Are you longing for a cheeseburger on the grill? Or have a yearning for grilled veggies? What if it's winter and snowing, or you don't have room for an outdoor grill? Then grab the next best thing—an indoor grill!
The best indoor grills come in many sizes whether you want an electric or stovetop version, and can offer options like smokeless technology. When it comes to electric indoor grills, you need to consider size, especially for in-between storage. Luckily, we tested a lot of electric grills in our Lab, analyzing their performance side-by-side. Stovetop grill pans are generally easier to stow away, though you'll have to less space to cook. And while many sandwich presses can open up to a flat-ish grill, they really are their own kind of kitchen gadget—though we have our favorite sandwich press here.
George Foreman GFO240S Indoor/Outdoor Electric Grill
Ample amount of cooking space
Easy-to-clean nonstick grill plate
Easy to assemble
Grease can splatter on the heat control
Optional stand is unstable
Leave it to an icon to create one of the best indoor grills. This George Foreman frill has many of the line's beloved features: nonstick grill plates, a sloped surface, and the ability to actually sear indoors. On top of all that, it has more than enough room for you to grill for a party.
Once you're plugged in, the grill can be used at five different heat settings, thanks to its 1440 watts of power. The grill plate's surface temperature was able to around 600 degrees when we tested this in the Lab, more than high enough for great sear marks on steak or fresh slices of zucchini. During the entire test period, the grill heated up evenly, with no extreme hot spots. While it did give off a little bit of smoke, it wasn't enough to set off any alarms. Most of the grease slid nicely down into the drip tray, though we did observe some splatter that got onto the heat control and the counter.
After testing was done, everything cleaned up nicely, including the grease tray, though you can't take the grill plate off the grill. This does come with a stand if you're looking to use it outside in nice weather. Though we recommend having a backup countertop or a sturdy table, since we found the stand to be a little unstable during use, though the grill never fell over.
Price at time of publish: $100
Power: 1440 watts | Cooking Area: 240 square inches | Dimensions: 10.88 x 20.5 x 21.25 inches | Warranty: 3-year limited
"The grill works very well, and the results have nice, well-defined sear marks."
Best Sandwich Press
Cuisinart GR-4N 5-in-1 Griddler
Nonstick cooking surface
Cooking plates are removable and dishwasher safe
Bottom plate heats more than the top
Drip tray easy to forget when cleaning
A bit small for a large family
The Cuisinart Griddler is designed to be a multiuse machine. Both grill plates are reversible, with a flat cooking surface on one side and a ridged cooking surface on the reverse side, so you can use it a panini press or an indoor contact grill. But that's not the end of its versatility. The hinge adjusts for thicker or thinner foods, and it also opens completely to a full 200 square inches of space. With a ridged surface, you have an open-top indoor grill. The cooking surfaces can also be a flat griddle, perfect for cooking pancakes or any foods where you want to avoid any chance of steaming.
Everything our home reviewer tested on this came out wonderfully. She used it to grill up steaks, burgers, and chicken breasts, with each getting hot enough for fantastic sear marks. The controls are simple to use, with the griddle allowing for specific temperatures, while the grill/panini dial has four heat settings. Plus, the plates really showed their nonstick capabilities when melted-on cheese easily came right off. One of the only downsides was the bottom plates seems to heat more than the top one, so you'll need to be mindful when cooking.
We especially like that the drip pan is hidden away in the design, making this look sleek and compact when on your countertop. The plates can be placed in the dishwasher, and there are optional waffle plates available for crisp Belgian waffles.
Price at time of publish: $100
Power: 1500 watts | Cooking Area: 200 square inches | Dimensions: 13.5 x 11.5 x 7.12 inches | Warranty: 3-year limited
"The dials are simple controls with lights that let you know they’re in use, but it cooks efficiently despite the lack of frills. It does a lot, and it does it well." — Donna Curie, Product Tester
Best Griddle/Grill Pan
Lodge Cast Iron Reversible Grill/Griddle
Easy to store
Can be used on an outdoor grill
Reversible for griddle and grill cooking surfaces
Heating ability depends on the stove
Cast iron requires special care
If you want to grill atop your stove, but also want to griddle outside on your grill, this large grill pan is a wise investment. The Lodge reversible griddle/grill can work on both, and even over a campfire during summer vacation. This 20 x 10.5-inch cast-iron grill will need to placed over two burners, but since it's cast iron, you know you'll get it hot enough for perfectly cooked burgers and hot dogs right in your kitchen.
