremely excited because it was something I really wanted. Since then, I have used is so many times for making paninis, grilled cheeses, pancakes, eggs, bacon and more. I has been one of my most used small appliances. Recently, Cuisinart released the Griddler Deluxe, which takes all that is great about the Griddler and improves on it.
The Griddler Deluxe is a combination panini press and griddle, that comes with reversible plates (grill on one side, griddle on the other). There are many different cooking options for this machine to make it a valuable choice for any home cook. I was excited to try this machine out and compare it to the original Griddler and see if it is much of an improvement.
Here are some of the product features, according to Cuisinart:
- Six cooking options: contact grill, panini press, full griddle, full grill, half grill/half griddle, top melt
- Removable, reversible and nonstick grill/griddle plates
- Dual-zone temperature control
- Sear function – can sear at 500°F for up to two minutes at a time
- Adjustable top cover with 6 presets to top melt and lock for storage
- Large grilling surface: 240 square inches open
- Brushed stainless steel housing
- Integrated drip tray and cleaning/scraping tool
- Red/green LED indicator lights
- All accessories are dishwasher safe
- Limited 3-Year Warranty
Known for quality products, Cuisinart’s Griddler Deluxe is built very well and has a solid construction. Made of a combination of stainless steel and hard durable plastic, this machine is both functional and will look sharp on the countertop.
The controls are very simple to operate and found at the front of the Griddler Deluxe. It is possible to control the temperature of the upper and lower plates separately. Simply turn the applicable dial to the desired temperature and the unit will heat up.
There are sear zone buttons which provide a very high heat that is perfect for searing steaks and pork chops.
Lift up the lid to reveal the cooking surface. The upper lid is attached to the arm, so the upper plate raises up as you lift up the arm.
Here is a top down view comparing the original Griddler and the Griddler Deluxe. The new machine is clearly larger and the cooking surface is increased by around 40-50%. At the back of the Griddler Deluxe is a drip tray. This is a new feature that was not in the original design of the Griddler and I love it. It catches up all the grease which is great for me, since I regularly use this machine to make bacon.
Looking at the two machines from the front, it is clear to see that the design of the Griddler has not changed much with the release of the deluxe model.
Placing the original plate on top of one from the Griddler Deluxe, it is clear to see the larger cooking surface. One other new feature with the deluxe model is that the plates are reversible. Now, instead of separate grill and griddle plates, the Griddle Deluxe has the grill on one side and the griddle on the other side of each plate. I love this new feature as it is great not having to worry about storing those extra plates.
The first thing I tried with the Griddler Deluxe was to make some bacon. I opened the unit so that the upper plate was flat with the lower plate. This makes two flat griddles, which is perfect for pancakes, bacon, eggs and more! I set the temperature on the lower plate to 450F and waited for the indicator light to go green, letting me know that the lower plate has reached the set temperature.
There is plenty of room on these griddles for frying up bacon. While the bacon was cooking, the grease slowly dripped into the drip tray.
Once the bacon was half done, I turned the heat up on the upper plate. I added a little oil and cracked open some eggs. I was worried that there was a slope and they would drain into the drip tray. They did not though and I was pleased with how well they fried up.
Since owning the Griddler Deluxe, I have used it many times in the griddle form and it has worked great every time. Pancakes cook up really well and there is plenty of surface area to make a large breakfast. I also like that this has two separate griddle plates, as compared to one large dedicated griddle. This way, I can cook pancakes on one griddle plate and bacon or sausage on the other, ensuring that they stay separate.
The drip tray removes easily, even with the upper plate opened flat.
Removing the plates is easy. Simply press the button on the side, to release the locking mechanism and free the plate. This can be done for both the upper and lower plates.
Once released, the plates lift up easily. For cleaning, these can be washed in the sink with mild soapy water, or placed in the dishwasher. I regularly use the dishwasher for cleaning the plates and drip tray.
Flip the plate around to show the grill side. Locking it in place is as easy and sliding it up to the metal brackets and pressing it down to lock it. This can be done in just seconds.
The grill plates are great for searing steaks, chops and even chicken breasts. I rarely cooked meat like this on the original Griddler and probably will not do it much on the Griddler Deluxe. I did try making boneless skinless chicken breasts and it worked very well.
The main thing I use the grill side for is to make grilled paninis. I love grilled sandwiches and the Griddler Deluxe is perfect for this. Set the upper and lower plates to 400F and, while they are heating up, you can build your sandwich or panini. I made one with German salami, chicken, provolone and roasted red peppers. YUM!
Once the Griddler Deluxe has reached the set temperature, the indicator lights will go green. Place the sandwich on the grill and close the lid. The lid can be adjusted so that it perfectly closes down on every sandwich regardless of thickness. I like this feature, as I have used other panini presses before that squish down one side of the panini, while pressing all the meat and cheese out the other side.
The Griddler Deluxe makes one toasty and tasty panini! It works great and has plenty of surface area to cook more than one. It is also possible to make grilled cheeses, by using the griddle plates. The surface area is so large that I have been able to fit 4 grilled cheeses at one time.
As a fan of the original Griddler, I love the Griddler Deluxe. It kept everything that worked great and built on it. In particular, I love the larger surface area, reversible plates and drip tray. This machine has so many cooking options that is can easily find a home in any kitchen!
Buy the Griddler Deluxe at Amazon – Cuisinart Griddler Deluxe
Disclaimer: Cuisinart provided me with the Griddler Deluxe. They did not pay me for this review and the views expressed above are my honest reactions after trying the product.