Grilled food is great. Problem is, not everyone has a backyard to bring a traditional outdoor grill into their home. Even when you do, there are times when the weather’s just too wet or cold that you’d rather do all your cooking inside the house. That’s why indoor grilling makes so much sense. Sure, you don’t get the same smoky flavor as traditionally grilled food items, but it gets you close enough in taste without having to deal with moving to a new house with a backyard or inventing a weather machine that can clear the skies whenever you hanker for some grilled steaks.
To put it simply, it’s never a bad idea to have an indoor grill setup. And these are the best options of the lot.
Hamilton Beach Indoor Searing Grill
We love Hamilton Beach for their affordably-priced and occasionally-clever appliances. We mean… that Breakfast Sandwich Maker and that Breakfast Burrito Maker will stay close to our hearts till the end of time. For their take on the indoor grill, though, they keep things simple, offering up 118 square inches of cooking surface that can cook up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. There’s not a lot of flexibility with the heat settings, but you can lower it to one of a few fixed temperatures starting at 200 degrees using the control knob. It also has a preheat LED that lights up once it’s hot enough to start cooking, so you won’t have to guess when the grill is ready, while removable parts (hood, plate, and drip tray) make it easy to clean (just throw them in the dishwasher). Do note, there are no grill plates on the top, so you’ll need to flip the food to get those grill marks on both sides.
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George Foreman Evolve Grill
While George Foreman is no longer synonymous with the category, they still make some of the most reliable indoor grills around. This five-serving countertop grill is one of our favorites, with its digital controls and LED display allowing you to set precise time and temperature, as well as a searing function that lets you put a delicious crust on food by raising the temperature to 500 degrees Fahrenheit for 60 seconds. We also like the cool-touch edges on the cooking plates, which lets you lift them out of the appliance shortly after cooking, as well as the extra waffle plate that turns the whole thing into a waffle maker.
The biggest sticking point is the long heating time, which requires around 15 minutes to properly heat up to grilling temperature. If you like a classic, though, the George Foreman brand is as classic as it gets for indoor grilling.
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Cuisinart Electric Griddler
While Cuisinart has a number of indoor grilling appliances, this compact countertop griller with a 100 square inches of cooking surface is our favorite of the lot. Like many grills in this list, it tops out at 450 degrees Fahrenheit, so you won’t quite get that charring heat that a traditional charcoal grill will deliver. We like it, though, due to the fact that you can easily adjust that heat anywhere between 175 to 450 degrees using the control knob, with an LCD display showing the exact temperatures at all times. Additionally, it has a sear function that puts a nice finishing touch to any grilled dish, making it feel more like a traditionally grilled food.
It also comes with a lid that can lock either in the corners or the center, allowing it to be used either as a grill (locked at corners) or a panini press (locked at center). In case that’s not enough, the grill plates inside can be reverse to reveal a griddle function, so you can fry eggs and pancakes if you want something else for your next meal.
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Power Grill XL Indoor Smokeless Grill
This grill has a recessed cooking area that helps contain any mess within the appliance, while an integrated water tray helps eliminate the risk of flare-ups and minimize smoke odor. And yes, the water does help add some amount of moisture to the food while it cooks. It comes with swappable cooking surfaces, too, so you can use the grated plate when you’re grilling and a griddle plate for cooking other dishes. It also includes a clear curved lid that seals in the cooking area, making it useful for covering the food after you’re done cooking to keep it warm before dinner.
Since this is a smokeless grill, it has an integrated fan that it uses to remove most of the smoke and steam. If you put the lid on, it can even seal any remaining smoke inside, although it might create a bit of steam that will blurry the lid surface. It can also heat up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit, with various lower settings for better temperature control. While it’s not the best indoor grilling option, in our opinion, it is a thoughtfully-designed appliance that lets you grill without filling up the kitchen with a smoky odor.
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Ninja Foodi AG301 5-In-1 Smart Indoor Grill
While this is more expensive than your standard indoor grill, you’re really paying for a few extras that you won’t normally find in the category. As a grill, it heats up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit using infrared heating technology that’s efficiently circulated inside the cooking chamber, although it doesn’t press down on your food from the top. As such, you’ll need to flip over to get grill marks on both sides, similar to a traditional grill. It also comes with a probe that you can use to keep an eye on the temperature of the food inside, so you’ll know precisely when it’s ready. We love the fact that it has a semi-domed lid similar to a traditional backyard grill, which keeps any oil and splatter inside during cooking, so it won’t mess up the counter at any point.
What really sets it apart, though, is the inclusion of an air fryer, as you can simply remove the grates and use it to fry food items using very little oil. On top of that, it has preset functions for baking, dehydrating, and even roasting a three-pound slab of meat of your choosing. Basically, it can take the place of your oven, making it uniquely useful for folks who enjoy multi-function kitchen appliances.
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Philips Avance Indoor Smokeless Grill
Unlike many products in this list, Philips’ countertop offering is strictly for use as an indoor grill, with none of the multi-function versatility others try to achieve. What makes it attractive is its unique design that cooks food using infrared heating elements on the side walls under the grates. That means, the entire area under the grates can serve as a dip tray, with no risk of flare ups, since the oil will never touch the heating elements. It also makes cleaning easy, as you simply empty the tray and wipe the grates down.
It preheats fast, too, requiring just six minutes to get hot enough to let you start grilling, although it doesn’t allow for temperature adjustment, so you’re stuck to cooking at the same 450 degrees Fahrenheit throughout. Philips, by the way, sells an optional accessory that can turn the grill into a rotisserie, making it a truly unique indoor cooking solution.
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KRUPS Smokeless Grill
We love this model because it divides the cooking surface into two distinct sections, allowing you to grill at different temperatures on each side. That’s right, you can turn one side up to scorch a piece of meat on the left, while keeping the other low to avoid burning the fish cooking at the right. Even better, it has separate control knobs and LCD displays for each sides, so there’s no chance of getting confused about what’s going on at any point.
Is it really smokeless? Eh… it cuts down on the smoke, but if you’re cooking food, there’s always going to be smoke. It does, however, produce a lot less smoke than non-smokeless indoor options. Do note, while the grates do come off for cleaning, the area under the grates will be a bit tougher to clean, since it’s a bit tight. If you want to convenience of being able to cook two different dishes at once, though, this does it so much better than a standard indoor grill.
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Breville Smart Grill
No, it’s not quite as smart as some of the “smart” kitchen appliances we’ve seen in recent memory. It is, however, fitted with some unique functions that sets it apart from other indoor grill options. For one, preheating is much quicker than many grills in this list. Even better, it has an adaptive heating function that monitors the temperature drop on the cooking surface as soon you lay down your food. Basically, it checks how much temperature it’s lost as a result of getting cold food on top of it, then maxes out its 1800W power capacity to compensate, essentially allowing it to restore the grilling surface’s 450 degree Fahrenheit temperature much quicker than other indoor grills.
Unlike other indoor grills, the lid doesn’t necessarily need to press into whatever’s cooking in the bottom plate, as you can adjust the height to one of six settings, allowing you to melt cheese on top of your burger without getting it all over the top plate. It can also be used fully opened flat, allowing you to double the cooking surface, in case you preparing a bigger batch of food than you normally do. Do note, this thing is already big on its own, so laying the top down flat will require a lot more room in the kitchen counter.