Cuisinart GR-4N Griddler – Full Review
The Cuisinart GR-4N 5-in-1 griddler is much more than a standard countertop grill. Whether you love burgers, fish, chicken, or grilled veggies best, this handy machine lets you make them with no fuss. Like the idea of creating tasty panini style sandwiches filled with your favorite cheeses, spreads, and delicatessen goodies? The Cuisinart griddler lets you make them in just minutes. It comes with a recipe book that provides plenty of inspiration to help you get started, plus full instructions for using the many features this compact countertop grill has to offer.
Whether you like meat or prefer vegetarian options, you’ll find that there is no end to the number of tasty creations you can whip up with the help of the Cuisinart five in one griddler. Cooking is faster with this machine than with the flat, open style griddles, and it’s roomy enough to make about four servings of food at a time.
While the flat side of the griddler is easier to clean than the ridged grill portion, Cuisinart includes a special scraper tool that makes cleanup quick and simple. In addition, the grease tray is easy to slide out for emptying, and it’s satisfying to see just how much fat has drained away from your food. All the cooking plates are removable and as they’re dishwasher safe, cleanup really isn’t problematic. These are just a few of the things that stand out about the Cuisinart GR-4N 5-in-1 Griddler. Read on for some additional pros and cons that come with owning this countertop grill.
Compact Size, Plenty of Features
The Griddler’s compact size makes it easy to store in a kitchen or pantry cupboard. It’s just right for making food for two to four people, so if your family is much larger, you’ll need to keep food warm in an oven while you make additional servings. If you’re short on space, this is a great machine that can replace a larger flat griddle, a panini maker, and a standard contact grill. Unlike some specialty kitchen machines, this one can be used for lots of different things, so it’s not likely to gather dust the way some other little appliances do.
If all you want is the occasional Sunday morning French toast, this probably isn’t the griddle for you. If, on the other hand, you’re looking for a new and exciting way to cook old favorites and introduce your family to some new ones, the Cuisinart five in one griddler might be exactly the thing. This cool kitchen toy might be a compact size that’s easy to stash in a cupboard, but it comes with tons of versatile features.
The cooking plates are hinged and reversible, with a ridged “grill” side for making nice panini sandwiches and other items, and a flat “griddle” side for making things like pancakes. The cover “floats” on top of the food so there’s no need to worry about thickness. You can apply a little light pressure if you like, sealing in flavor and helping to speed the cooking process slightly.
Not only do the hinged plates allow you to cover your food and cook both sides, they open up completely to double the amount of flat cooking surface available to 200 square inches. Because the plates are separated, it is possible to make two completely different types of food with the full grill open and never have the flavors mingle.
Dual temperature controls on the base allow you to customize your cooking experience so food turns out the way you want it to. As the temperature range can be adjusted from 200 to 425 degrees Fahrenheit, the griddler can be used for a wide variety of foods.
Makes Healthy Cooking Simple
One of the nicest things about the Cuisinart 5-in-1 griddler is that it makes cooking healthy foods simple. Excess fat drains away automatically, while natural juices are retained for moisture and flavor. Because the grill plates are nonstick, there’s no need to add extra fat to your foods; just season them as you like, and cook them up.
Quick and Easy to Use, Simple Cleanup
The griddler is pretty much foolproof. I am no chef, but I have gotten great results each time I’ve made food with this countertop grill. Snap the plates into place, heat it up, put on food, add seasoning if you need to, and wait a little while. Pretty soon you’ll be enjoying a tasty meal. Because the griddler offers the option of cooking both sides of food at once, I’ve found that many things cook faster using it than they do with other cooking methods.
One issue I’ve had with this grill and others like it is that it doesn’t do a good job on cooking meat with bones in it because they’re not the same thickness all the way around. Boneless items turn out beautifully, consistently cooked all the way through. If you want to grill something like chicken with bones, it’s probably best to stick to the old-fashioned outdoor grill.
As for cleanup, there are a few options. If you’ve used the flat griddle and haven’t made much of a mess, you can simply wash them in the sink. If you’ve used the ridged grill, you can use the scraper tool that comes with the griddler to get rid of debris before washing. If you don’t feel like washing the plates and drip tray by hand, put them into the dishwasher, along with the scraper tool. Run the dishwasher as usual, and you’re done.
