by Christopher Jones
Looking to buy yourself a cooking griddle but not quite sure how to go about it? Look no further, we got you covered! This is your one-time information depot for everything griddle-related.
Cooking utensils and kitchen appliances generally have their specific use. A kettle is only used for boiling water. A frying pan, as the name implies, is for preparing food that requires frying. A rice cooker only cooks rice but cooks it at a speed that is faster than what a gas or electric stove would achieve. Now you get the trend right?
Well, the same can't be said of griddles. They are one of the most versatile kitchen appliances you can buy. You can use them to cook indoors using your stove or in the oven, and you can also use them on a grill outdoors!
Asides from being so versatile, they are also durable and can handle rigorous use. Of course, how well they do also depends on the build quality and maintenance you subject them to.
Cast Iron Griddles are just a step above your normal griddle or pan. They are made using heavy-duty iron alloy which not only withstands heavy usage but can also withstand intense heat for a prolonged period.
Because of their impressive versatility, it is not so hard to see that there are tons of them available on the market. The good thing about this is you have a wide range of brands or manufacturers to choose from. The downside is that there are just so many griddles on the market you can't be sure you are getting the best value for your money. What with so many manufactures marketing their griddles with features that do not really matter when it comes to longevity and functionality?
Well, we've all been there. In this detailed guide, we would show you our recommended top picks of the best and most functional cast iron griddle available today. We would highlight their top features as well as discuss important things to know about them; including their major drawbacks.
Without wasting much of your time, here are our recommended top picks.
NOTE: None of these products have any direct advantage over the other. So do not attach any special meaning to the numbering positions each product has.
These lists were compiled based on the durability, coating type, brand authenticity, and heat absorption capacity of the griddle.
Let's get started.
One of the cheapest cast iron griddles on the list, the Lodge Black pre-seasoned pan is ready to use out of the nylon cooking utensil.
Made in the United States of America, the pan comes pre-seasoned from the foundry. And especially being a product of the renowned Lodge Brand, there is nothing to worry about when it comes to this griddle. The brand has time and time again delivered jaw-dropping quality products at insanely low prices.
It measures about 10.5 inches which give it a pretty large cooking area. It does not have any intrusive sidewalls so you don't have to worry about not seeing the base of whatever you are cooking while you are cooking it.
The brand markets the griddle as being suitable for all types of cooking surfaces. In other words, you can supposedly use the griddle on grills, campfires as well as in the oven apart from the traditional gas or electric stove you use in your home.
Despite how cheap it is, it comes with optimal heat absorption and retention capacity. One of the best on this list if we might add. So not only does will it quickly heat up, but you can also count on it to remain hot minutes after turning off the fire. This is why you can use it on a stove, grill, and any other cooking surface you might have access to.
Why you should buy it?
While some griddles come with claims that they can work on multiple cooking surfaces, not all are truly shaped as they would.
The Calphalon grill griddle comes with both the claim and the shape. It is pre-seasoned and rectangular which identifies it as a grill griddle. It however sturdy enough for use on a gas stove thanks to its even heat absorption capability.
Even better? It can also work in an oven even though the manufactures did not market it as a griddle for the oven. Its heat retention capacity and sturdy build mean it can withstand the intense heat that an oven can generate.
It comes with two oval hole-shaped handles on its opposite short sides which is very useful if you are using the griddle on a gas stove. It also makes using the griddle safe and hassle-free.
Why you should buy it?
Yet another entry from the Lodge Brand! However, this is not so surprising since the quality keeps setting new standards when it comes to cooking utensils.
This cast iron 20 x 10.5-inch griddle is usable as both a grill as well as a griddle. it is of course slightly expensive than the first entry we have from the Lodge brand but well worth the extra dollars.
It has a large cooking surface and the manufacturers claim it would work just fine on any type of cooking surface you subject it to.
It also comes with an oven-safe tag so you can use it in one. in addition, you can use it on an electric coil cooker and other cooktop appliances.
NOTE: The product image on the linked store to purchase it from might look like you are getting two trays for the price of one. Please note that the image is only an edited image of the griddle's front and back. It is essentially one tray.
Why should you buy it?
Another impressive entry is this lightly pre-seasoned pan from the Brand: LEGEND CAST IRON. While they are one of the most famous brands in terms of brand visibility, there is still so much to love about this 2-in-1 pan without considering the brand's name.
First off, it has a cooking area of about 20 inches which means it can hold a family-size meal quite easily. This griddle is extremely durable and versatile thanks to it being cast from pure steel and iron (premium grade metal).
It has a heat distribution testament to its solid, pure metal make. It has two sides - one side features a flat griddle while the opposite side is shaped like a grill.
It features thin but firm handles for easy gripping and handling, especially when using it as a grill or on a campfire. Since they are seasoned from the factory using 100% vegetable oil, you can decide whether or not to add an extra layer of seasoning whenever you decide to use the pan.
Asides from being a perfect addition to your kitchen, it comes in premium boxed packaging on purchase. This makes it a nice gift idea if you have someone that has a deep-seated penchant for cooking.
Why should you buy it?
Here are a few things to keep in mind before buying this griddle/grill tray:
- Amazon Basics is owned by Amazon, which means you can be sure of the quality, even if the product does cost more than it should.
- You could get free shipping on the product if your purchase this product using an Amazon store card
AmazonBasics, though a new branch of Amazon, is gradually making waves in its own right. They have produced a rich list of useful, durable, and quality tools and kitchen appliances that we could not but review their very own griddle.
One of the things you should note about this griddle is that it also has a reversible side. This reversible side lets you convert the tray to a grill. Hence, you save some money instead of buying a griddle as well as a separate grilling pan.
It has a decent cooking area and comes with leaned edges so that the food you are cooking does not fall off.
