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Want to grill from the comfort of your own kitchen, minus the smoke and the hassle of heading outside? Smokeless grills to the rescue! If you live in a city apartment—or maybe you have a great backyard but it’s the height of winter and you rather stay cozy inside—but still crave the delicious depth of grilled meat, these are for you.
Indoor grills usually employ infrared heat rather than direct, open flames to create a smokeless grilling experience. They run off electricity, so no need to deal with a heavy propane tank. Most fit snuggly on your countertop.
There are two varieties of indoor grills: open grills and contact grills. The former is a sort of scaled-down version of an outdoor grill, with an open grilling surface. You'll need to flip your food halfway through so that everything cooks evenly. Contact grills have two cooking surfaces—one on top and one on the bottom, like a panini press. This makes cooking faster.
From a grill that sears to one that can handle food straight from the freezer, here are the best smokeless indoor grills.
Best Overall: Hamilton Beach 25360 Electric Indoor Searing Grill
Dimensions (LxWxH): 16.7 x 12.4 x 6.8 inches | Cooking Area: 118 square inches | Weight: 8.1 pounds
The Hamilton Beach Searing Grill is a perfect indoor replacement for an outdoor grill. It won't smoke up your space, there's no fuel to have to mess around with, and it doubles as a panini press.
Turn this grill dial to "sear" and when it reaches the high heat searing temperature of 450 degrees, a green light will glow. That’s your signal to throw on your steaks, burgers, pork chops, or fish fillets and cook them to perfection. You can choose a lower heat too if that’s better for what you’re grilling, the digital temperature control will make sure it’s just right.
The lid closes to give you picture-worthy grill marks, and the hood, plate, and drip tray are removable and dishwasher safe. There's also a recipe booklet included to help you get started.
Best Budget: Elite Gourmet EMG-980B 14-Inch Indoor Electric Grill
Dimensions (LxWxH): 17.5 x 16.5 x 4 inches | Cooking Area: 14-inch diameter | Weight: 6 pounds
A high searing temperature of 450 degrees will lock in flavor and an adjustable temperature knob will customize your cooking with this compact indoor grill. Your veggies, burgers, and fish will come out deliciously on the 14-inch round grill (there’s even space to cook those things altogether).
This comes with a large, slightly domed lid to let you cook without splashing grease or oil, and the drip tray, grill plate, and glass lid are dishwasher-safe to make cleaning up a breeze. The handles and base do stay cool to the touch, so you can safely use this without any burns to you or your countertop.
The downside is some reviewers complained that the nonstick coating doesn’t hold up after ample use and washing. We recommend you hand wash it to be on the safe side.
Closest to Outdoor Grilling: Zojirushi EB-CC15 Indoor Electric Grill
Dimensions (LxWxH): 20.75 x 14 x 6.1 inches | Cooking Area: 112 square inches | Weight: 7.75 pounds
Unlike most indoor electric grills, the Zojirushi does not have a lid that cooks food from both sides, so it more closely mimics the outdoor grilling experience. Perfect for grilling vegetables, the grill lays flat and comes with a removable drip tray that catches oils and juices.
It has cool-touch handles and base for easy transport, and can heat up to 410 degrees. Its dishwasher-safe drip tray and large ceramic nonstick grilling surface detach from the body for easy cleaning. There are a few cons though. The Zojirushi takes a bit of time to heat up, and it does produce some smoke, so you might want to turn the vent fan on.
Related: The Best Grills
Best for Steak: All-Clad PG715850 5-Level Electric Indoor Grill with AutoSense
Dimensions (LxWxH): 19.25 x 14.5 x 9 inches | Cooking Area: 192 square inches | Weight: 16.5 pounds
If you’re going to forgo the steakhouse for your own kitchen, you’re going to need a grill that delivers a serious sear, great flavor, and gorgeous grill marks.
The All-Clad AutoSense Indoor Grill automatically detects the thickness of your food, the number of pieces, and then uses sensors to cook each piece to perfection. You can even choose your level of doneness, for the perfect medium-rare or whatever you choose. It heats up to 525 degrees, roaring hot for an indoor grill. You can even defrost and grill ingredients straight from the freezer with its handy frozen setting.
Nonstick die-cast aluminum grill plates direct fat and oil into a drip tray for healthier results with minimal mess. Plus, this stainless-steel number will look fetching on your countertop.
