The Best Indoor Grills Canadians Can Buy Right Now
Which grill is the champ of versatile cooking?
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When you’re craving a grilled steak and you don't have access to a great outdoor grill, your thoughts may turn to an indoor grill. These countertop appliances can either have wide, open grates like outdoor grills, or covers that press down on a burger or a chicken breast, cooking both sides at once. The latter, often called contact grills, were made popular for healthy cooking by the George Foreman Grill in the mid-1990s and are great for making diner-quality crunchy grilled cheese sandwiches.
The best of both types will grill up a burger and cook meat that tastes like summer. While you can make a mean hamburger or sirloin with flavourful browning and crusting with the equipment you already own—a skillet and a stove—you’ll appreciate the versatility of an electric grill.
The best electric grill we tested is the Cuisinart Griddler Deluxe. It's packed with features and can be used as a contact or an open grill—and even as a griddle. If you want a less formidable model and to spend a lot less, the George Foreman 4 Serving Basic Plate Grill will get the job done.
To help you spend wisely, we chose highly-rated products and used each one to toast bread, grill hamburgers, and press paninis. We then took the top performers and grilled chicken breasts and salmon filets to help us determine our favourites.
Here are the best indoor grills we tested that are available in Canada.
1. Cuisinart Griddler Deluxe
Although large and pricey, the Cuisinart Griddler Deluxe offers a lot of cooking options for your money. In addition to being used as a closed grill, the two sides open up to form two separate surfaces for those times when you want to increase the number of burgers you can grill at once from six to 12. The plates are reversible, with a grill pattern on one side and a flat surface on the other. With both sides open and the flat surface in place, the Griddler Deluxe turns into a griddle, although a gap between the two halves limits the number of pancakes you can cook at once. But, all in all, this is a very versatile product.
The Griddler browns quickly and evenly. Longer cooking items like paninis and chicken breasts came out crispy with beautiful grill marks. Using the high heat sear function, burgers were grilled perfectly.
In addition, this Cuisinart has lots of special features. You can select different temperatures for each plate, which is particularly helpful when it’s in the open position. You can cook the bacon on medium on one side and scramble the eggs on low on the other. During preheating, the knobs glow red, then change to green when the selected temperature is reached. An innovative lever on the side of the machine allows you to adjust the distance between the two plates so that you can avoid crushing your burgers as well as press down on a grilled cheese sandwich, but not so hard that all the cheese oozes out. The plates are particularly easy to snap in and out, and they can be washed in the dishwasher. In the back of the grill, a drip tray slides into place. Not only is the manual thorough, it contains recipes that you actually want to prepare.
Get the Cuisinart Griddler Deluxe at Best Buy Canada for $179.99
2. George Foreman 4-Serving Removable Plate Grill
You can thank George Foreman (or whoever licensed his name) for first putting the contact grill on the map. This inexpensive black plastic model isn’t particularly sexy looking, but it’s relatively small and offers a no-fuss method of cooking a couple of burgers or grilled cheese sandwiches. Yes, it is called a four-serving grill, but in actuality, it could only hold two 4-inch patties. While paninis weren’t as crusty as some of the more expensive products, burgers, chicken, and salmon completed cooking with gorgeous grill marks. This model has only one heat setting, so it’s very easy to operate. With grill plates that pop out for thorough cleaning in the dishwasher, it’s an improvement over the original Foreman grill, which required that you wipe down the plates. It comes with a simple removable drip tray that sits in front to catch the drippings as they fall from the slanted surface.
Get the George Foreman 4-Serving Removable Plate Grill at Amazon Canada for $59.90
3. Hamilton Beach Searing Grill with Window
If you’re dead set on an open grill, our first choice is the Hamilton Beach Searing Grill with Lid Window which is big enough to cook six hamburgers at a time. Burgers, chicken, and fish came out with deep grill marks closely resembling the ones you get from your outdoor grill. The lid doesn’t press down on food but rather, it helps to hold in heat to speed up cooking a little and also contain smoke and cooking odours. The grill grate and the drip pan go in the dishwasher and the lid comes off for hand washing.
Get the Hamilton Beach Searing Grill with Window from Amazon Canada for $79.99
4. Breville the Perfect Press
The Breville the Perfect Press is small, beautiful, and with no temperature settings, uncomplicated to operate. Although it’s primarily intended for panini, it can easily handle three burgers or chicken breasts. The plates have a flat surface, so you don’t get any grill marks, and you can’t remove them for cleaning. While not being able to rinse them under running water may bother you if you’re a cleaning fanatic, they wipe clean easily, and removing and reinstalling the plates is one less thing to worry about. But my biggest gripe is with Breville’s "crush control" feature, which is supposed to prevent you from pressing down too hard on sandwiches. Still, it couldn’t adjust to rest on a thick panini evenly, and as a result, the paninis I made didn’t come out evenly browned. As the plates lock together, the unit can stand up vertically when it’s not being used, and there’s cord storage in the bottom which makes this product handy to store.
Get the Breville the Perfect Press from Amazon Canada for $129.99
5. Zojirushi Indoor Electric Grill
While you’ll ultimately get beautiful results from this grill, you do have to flip foods over and have a little patience. In our tests, it took 10 minutes to cook six burgers and 20 minutes to grill salmon. That may not sound long, but it’s more than twice the time most of the closed grills needed. Even though it doesn’t have a lid, we didn’t notice much smoking during grilling. The Zojirushi model is large and will take up quite a bit of space on the countertop, in the dishwasher, and in a cabinet or closet if you’re going to stash it away between uses.
Get the Zojirushi Indoor Electric Grill at Amazon Canada for $123.81
6. Cuisinart Griddler Five
Like the Griddler Deluxe, the Cuisinart Griddle Five is handsome and versatile. It too can be used in an open or closed position and has both grill and griddle surfaces. Smaller than the Deluxe, it can only hold four patties at once when closed or eight when open. We found it really excelled when it came to chicken and salmon, which came out looking bronzed.
This grill has an LCD screen that shows the temperature choices, lighted bars to show you preheating progress, and a timer that can count down or count up. However, the functions on the display are controlled by turning and pressing a knob so many options lead to some confusion. The drip pan slides into the grill, but it took us a little bit of experimentation to figure out how to position it.
What holds us back from recommending this model wholeheartedly is that the edges of its handle get quite hot at higher temperatures and longer cooking times. Although it wasn’t hot enough to burn us, it was a cause for some concern.
Get the Cuisinart Griddler Five at Amazon Canada for $199.99
7. Philips Avance Collection Smoke-less Indoor Grill
This product is solidly built and cooks evenly. It’s also large, heavy, and very pricey, yet it will only cook six burgers at once. As claimed, it didn’t smoke, but then neither did the open Zojirushi. It has only two settings, High and Warm, which make it easy to use and makes it seem like you’re not getting much for your money. Although you do get a recipe book, the use and care leaflet is skimpy on details. You can clean the grate and drip pan in the dishwasher.
Get the Philips Avance Collection Smoke-less Indoor Grill at Amazon Canada for $499.99
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Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.