The tastes of summer are the mouth-watering char of a perfectly grilled ear of corn, a steak and possibly a potato or two. Celebrate the end of heat-pump and sweater weather with a little barbecue! Unfortunately, the tastes of summer are sometimes limited by bugs, rain, lightning or a lack of outdoor space.
Don’t let little setbacks keep you from the seductive flavors of smoke and spice. An indoor grill is the answer. The best indoor electric grill gives you all the benefits of your big barbecue in a modern and convenient package.
Read on to learn more about getting the fullest flavor from your food, even when you grill indoors.
Electric Grill Features You Need
- Powerful heat recovery
- Easy to read temperature gauge
- Near 500F sear
- Easy to clean
- Soft open/close/floating hinge
- Useful cord length
Your grill needs to have enough power to recover heat quickly after loading it with food. Every time you open it up to flip food over or check for doneness, you lose heat. You want fast recovery for best crunch and texture.
Better grills have a accurate indicator light or temperature gauge to let you know when the grill is ready to cook. More advanced versions have a high heat sear and then an adjustable thermostat to allow slow, even cooking.
Cleaning time shouldn’t exceed the cooking times though! You want removable grills and plates for easy cleanup. Cleaning sticky sauces from cracks and crevices is no fun. Removable plates mean a quick wash in the sink or dishwasher to return things to the ready.
Depending on the type of indoor electric grill you choose, you want to have the proper hinges to allow contact between the food and upper plate if a contact grill. If an ordinary indirect heat grill, you want hinges that do not collect food and that are adequate to hold the lid away from walls and tabletops.
Size matters. if you have a family of five, your needs are different from a single person. What is the largest surface area you will need?
Don’t forget the electrical cord. If you plan on tabletop grilling, an adequate cord length is a consideration. Some grills come with very short cords to prevent accidents. You may want to check the distance between your nearest outlet and the place you want to use your grill.
Steak, Panini or Bulgogi?
The best grill for your needs depends on what you plan on cooking. If your desire lies in a juicy filet mignon, your first priority is a grill that offers high heat for searing. Sandwich lovers need easy clean plates and adjustable thermostats to make their Cuban pressed sandwiches crunch.
How many people do you need to serve at once? If you are cooking Korean barbecue for a family, you need a fairly large grill space, but if you cook steaks one at a time, you can go with a much smaller grill.
Think about storage. Unless you would like your grill as part of your permanent decor, you want something compact enough for your storage space. Grills come in rectangle, oval and circular profiles. Some store vertically, others require their own cart.
Smoke Gets in Your Eyes
All of the indoor grills listed are smokeless/fumeless. That does not mean that the food itself will not caramelize and burn. Plan on cooking with your extractor fan on and windows open to avoid visits by the fire brigade. Cooking can affect your indoor air quality.
If you have smart neighbors or hungry pets, they will come running when they smell you grilling a juicy steak.
Indoor grills can get messy with spattered juices and grease. Some grills also get very hot and can discolor countertops and cabinets. Steam and rising grease can stain painted surfaces. A cover that allows you to limit mess is a good feature.
Watch out for covers with vents. You don’t want steamed food flavor rather than the char of outdoor grilled foods.
In no order, some of best multi-purpose indoor grills are listed.
Chill With an Indoor Grill
Condo dwellers who live with very strict rules about grilling will probably appreciate the Hamilton Beach 25361 grill. This all-purpose kitchen grill has a 450F sear to lock in flavor. It is useful for burgers, steaks, and fajitas, although the grill marks aren’t dark.
It has a splatter-proof lid to keep food mess to a minimum, but it is not a contact grill. Closing the lid tends to steam, rather than grill the food. The grill plate is removable for easy cleanup.
The grill creates little smoke. Heat recovery is not a problem with this grill. You do not need to open it frequently. View the food through the window to monitor doneness.
Small Package Big Flavor
The 12″ x 9″ Zojirushi EB-CC15 Indoor Electric Grill packs a punch. It’s just a simple grill grate, adjustable temperature knob, and base. No lid to lose but it can spatter with messy foods. Use a layer of aluminum foil to avoid long cleanups.
It maxes out at 410F, so does not have searing power for thick cuts of meat. Fans of skewers and Korean barbecue will find the is small grill just perfect. The grate and drip trays are removable, but not nonstick. Cleanup can be challenging if sticky sauces burn on.
If you are a fan of multi-tasking appliances this small steamer, slow-cooker and grill heats up to 450F. It has a dial adjustable thermostat for precise heat control and an easy clean grill plate. It has a built-in pour spout for collected liquids and fats. The Aroma SuperPot ASP-137 Grillet is the smallest of the recommended indoor grills, with a 10″ diameter.
This small appliance takes up little room and simulates the round grill surface of a bigger barbecue.
