Cast Iron vs Non-Stick Panini Press Plates


The age-old debate between cast iron and non-stick cookware extends all the way to the world of panini presses, with each surface type offering its own set of advantages and drawbacks. If you’re not sure which type you should choose in a panini press, read on to learn the pros and cons of each, as well as some points about other types.

Cast Iron Pros

Proponents of cast iron cookware always tout its even heating and cooking capabilities, and the same is true for cast iron plates on panini presses. Since the metal is so strong and sturdy, it also has a longer lifespan compared to non-stick coatings. Similarly, the cast iron plates are going to be able to withstand more scratches and scrapes than non-stick plates, so they won’t flake or peel off, which can be a health hazard as well as unsightly.

Cast Iron Cons

One of the biggest issues with cast iron panini press plates is that they are considerably heavier, and often much pricier, than non-stick coated plates. If you plan on moving your press frequently in and out of a cabinet, the weight could become an issue. Also, some people may not be a fan of the scrubbing required to clean cast iron during more serious messes. Cast iron pans can also take longer to heat up, which can mean that it may take longer to heat food.


Non-Stick Pros

Panini press plates with non-stick coating typically do a great job of keeping food from sticking, just like the name says. These models are also usually lighter than cast iron models and also less expensive, which can be a major plus for anyone who has a tight budget. Many models are also very easy to clean, with some even allowing you to put the plates directly into the dishwasher.

Non-Stick Cons

Even though non-stick coatings are strong, they can be prone to tears and flaking if they are scratched with a sharp objects, like a metal spatula or a fork. This means that you’ll have to be extra careful when you remove food from them to ensure that you don’t scratch the coating off. Ingesting the non-stick flakes can be very toxic, which is why some choose to avoid the substance in cookware altogether.

Comparing to Other Plate Types

It’s important to note that cast iron and non-stick plates are not the only types out there. Some manufacturers make panini presses that use ceramic plates, which combine qualities of both products. Ceramic plates are scratch resistant and easy to clean, but are not always available on every model or with every other panini press feature.