Pros: heats up fast; non-stick plates; even heating; quick cooking; stay-cool handle
Cons: plates are not removable; outer exposed lip gets very hot, can burn
Several years ago, my husband's grandmother bought me a quesadilla maker for my birthday. While I liked the idea of it, I wasn't sure just how often I'd really use it. Now, I'm realizing that it's become a very handy tool and I now love my Oster quesadilla maker.
What it is
The Oster quesadilla maker is a small white appliance with two plates that heat up in order to cook your food from both sides. Similar in concept to a George Foreman indoor grill, but the plates are smooth.
Each non-stick plate is round and has a little lip around the entire edge. The handle in the front is large so you can easily open the unit. The handle stays plenty cool so you don't risk burning yourself when opening it properly.
There is no power button on this unit. Once you plug it in, it's on. The indicator light turns off when it's heated, thus indicating it's not currently drawing power. That's also the safest time to unplug it, when that light is out.
There is no temperature setting on the Oster quesadilla maker, it's either on or off. But, it does seem to get pretty hot, as foods don't take long to cook up.
When opened up, the inside plates between the lip has a diameter of just under 7 inches. This is perfect size for small tortillas. The edge lip helps keep any spilled foods from cooking over and onto the sides of the unit.
My Uses and Experience
I use my Oster quesadilla maker for quesadillas in which anything goes. Just be sure your meats are pre-cooked, as the maker won't cook the meat safely before the rest gets burned. I use all raw veggies when I make my quesadillas, and they begin to cook up quickly. Mushrooms are always done to perfection, green peppers keep their crisp and tomato slices become warm and softened. A loaded quesadilla only takes a minute or so. Once I take it off, the plates are still hot and ready for the next one, so there's no delay.
My other main use for the Oster quesadilla maker is for salmon patties. It's the best device for making homemade salmon patties. I just form the mixture into balls and place one ball at a time in the center of the plate. You can use the lid to press it flat. Since it cooks from both sides at one time, each salmon patty only takes a minute or so. They come out thoroughly hot and cooked to perfection, and never stick to the plates upon removal.
I tried once making a grilled cheese inside, but it didn't work very well. The back hinge isn't adjustable, so with thick items, the front of the lid remains higher than the back, delivering uneven heating. Plus, it heats the bread too fast so it burns before the cheese is even nearing melted. I tried putting the sandwich on and then turning on the unit, allowing the heating up process to heat the sandwich slower, but it still didn't work as well as just making the grilled cheese stove-top.
I would imagine you could cook numerous things on the Oster quesadilla maker because of the non-stick plates. I never use oil on them, and nothing has ever stuck. When cheese from the quesadilla melts out onto the plates, it literally brushes right off once it cools just a bit.
I made salmon patties once and part of the egg wasn't totally mixed in. It spilled out of the side of one patty and cooked on the surface. It didn't stick at all, and leads me to believe you could fry and egg on the quesadilla maker with ease.
If you cook something fatty or with liquids which drain off, there's nowhere for them to go, so keep that in mind.
The exposed lip around the edge does pose a little hazard if you aren't careful. They get just as hot as the inside, so even a little brush over it with a finger causes a burn. I did this once, reaching behind it to unplug it, and my hand touched part of that lip. Wow, did that hurt, and left a nice little blister! So be careful about that, and don't allow children to use it unsupervised.
This is where the Oster quesadilla maker loses a little. While the non-stick plates make clean-up a breeze, you can't remove the plates or submerge them in water. So you must wipe them but be sure to remove any soap or cleaners you use. Especially when I make salmon patties, I want to clean it afterwards to prevent bacteria. I just have to be careful while rinsing to not soak underneath the heating plates.
You want to make sure it's entirely dry before plugging in, so don't clean it just before using unless you clean without any water.
If you do leave any soaps or cleaning agents on it and you plug it in, you'll smell them burning off. The first thing you cook on it after can have an essence of that odor as well, so you may want to just toast a piece of stale bread or something first to absorb the residue and odors.
The Oster quesadilla maker is such an awesome little appliance. It heats up fast (a couple of minutes) and provides even heating the entire time. I've used it dozens and dozens of times in the last several years I've had it, and it's not let me down.
The stellar non-stick plates make cooking on it easy, without a need to grease it up. I can see where food has burnt on but it doesn't affect performance.
An Oster quesadilla maker makes a great gift for about anyone who cooks now and then. It doesn't take up much room, either, so even those with small kitchens can appreciate it.