It’s no secret we are big fans of toasty Italian panini at Williams-Sonoma. But your panini press can work wonders far beyond sandwiches, doubling as an indoor grill. We love to use the presses to cook proteins like chicken breasts, skirt or flank steaks — and even bacon.
Because panini presses have heat sources on both sides, they cook quickly, about 4 minutes for a chicken breast 1/2 inch thick. As a bonus, using a press to cook your protein saves you an extra pan if the protein is going into your sandwich. We asked our expert cooks in the Williams-Sonoma Test Kitchen for their best tips for cooking meat on a panini press, and here’s what they had to say:
Consider your cut. Choose thin, boneless cuts (less than 1 inch thick) so they will be sure to cook through without burning. Paillards are a perfect fit.
Avoid sticking. If you aren’t marinating the meat, be sure to brush it with a bit of oil to keep it from sticking to the pan.
Make cleaning easy. Our Test Kitchen cooks call this panini brush a “life saver.” Just dip it in warm water and brush the press while it’s still hot to clean the panini press in under a minute. Then, you’re ready to cook the other components of your meal!
Be creative. Aside from thin cuts of meat, our cooks think shrimp kabobs, quesadillas and heartier vegetables like eggplant and portobello mushrooms would be perfect to cook on a panini press.
Try the method yourself with these recipes:
|Quick-Brined Pork Chops with Fruit Compote and Smashed Potatoes|
This recipe calls for boneless pork chops to be brined, so they stay moist and cook well in a press.
|Chicken Panini with Gruyere, Tarragon and Artichoke Spread|
Both the chicken and the finished sandwich are cooked on the panini press here, so cleanup is a breeze.
|Pressed Breakfast Burritos|
Yes, you can cook bacon in a panini press! It only takes 3 or 4 minutes, and the resulting bacon is as crispy as if it were cooked in a pan (minus the splattering). Then, tuck it into these pressed burritos for a colorful start to your day.