We found it worked well for almost everything from large slabs of meat to generous amount of vegetables. It performed great for cast iron, and our tester used its inability to conduct heat to her advantage. Since this needs to straddle to burners, she created two different heat zones so dinner got to the table at the same time. When flipped over to its griddle, pancakes came out golden brown and personal pizza were easy to achieve in the oven.
Of course, due to the heavy cast iron, however, it may not be suitable for some glass stovetops. Being cast iron means it requires a little bit of extra maintenance with seasoning—grease does help with that—and its contact with water should be limited.
Price at time of publish: $75
Material: Cast iron | Cooking Area: 20 x 10.5 inches | Warranty: Limited lifetime
"It heats evenly and retains the heat, so you’ll get consistent cooking and impressive searing or grill marks." — Donna Curie, Product Tester
Presto 09020 Cool Touch Electric Indoor Grill
Produces great grill marks
Easy to clean
Doesn't get hot enough to sear
Whether you want to make grilled kebabs in the kitchen or do tabletop Korean BBQ at home, it's very possible to get an affordable indoor grill that performs well. This Presto model was one of the better performers in our Lab tests, and has the features you need.
First, the nonstick grilling surface can get up to 480 degrees, even when set to 400 degree, though we did observe some hot spots. Regardless, we were able to achieve excellent caramelization on grilled flank steaks and chicken breasts. They also came off the grill with beautiful grill marks. While this doesn't have a lid or internal system to contain smoke, we didn't have any issue with smoking during our testing.
We did notice the base getting warm to the touch during grilling, so you'll need to be mindful of that. But everything clean-up nicely with a few pieces able to put through the dishwasher.
Price at time of publish: $60
Power: 1300 watts | Cooking Area: 160 square inches | Dimensions: 18.43 x 11.25 x 2.18 inches | Warranty: 1 year
Best Grill Pan
Cuisinart Chef's Classic 9.25-inch Square Grill Pan
Retains heat well
Creates distinct grill marks
Broiler- and dishwasher-safe
Handle gets very hot
Sometimes hard to clean by hand
If storage space is at a premium and you don't need to cover two burners at once, a single-burner grill pan can be a very good investment. While you can't grill both sides at once like you can in an electric sandwich press, you can use the pan on the stove or in the oven, and it's even safe under the broiler. At 9.25 inches square, this is big enough to cook four average burgers at the same time, finish a thick steak in the oven, or use for oven-roasting small chickens or roasts.
The pan's porcelain-enameled interior doesn't need to be seasoned, while the cast iron retains heat to give food the grill marks that look so good. One thing our tester figured out was that you will need to add some fat to the pan as food can stick to the ridges, especially if it isn't hot enough yet. Since the exterior is coated in colorful enamel, this can be safely used on glass stovetops. Lastly, the handle is nice and wide, so it's easy to hang onto, even when wearing thick oven mitts.
Price at time of publish: $30
Material: Enameled cast iron | Dimensions: 9.25 x 9.25 x 1 inches | Warranty: Lifetime
"This metal takes a little while to warm up, but once it does, it boasts even heat distribution." — Camryn Rabideau, Product Tester
Power XL Smokeless Grill
Truly smoke-free cooking
Works as both a grill and griddle
Lids seals well during cooking
Occasional uneven cooking
A lot of clean-up
Unless you enjoy the sound of the smoke alarm, indoor grilling involves being mindful of your smoke levels. For stovetop grill pans and countertop electric grilling, you can easily turn on your vent to help. But you won't need that addition with this smokeless grill.
Smokeless grills work by incorporating a fan to circulate any smoke or steam that forms so it can be captured in a water tray. With this, our tester found the water tray was a bit cumbersome when filled, but did its job. When the nearly-airtight lid was closed, smoke, steam, and heat stayed within the grill. When it comes to that heat, the grill can get up to 450 degrees, not hot enough to fully sear, but good enough for anything else you want to grill.
