The Cuisinart Griddler is one of the best indoor electric grills on the market, and it can open up new cooking possibilities, regardless of how small your kitchen is. We chose this as the best overall indoor grill because the Griddler makes it simple to toast, press, grill and cook your favorite foods with its precise heating controls, accurate temperatures and versatile, reversible grill plates.
With this tabletop grill, you can cook your favorite foods such as hamburgers, paninis, pancakes and more without needing multiple appliances. The lid has a convenient handle that keeps you away from the heat and gives you some leverage if you want to use it to compress your panini or burger.
This multifunctional grill has the best temperature consistency of all the models we tested. This is important as many cheap countertop grills radiate heat directly where the coil is located rather than dispersing it to the whole unit. Having even heat ensures that your food cooks correctly. The Griddler has a maximum temperature of 450 degrees, which is hot enough for any type of food you want to cook.
There was minimal grease spattering when we cooked with the Griddler, although grease seemed to escape easier when the lid was set at higher levels to hover above foods like thick steaks. If you don't want to deal with spattering, check out a fully covered electric grill like the DeLonghi BG24. This Cuisinart grill is perfect for grilled cheese and panini sandwiches, giving your bread attractive sear lines if you use the ribbed side of the grill plates. It also does well with cut vegetables, such as squash or onions, and is wide enough to accommodate asparagus as well.
The Griddler specializes in searing, with individual searing buttons for both the top and bottom grills that increase the temperature to 500 degrees for up to two minutes. This can help you get the perfect sear on your steaks or burgers without burning them. The lid has six positions it can be set to, allowing you to stuff your sandwiches full or grill a thick steak or chicken breast evenly. Being able to set the height of the lid also allows it to loom above your food, effectively making it a broiler. This is a great way to grill a pizza or melt cheese slices without making a mess of the top grill plate.
Setting up the Griddler is simple. You choose which side of the grill plate you want to use, set the temperatures for each grill plate, and place the lid at the height you want. The grill plates are removable and dishwasher safe, making it easy to clean after cooking greasy foods like hamburger or cheese. The nonstick surface can be wiped with a wet paper towel or scraped with the included scraper to remove baked-on residue.
The only downside to this indoor electric grill is that it takes up a bit of room on the counter and in storage. The handle does not fold down, but the lid locks in place to keep it from falling open when you pull it out of your storage area.
The defining feature of this unit is the multifunctional grill plates. These reversible plates have a flat griddle surface on one side and a ribbed grilling surface on the other. Because you can remove the plates, you can use any combination to suit your cooking needs.
Another great feature of this electric grill is the ability to fold the top grill completely back to create an open, flat cooking surface, which effectively doubles your grilling space. This lets you cook for a large group or do multitask cooking for bacon on one side while you use the other side to cook french toast. You get a total of 240 square inches of cooking surface, which is large enough to cook up to 12 small pancakes at once when it's opened, or up to six hamburger patties in the lid-on-top grilling position.
Each side of the grill has its own temperature controls on the front of the appliance. Preheat indicator lights are built into each knob, making it easy to see which side is in use and if it is at the right temperature. Having independent controls makes this machine stand out from other electric grills, since you can cook what you want any way you want. For example, you can grill some peppers, mushrooms and onions in one area at one temperature while you cook the meat for your cheese steak sandwich at a different temperature on the opposite grill.
Cuisinart covers this indoor grill with a three-year warranty against defective parts or workmanship, which is considerably longer than warranties offered by other companies. You can order replacement grill plates, scrapers, drip trays and other parts from the Cuisinart website, where you can also find delicious recipes and a downloadable PDF of the owner manual. You can call or email Cuisinart service representatives if you have questions.