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Grilling is a classic American pastime, but there are a few downsides. You have to deal with smoke, grease, and cleanup—not to mention, you know, the fact that you need to have a grill and outdoor space. Enter the marvelous world of panini presses. These countertop appliances are, despite their name, not just for paninis. You can whip up grilled vegetables, quesadillas, burgers, and open-faced sandwiches in mere minutes.
Since they’re non-stick, panini presses are easy to clean—just wipe them down when you’re done grilling. Some even include removable, dishwasher-safe plates. There’s a panini press for any price point, and many boast a wide range of functionality. Want precise temperature controls? No problem. Excess grease collection? You got it. Waffle-making functionality? Absolutely.
With outdoor grilling season coming to a close, now is a great time to invest in a grill that fits right on your countertop. That way, you can get the best parts of grilling (gooey melted cheese, charred grill marks, perfectly done steaks) without any of the hassle.
Caroline Curran is a Thrillist contributor.