Pros / It comes with additional removable cooking surfaces so you can make waffles as well as sandwiches.
Cons / The nonstick surface is acceptable, but not the best among the products we reviewed.
Verdict / The Avante Sandwich and Waffle Maker is convenient for making pocket-style sandwiches or waffles, as well as to clean and store. However, without the grills of an actual panini press, it cannot make a real panini.
The Avante Sandwich and Waffle Maker is a unique cooking device that includes removable nonstick interior plates so you can swap out triangle sandwich makers for waffle makers, with deep indentations to hold plenty of butter and syrup. These plates are dishwasher safe, so that part of cleanup is an easy process. However, if you clean them by hand, it does take a bit of effort. It took a bit longer than three minutes in our test, which was the longest cleaning time for any sandwich maker we tested.
The sandwich plates, called Pocket Sandwich and Waffle, make exactly what they say. You can create two delicious grilled cheese sandwiches that have a deep groove cutting each in half at an angle, with small triangle indentations in each half. Cooking is not difficult at all with this sandwich grill. When you plug it in, an indicator light pops on, showing you that it is heating. Once it reaches the best temperature to cook, another indicator light automatically turns on.
This sandwich toaster has a rather small cooking area of 45 square inches, which is the second-smallest cooking surface among the sandwich makers we reviewed. This is enough to make two sandwiches at a time, but others we tested let you make up to four at once.
When we tested this model by making grilled cheese sandwiches, we found the bread was evenly crisped and the cheese was melted just right. However, the nonstick surface was less nonstick than we expected, so we had to jostle it a bit to get the food out and onto a plate.
When we tried making a turkey, cheese and pesto panini on sandwich bread, the result was a tasty and well-toasted hot sandwich, but it was definitely not a panini. This sandwich maker lacks the traditional grilled ridges of a true panini press, so it obviously cannot make the real deal.
The sandwich maker produces quite uniform temperature levels throughout the heating area. We tested this by placing bread slices side by side and then judging how evenly they toasted, which turned out to be just right. The top portion of this cooker measures 225 degrees, while the bottom level reaches 221 degrees.
This is a sturdy sandwich toaster with a stainless steel exterior. Luckily, the exterior stays cool to the touch. You also get a place on the grill to store the 29-inch electrical cord. This appliance offers the convenience of vertical storage, which is always handy, since cupboard space typically is scarce in the kitchen.
- Grilled Cheese Test
- Panini Test
- Uniform Temperature
- Sandwich Removal
The compact Avante Sandwich and Waffle Maker makes fine sandwiches that taste good, with nicely and evenly toasted bread. You can also make waffles with this model. However, any sandwich maker without the traditional ridged grills is simply not a panini maker in the genuine sense, so any panini you try to create will be a flavorful toasted sandwich but not a panini.