This 5-in-1 Griddler Is One of Our Editors' Go-To Kitchen Appliances

From indoor grilling to cooking pancakes for the whole family, this compact appliance can do it all. Plus, check out a clever tool for whipping up creative pancake shapes on the griddle kids will love.

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April 06, 2020

Now more than ever, I’m trying to see cooking at home as an opportunity to save money and be creative by coming up with concoctions based on what I have on hand in my fridge and pantry. As someone with a tiny galley kitchen, I only have room for multifunctional appliances that I’ll actually use. Between my beloved Instant Pot and my KitchenAid mixer, I can accomplish most kitchen tasks, but with no outdoor space available, I didn’t have a way to grill. Enter the Cuisinart Griddler.

While an electric indoor grill isn’t an equal replacement to an outdoor charcoal grill, it’s certainly better than not having a grill at all. Three of my colleagues at HGTV have owned this top-rated model for more than seven years and recommended it to me.

Photo By: Clara MacLellan
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This Cuisinart Griddler features two interchangeable and reversible plates that lock in place. The plates that come with the model are flat on one side like a griddle and grooved like an electric grill on the other side. Beyond the two-sided plates, the lid is unique because you can lock it in place to use as a contact grill or you can release the lid via a button on the side so it’s parallel with the bottom plate to use as a panini press. You can also open the lid completely so the two plates sit evenly next to one another, doubling your surface area for cooking.

The full griddle or full grill configuration, which measures 200 square inches, is especially convenient if you’re making a pancake breakfast for the whole family or cooking big batches of food for the freezer.

Speaking of pancakes, the best way to make a family pancake breakfast more fun? A pancake pen! I first discovered this clever gadget from Sara Blakely’s Instagram Stories. When billionaire Blakely isn’t running her successful company, Spanx, she has a tradition of taking requests for imaginative pancake shapes from her kids for family breakfasts.

Photo By: Clara MacLellan
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To use the pen, you just pour the batter into the container in any shape you can imagine and draw. If your freehanding skills are subpar, use the pen to fill cookie cutters instead. You can technically mix the pancake batter directly in the pen, but after testing it, we found that it's easiest to premix the batter and just using the pen for dispensing on the griddle. The pen fits into the door of a refrigerator, which is great for keeping any leftover batter on hand.

This Pancake Pen Turns Breakfast Into Any Shape You Want 01:12

When we tested out the griddle and the pancake pen, we made stars, hearts, bunnies, sharks and more. To get more ideas for creative pancake shapes, check out Blakely’s “Pancake Sunday” Instagram Highlight, where her masterpieces have ranged from dragons to Mickey Mouse.

While the griddle side is perfect for making pancakes, you can also buy waffle plates separately to swap in if you prefer waffles.

Beyond the multifunctionality, our overall favorite feature of the Griddler is how easy it is to clean.

"Cleaning is as easy as it sounds," HGTV producer Karen Webb says. "I just let the plates cool, pop them off, give them a little rinse and load them in the dishwasher before storing."

The Cuisinart Griddler's Removable Plates Are Dishwasher Safe

The Cuisinart Griddler's Removable Plates Are Dishwasher Safe

The biggest downside to grilling is usually the cleanup, but Cuisinart's 5-in-1 multifunctional indoor electric grill actually features interchangeable and removable grill plates that can be rinsed and loaded into the dishwasher.

Photo by: Sarah Busby

Sarah Busby

Tip: Don’t forget to check the built-in grease trap, too. Although the HGTV editors found the grease tray doesn't always get dirty after each use, Webb once had a roommate who forgot to clean it after cooking fish … and it left their apartment smelling unpleasant.

Another feature all of the HGTV staffers love is the compact size and portability of the Griddler. It easily tucks away in a kitchen drawer or, in my case, above my refrigerator where I can easily get it down without hurting myself, unlike my extremely heavy KitchenAid mixer that never leaves its spot on the counter.

compact grill in a kitchen drawer

Storing an Indoor Grill

The Cuisinart Griddler is a 5-in-1 electric grill that is compact and easy to store in a drawer, pantry or above a refrigerator.

Photo by: Sarah Busby

Sarah Busby

In terms of durability, this appliance will last for years. Executive producer Michele Purcell’s first Cuisinart Griddler lasted eight years of heavy use (she uses it for everything) before the lights on the dials started giving out, and she replaced it with a newer model.

Editor Jackie McGilvray has had her Griddler for about eight years and is just now noticing some wear and tear on the non-stick coating on the plates. When the time comes, she plans to just order replacement plates versus replacing the entire appliance.

The Best 5-in-1 Indoor Electric Grill 01:02

After using this multifunctional kitchen appliance for the past several months for pancakes, waffles, grilled cheese, grilled chicken and so much more, I can also tell I'll be cooking with it for years to come and that it's a worthwhile investment, especially for small-space dwellers lacking outdoor space like myself.

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