The 6 Best Indoor Grills
Who among us doesn’t love the taste of a nice charbroiled burger, veggie burger or steak with that blackened sear, those perfectly parallel grill lines? But who among us actually has the space for a barbeque? And even for those who do have access to an outdoor grill, the convenience and efficiency of a good indoor grill cannot be overlooked. Get outdoor taste indoors with any one of these 6 indoor grills. These are, without a doubt, the best indoor grills on the market.
High End Pick
Cuisinart – Griddler Elite Indoor Grill
My pick for the all around, absolute best indoor grill.
Zojirushi – Indoor Electric Grill
My pick for the best indoor grill under $100.
My pick for the best value for your money.
1. Ninja – Foodi 5-in-1 Electric Grill
Ninja – Foodi 5-in-1 Electric Grill
This versatile machine is far more than just an electric grill, and perfect for small spaces.
Kicking off this list of the best indoor grills on the market is a product that actually has much to offer beyond simple electric, indoor grilling. In fact, the Ninja Foodi 5-in-1 Electric Grill has quite a bit to unpack, but given the fact that you’re here to learn about indoor grills, let’s start with that feature first.
The grill grate itself is nonstick and ceramic-coated, and removable for easy cleaning. And it’s dishwasher safe. Through easy-to-use, digital temperature controls, you can quickly get this machine up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit (260 degrees Celsius) to achieve those beautiful char-grill marks.
Of course, when it comes to indoor grilling, we don’t want smoke, and thankfully, the Ninja is virtually smoke free. Ninja uses a specifically engineered “cool-air zone” and splatter shield to reduce smoke, and these components actually do pretty well in that effort.
As far as the other features go, it’s important to note that roasting, baking, dehydrating and air frying are all premised on the same basic cooking mechanics: food is cooked by air that gets heated and circulated within an enclosed chamber. The only difference between these cooking methods is the temperature of the air.
Roasting is achieved when that air is at its hottest (400 degrees Fahrenheit and over), while baking refers to cooking at lower oven temperatures (up to 375 degrees). Air frying happens at an even lower temperature, about 200 degrees, and when the food items are coated in a thin layer of oil, and dehydrating occurs at even lower temperatures, usually about 130 degrees.
Boasting accurate and easy-to-use temperature controls and pre-sets, the Ninja Foodi excels at all of these cooking methods. The only design flaw that I’ve noted in this item is the lid, which is a bit top heavy and can cause the whole machine to tip over if you aren’t careful. Other than that, the Ninja Foodi is a great machine, and even though may look a bit bulky, it’s actually perfect for small kitchens.
Let me explain this last assertion, since it may sound a bit oxymoronic to say that a bulky item is good for small spaces. What I mean to say is that because the Ninja Foodi can do so much, it can actually take the place of other items in your kitchen. So, if your shoebox apartment doesn’t have an oven, or if you don’t actually want to go out and buy an air fryer, the Ninja Foodi may be your knight in stainless steel armor.
2. Philips – Avance Collection, Smokeless Indoor Grill
Philips – Avance Collection, Smokeless Indoor Grill
The Philips Smokeless Indoor Grill may be the perfect appliance when it comes to reenacting outdoor grilling inside – minus the smoke, of course.
The Philips Smokeless Indoor Grill is part of Philips’s Avance Collection, a series of appliances known for their sleek design and minimalist features. This item is no different in this regard, and probably the most aesthetically pleasing indoor grill on this list. I absolutely love the matte black finish, unadulterated with unnecessary buttons or controls, and the subtle splashes of stainless steel.
Of course, this grill isn’t just eye candy. Functionally, it’s designed very, very well. And it’s easy to clean, and dishwasher safe.
But the biggest issue to think about when it comes to indoor grilling is smoke. So let’s talk about indoor grills and smoke, and where that smoke actually comes from. Smoke most frequently results from bits of food, food juices or oils that drip onto hot surfaces.
Although we can minimize smoke by keeping grill surfaces clean, there isn’t much we can do to keep those deliciously thick steaks from dripping as they cook. So, the best way to prevent smoke in these scenarios is to ensure that the surface that the juices hit remains cool. And Philips has done exactly that – they use infrared technology and reflectors to direct heat toward the grill surface and away from the drip tray underneath, drastically cutting down on smoke production.
Unfortunately, these heat reflectors also cause a nasty glare if you look directly at them, so be careful in this regard. The other limitation on this machine is the temperature, which is fixed at a constant 446 degrees. Although this is the optimal temperature for grilling and searing, it limits grilling versatility significantly.
- Virtually smoke free; heat is focused – using infrared technology and reflectors – to the grill surface rather than the drip tray underneath.
- Easy to clean and dishwasher safe.
- Reaches maximum heat in less than one minute, ready to cook at a consistent 446 degrees Fahrenheit, the optimal temperature for grilling and searing.
- Simple design.
- Temperature is fixed, not adjustable.
