The 4 Best Griddle PansPublished on 03/29/2023 · 7 min readA griddle pan is an incredibly versatile piece of cookware! Kitchen Expert Jacob Lewis details how to choose a griddle pan and the top 4 griddle pans out there!
Cast iron grill pans are the best because they keep your food warm while you eat it. Just remember to bring the hot pads! Photo by Jacob Lewis
What even is a griddle, what are they made of, and which brands are worth paying attention to? This is a guide to grill pans and griddles that helps you understand and see for yourself if the world’s funniest named pan is worth owning.
Grill and griddle pans are an essential cookware item for anyone who enjoys cooking up a variety of dishes on their stovetop or in their oven. Whether you’re in the mood for pancakes, bacon, eggs, vegetables, burgers, chicken, steak, or even pizza, these pans can handle it all. In this article, we’ll explore what makes a griddle pan different from a frying pan, the advantages and disadvantages of using a griddle, and the best griddle pans on the market.
How is a griddle pan different from a frying pan?
While both griddle pans and frying pans are used for cooking on the stovetop or in the oven, there are some key differences between the two. Griddle pans have a flat, wide cooking surface and some have ridges in the cooking surface and some are smooth. Frying pans have taller, sloped walls and a smaller cooking surface area. Ridged griddle pans are designed to cook food evenly and quickly, while allowing excess fats to drip away into the ridges. Some griddle pans are rectangular and are made for using two burners at once, making them great for parties where large amounts of food are being prepared. Frying pans are better suited for cooking foods that require more stirring, or tossing, such as stir-fries or sautéed vegetables.
Advantages of using a griddle pan
One of the main advantages of using a griddle pan is its low-sides that make it really easy to get a spatula under your food to flip it. You can cook a wide variety of foods on a griddle, from pancakes and bacon to vegetables and burgers. Griddle pans are also great for cooking foods that tend to stick to other types of pans, thanks to their nonstick surface or cast iron construction. Like most modern cookware, griddle pans are designed to distribute heat evenly across their surface, ensuring that your food cooks evenly without any hot spots. Finally, griddle pans are typically easy to clean and sit nicely at the bottom of your other stacked cookware.
Disadvantages of using a griddle pan
One disadvantage of using a griddle pan can be its size. Especially if they’re for two burners, griddle pans can take up a lot of storage space. Additionally, some griddle pans are not compatible with certain stovetops, such as induction burners (however any cast iron griddle will work great on induction). Nonstick griddle pans with ridges may also scratch easier, making them less durable than other types of cookware. Finally, some griddle pans may require hand-washing because they’re too large to fit in the dishwasher, or special care to maintain their nonstick coating or prevent rust if made from cast iron.
Questions to ask yourself when looking for a griddle pan:
What types of dishes do you primarily plan to cook on the griddle pan, and do they require simultaneous cooking of multiple ingredients or different cooking temperatures?
Wondering whether a one or two burner griddle pan would be more suitable for your needs? If you often cook dishes that require multiple ingredients to be cooked at the same time or at different temperatures, a two burner griddle pan would be beneficial.
How important are aesthetics and presentation in the dishes you prepare, and do you often cook foods that benefit from grill marks?
If the visual appeal of grill marks is important for your dishes, or you frequently cook foods like steaks, vegetables, or sandwiches where grill marks add to the texture and presentation, a ridged griddle pan would be ideal. Otherwise, a smooth surface might be more versatile.
How much do you value a versatile cooking surface, and do you often cook foods that require a smooth, even heat distribution?
If you need a versatile surface for cooking a wide range of foods, such as pancakes, eggs, or crepes, and you require even heat distribution for optimal cooking results, a smooth griddle pan might be the better choice.
The 4 best griddle pans on the market
There are many high-quality griddle pans on the market, ranging from premium options to more affordable models. The Lodge Cast Iron Reversible Grill/Griddle Pan is a heavy-duty option that can be used on the stovetop or in the oven, and is perfect for cooking steak, burgers, veggies, and more. However, for single-burner and nonstick options, here is a list of some great choices:
The Le Creuset square skillet grill is perfect for anyone who wants color in the kitchen. With its unique square shape and ridged interior, it can be used for grilling, searing, or baking. The durable enameled cast iron material ensures even heating and retention, while the colorful exterior adds a pop of style to any kitchen. However, there are a few downsides to consider. The pan is quite heavy, which can make it difficult to maneuver and clean. Additionally, the ridged interior can be difficult to clean thoroughly and limits the pan’s versatility. Finally, the high price point may not be suitable for everyone's budget.
The All-Clad HA1 Hard Anodized Nonstick Cookware Square Griddle is an excellent choice for anyone in need of a durable nonstick grill pan. Its hard-anodized construction makes it highly resistant to warping, while the nonstick coating is far tougher than your standard nonstick, reducing its susceptibility scratches and other forms of wear and tear, ensuring longevity. This pan uses Teflon, which is a PFOA-free nonstick coating, but is PTFE-based, and for some that’s a deal-breaker. Most nonsticks are made with PTFE products and if you’d like to learn more about that and how safe it is, I wrote an article all about it. The pan's stainless steel handle stays cool on the stovetop, while its flat base ensures everything gets cooked equally. The added feature of oven safety up to 500°F makes this one of the most versatile griddles in the list. However, the pan is not compatible with induction cooktops, and the nonstick coating may wear off over time, requiring replacement.
The GreenPan Valencia Pro Ceramic Non-Stick Griddle is perfect for anyone who wants a safer, ceramic nonstick pan for their cooking needs. This griddle features a ceramic non-stick coating that is free of PTFE, PFAS, PFOA, lead, and cadmium, making it a safer and healthier option for cooking. It also has a hard anodized aluminum construction that ensures even heat distribution and durability. Additionally, the griddle has stainless steel handles that are comfortable to hold and oven safe up to 600°F. However, there is one big downside to this pan: the non-stick coating for ceramics, although very durable when cared for, does require a lot of particular care to avoid chipping and pitting. As a result, most owners may discover the nonstick coating does not work like it used to after a relatively short period of time. If you want to own a pan like this, it’s worth reaching out to one of our Experts who can tell you how to properly care for it.
The Cuisinart Chef's Classic Non-Stick Hard Anodized Griddle is perfect for anyone who wants an affordable option for cooking pancakes, eggs, and bacon. With a hard-anodized construction, this griddle provides even heating and is durable enough to withstand everyday use without breaking the bank. The downside of this pan is that it just doesn’t feel as premium as the other options. Despite it being hard-anodized, it is a relatively thin construction that leaves me wondering how long before it begins to warp. With that, the nonstick coating needs to be cared for with the highest level of attention if you want this pan to last. Check out the bottom section of my guide to nonstick pans to learn some tips on how to make sure your nonsticks last as long as possible.
A square griddle pan is a fun accessory that can make cooking a breeze, but it’s probably not the most essential. What you can accomplish with a griddle, is often possible with a regular fry pan of the same size. But nothing beats a double-burner cast-iron griddle, and if you make a decision on one, it will stay with you for life. So, whether you’re looking for a nonstick pan, a cast iron pan, or a heavy-duty option, there is a griddle pan out there for everyone. If you’d like some help finding yours, please feel invited to reach out to one of our Kitchen Experts for more advice and a sweet list of recommendations!