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How to Use a Cast Iron Panini Press: A Beginners’ Guide

How to use a cast iron panini press

If you are not a fan of cast iron Panini Presses, then kindly, give me a few minutes to persuade you. If, however, you already are a fan of cast irons, then let us take a quick walk through how you can use one of the masterpieces to prepare the perfect snack. If you have no idea what a cast iron is whatsoever, then did… did you accidentally click on this article? Either way, I’m glad you join us.

Without wasting any more of your time, let us jump right into the article and look at how one can use a cast iron Panini Press to prepare your favorite snack.

How to use a cast iron Panini Press?

Step 1: Prepare the utilities and the ingredients

I believe that the best way to explain something is through an example. So, in today’s guide, I’m going to share one of my simplest recipes with you.

First, collect and prepare all your ingredients. These include:

  • Butter
  • Any cheeses or meats you’d like to add to the delicacy (I suggest that you try out turkey if you will be adding meat)
  • Deli ham
  • Any kind of cheese (I usually make mine using Swiss)
  • Two slices of bread (while rye bread is also acceptable, I usually advise my students to pick whole grain bread.)
  • Mayonnaise
  • Two eggs (feel free to add more eggs if that is how you love it)
  • A medium-sized frying pan
  • And of course, a cast-iron Panini

Once you have all these ready, it’s time to skip to the next, exciting section of the recipe.

Step 2: It is time to fry the Egg

How to use a cast iron panini press

My suggestion is that you should fry the egg over hard, because if you do it using the cast iron Panini press, the egg yolk may smear all over the Panini press. With that in mind, place butter in the medium-sized frying pan you collected and fry it until you notice that the yolk is hard.

Step 3: Let us Prepare the Sandwich

I do not how you’ll end up preferring to do this, but I usually carry out this step at the same time while frying the egg. As a beginner, however, I do not advise you to adopt this method. Until you have sufficient cooking experience, you should prep the sandwich after or before frying the egg.

Consequently, pick two slices of bread and start spreading the desired amount of mayonnaise on them. I prefer to spread the mayo on all two sides of the slices for an even better-cooked sandwich. When you’re done applying the mayo, place some slices of cheese (as well as the fried egg) inside the two slices of bread.

How to use a cast iron panini press

Step 4: It is time to use your cast iron to press the Panini

Cast iron Panini Presses, in case you are not familiar with how they operate, are comprised of a separate press and a skillet. I have come across a lot of people who often wonder whether the press gets used merely as a weight or if one can actually use them as heat sources to grill on both sides of their Panini (the same way an electric grill works.)

The truth is, you are supposed to heat the press separately and then use it to weigh down on the Panini. With this info in mind, preheat both the press and the skillet over medium heat for approximately 4 to 5 minutes. If you will be placing the tools directly over a flame, then you need to ensure that there is no oil on them whatsoever. This is essential if you want to avoid possible flaring.

To test if the surfaces are hot enough and ready to begin pressing, flick several drops of water on the ribs of both the skillet and press. Wait until the drops spit from the surfaces. Once the surface is hot, brush both pieces with a small amount of vegetable oil and place the press inside the skillet grill. Now that you have just applied oil to the press, you need to ensure that you do not put it over the flame directly as the oiled surface could create flaring.

When you start to see the oil beginning to rise, it’s showtime. Brush a small amount of olive oil directly on your Panini’s surfaces. This has to be done both for flavor and to ensure sticking is minimized. Manuals from lots of cast iron Panini devices I have come across point out that one shouldn’t use flavored oils or olive oil on the surfaces of the skillet or press themselves because these oils boast a lower smoking point and may end up causing excessive burning or smoking. That’s why we only apply it to the sandwiches.

Anyway, at this point, place the sandwich inside the skillet, and press it down slightly using the press for several seconds and then leave it in place to cook. After a few minutes, flip the sandwich over, press it down, and give it time just like the other side to cook. Be careful while doing all this though, because cast iron Panini tend to get extremely hot during operations.

How to use a cast iron panini press

Lastly, place the sandwich inside a plate, and you are good to go.

Step 5: Bon Appetit

It’s now time for your mouth to rejoice in the glorious taste of the sandwich. You can even go ahead and cut the already cooked product in a shape that gives it a more formal look (even though I prefer mine uncut while eating them.)

Another thing I ought to mention is that if you did everything correctly, then you should get some crisp on the outside, but some soft texture and warmth on the inside.


As you can see from the guide, preparing a Panini using a cast iron is quite straightforward. It’s all a matter of having the right ingredients, appliances, and determining the ideal amount of heat. if you do not already own one of these masterpieces, here is a guide on the best cast iron Panini Presses you can find on Amazon.

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