Why Buy an Indoor Electric Grill?
The top performers in our review are the Cuisinart Griddler, the Gold Award winner; the Hamilton Beach Indoor Grill, the Silver Award winner; and the DeLonghi Indoor Grill, the Bronze Award winner. Here’s more on choosing a unit to meet your needs, along with detail on how we arrived at our ranking of 10 electric grills.
Why Use an Electric Grill?
For many people, nothing could be more sublime than grill marks on a piece of meat, but if it is the dead of winter an indoor electric grill may be your only option for a "cookout." You may not get the same charcoal flavor as you would outdoors, but you can usually get something pretty tasty, and the cleanup is much easier.
A grilled piece of chicken or fish is also a healthy alternative when you compare it to many of the deep-fried, fast-food versions. You can pair your grilled protein with a salad and make it a meal a nutritionist could recommend.
Even though you can cook burgers on almost any cooking surface, there is something nice about how fast and easy it is to cook them on countertop grills. With burgers especially, you will not get that outdoor flavor, but the best indoor electric grills have their own merit and do not have to replace anything else. They have earned a spot on many countertops based on their convenience and capabilities. One of those capabilities is cooking up a burger perfectly – and fast. Frying up a burger in a pan on the stovetop or broiling one in the oven takes more time and leaves more mess. For even more information, see our articles on indoor electric grills.
Compare Electric Grill Features
There are several types of indoor grills, each suited to a different type of cooking. Probably the most famous type is the clamshell style popularized by the George Foreman Grill, which sandwiches your food between two cooking surfaces and eliminates the need to flip the food. There also are units that resemble a traditional electric griddle, complete with a glass cover. Simple cast iron skillets with ridges are always an option as well.
All types have their advantages and disadvantages. Clamshell grills like the George Foreman Grill are speedy but can be hard to clean. Skillet-style indoor grills are easy to clean in some ways, but with their glass lids on they cause meats to steam in their own juices more than really grilling, and that leads to different flavor. The cast iron skillets that you just put over a burner make a pretty big mess, but a lot of people prefer the flavor they produce.
Electric Grills: How We Tested, What We Found
We looked at some of the most popular among a few different types of tabletop electric grills as we researched the topic. Our electric grill reviews include those that can help you cook eggs, paninis, steak, vegetables and much more. The most common uses, though, are very likely chicken breasts and hamburger patties. That is what we decided to test. We looked for the best grill to get a quick and delicious supper on the table in any kind of weather.
We tested each grill on multiple skinless chicken pieces and hamburger patties. We cooked on opposite sides of each unit to check for uniform heat, side to side. We bought all meat from the same store and prepared each piece of meat the same way to determine which appliances work the best in the same set of circumstances. We looked for the grills that worked quickly and efficiently to prepare moist and delicious chicken and perfectly cooked hamburgers.
We also looked for the ones that are easiest to use. We noted assembly times and cleaning times so you can get an idea of how each one would fit into your life.
Electric Grills: Our Verdict and Recommendations
Our favorite electric grills – the Cuisinart Griddler, Hamilton Beach Indoor Grill and the DeLonghi Indoor Grill – were easy to assemble and use, producing the kinds of results you will be proud to serve. They also are very easy to clean, with drip trays that collect grease somewhere besides your countertop or on the bottom of your cabinets.
The Griddler especially provides a great burger or piece of chicken, cooking them without drying them out. This electric grill got our only perfect score for maintaining uniform temperature from corner to corner while many competitors had hot and cool spots. It has a generous amount of cooking space and allows you to cook a wide variety of items, all the way from breakfast to midnight snacking, thanks to reversible cooking surfaces that are flat on one side and ribbed on the other.
The best bet for an inexpensive clamshell grill is from Hamilton Beach. The food is done lightning fast and you do not even have to flip it. You will not get that cookout flavor, but this will become a lifesaver on a busy night.
DeLonghi's indoor grill did a good job of cooking meats to be wonderfully moist and tasty. With its glass lid, it can help you steam food items, too. The lip around the edge of the cooking surface also minimizes greasy messes.
Not everyone has the budget or the space for a large outdoor grill. The best indoor electric grills can help you recreate some of that experience, though. They also can offer a fast-track to a relatively healthy and simple weekday meal.