If you’re a fan of the humble sandwich and looking for a way to make it a more desirable winter lunch option (read: warm and comforting), try chucking it in a sandwich press. A sandwich press aka sandwich toaster, jaffle maker, sandwich maker, toastie maker — whatever you grew up calling it — is a super underrated kitchen appliance. You can take what was once an average sandwich and make it gourmet simply by toasting the bread.
What is a sandwich press?
If somehow you’ve made it this far in life without using a sandwich press, it’s typically made from two hot die-cast plates that press together to toast/cook different types of foods from sandwiches, paninis and wraps through to quesadillas and halloumi. Yum!
Surprisingly, there are different types
A small, yet heated debate in the office pointed out that there are actually multiple types of sandwich presses, hence a million different names for them. The most common types are a traditional sandwich press, a jaffle maker and a sandwich grill.
A traditional sandwich press has two hot plates that are designed to toast any kind of bread, wrap, panini or sub, no matter what shape or size they are. They can however be a little messier than a jaffle maker, as they simply use weight to toast the sandwich, meaning that if you overstuff it, you could be in for some overflow.
Jaffle makers are often designed for conventionally shaped slices of bread and have little grooves to indicate what kind of shape they will take, sealing in all your ingredients to make the perfect toasted sanga. Some even create sealed cut marks where you can slice your sandwich in halves or quarters without spillage. The only downside is that they can’t really toast other lunchtime snacks like buns or wraps in them.
Lastly, you have multi-use grills. These are sandwich presses that double as a small, portable grill. You’re probably familiar with these from your uni or share house days since they can handle cooking a variety of other foods, like grilled meat and veggies.
Depending on your needs, your choice of sandwich press will vary. Ahead, we’ve rounded up a bunch of sandwich presses, jaffle makers and sandwich grills so you can find your new winter lunch-saver.
The Best Sandwich Presses
Whether you’re in the mood for cheese on toast or a cheese toastie, this compact press can do both. Thanks to the floating hinge on the top plate, you can adjust the height setting on your press to allow for open toasting or a full press. This means no matter how thick the sandwich, you’ll always get even, crispy results, or if you want to make an open melt, you can.
The Sandwich Press is designed to toast your sandwich just the way you like it. The floating hinge ensures the top plate lies flat on top of whatever vessel (panini, Turkish bread, focaccia, wrap) you like your cheese toasted in.
The Best Jaffle Makers
If you love a fully loaded jaffle, this Sunbeam Big Fill toastie maker is the perfect addition to your kitchen. It features a fully enclosed plate system to accommodate different bread sizes, while the non-stick plates use a cut and seal system to produce ideally formed toastie triangles, and keep fillings safe inside. Not just for toasties, this toasted sandwich maker can also be used with sheets of ready-made pastry to create a host of delicious desserts.
Bigger pockets for bigger toasties — if that tagline sounds right up your alley, you’ve found the jaffle maker for you. With deeper pockets and sealing only around the edges, this press fits thicker cheese, extra tomato or a little more of anything really.
The Best Multi-Use Grills
If you’re looking for a bit of an all-in-one ‘sandwich press’, the Tefal OptiGrill might be your go-to. Featuring automatic sensor cooking technology, both the cooking time and temperature are automatically adjusted to the thickness and number of items placed on the grill, based on six cooking programs (burger, poultry, sandwich, sausage, red meat, fish) and a frozen food mode. At the same time, an indicator light allows direct monitoring: Purple for preheating, blue then green at the start of cooking, yellow when the food is rare, orange for medium and red for well-done. The additional manual mode comes with four adjustable temperature levels that allows you to cook just about anything you want.
From meat and fish to vegetables and even frozen foods, this versatile grill will be your cooking companion for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It grills everything evenly — including ham, cheese, tomato toasties — and is an absolute breeze to clean. Perfect if you love a toastie sandwich, but need a more versatile appliance in your kitchen than your traditional jaffle maker or sandwich press.