One minor complaint regarding cleanup is that the griddler holds heat so well that you have to wait between 15 and 30 minutes to remove the plates for placement into the dishwasher. I’d like to see the unit cool off just a little faster, but if the sacrifice for that would be to have the appliance cook less efficiently than it does, I guess I’ll take the wait time.
Well-Constructed and Good Looking
This is a really nice-looking countertop griddle, with an attractive brushed stainless steel housing. It feels heavy for its size so you know it’s not just a cheaply made plastic appliance. The housing is easy to clean with a soft cloth or a little bit of all-purpose cleaner and a paper towel.
Not only is the machine itself good looking, the food that comes out of it has plenty of visual appeal. I have to admit that it is fun to make food that looks like it came from one of my favorite restaurants. Steaks, burgers, chicken, fish, and veggies come off the grill with perfect “grill marks,” and pancakes, eggs, sandwiches, quesadillas, and other goodies have a nice, professional look to them as well.
“How many pancakes can the griddler make at once?”
That depends on the size of your pancakes. If they’re about 4 inches across, you can make four at a time with the lid closed. You can double that amount by cooking with the lid open, but the process will take longer.
“Will an inch-thick steak fit in this grill?”
Yes, because the cover floats on top of the food you’re cooking. It will actually adjust to accommodate any thickness, although the thicker items will take longer to cook than thinner ones do.
“Do sandwiches come out completely flattened by the cover?”
No, because the cover just rests lightly on top and the hinges let you increase the gap if you want so you put no pressure on the sandwich. If you are making panini and want to press the edges closer together, you can do that by pressing down on the handle. If you’re using very soft bread you might want to grill your sandwich with the lid open and flip it over with a spatula once the first side is toasted.
“I see a lot of things about cooking meat here, but what about vegetables?”
Any vegetable that you can cook on an outdoor grill, you can probably cook on the Cuisinart griller. Zucchini, asparagus, onions, bell peppers, and eggplant have turned out nicely for me.
“Can you get replacement plates?”
Yes, you can buy replacement plates if the Teflon starts to wear out on the ones that come with the machine. You can also get special plates for making waffles.
“Is there much smoke from the indoor grilling process?”
No, there shouldn’t be anything other than a bit of steam. If something is smoking, it’s burning because the temperature is turned up too high.
“Does the griddler get hot enough to actually sear meat and create grill marks?”
Yes, that’s one of the things this appliance does best. The book that comes with it provides instructions for searing meat.
“Can you use this to cook a frozen pizza?”
I didn’t try that, but I’ve read other reviews that said it didn’t work. You really need an enclosed oven to do frozen pizza the right way.
“Can you make a quesadilla with the Cuisinart griddler?”
Yes, you can make really nice restaurant-style quesadillas with grill marks on the outside. If you don’t like the idea of the grill marks, you can make quesadillas on the flat section and just have the tortilla toasted.
“I have seen some reviews that mention problems with the nonstick coating peeling. Has this been a problem for you?”
I’ve seen similar reviews but I haven’t had a problem with the coating. I am very careful only to use non-metal tools, and I don’t scrub hard if something makes a mess. Instead, I’ve soaked my grill plates in soapy water for about 10 minutes and the crusty food debris has come right off.
“Does grease splatter off the grill when cooking things like bacon or burgers?”
You will probably get a little splatter if you’re using high heat. I put newspapers down next to the griddle to make cleanup easier. There’s less of a mess than using a frying pan or the broiler inside the oven, though.
“Does the countertop get hot under the griddle?”
No, not at all.
“Is this griddle BPA free?”
Yes, according to Cuisinart, the five in one griddler is BPA free.
“Is there a timer or an automatic shutoff feature?”
No, there’s no timer. You have to watch the food you are cooking or set a separate kitchen timer. As for automatic shutoff, there is none. The machine maintains the heat setting until you turn it down or shut it off.
“Does the Cuisinart 5 in 1 griddler come with a warranty?”
Yes, it comes with a three year warranty that covers materials and workmanship.
The Cuisinart GR-4N 5 in 1 griddler is easy to use. It’s also versatile, allowing you to easily make all sorts of foods ranging from sandwiches to breakfast favorites. It cooks food quickly without making much of a mess, and it is reasonably priced. If you like the idea of making convenient food from scratch while cleaning up quickly, you will probably appreciate this handy little appliance.
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