- The infrared and heat reflectors can cause an uncomfortable glare that is unpleasant to look at while cooking.
3. Zojirushi – Indoor Electric Grill
Zojirushi – Indoor Electric Grill
A great budget option with adjustable temperature controls and the best safety features on the market.
The Zojirushi Indoor Electric Grill has a number of features that put it on par with other grills on this list, and some that even put it ahead of a few others. But it also comes with a few notable limitations which you will want to consider before buying. Let’s start with the positives.
The grill is light weight and disassembles easily, making it pretty easy to clean. The drip tray is also dishwasher safe, which is a big plus. Given the fact that this thing’s whole job is to catch grease though, I’d suggest letting it soak in soapy water before attempting to clean it in a dishwasher.
Now, grilling itself. The grill surface temperature can be easily regulated, going from 176 degrees at its coolest setting to 410 degrees Fahrenheit at the hottest. The handles remain cool to the touch, as does the rest of the grill body. And the grilling surface is rather large – 12 ½ by 9 ¼ inches, enough for quite a few burgers or even a rack of ribs.
I also really like the safety features on the Zojirushi. Not only do the handles stay cool, but the grill itself won’t actually heat up unless the metal drip tray and cooking grid are in place and secure.
Now, a few negatives. Although the temperature is easily regulated, it takes a little longer than I would like for the grill to heat up. This isn’t terrible, as I assume nobody that wants to grill is in a rush anyway. But perhaps the biggest issue with this grill is the fact that food is cooked by heat that comes from the grill surface itself, rather than a separate heat source.
This means that the grill works best on thin items, since otherwise you risk burning the outside of your meat before the inside cooks properly. I’m sure a qualified grill-master could deal with this issue, but not without at least a little frustration. If you stick to thin cuts of meat and smash burgers though, the Zojiirushi will do just fine.
- Easy temperature adjustment, from 176 to 410 degrees Fahrenheit with cool-to-the-touch handles and housing.
- Large, nonstick grilling surface measures 12 ½ by 9 ¼ inches.
- Lightweight; disassembles easily for cleaning; dishwasher-safe drip tray.
- Safe design; the grill will not heat up unless the metal drip tray and cooking grid are in place.
- Slow to heat up.
- Food is cooked by heat that radiates from the grill surface itself, rather than a separate heat source, meaning the grill works best with only for very thin items.
4. Power – XL Smokeless Electric Indoor Grill
Power – XL Smokeless Electric Indoor Grill
This practical indoor grill features a completely reversible, nonstick cooking surface – achieve perfect grill lines on one side and beautiful pancakes on the other.
The Power XL Smokeless Electric Indoor Grill has some features that I really like, and not much that I don’t. Another indoor grill of minimalist design, the Power XL features digital temperature controls, a reversible grill/griddle, and a glass lid, all of which set it apart from its competitors.
I am a big fan of reversible grills that are flat on one side and ribbed on the other, and actually have a reversible cast iron griddle from Lodge that I use all the time. The grill side is obviously great for searing and getting some beautiful char lines, while the griddle side is perfect for pancakes and even homemade tortillas. This indoor grill mimics those dual features perfectly, something I find incredibly convenient.
The grill itself – in addition to being reversible – is made from nonstick ceramic, a material that’s relatively easy to clean and dishwasher safe. And it’s decently sized at just under 14” long and 8” wide. I can’t really see needing much more grilling real estate if you’re cooking indoors, so as far as practicality goes, the Power XL is just fine.
Finally, the lid. It’s a small but significant detail, perfect for raising the temperature of your food as it cooks and trapping moisture, and of course, it’s also dishwasher safe. Given the choice of a grill with a cover and one without, I think the clear choice is to go with that lid. And it’s glass, so you can still watch your food as it cooks, even when it’s covered.
In terms of smoke reduction, the Power XL doesn’t really match up to the smokeless features of some of the other grills on this list, and that’s primarily due to the technology that they use to reduce smoke.
Instead of cooling the drip tray or concentrating heat elsewhere, Power XL reduces smoke through the use of an extraction fan. In theory, this could be great, but unfortunately, the fan is too weak. It does a decent job, but you’re still going to see a little smoke. If that’s something you can live with, the Power XL Smokeless Electric Indoor Grill is a great option.
- LED digital temperature control, up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Grill surface is made from a nonstick ceramic, is completely removable and dishwasher safe.
- Moderately large 13.75” x 8” cooking surface.
- Reversible – griddle style on one side and flat on the other.
- Comes with a glass lid.
- Fan powered smoke extractor is weak.
5. George Foreman – Original George Foreman Indoor Grill
George Foreman – Original George Foreman Indoor Grill
The George Foreman Grill is the ultimate cult kitchen product, and one that deserves its place in history. It’s perfect for grilling up bacon in the morning – just don’t use it at your bedside…
If there is one indoor grill on this list that you’ve already heard of, it’s the George Foreman Grill. Legend has it that years ago, when they were at the height of cultural relevancy, George Foreman and Hulk Hogan were approached by their agents to endorse a few new products.
