Breville BSG520XL Panini Press Maker – Full Review

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The Breville BSG520XL Panini Duo Panini Press is simple yet versatile, allowing you to create tasty sandwiches and melts in about five minutes. With a flat lower plate that encourages even toasting and that doubles as a small griddle you can use to cook eggs, pancakes, and other breakfast foods, it has a ridged upper plate that leaves attractive grill marks behind when placed in contact with sandwiches.

 

 

While the Breville Panini Duo isn’t designed to be much more than a gourmet sandwich press, it offers quite a bit of versatility in a small, handsome package. Because it has an adjustable top that can be set to prevent actual contact with food being cooked on the lower plate, it can be used as an open toaster for making open-face sandwiches and cheesy melts. A total of four settings allow you to be creative when selecting your toppings. The panini press comes with a handy little cookbook to help you get started.

These are just a few things that make the Breville Panini Duo stand out from its competitors. Keep reading to learn more about the pros and cons that come with owning this particular panini press.

 

Plenty of Power for Quick Cooking

The Breville Panini Duo is a 1500-watt sandwich maker that heats up quickly with the plates closed. A green light comes on to tell you that the unit is ready to cook with. I would like it if the temperature were adjustable, however that’s a feature that isn’t typically found on simple panini presses like this one, and if you’re like me, often using the same sort of bread for sandwiches, it’s pretty easy to just keep a close eye on the first sandwich you make, note how long the process takes, and then set a little timer or watch the clock next time you’re using the panini press. The average cooking time is between five and eight minutes, with sweeter breads toasting much more quickly than those that contain very little sugar.

 

Compact Design

This panini press has a cooking surface that measures 7.5 x 11 inches, just the right size for making one or two sandwiches or melts at a time, unless you’re using very large slices of bread, in which case you will find it tough to make more than one sandwich at once. Its outer dimensions measure 13 inches wide x 11.8 inches deep and 5.2 inches tall, making it easy to store, even in a cupboard that’s already home to other kitchen appliances. If you find that you use the machine a lot and want to store it on the kitchen countertop, just close the top and set it up vertically, with the handle up and the feet facing toward the wall. It takes up very little space this way and can be kept within easy reach.

 

Versatile

By its name, the Breville BSG520XL Panini Duo sounds like it cooks panini-style sandwiches and not much more, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Stuffed burritos and wrap-style sandwiches are easy to make on this machine, and so are quesadillas. I started out thinking that I wouldn’t like the flat bottom design much, but I’ve figured out that I can preheat some items before putting them in sandwiches and wraps, including eggs for breakfast sandwiches. The ability to use the bottom plate as a griddle is definitely on the list of pluses.  French toast, pancakes, the aforementioned eggs, and even my favorite veggie burgers have turned out beautifully on this appliance. So have toaster waffles and toaster strudels!

 

Simple but Robust Design

Like other appliances by Breville, the Panini Duo has a nice solid feel. Not only is it attractive, with an easy-to-clean stainless steel case, it has the look of a well-built kitchen appliance. If I were to advise Breville on ways to improve the design in the future, I’d ask them to include a power button and a way to adjust the temperature. Both of these are minor issues that don’t really detract from performance.

 

Easy Cleanup

This is a very easy machine to clean, particularly if you’re just using it to toast paninis with. Moistening a paper towel and wiping the plates once they’ve cooled off takes just a few seconds. If you’ve made something messier and it has burnt, you’ll notice that it might take a little bit of rubbing, but because the plates are so slick, nothing really sticks.

 

FAQs

qm   “Does any grease splatter from this panini press?”

No, not when it’s used as recommended. This isn’t the same as the grill/griddle combination machines, which are fitted with drip trays for catching grease, so I wouldn’t recommend it for doing bacon, burgers, or anything like that.

qm   “Does the Panini Duo smash the fillings out of sandwiches? It looks like the top is very heavy.”

The lid is designed to “float” on top of things when you want it to come into contact with them. I have not had an issue with smashed sandwiches.

qm   “How long does the unit take to heat up?”

According to the manufacturer, the amount of time it takes to heat the panini press depends greatly on the room temperature as well as the ambient temperature of the grill, and when very cold, can take up to 15 minutes to heat completely. The usual time in my experience is between 3 and 5 minutes, so I have plenty of time to assemble sandwiches while waiting for the green light to come on.

qm   “Do the heating plates come off for washing?”

No. The plates aren’t removable.

qm   “Can I cook chicken breasts on this?”

Yes, anything that isn’t going to generate a lot of grease can be cooked with this panini press. Skinless, boneless chicken breasts come out nicely, as do veggie burgers and veggie dogs. I have reheated pizza slices with it and have also done small personal pizzas with the top set to toast rather than contact the top of the food.

qm   “How many sandwiches can you make at a time?”

The Breville Panini Duo lets you make two sandwiches at once, as long as the bread isn’t abnormally large.

 

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What Customers are Saying

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Conclusion

The Breville Panini Duo is a nice, solid machine that gives great performance for the price, doing everything the manufacturer says it will do, plus a little more if you happen to be on the creative side. I’ve read reviews in which people have happily reheated leftovers with it, cooked salmon filets, and made all sorts of other things that I would never have even considered as it’s designed to be a simple panini press. It is a great-looking machine that’s easyt to use, and it makes cooking without added grease or oil an attractive option.

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One Response to “Breville BSG520XL Panini Press Maker – Full Review

  1. By: Henry M.
    Date: September 17, 2015 at 6:04 pm
    Overall Rating

    I bought this grill after looking at a number of different models. I chose it because it has a flat side for pancakes, eggs, etc. in addition to the grill side. I like it, but like some other buyers, I wish the plates came off for cleaning. It’s not too much of a hassle to get this thing clean, but I spilled pancake batter down the side once and ended up spending more cleanup time than usual. I have made some great sandwiches by pre-heating the meat on the grill and then using the panini press feature! In short, I do recommend this machine, just like other Breville appliances I have tried, it does a good job and even looks great on the countertop.

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