Oster DuraCeramic Panini Maker – Full Review
The Oster DuraCeramic Panini Maker and Grill offers a fresh take on countertop grilling. Its innovative DuraCeramic coating is 100 percent non-stick for fuss-free cooking, and because natural ceramic coating never flakes or peels, it lasts up to four times longer than models with other types of nonstick surfaces. Despite this high level of quality and performance, this panini maker is available at a surprisingly affordable price. Use it to make a restaurant quality lunch or dinner just a few times, and you’ll quickly realize that it has paid for itself while letting you make fantastic meals with loads of flavor and not much fat.
If you’re looking for a small indoor grill, then this one is definitely worth considering. While no indoor grill imparts the same kind of smoky flavor an outdoor charcoal grill offers, you’ll find that this one does a good job of cooking foods quickly and evenly, and even leaving attractive grill marks behind so food looks more appealing.
The Oster DuraCeramic Panini Maker and Grill is the ideal solution for anyone who is looking for a healthier way to make their favorite foods, since it has adjustable feet that let you tilt it to ensure that most of the fat that comes out of food goes down into one of the grease cups.
While this panini press is smaller than some of the others I’ve reviewed, it is very easy to handle, it fits inside a cupboard without any difficulty, and it’s a good fit for even the smallest kitchens. If you are planning to cook more than two sandwiches or grill enough meat to feed a crowd, you’ll either need to do several batches or choose a larger model than this one. It’s ideal for singles, couples, and small families.
Cleanup is quick and simple, thanks in part to the ceramic nonstick design, and the ridged cleaning tool that comes with the unit makes it easy to scrape any burned bits off without damaging the coating. A quick wipedown with a damp cloth is really all this panini press needs, and any leftover food particles are easy to spot, once again thanks to that clean, white ceramic coating. These are just a few main points to consider concerning the Oster DuraCeramic Panini Maker and Grill. Additional pros and cons follow.
Temperature Control Dial
Some panini presses and countertop grills have just one temperature, which might or might not work for you, and which definitely makes it a little harder to control the way food cooks. The Oster DuraCeramic Panini Maker and Grill features a temperature control dial that lets you decide how quickly or how slowly you want food to cook. I’ve found that paninis do best on the high setting, as the lower one just doesn’t melt ingredients inside large sandwiches efficiently. The lower setting is great for cooking with the grill open flat; I like to set it on high to sear items, then reduce the heat so that the inside of meats cook evenly without causing any additional browning to the outside. I did have to play with the temperature a bit to find out what works best for different items.
Ribbed Plates Make Food Look Fantastic
The ribbed plates on this indoor grill do a great job of making Paninis and other foods look appealing, just like the foods available at your favorite restaurants. Paninis have a slight crunch along the grill marks, and that makes eating your sandwich even more enjoyable. It would be nice if these plates came out for cleaning, but they’re fixed in place. This isn’t something that’s unique to the Oster DuraCeramic Panini Maker and Grill; in fact it’s more common to find units with fixed plates than with interchangeable or removable ones. If there is one thing I’d like to change about this machine, it would be to make the plates removable. At the same time, the pricing is meant to offer extreme value, and manufacturing removable plates would boost the cost significantly.
Barbecue Food Indoors
Since the Oster DuraCeramic Panini Maker and Grill opens up to lie flat, you can easily sear and grill meat, seafood, vegetables, and other favorites while excess grease drains away. It’s nice to have the option to grill indoors during bad weather or when you don’t have time to fire up the outdoor BBQ.
Standard frying / sautee pans are nice to have, but if you are concerned about keeping the amount of fat in your diet to a healthy level, it can be a bit difficult to cook your favorite foods so they taste fantastic, but contain fewer fat calories. The Oster DuraCeramic Panini Maker and Grill makes it easy to drain excess fat away when you want to, and because the plates are non-stick, they allow you to use either no added fat or just a small amount to impart added flavor or help seasonings stick.
