Grilling is often seen as an outdoor pastime.
But if you’re stuck living in an apartment with no balcony or live somewhere that doesn’t allow outdoor grills, you still have options!
Electric grills don’t require burning fuel to generate heat, making them safe to use inside or anywhere that doesn’t allow grills.
We’ve pulled together the best indoor grills you can buy that won’t quite replace the flavor of cooking on an outdoor grill but come as close as you can get.
The 5 Best Indoor Grills Reviewed
We’ve selected 5 of the best indoor grills on the market today. Check out our recommendations below to find the perfect choice for you.
1. Best overall – Hamilton Beach Indoor Electric Grill
The Hamilton Beach is our favorite indoor grill. It’s small enough to stash away in your kitchen cupboard but has enough space to grill for 2-4 people, all for under $100.
It can hit 450°F with the sear option, and with the window, you can watch your food as it grills. You’ve never going to be able to rival steak or burgers cooked outdoors over propane or charcoal, but with the Hamilton Beach you get pretty darn close.
What I like:
- Lightweight & portable design.
- Can easily be used in your kitchen without taking up much space.
- Ability to adjust temperature and sear food.
What I don’t like:
- Plastic grease catcher could be a little more rugged
- Electric cord should be longer
2. Best for indoor and outdoor use – George Foreman 15-Serving Indoor/Outdoor Electric Grill
How about the best of both worlds? This George Foreman Grill is designed to be used indoors and outdoors, so if the weather improves, you can move the party out to the yard!
The grill detaches from the collapsible stand, so if you want to grill indoors, simply detach the grill and place it on the counter or kitchen table.
Variable temperature options allow you to have complete control over your cooking, while the temperature gauge on the lid makes it easy for you to monitor the heat levels without interrupting the cooking process.
George Foreman talks up the “15+ servings”. Maybe if you crammed really small burgers on, you could do that, but in the photo above, you can see there wasn’t much room left when grilling a large steak and some asparagus.
I still think it’s a good size for most people, just maybe don’t expect to be cooking for 15 people at once.
George Foreman grills are known for their excellent fat drainage system, and this model is just as impressive. The removable cooking plate is angled to encourage efficient grease drainage into a built-in drip tray.
Once the fun is over, there’s no need to dread the cleanup either, as this tray can be pulled out for easy washing.
What we like:
- Multi-purpose – With its detachable grill and collapsible stand, this model can be used both indoors and out. The weather will never interrupt your grilling plans again.
- Decent – 240 square inches of cooking space with the round grilling surface allows you to grill for a larger group
- Efficient fat drainage – Not only does this mean healthier cooking, George Foreman style, but the built-in, removable drip tray also makes it easy to clean up afterward.
What we don’t like:
- Doesn’t feel sturdy – The stand base is constructed from lightweight plastic, which makes the grill top-heavy and a little wobbly when turning food.
- Flimsy lid handle – The handle on the lid feels cheap and is prone to becoming loose/falling off.
3. Best Multi-Purpose – Cuisinart 5-in-1 Griddler
Capable of reaching temperatures high enough to cook red meat perfectly, this indoor griddle can grill steaks in less than 5 minutes. The riveted plates create sear marks just like a regular charcoal grill, while the incredibly effective non-stick coating ensures your food will slide right off.
Offering a generous maximum capacity of 200 square inches, this indoor grill has enough space to rustle up tasty meals for a group of family or friends. Its 5-in-1 design means you have unlimited cooking options.
Whatever you’re craving, this versatile grill has you covered. It can be used as:
- full grill
- full griddle
- contact grill
- panini press
- half griddle/half grill
The sturdy handle and detachable floating lid adjust to the thickness of your food, so you can be sure of perfectly-cooked results every time.
You simply plug it in, choose your desired temperature, and give it a few minutes to heat up. The brushed stainless steel outer looks stylish on the counter, while the intuitive controls and indicator lights make cooking easy. Fat and grease drains into the accompanying drip tray for healthier results and quick cleaning.
What we like:
- Multiple cooking options – With five different cooking options, this indoor grill is versatile enough for any occasion.
- Authentic sear marks – You won’t need to worry about missing out on straight-from-the-grill sear marks with this model. Riveted plates create an authentic feel that’s perfect for indoor grill parties.
- Simple controls – No confusion here. The Cuisinart 5-in-1 Griddler features intuitive controls for effortless cooking.
