Electric grills are used indoors as an alternative to outdoor grilling. They produce results similar to those of traditional grills, but use electricity rather than charcoal or gas as a heat source. There are two types of electric grills: the open grill, which looks like an outdoor grill and has a single grate for the food, and the contact grill, which presses the food between two heated plates. Electric grills don’t give food quite the same flavor as outdoor grilling, but their even heat distribution and ease of use produce good results.

Things You'll Need

Using an Open Grill

Set up the open grill on a flat, level countertop that has been cleared of all clutter. Open grills get very hot and can be a fire hazard.

Spritz the grate lightly with cooking spray if it isn’t nonstick.

Preheat the open grill. Some open grills have an on/off setting, while others allow you to select the appropriate temperature. If you aren’t sure what to set the temperature to, try 400 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s the temperature most traditional charcoal grills reach when heated and the one to which most simple indoor grills automatically heat.

Place the food on the preheated grill using tongs. Allow the food to cook halfway, then flip once. Flipping the food only once will give it even grill lines.

Use a digital thermometer to test the internal temperature of meat cooked on the open grill before removing it from the heat.

Unplug the grill and allow it to cool completely. Remove the grate and drip pans, and wash everything in hot water with mild dish soap and a sponge. Wipe down the grill with a damp sponge.

Using a Contact Grill

Set up the contact grill on a clean, level countertop. Wipe down the grill plates with a damp sponge. Place the drip pan below the lip of the lower plate.

Plug in the contact grill and close the plates. Allow it to preheat until the ready light comes on. On most contact grills, the light located on top of the machine will turn off or change color when the grill is preheated.

Open the grill, and place the food in the center of the lower plate. Close the contact grill. Clamp shut the lock on the handle.

Allow the food to grill undisturbed until it is cooked all the way through. Times vary according to the type of food. Foods that are precooked or don’t require much cooking, such as hot dogs and vegetables, may take only a few minutes, while cuts of meat could take up to 20 minutes. Be sure to stay by the grill while the food is cooking to avoiding burning the food, and to test the internal temperature of meat with a digital thermometer.

Open the contact grill, and use tongs to remove the food. Unplug the contact grill and allow it to cool with the plates open. Wipe down the cooled grill with a wet sponge and allow it to air dry.