Best Portable: BergHOFF 2415600 Tabletop BBQ
Dimensions (DxH): 15.75 x 11 inches | Cooking Area: 15.75-inch diameter | Weight: 16.75 pounds
Wherever kebabs, yakitori, and salmon beckon, you can take this snazzy little stainless-steel grill that weighs less than 20 pounds. There’s even a carrying strap, so you can throw it over your shoulder and bring it to a picnic or the beach.
Note that this is cooking outdoors, not inside, as it uses charcoal. It comes with a fire basket, charcoal grate, heat shield, and a multifunction cork lid that doubles as a base and hot pad. Simply turning the grill around on the base controls the airflow to your charcoal. All elements are removable to allow for easy cleaning.
Related: The Best Portable Grills
Best Splurge: De'Longhi CGH1020D Livenza All-Day Electric Grill
Dimensions (LxWxH): 18 x 14 x 7.5 inches | Cooking Area: 130 square inches | Weight: 20 pounds
Featuring interchangeable plates, this versatile and efficient grill from De'Longhi includes embedded heating elements, which prevent hotspots for a more even cooking process. There's also an integrated drip tray for healthier grilling.
The grill features separate temperature controls for the lid and base plate so you can customize your cooking or multitask since the grill fully opens up to double your cooking space. Its extras fulfill all kinds of cooking desires—from the dishwasher-safe griddle, waffle, and grill plates to a broiler function that allows the lid to float for gorgeously melted cheese atop your burgers.
Best Mini Grill: Dash Mini Maker Electric Round Griddle
Dimensions (LxWxH): 5 x 6.4 x 2.8 inches | Cooking Area: 4-inch diameter | Weight: 1.6 pounds
If counter space comes at a premium, Dash's mini and mighty grill might be your best grilling answer. Make a single serving (think a burger or a veggie burger) in just a few minutes—there’s not space to cook up too much more than that. The nonstick surface means the plates are easy to wipe down when you're done.
The biggest downside is that there isn’t anywhere for the oil to drain into, so if you have an oily burger, the clean-up might be a bit of a mess. Backed by a 1-year manufacturer warranty, the 350-watt Dash Mini Grill is also perfect for grilling up breakfast sandwiches, paninis, and hash browns.
Best Panini Press: Cuisinart GR-5B Electric Griddler Five
Dimensions (LxWxH): 13.25 x 12.5 x 8 inches | Cooking Area: 99 square inches | Weight: 9.4 pounds
What’s better than a perfectly crispy-on-the-outside, melty-on-the-inside panini? The Cuisinart Griddler Five can deliver just that in addition to exquisite burgers.
Named for its five (!!) functions, this sleek machine is a panini press, contact grill, full grill, full griddle, and half grill/half griddle. Flip the reversible grill plates to cook chicken, veggies, and quesadillas, or make a panini— the height adjusts to accommodate various thicknesses of bread. Its LCD display shows function, temperature, and timer, while the removable and reversible dishwasher-safe nonstick cooking plates mean easy storage.
The Hamilton Beach Searing Grill (view at Amazon) will completely satisfy your grilling craving whatever it is you want to cook up, while still being affordable. Though if you want to replicate your outdoor grill inside, you should pick up the Zojirushi Indoor Electric Grill (view at Amazon).
What to Look for in an Indoor Grill
When it comes to cooking surface, bigger isn’t necessarily better. An 80-square-inch grill is great fit for a single person or a couple, while a 100-square-inch can easily grill enough food for families of three to five. Need more? Get ready to grill up a few batches (or move the party outside, as you’re unlikely to find an indoor grill larger than 150-square-inches.)
Higher wattage means two things: your food will cook faster and you will pay more. If you want to cook more food faster, it’s worth investing in a higher watt grill.
If your kitchen doesn't have the best ventilation, a grill with a built-in filter will cut the smoke levels way down (despite the name, even these smokeless grills produce some smoke). Removable grill plates are also a great feature—they make cleaning up many times easier—especially if they're dishwasher safe. If not, you’ll have to carefully wipe the whole thing down with a damp cloth.
Why Trust Simply Recipes?
Hannah Howard has been writing about food and cooking for over a decade, including the memoirs “Feast” and “Plenty.” She feeds her little family, including a grilled-cheese-loving toddler, a lot of paninis, grilled veggies, and a burger.
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