4 Best Indoor Grills, Tested by Food Network Kitchen
We flipped dozens of burgers, white bread and salmon filets to find the best indoor grills.
Our Top Indoor Grill Picks
- Best Overall: Cuisinart 5-in-1 Griddler
- Best Value: Hamilton Beach EZ Clean
- Best All-In-One Food Station: Gourmia FoodStation 5-in-1 Smokeless Grill & Air Fryer
- Best Large Indoor Grill: Ninja Food Smart XL 6-in-1 Indoor Grill
Tested by Taylor Murray for Food Network Kitchen
Grills are great for quickly and easily cooking meat and veggies because they deliver great taste and less mess using little to no oil. The big drawback? You need an outdoor space for any gas or charcoal grill. Luckily, there’s a whole range of amazing indoor grills that run on electric power and are designed to eliminate cooking smoke in your home while still providing all the great benefits of outdoor grills. We busted out our tongs and did the legwork, narrowing down the hundreds of indoor grills on the market to bring you the best models for grilling everything from burgers to grilled cheese.
What Are Indoor Grills?
Indoor grills, also known as smokeless grills, are grills that run on electricity and are designed for indoor use. They do not produce smoke like an outdoor gas, wood, or charcoal grill, but they do produce cooking steam and vapors just like you would expect from sautéing in a frying pan. Smokeless grills can be great appliances for those without outdoor space or for anyone who wants to replicate the easy, fast, great-tasting, and low-fat cooking you can expect on an outdoor grill.
Another benefit of a smokeless grill? Better temperature control and an easy start-up process. With an indoor grill, you just plug and press an on button— nothing like the long process of lighting charcoal briquettes. Most often, outdoor grills are cleaned by burning off residue over high heat and scraping with a metal brush. Indoor grills are almost unilaterally coated in a durable nonstick coating that can stand up to higher temperatures that makes clean-up as easy as wiping with a damp cloth.
What’s the Difference Between Contact and Open Grills?
Indoor grills have two main designs — open and contact. Open grills are just like any standard outdoor grill. Hot grill grates cook food on one side and typically you need to turn your food over halfway through cooking. Many open grills also have a lid to contain heat and smoke. If the lid is designed to help contain heat, it can help your food cook a bit faster.
Contact grills cook the food on both sides using two surfaces. Food cooks fast between the dual cooking grates and these machines work great as a sandwich/panini press. Two surfaces for cooking also mean double the cleaning, but most consumers feel that the trade-off is worth it for saving some time in the kitchen. Some contact grills can smash delicate food like fish, so keep that in mind when choosing a contact grill.
What To Know Before Buying an Indoor Grill
One of the reasons to purchase an indoor grill is to make your meal prep as easy as possible, so it's important to choose the grill that best fits your lifestyle. Convinced you want to add an indoor grill to your kitchen? There are a couple of things to think about before buying.
First, any decent indoor grill should be able to grill quickly and evenly with minimal clean-up.
Do the grill grates remove? Are they dishwasher-safe? These features can save you tons of time in the long run.
Consider how many people are usually eating. Some of the bigger grills (and especially the all-in-one food stations) are perfect for whipping up dinner for a crowd with minimal hands-on effort for the cook. This bigger capacity will take up more space in your kitchen, however.
Those with smaller spaces (and cooking for fewer people) may find themselves leaning towards one of the cheaper and more compact models.
How We Tested
Before we ever slapped a burger on a grill, we scoured the market to determine which indoor grills are the top-rated models and best sellers across various online retailers. We made sure to look at both contact and open grills, as well as food stations and multi-cookers that had grill functions. As always, we looked at value options, as well as top-of-the-line models packed with features. Once we had narrowed it down, we pored over each unit’s manuals and recipe books (if they included one) to determine if they were easy to understand and contained all necessary information.
To test each grill, we preheated to medium heat and loaded them up with slices of white bread to test the evenness of the grill marks on a blank canvas. Some machines produced identical results across the surface and others, not so much.
Next, we added 2 standard ground beef patties on high heat to see how quickly and evenly each grill could cook a burger. We also noted things like the color of the grill marks and how easily the burger released from the grill. Last, we grilled a 4-oz skin-on salmon filet with no oil on high heat. We assessed how long it took to cook, if it stuck to the grill, and the quality of the grill marks.
In between tests, we made sure to clean each grill by hand and in the dishwasher (if the unit allowed), to determine how easy or difficult it was.
This article has been reviewed since its original publish date for accuracy, pricing and availability. We stand by our list of top indoor grill picks.
This ingenious grill by Cuisinart functions as a grill, a griddle — or both! The slim, easy-to-clean nonstick cook surfaces are double-sided and reversible. One side has grill grates, the other has a flat griddle surface. The grill can also be configured to function as a contact grill, or opened up flat to double the cooking area. Either way, you can have both sides as a grill, as a griddle, or 50/50. All these options come at a great price at just around $100. While this model doesn’t offer the temperature precision as some other models, Cuisinart makes two upgraded versions (the Cuisinart Electric Griddler and the Cuisinart Griddler Elite) of this same grill that offer features like an LCD display for settings, dual-zone temperature control, timers, and an alarm that sounds when the unit is preheated.
For quick and simple indoor grilling, the Hamilton Beach EZ clean produces consistently great results at a rock bottom price. While this basic grill only has one temperature setting, it did just as well grilling juicy burgers as it did delicate salmon. Even our grilled bread test revealed some of the evenest results of our entire test. The one caveat of this grill is the lack of dishwasher-safe grill grates, but luckily the nonstick surface means just a quick wipe with a damp cloth should be enough.
Food stations differ from other kinds of indoor grills as they offer a wider range of cooking options. Think of it as an all-in-one dinner station. The Gourmia can grill, bake, air fry, roast or dehydrate. It beat all the other indoor grills we tested in terms of its cooking surface that can easily grill long skewers or up to 8 burgers at once. The small holes of the grill grate won’t let small vegetables fall through, yet are ample enough to pull smoke down — keeping it out of your kitchen. Smart built-in presets tell you when it’s preheated, when to turn your food, and more. We also liked the clear lid that lets you see how things are cooking without opening and closing the machine.
There’s not a lot this extra-large all-in-one indoor grill can’t do. It can fit up to 6 steaks and 24 hotdogs, as well as air fry French fries, grill corn on the cob, dehydrate fruit, roast 2 full chickens — you get the idea. One of the best features of this grill is a built-in temperature probe. You can stick the probe into your food and set the machine to alert you when it’s done, perfect for the busy host who can’t keep checking on their steak every 5 minutes. The grill comes pre-set with 4 ‘smart’ protein settings and 9 customizable doneness levels. Dishwasher-safe grill grates make clean-up a breeze so you can get back to the party.