What we don’t like:
- Floating lid can be awkward to use – A minor niggle, but the floating lid, once detached, can be difficult to lock back into place.
If you’re looking for even more cooking options than the Cuisinart, the Ninja Foodi 5-in-1 grill is a great option. This model features a combination of indoor grill and air fryer for versatile cooking with the BTU power of an outdoor gas grill.
Boasting ‘cyclonic grilling technology’, the Ninja Foodi can reach temperatures of 500°F to create beautifully seared, perfectly cooked meat with authentic grill marks, even from frozen.
The 10” by 10” temperature-controlled grill plate accommodates enough food for an average family, while the 4-quart air fryer offers plenty of capacity for tasty side dishes.
We also like that this model features a special ‘cool-air’ zone that helps to reduce smoke production while cooking.
With PFOA/PTFE free non-stick and ceramic coated plates, you can be sure your food will slide off this grill with little fuss. The controls are well-designed and simple to use, thanks to the bright digital control panel and large buttons.
What we like:
- Multi-functional – Versatility is always welcome when it comes to cooking. This indoor grill offers five features in one; capable of grilling, roasting, baking, dehydrating and air frying for all-round culinary capacity.
- Cyclonic grilling technology – The Ninja Foodi doesn’t disappoint with 500F, temperature-controlled grill plates for perfectly-cooked results with authentic char-grill marks.
- Cool air zone – We all love that smokey flavor, but a smoke-filled kitchen is less desirable.
What we don’t like:
- Noisy – If you use the air fryer, this model can be loud enough to disrupt conversation.
- Difficult to clean – The plates may be non-stick, but if you don’t have a dishwasher, the bulk and shape of this model is pretty awkward to clean by hand.
5. Best George Foreman indoor grill – George Foreman 5-Serving Multi-Plate Evolve Grill System
Another great option from George Foreman; this 5-serving indoor grill is our pick for the best model from this popular brand.
With a large enough grilling surface for the whole family, this ceramic-coated grill is capable of reaching temperatures of 500F for 60 seconds, with a press of the special searing button, to sear meat with a tasty crust – just like your favorite charcoal grill.
The lid has a floating hinge for perfect contact, no matter the thickness of your meat, while the fat drainage tilt can be set to flat for easy toasting.
Coming complete with non-stick waffle plates, this handy little grill is also compatible with the Evolve Grill plate system. This means you can swap out the plates for any of those in the Evolve range, extending your cooking capacity to muffins, baking trays and more.
Simple to use, this model features intuitive heat controls and a digital timer that enables you to cook with accuracy. Clean up is easy, too – thanks to the removable, dishwasher-safe grill plates.
What we like:
- Sear function – Recreate the taste of a charcoal grill in the kitchen with the 60-second, 500F sear function.
- Interchangeable plates – As this model is part of the Evolve grill plate collection, you can purchase additional plates to expand your cooking options.
- Adjustable tilt – Efficient fat drainage is what George Foreman is known for; however, this model allows you to adjust the plate slope or even flatten it for simple toasting.
What we don’t like:
- Non-stick qualities don’t last – Unfortunately, the non-stick plates tend to lose their effectiveness over time.
- Takes a long time to heat up – The 60-second sear function is great, but you should be prepared to wait about 15-minutes for the grill to reach its initial cooking temperature.
6. Also great – Philips Smoke-less Indoor BBQ Grill
This indoor grill is a little different from the others on our list, but we think it still makes a great choice.
Unlike other grills we have seen, this model uses infrared heat and cleverly-designed reflectors to cook food while minimizing smoke production.
Bright lamps direct heat onto a die-cast, non-stick aluminum grill, creating a consistent temperature of 446F for evenly browned and thoroughly cooked results.
Great for healthy meals, this grill heats up super fast and doesn’t require oil. Once your food is cooked, you can switch to a convenient keep-warm mode if you or your guests aren’t quite ready.
Cleaning up is quick and simple, too. Any fat is drained away into a grease collection tray and the griddle is dishwasher safe.
What we like:
- Fast heat-up time – Infrared technology enables this grill to reach its maximum temperature in just 6 minutes. Ideal for impromptu gatherings.
- Keep warm mode – Should your guests be late or your side dishes aren’t ready, keep warm mode will ensure your food doesn’t get cold.
What we don’t like:
- Requires significant countertop/storage space – At 21” X 17”, this indoor grill will take up a lot of space in your kitchen.