Since this has a lid during cooking, any sputtering grease is mostly contained. You will though have a big clean-up job when it comes to the numerous parts with nooks and crannies.
Price at time of publish: $120
Power: 1200 watts | Cooking Area: 110 square inches | Dimensions: 20 x 12 x 5.5 inches | Warranty: 90 days
"The fan did a stellar job removing smoke and steam, and the lid sealed surprisingly well, so smoke didn’t have a chance to escape. We fired up the grill to cook a steak, and there wasn’t even a wisp of visible smoke." — Donna Currie, Product Tester
For electric grilling magic indoors, the George Foreman GFO240S Indoor/Outdoor Electric Grill comes with an ample amount of cooking space and is simple to clean after the party. Need something a bit more versatile? The Cuisinart GR-4N 5-in-1 Griddler will grill, griddle, and make amazing panini.
How We Tested
We tested top electric grills in our Lab by seeing how well they toasted up white bread and how well they grilled zucchini strips, flank steak, and chicken breasts. We ran tests on all the settings each grill had in order to accurately gauge both the appliance's heat level and how evenly it cooked. The grills were then evaluated on their performance, ease of use, ease of cleaning, and other important attributes.
Additionally, we've sent sandwich presses and grill pans to the homes of our expert reviewers. They used them over the course of weeks to assess how well the pans and presses performed, how easy their are to clean, and whether or not they need dedicated storage space in the average kitchen.
What to Look for in an Indoor Grill or Sandwich Press
Using an indoor grill can be handy, especially if you don't have an outdoor patio or grilling area. Depending on how many people you're cooking for, these gadgets come in small sizes that are perfect for one to two people or larger ones that can cook for up to five people. For electric models, you'll typically want 72 inches of space for one serving. For both electric and stovetop grilling, you might have to do a couple rounds of cooking. Storage space can also be at a premium, so you should also decide where you are going to store one when not in use.
Indoor grills that mimic the outdoor version aren't the most versatile of kitchen gadgets, though you might be able to also use them outdoors. They're also easier to take with you when road-tripping for vacation. Reversible griddle/grill pans are a little more useful in the kitchen. Besides their use on the stove, they can be used in the oven as a flat surface for pizza or bread. They can also be used with your outdoor grill, especially as a side griddle. Electric grill/sandwich press machines are perhaps the most versatile, but also have the least amount of cooking space and aren't the most portable.
Ease of Cleaning
Cleanup of a grill pan or indoor grill can be made simple and easy with the options of removable grill plates and is dishwasher-safe. You'll want to wipe down the outside, and be sure to clean your grease tray each and every time. Grill pans with ridges can be harder to clean, and popping them into the dishwasher can be a game-changer, especially when you're short on time.
What can you cook on an indoor grill?
Indoor grills are great to cook everything from burgers, hotdogs, kabobs, corn on the cob, sliced veggies, steaks, pork chops, and more. You can cook just about anything you want, just be mindful of cooking times as they'll vary from what you're used to with an outdoor grill.
What can you make on a griddle?
Griddles are great for so many dishes. Yes, you can make delicious pressed sandwiches on them, but you can make hash browns, crisp up some bacon, and cook quesadillas. They also work well for omelets and even burgers (especially smash burgers).
Does indoor grilling taste the same as outdoor grilling?
Nothing beats the taste of cooking on an outdoor grill. But this is a great secondary option for those moments when the weather isn't cooperating or if you don't have the capability or space to cook outdoors.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
Donna Currie is a freelance food writer who specializes in kitchenware. Gadgets are endlessly fascinating, and she's always on the lookout for the best tools available. Donna has been contributing recipes and product reviews to The Spruce Eats since July 2016.
This roundup was updated by Sharon Lehman, RDN, a home cook who happens to be a registered dietitian nutritionist. She happily makes space for any gadget that make cooking faster and easier.
The Spruce Eats Editor Siobhan Wallace compiled testing data from our official Lab as well as insights from our home testers' full product reviews to update this roundup.