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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

27 Models Considered
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We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best cast iron grill presses

Last Updated July 2020

While you may think of them as props in movies and cooking shows featuring rural diners, cast iron grill presses are a versatile tool that you should have in your kitchen and beside your outdoor grill. Grill presses can help remove fat from foods like sausage, cut down on grease splatter, and flatten out your bacon. The heavy metal surface of a grill press also distributes heat more evenly, which can cut down on cooking time by 30% to 50%. If you need another excuse, we can sum it up in a word: paninis.

Also known as bacon presses or steak weights, cast iron grill presses may seem like a simple purchase, but there are a number of factors to consider when shopping for one. This guide will run you through a variety of considerations – from shape and size to seasoning, cleaning, and features like handles – that you will need to take into account when buying a cast iron grill press. We also compare prices and offer our own picks for the best presses currently on the market.

Cast iron is not the only type of grill press out there. Other types include aluminum and glass grill presses.

Key considerations

Construction

The primary material in a cast iron grill press is, of course, durable cast iron. Presses are made up of a flat cast iron surface that should be heavy enough to weigh down foods but designed so that the weight is evenly distributed. Grill presses also have a handle for ease of use, which may be cast iron, stainless steel, or wood. It should be solid and rugged enough to hold up for years.

Shape and size

The majority of cast iron grill presses are rectangular in shape, although some have a round shape. One plus of a round grill press is that it may work better for indoor cooking in a cast iron skillet.

In terms of size, the larger the grill press, the more meat or other foods you will be able to press with it at one time. For rectangular grill presses, the standard length is around eight inches, with some presses a bit shorter. Eight inches is a decent length for use with both an outdoor grill and an indoor cast iron pan, and it is the perfect size to press full strips of bacon.

Weight

The whole purpose of a grill press is to weigh down food, so you’re going to want to go with a press that has a bit of heft to it. Cast iron grill presses typically range from one to three pounds, with larger presses tending to be heavier. Consider the types of foods you’re going to be using the grill press for when considering what weight to buy. Heavier presses are effective with firm meats, such as steak, but can break up softer foods like fish. If you’re looking for a portable grill press to use while camping, consider going lighter.

Appearance

If the aesthetics of your cast iron grill press are important, there are many on the market with imprinted designs and decorative handles.

EXPERT TIP

An eight-inch cast iron grill press is long enough to press two burger patties at one time.


Staff  | BestReviews

Features

Seasoning

Seasoning a cast iron grill press can protect it from rust, pitting, and other wear and tear. Some presses ship pre-seasoned so that you can use them right out of the box, while other presses require seasoning before use. While this isn’t an arduous task, it takes over an hour, so be prepared to fit in this chore.

You should avoid using a dishwasher to clean your cast iron grill press. You should also avoid submerging it in water. The best cleaning method to protect the seasoning is to use a damp cloth to wipe down the press, followed by a dry towel to completely remove all moisture. If the press has been lightly used, wiping it down with a dry towel should be sufficient to clean it. At no time should you expose the grill press to soaps or detergents as these will also strip away the seasoning.

Handle

The handle of a cast iron grill press serves an important function: keeping you from being burned. In general, the handle should be ergonomic, comfortable to hold, and securely attached to the grill press. It should remain cool to the touch even when the press is hot. Handles are typically constructed from wood, although some are coiled stainless steel, which can be an attractive alternative.

Note how the handle is attached to the press. While some are cast as part of the grill press, the majority are separately attached, usually with screws or bolts. Keep an eye on these, and tighten them as necessary.

Texturing

Some cast iron grill presses have texturing on the underside. When heated, this texturing creates grill marks on steaks and sandwiches. If you’re seeking a traditional grilled look, look for a grill press with this feature.

EXPERT TIP

Seasoning a cast iron grill press can keep it from rusting and pitting over time.


Staff  | BestReviews

Cast iron grill press prices

Cast iron grill presses range from $10 to $25, with an average price of around $15. At the lower end of the range, you’ll find simpler designs and lighter presses. At the higher end, the quality and build are better and the presses usually have a more attractive design. Pricier presses also tend to be larger and heavier.

When placing an order, know the number of grill presses you will be receiving. You’ll usually get just one, but sometimes sellers include two – or even more – in an order. If you need to buy a number of cast iron grill presses, seek out a seller who sells in bulk as you can often save a considerable amount of money per press buying them this way.

EXPERT TIP

While the metal handles of some cast iron grill presses are designed to stay cool when in use, you may still want to use a potholder to be safe.


Staff  | BestReviews

Tips

  • To keep rust from forming, be sure to dry your cast iron grill press immediately after cleaning it.
  • If you plan to use a grill press indoors, measure the diameter of the pan you will be using it in to verify that the grill press will fit.
  • To use a grill press, preheat the pan with the press placed flat inside until the pan reaches cooking temperature. If you are using the press outside, preheat it on the lit grill.
  • When seasoning cast iron, try to use an oil with a high smoking point, such as grapeseed, peanut, or canola oil.
  • If you plan to store your grill press for an extended period of time, rub it with a light coating of oil first to protect it from rust.
  • When grilling outdoors, avoid using your grill press with less dense foods, such as fish or loose hamburgers, as the weight of the press can push these foods through the grill.
  • After use, let the cast iron grill press cool off in the pan or on the grill as it will still be quite hot. When cool, clean the press, oil it if you wish, and then store it away.
  • One way to easily remove stuck-on bacon or other food from a grill press is to shake kosher salt on the press and rub with a clean cloth. This will help remove the food particles without damaging the seasoning of the press.
Because your meat or sandwich will be receiving heat from below and above, cooking times when using a cast iron grill press are shorter, often by 30% to 50%.

FAQ

Q. What can a cast iron grill press be used for?
A.
Grill presses are largely used for meat, particularly bacon and other thin cuts, because they are quite effective at keeping the meat flat while it cooks. They are also used to cut the cooking time of everything from burgers to chicken breasts. If you have a press with raised strips or another pattern on the underside, it can also sear steaks and burn grill lines into them.

Another primary use for grill presses is making paninis and other grilled sandwiches.
 

Q. Can cast iron grill presses be used in the oven?
A.
Generally, yes, particularly if the grill press has a metal handle. You may run into a problem if the handle is made from wood. Be sure to remove any wood handles before placing the press in the oven to keep the handle from smoking and becoming charred.
 

Q. How do I season a cast iron grill press?
A.
If your grill press doesn’t arrive pre-seasoned, you’re going to need to season it yourself before you use it. This is an easy task and shouldn’t take you much longer than an hour and a half to perform. To season your grill press, do the following:

  • Wash the press to remove any shipping dirt or oils, then towel dry it.
  • Remove any wood handles.
  • Coat the cast iron with vegetable shortening or cooking oil with a high smoking point, then bake the press in a 320°F oven for 15 minutes.
  • Remove the press and wipe the surface to evenly distribute the oil.
  • Return the press to the oven and continue to bake for one hour.
  • Remove the press, let it cool, and then wipe it down to remove the oil.
Other Products We Considered
The BestReviews editorial team researches hundreds of products based on consumer reviews, brand quality, and value. We then choose a shorter list for in-depth research and testing before finalizing our top picks. These are the products we considered that ultimately didn't make our top 5.
The team that worked on this review
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    Ciera
    Digital Content Producer
  • Katherine
    Katherine
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    Web Producer
  • Rich
    Rich
    Writer

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