- Very bright – The infrared light may heat up fast, but it can also be uncomfortably bright, especially in small spaces.
Is an indoor grill worth buying?
If we had our way, we would grill outside every day. Unfortunately, that isn’t always possible.
It’s true that an indoor grill will never replace the authentic taste and experience that comes with outdoor grilling, but they can offer the perfect way to get your fix when outdoor grilling isn’t possible.
Therefore, if you’re a grill enthusiast who hates missing out during bad weather, then we think an indoor grill is a worthy investment.
Indoor grills may take up extra space in your cabinets, but having the option to use a grill in all seasons makes up for it. Many models offer multiple cooking functions, so you can use them day-to-day to bake, roast and fry too.
Unlike outdoor grills, indoor models tend to be much easier to clean, as many of their parts can be washed in the dishwasher. They also heat up much faster than regular charcoal grills, so you won’t need to wait around before you can get cooking.
Different types of indoor grills
There are two main types of indoor grills:
- open grills
- folding contact grills
Open grills consist of a heated grill plate, powered by electricity or infrared.
These grills tend to offer a greater cooking area than folding grills, which makes them a good choice for entertaining or grilling for a large family.
Some would argue that open grills replicate the outdoor grilling experience better than folding grills.
Folding contact grill
Folding contact grills like the Hamilton Beach have a hinged, double grill plate design with a lid that closes onto your food.
One benefit of this design is that both sides of your food are cooked at once, thus speeding up cooking times. Using a lid also helps reduce any mess caused by sizzling fat.
However, folding contact grills usually have a much smaller surface area than open grills – so it can be difficult to cook for many people at once. Furthermore, although many models have floating hinges, it can sometimes be awkward to cook thicker foods evenly.
Tips for grilling indoors
Ready to get started with your indoor grill? Check out our top tips:
1. Keep safety a priority
Everyone knows they should take safety precautions when grilling outdoors, but it’s important to take care with indoor grills, too.
You may not be standing over a bowl of burning coals, but indoor grills still pose a significant risk of fire and burns if used incorrectly or without adequate care and attention.
Make sure you never leave your grill unattended while cooking, and reduce smoke by trimming excess fat from meat. If possible, it’s better to position your indoor grill near a window for ventilation.
Be sure to thoroughly clean your grill with a grill brush and empty any grease collection trays after each use. This will help to limit the potential for fat to reach the heating elements inside the grill.
It’s also a good idea to keep a small fire extinguisher on hand, just in case.
2. Use dry ingredients
As you’re working with electricity, it’s important to use dry ingredients on your indoor grill. If you want to marinate your ingredients for extra flavor, be sure to pat them completely dry before cooking.
Using dry ingredients will help you to limit steam and smoke production, as well as achieve a delicious, crispy crust.
3. Crisp up with a blowtorch
If you’re struggling to get the outside of your meat as crispy as you would like, a good solution is to use a blowtorch.
We recommend cooking your meat at low heat on your indoor grill first, before flash-cooking the exterior with the blowtorch for a tasty crust.
4. Replicate flavor with rubs & seasonings
If you miss the delicious smokey taste of outdoor grilling, you can easily replicate it by using the right barbecue rubs.
Our Smoke Kitchen lineup rubs imbues a smokey flavor in food, even if you grill it indoors on an electric grill.
What can you cook on an indoor grill?
When using an indoor grill, you can cook almost anything you would typically cook on your outdoor grill – space permitting.
The main difference between indoor and outdoor grills is that indoor grills cannot drain juices as well as outdoor grills. Almost all indoor grills will have grease trays, but these are designed for minimal fat run-off, not for catching sauces and marinades.
So long as you keep your ingredients as dry as you can and add a little liquid smoke for authentic flavor, you can grill all of your outdoor favorites from the comfort of your kitchen.
Wrapping it up
It’s clear to see that there’s plenty of amazing indoor grills to choose from if you want to enjoy grilling all-year-round.
For most people, we think the Hamilton Beach is the best indoor grill. Incredibly versatile and beautifully-designed, this multifunctional indoor grill covers all bases and creates delicious, authentic results.
If you’re looking for a one-size-fits-all approach, then the George Foreman Indoor/Outdoor Electric Grill is a great choice.
We like that this grill can be quickly converted to an outdoor version should the sun come out part-way through your grill party.
What do you think? Will you be adding one of these indoor grills to your collection? Be sure to let us know in the comments below and don’t forget to share with your friends!