Having an outdoor grill is awesome. Unless it’s raining. But it’s too hot. Or too cold. Or your massive grill hogs all your yard space. Or you run out of gas. Actually, on second thought, maybe investing in an outdoor grill isn’t always the right call. Luckily, you don’t need a weighty, space-consuming grill to enjoy juicy barbecue, charred veggies, or whatever grill-marked creation your heart desires. That’s where an indoor grill comes into play.
There are two different types of indoor grill: open grill and contact grills. Open grills mimic outdoor ones in that they feature an open grilling surface. For even cooking, you’ll have to flip your food halfway through. (Unlike most traditional outdoor grills, however, there’s no flame. Head outside for that.) Contact grills, on the other hand, have two cooking surfaces—one on top and one on the bottom. Food is cooked on both sides at once, which speeds things up quite a bit.
What else should I look for?
Size: Grill surfaces typically range from 60- to 200-square inches, but bigger isn’t always better. It all comes down to how many people you’re feeding. An 80-square-inch grill is perfectly fine for a one-to-two person household, while 100-square-inch-plus machines can comfortably grill enough food for families of three to five. Of course, you can always feed larger parties with smaller grills—you’ll just need to whip up more batches.
Power: A solid range packs 1300 to 1800-watts. Some smaller and less expensive grills only reach 800 watts, which is adequate for many dishes but not ideal for cooking thicker cuts of meat.
Heat: It’s always better to opt for an indoor grill with an adjustable heat range. More versatility means you can both sizzle vegetable kebobs on low heat or sear a thick ribeye at 500 degrees.
Grill Plates: Contact grills are often used as presses (hello, paninis!), but many are designed to also function as open grills. Simply open the lid so that it lays flat, which essentially doubles the cooking surface. Another feature to look for: removable grill plates. They make cleaning up so much easier—especially if they’re dishwasher safe!
Filter: Despite their small size, many indoor grills can produce a lot of smoke if you’re not careful. If your kitchen isn’t well-ventilated, a grill with a built-in filter can cut smoke levels way down.
With all this in mind, here are the best indoor grills to make barbecue season last all year long.
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Best Overall Indoor Grill
Cuisinart Griddler Elite
This grill has six (yes, six!) cooking options, including a contact grill, panini press, full griddle, full grill, a half grill/half griddle, and a top melt. Reviewers note that while it takes up a lot of space, relatively speaking, the pros outweigh the cons. One reviewer writes, “I can fine-tune the temp setting, it’s much, MUCH easier to clean than my old contact grill, and the reversible plates mean I don’t have to find extra storage.”
Best Smokeless Indoor Grill
Hamilton Beach Electric Indoor Searing Grill
Many reviewers point out how well this grill approximates an outdoor cooking experience, minus the smoke. One notes that “I’ve grilled, steaks, burgers and chicken so far, [and it all] tastes like I did it outside on [a] gas grill.” Though the grates aren’t removable, they do deliver some Insta-worthy grill marks.
Best Indoor Grill Press
George Foreman 4-Serving Removable Plate Grill
What, you really thought we’d make a list of indoor grills and not include a George Foreman grill? This non-stick grill, which has an iconic full title of “The George Foreman Lean Mean Fat-Reducing Grilling Machine,” has certainly received an upgrade since it first debuted in 1994. One feature that’s never changed, though: Fat drains off cooking meat thanks to a sloped griddle design.
Best Indoor Grill for Groups
De’Longhi Reversible Grill/Griddle
If you’re feeding a large crowd—especially a burger-loving crew—this grill’s large surface will keep your gang full and happy. As one Amazon reviewer explains, “This is definitely a family-sized appliance. It will cook four hamburger patties or three chicken breasts at a time… if you and your family enjoy grilled meats and sandwiches or pancake breakfasts, you will definitely find this a useful kitchen tool.”
Gotham Steel Smokeless Electric Grill
Complete with both a grill and griddle option, this grill packs four different heat settings. One Amazon reviewer offers a helpful tip for getting the best results: “As long as you remember to add some water in the bottom, it cooks perfectly, with practically no mess and is COMPLETELY smokeless indoors. The house did not smell like a grill pit afterwards.”
Best Beginner Indoor Grill
T-fal OptiGrill Electric Grill
New to the world of grilling? This T-fal grill makes things easy thanks to a sensor that measures the weight of items on the grill plate and adjusts cooking times accordingly. “It automatically cooks different kinds of food to the right temperature (rare, medium rare, medium, etc.) and lets you know when they get there via changes in a colored light and an audible beep,” one happy Amazon reviewer writes.
Hamilton Beach 3-in-1 Electric Indoor Grill + Griddle
Separate cooking zones with independent heat controls make this grill great for cooking sides and main dish together—or feeding two dining companions with very different tastes. Nonstick surfaces mean clean-up is a breeze.
PowerXL Smokeless Grill with Tempered Glass Lid
Thanks to the “turbo smoke extraction” device on this grill, you’ll get a practically smokeless experience. But that’s not the only perk. “The best feature on this is the tray below, where you can add liquid to infuse [flavor into] your food,” says one reviewer. “I have put wine, herbs, stock, and liquid smoke in there and it does a beautiful job flavoring all of the food.”
Best Bargain Indoor Grill
Presto Cool Touch Electric Indoor Grill
Hundreds of 5-star reviews on Amazon agree: You don’t need to spend a fortune if you want an excellent indoor grill. While this model doesn’t have the temperature control of some of the more expensive models, its easy-to-clean plate and reliable performance make it a winner.
If you’re living in a dorm, city apartment, or anywhere else without counter space to spare, this is your grill. At less than $15, it’s priced for those on a budget.
Breville Smart Grill & Grillddle
This grill’s big selling point is its so-called “Element IQ technology,” which Breville says detects any drop in surface temperature and speedily restores it. Also great? The machine can be used three ways—as an open grill, flat griddle, or panini press—and its removable plates are dishwasher safe for quick cleanup.
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