They were presented with a small, indoor electric grill, and a chain of Italian restaurants specializing in spaghetti. Always the gentleman, George Foreman told Hogan to pick first, and the Hulk went with the restaurants. Hulk Hogan’s Spaghetti-mania quickly flopped, of course. Foreman shrugged his shoulders and said “Ok, I guess I’ll take the grill.”
And behold, the George Foreman Grill, one of the best selling, most adored kitchen products of all time. There isn’t much to dislike about this grill. It’s efficient, cooks from both the bottom and the top, and it’s incredibly affordable.
I like having the option of using the grill as a panini press, or just leaving it open and grilling on one surface. The plates are also nonstick and removable, and of course, dishwasher safe. And this thing heats quickly. There is just no way to go wrong.
The only limitation is that this model of George Foreman Grill – which is the closest to the original – cooks at a set temperature. If you’re looking for a little more control, you could go with the fancier George Foreman Evolve Grill, but why fix it if it isn’t broken?
- Panini-style press cooks from bottom and top.
- Advanced nonstick, removable grill plates are dishwasher safe.
- Very affordable.
- Heats quickly.
- No temperature control.
6. Cuisinart – Griddler Elite Indoor Grill
Cuisinart – Griddler Elite Indoor Grill
The Cuisinart Griddler Elite Indoor Grill essentially takes the absolute best features of all of the other indoor grills on this list and packs them into one, perfect machine.
The Cuisinart Griddler Elite Indoor Grill packs the best features on the market into one, extraordinary piece of kitchen equipment. It’s versatile, well made, and, did I mention, stunning?
First, the design of this indoor grill mimics that classic panini press style of the George Foreman. Ultimately, I’ve found this to be the best method for indoor grilling. Unfortunately, it’s inevitable that the air around the cooking surface of an indoor grill will never get as hot as the air around a traditional grill, and some extra cooking power from the top is incredibly helpful in searing meats evenly.
But moreover, the grill plates on both the top and the bottom are reversible. Such a simple design feature, yet one that I absolutely love. Being able to go from grill to griddle doubles the possible uses of this machine.
In terms of heat and temperature adjustment, the Cuisinart rocks. Dual zone temperature control means you can have a cool side and a hot side, which is great for keeping already cooked items hot while the rest of your dinner sizzles.
The LED panel and control dials are easy to use, and can go up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. I also really like that the cover is adjustable, meaning the press can either come down snuggly or with some room, accommodating both thin and thick food items.
The only downside to the Cuisinart Griddler Elite is the pricetag, which is, admittedly, a little high. But if you truly want the absolute best machine for indoor grilling, this is it. Why settle for anything less?
- Very versatile – contact grill, Panini press, griddle, half and half grill and griddle, top melt.
- Removable and reversible nonstick grill/griddle plates.
- Dual zone temperature control.
- Can sear proteins at 500 degrees Fahrenheit for up to two minutes at a time.
- Adjustable cover.
- Sleek, stainless steel design.
- Very expensive.
There are a few final things to consider before purchasing to ensure you select the right indoor grill for you. The truth is, indoor grilling is ambitious. To take something as messy and chaotic as an outdoor bbq and put it in your kitchen is actually a little crazy.
First, let’s think about smoke. The truth is, most electric, indoor grills on the market produce a ton of unwanted smoke. I’ve selected the six machines that I believe do the best job in reducing smoke, though, cards on the table, it’s nearly impossible to eliminate it entirely.
The machines on this list reduce smoke by either directing heat toward the grilling surface and away from the drip tray, or through the use of an exhaust fan meant to extract smoke. These are important design features to consider. In my opinion, extractor fans are not all that efficient, and just end up recirculating the smoke that’s already been produced.
If cutting down on smoke is really a top concern, I would strongly suggest going with one of the models on this list that reduce the production of smoke in the first place by controlling the temperature of the drip tray, like the Philips Avance Collection, Smokeless Indoor Grill, the Ninja – Foodi 5-in-1 Electric Grill or the Zojirushi Indoor Electric Grill.
Next, it’s important to consider what type of grilling you envision yourself doing. If you plan on cooking bacon, doing burgers or even sandwiches, then one of the panini press models may be right for you. These of course run the gamut from the entry-level George Foreman to the super deluxe Cuisinart Griddler Elite Indoor Grill. Both are great options, and ultimately your decision will come down to how much you’re willing to spend.
Finally, a quick word about safety. Always keep your grilling surface and drip tray clean of food debris and wash these components after each use to prevent unwanted smoke, and in a worst case scenario, a grease fire. In terms of safety, you can’t really beat the Zojirushi – Indoor Electric Grill. All of the grills on this list get extremely hot, and ultimately, it is up to you to use them responsibly.
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