Quick Cooking Made Easy
You’ll be amazed at how quickly this appliance cooks food; in fact, the first time I used it my attention was elsewhere and I almost burned my sandwich! If you need a way to make quick, healthy foods so that you’re less likely to give in to the temptation of running down to the nearest fast food joint for lunch, you’ll appreciate the DuraCeramic Panini Maker for its ability to deliver hot, tasty food in a jiffy. There’s enough room on this grill for a nice meal for two or to make lean burgers, chops or chicken for four. If you are cooking for more people, you will probably need to keep finished foods warm in the oven before serving the meal.
Super Simple Cleanup
Oster did something right in designing this panini press / grill combo with ceramic plates! The non-stick feature really is non-stick, even when cheese overflows and turns black. Just wait for the unit to cool completely, then use the cleaning tool to remove solid materials before wiping down with a damp cloth.
This is an attractive countertop griddle, with an appealing streamlined appearance. The exterior of the Oster DuraCeramic Panini Maker and Grill is easy to clean with some glass cleaner and a paper towel. While the unit’s size makes it suitable for storing in a cupboard, it looks nice enough to leave out on the countertop for easier access.
“I have heard that the Oster DuraCeramic Panini Maker and Grill takes about 40 minutes to cool down! Is this true?”
No, it takes about 10 minutes to cool completely. I clean it while it’s still warm to touch, this way everything comes off a little faster.
“Can you make quesadillas with this grill?”
Yes, and they’re delicious just like paninis. I’ve put all kinds of things into the quesadillas I’ve made and have had them turn out perfectly. Leftover steak, shrimp, grilled and fresh veggies, and of course plenty of cheese!
“Does the top have a floating hinge so food doesn’t get smashed?”
While the manufacturer doesn’t specify a floating hinge, the top is lightweight and the top of the press comes into good contact with items of various thicknesses.
“Does the countertop get hot underneath this griddle?”
No, not at all.
“What color is the top of this appliance? It’s impossible to tell from the photos I’ve seen.”
The Oster DuraCeramic Panini Maker and Grill has a black top.
“Does the non-stick quality decrease as time passes?”
I have had Teflon products lose their nonstick quality, but I’ve had this for 6 months and so far, the Oster DuraCeramic Panini Maker and Grill is in perfect condition. I have some other ceramic kitchen items like frying pans and a dutch oven, and the ceramic on those is still nonstick after 2+ years of regular use, so I’m hoping this has the same kind of longevity.
“How big is this grill?”
The Oster DuraCeramic Panini Maker and Grill measures approximately 10” x 12” x 4”
“Does the lid lock into place during cooking and / or storage?”
No, this grill does not have a locking lid.
“Do the top and bottom levels heat up to the same temperature, or is one hotter than the other?”
The Oster DuraCeramic Panini Maker and Grill does a great job keeping temperatures the same on both grill surfaces.
“Is this dishwasher safe?”
No. Some panini presses / indoor grills have removable plates that can go into the dishwasher, but this one does not come apart and cannot go into the dishwasher.
The Oster DuraCeramic Panini Maker and Grill is very easy to set up, quick and simple to use, and just as easy to clean up. It is well made for the price, and its ceramic surface is free of toxins, not to mention ultra slick for nonstick cooking. While this grill is smaller than some others, it does open up flat so you can cook multiple items at once. It makes sandwiches beautifully, with delicious, melty insides and crisp, tasty outsides, and it does a bang up job on burgers, chicken, chops and vegetables. I have used it for making breakfast sandwiches, quick lunches, and full dinners for two, and have been completely satisfied with its ability to perform well. While lighter weight and not as fancy as some of the other panini presses / grills reviewed here, the quality is surprising given the low cost, and that’s unusual. I really did not expect something as inexpensive as this to work as well as it does. If you like the idea of paying very little for a small indoor grill that lets you make healthy food quickly, then you are likely to appreciate everything this one has to offer.
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