Big Surface, Easy Cleanup
The Delonghi BG24 Perfecto Indoor Grill is a perfect combination of function and convenience. It gets hot enough for a good sear and has a clear lid to allow you to keep an eye on your cooking without constantly opening it up. This allows you to have precision temperature control.
It has fast temperature recovery for those critical grill marks and an easy clean drip tray for nearly smokeless cooking. Like all Delonghi products, it has excellent marks for durability and safety.
Bold Black Sear Marks
Not all indoor grills can heat to a high enough temperature to sear red meat, but this isn’t the case with the Cuisinart GR-300WS. Once your grill heats, you can prepare your steak in a quick six minutes. This grill also doubles a panini press.
Set your preferred temperature, pre-heat and begin cooking. How simple is that? The lid also works as a cooking surface with the top and bottom heat contact surfaces.
Cuisinart comes with easy to clean features. All grease from cooking drains underneath the cooking grills for easy cleanup. Surfaces are nonstick, avoiding the crusted grease buildup common on many grills.
Easy and Just as Advertised
The easy to remember George Foreman name isn’t the only easy thing about this granddaddy of electric grills. It has a big, big cooking surface for parties and large families. The George Foreman 15 Serving Electric can be used indoors or outdoors and lends itself to be best grilling performance for the price.
The circular grilling surface is an efficient 240 square inches. You can easily cook 15 servings of your favorite hot dogs or burgers. The adjustable temperature control lets you sear a steak or cook a dozen grilled cheese sandwiches with ease.
Like all the George Foreman products, the surface is designed to drain grease away from the food. The easy clean drip tray allows you to keep your food lean and mean, like the grill’s namesake. The grill can be used on a tabletop or on its stand, although tabletop use requires a protected surface. The exterior of the machine can reach 150F.
Breville Boosts Power
Breville’s powerful BGR820XL can cook your breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It can sear up to 450F. There isn’t much this grill can’t cook. It opens partway for panini mode or all the way for a double-sided grill mode. It has 6 different adjustable height selections and plate tilts for perfect grilling. Grease quickly drains to the easy clean drip pan.
It has three settings. Low heat, a medium sandwich-making setting, and high heat/searing. The grill wins style points for its good-looking exterior. Looks are important if you plan on keeping this appliance on the countertop. Plan on using this multi-tasker often!
T-Fal Delivers High Tech
The T-Fal GC702 model is a tiny package just bursting with fancy tech. It includes sensors to adjust the grilling cycle based on the thickness of the food. It has special presets for thawing and cooking food from frozen.
Automatic cooking of sausage, red meat, fish, and poultry without fuss make this a no-brainer for an apartment dweller or college student. It has easy to remove and clean parts and a small footprint for easy storage.
Low Cost Tabletop Grill
The Oster Titanium-Infused DuraCeramic 2-in-1 Panini Maker and Grill is a tiny powerhouse appliance. Despite its low price, it includes a high-quality, durable ceramic nonstick coating. No peel off or bubbling like less expensive finishes. It easily wipes clean with a damp cloth after use.
Teflon can give off toxic fumes when used for high heat applications, but the Durastick ceramic stays in place. This grill can be opened flat for a bigger cook surface or folded for a panini press. It includes removable drip cups and variable heating.
Best Indoor Electric Grill
Whether you live in a city apartment or a rainy climate, there is an electric grill perfect for you. Just take a look at what you will be grilling and what features are most important. Almost all of our recommendations are multi-taskers and can handle more than one type of cooking.
Charcoal isn’t the only way to layer flavor. A high heat sear and caramelization form great flavors. For those seeking the crunch of good grilling, a double contact grill or panini press is a great alternative to going outside.
Options range from the inexpensive to luxury. Popular finishes are stainless steel or utilitarian black. Choose the option best for your favorite foods, the size of your space and the size of your family.
Make Space For a Great Grill
With a large number of options available, why wait to enjoy a grill today? Recipes for Thai skewers, Argentinian picanha or Greek souvlaki are waiting. Use a smoky sauce in combination with high heat and you won’t notice the charcoal is missing. With the right electric grill, you could be minutes from a great dinner.
The best indoor electric grill makes a spontaneous barbecue a reality, even when the bugs, weather or your condo association make it difficult. Some grills allow indoor or outdoor use for maximum versatility. So blend up a pitcher of margaritas, find your apron and tongs and get grilling!
There is no heavy bag of charcoal, no mess and no risk of open flames with an electric grill. Some grills even replicate the whole barbecue experience with a round cooking surface. Others go with more high-tech looks.
No more excuses! All of the above options let you have dark grill marks, a good sear, and great flavor without smoke and fumes. There are electric grills to suit every need and all budgets.
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