A sandwich press (or ‘panini grill’, as they’ve now become known) is a must-have accessory for any kitchen. Throw together some of your favourite fillings, add a bit of cheese for just the right amount of melt factor, and voila – a tasty treat that’s ridiculously quick and easy to make. There is one small problem, however: do you know how to clean a panini grill?
The Challenges of Cleaning a Panini Grill
So, your panini grill gets a bit messy. Can’t you just clean it as you would any other old pot or pan? Unfortunately, it’s not quite as simple as that. Panini grills can be a little tricky for two reasons:
- Some sandwich presses don’t come with removable plates, which means they need to be cleaned as is. This can be a messy task (and dangerous if you forget to unplug the press). Check the manufacturer’s instructions to find out how to clean panini grill parts safely.
- Sandwich presses often come with non-stick plates, which makes it easier for you to cook your delicious snack. Unfortunately, extra care needs to be taken to protect the non-stick properties. Once again, check the manufacturer’s guidelines alongside the advice below to find out how to clean sandwich press plates non-abrasively.
How to Clean a Sandwich Press or Panini Grill
Learning how to clean a panini grill is pretty simple, and the good news is that you don’t need any special cleaning products or equipment to make an easy task of it. Here are five ways to remove oils, melted cheeses, and food residues without hassle:
If your panini press has removable plates, it’s worth checking the manufacturer’s handbook to see if the plates can be washed in the dishwasher. If they can, this is by far the easiest way to get those plates clean and shiny. Just remember to let the plates cool before touching them.
If your plates are removable, but the manufacturer recommends hand washing only, fill your sink with warm water and a few drops of your favourite dishwashing soap – Persil liquid is particularly good at dealing with grease. Allow the plates to soak until all the melted cheese and food residues have softened, and then gently wipe with a soft cloth.
- Try Dishwashing Soap on Non-Removable Plates
Non-removable plates? Don’t worry. As before, fill a bowl with warm water and dishwashing soap. Dip a soft cloth or sponge into the soapy water, and then gently rub at the plates until clean, adding more soapy water as needed. Avoid using too much water at all costs to protect the electrical components of your sandwich press. Remember to stay away from abrasive sponges or rough cloths and ensure that the grill is switched off and unplugged before putting any water near it.
If you’re dealing with just a small amount of food in your sandwich press, you may be able to get your press clean by just using a soft cloth to wipe away any crumbs and soak up small oil deposits. If you do this, be sure to wash properly every so often to avoid the build up of germs and bacteria.
If you’ve got a really stubborn piece of melted cheese that just isn’t budging no matter what, you can gently lift it from the plate by wrapping the end of a chopstick in a soft cloth and scraping at the cheese. Never use a knife, steel wool, or anything else that could damage the non-stick plates.
How to Clean a Panini Grill: Minimising the Mess
There are three main reasons why a sandwich press gets so messy – the types of filling you use, the amount of oil you use, and how well-filled you like your sandwich.
- If you like your sandwich with a bit of cheese, this cheese is going to melt and escape from any gaps in your bread, leaking out onto the plates of the sandwich press. Try cutting back a little if you find yourself constantly levering off baked cheese deposits.
- Some manufacturers recommend using a small amount of oil on the plates to avoid sticking. This oil can become trapped in the plate’s ridges, and be difficult to remove. Apply oil with a light touch.
- Feeling extra hungry? If you overstuff your sandwich, all that filling is going to come toppling out as you close the sandwich press, leaving food residue everywhere. Just add less – it’s still going to be delicious!
Luckily, though, now that you know how to clean a sandwich press, you can enjoy tasty, cheese-filled paninis without having to worry about the cleaning process. Just remember – it’s always easier to clean a sandwich press sooner rather than later, before the foods and oils have had a chance to harden onto the plates.