The brand claims that the tray can withstand up to about 500 degrees Fahrenheit of heat. This just goes to show how impressive its heat retention capacity is. So not only can you cook with it, it has even heating capacity so you can use it as a grill without any compromise in cooking speed or quality.
Why you should buy it?
- Can withstand about 500 degrees Fahrenheit of heat in an Oven
- Comes with sturdy, yet comfortable handles as well as leaned edges for safe and secure handling and cooking as the case may be
- Even heat absorption
- It is a product of Amazon, what can go wrong?
Let's be honest, a list of the best and most functional griddles won't be complete without a griddle made specifically for camping!
Based on physical appearance, you will already tell that this griddle was made for outdoor use. However, it is versatile enough that you can convert it to an indoor griddle too.
It has a smooth surface that is pre-seasoned with 100% natural oil which means you can expect easy cooking while camping outdoor. It has enhanced heat retention so your food will be warm even if you take a quick hike out of your camp.
Lastly, it comes with two top handles that make it easy to carry the pan around. The handles are elevated so you don't have to worry about any ache or burn.
Why should you buy it?
- Elevated handles for easy grip
- Enhanced heat retention for use as a camping utensil
- Can work as an indoor cooking griddle too
What better way to round off the list than with another pre-seasoned griddle from the ever-reliable Lodge brand.
If you are in the market for a 2-in-1 tray with large enough cooking space, then the Lodge 16.75 inches is your best bet.
It is a bit bigger than the two griddles we reviewed earlier but works without any hassle. it is foundry seasoned with natural oil so anything you cook on it won't get stuck. It has a grill on its reverse side so you don't have to spend extra money on a dedicated grilling pan.
It is large enough for you to place it over two (2) gas stovetops.
NOTE: it does come with a dual handle system but it is not exactly comfortable. However, it makes up for that in size.
Why should you buy it?
- Large cooking space
- A product of one of the best American cookware brands
- Unparalleled heat retention capacity
- Comes pre-seasoned with natural oil
As confident as we are in our top picks recommended above, we understand you might have several reservations about it. This is Understandable, it is only human if we do say so ourselves.
To help you make informed buying decisions, we have decided to include a buying guide in this post. And although this significantly increases the word count of the post, this article won't be complete without this section.
That said, with the information provided in this section, you can then decide which of our top picks suits you best. You can even decide to find other cast iron griddles up for sale yourself. Regardless of the buying decision, you end up making, here are the important things to consider when buying a cooking griddle.
Griddles come in two types.
The only drawback with them is that their shape prevents them from being suitable for use in ovens and microwaves.
Occasionally, you can always find cast iron griddles that work for can work on both cooking stoves (gas or otherwise) as well as ovens and microwaves. However, they are usually expensive and not often worth the hassle.
This is another important thing to consider.
Enameled griddles come with a special type of coating that makes it impossible for food or any ingredients being prepared or cooked in the pan to get stuck on the surface. In other words, it makes cooking and dishwashing relatively easy since you don't have to worry about the sauce you prepared getting stuck on the pan surface.
Enameled pans are also washable in a dishwasher should you happen to have one. The biggest drawback with this type of cast iron pan is that it can crack. However, this depends on your use and how well you handle and maintain it. But if you are looking for cooking ware that lets you cook without having to worry about seasoning oil then enameled cast iron griddles are the way to go.
Uncoated Cast Iron Griddles though do not have any enamel coating. To prevent any food you are preparing from getting stuck, you need to add enough seasoning oil.
NOTE: Some uncoated pans are sometimes pre-seasoned from the factory but even that is not always enough. Besides that, not all uncoated pans are pre-seasoned.
Asides from that big drawback, you should also note that you can't just cook any type of meal using the uncoated cast iron griddle. For instance, acidic food cooked on an uncoated griddle will taste more like iron. This is because any area of the pan that the seasoning oil is absent will automatically mix the metallic taste with the food.
This is quite similar to the first point discussed above that you need to consider. There is but a small difference between the functionality of cast iron griddles and their usage.
By default, any cast iron griddle that is only appropriate for use on gas and stove cookers would be able to withstand an insane amount of heat for a prolonged amount of time. However, this does not necessarily mean that they will heat up quickly. Instead, all sides of the griddle, both the one touching the fire of the cooker or stove and the part not touching the fire will heat up evenly. The implication is that you can use them to cook any type of food efficiently provided the recipe requires the use of a griddle of course.
On the other hand, griddles used in ovens and microwaves while they also heat up quickly, cannot stand prolonged heating. Hence, if you try to use one on a gas or electric cooker, the food almost instantly gets burnt at the areas the griddle directly touches the fire of the cooker or stove.
How thick a cast iron griddle is depended on persona preference. However, the traditional reason why a lot of people opt for griddles and pans is that they have good heat retention capacity which ensures heat is evenly distributed. But there is a downside to them of course. The extra thickness means there is more weight to consider when handling them.
By considering the weight, you can always decide how heavy you want your griddle to be. it is important to note that light cast iron griddles tend to have uneven heat distribution but this should not be a problem only if you are buying a griddle for your oven or microwave.
As funny and unimportant as this might sound, you will be surprised at how crucial having a strong handle on your pan is. Depending on the shape of your pan, that is whether it is circular with a straight protruding handle or shaped like a rectangle with circular holes on the edges for the handle, you can check how strong the handle will be.
NOTE: One base rule to use when buying one, especially if you are picking one up at your local store is that the heavier the griddle, the stronger its handle has to be. A light handle on a thick griddle is a kitchen disaster waiting to happen. Why? Because not only is there a higher chance of the griddle sliding and slipping because the weight is not even, it can also break. And as you can probably already imagine, that can quickly result in burns should the food fall on any part of your exposed body or feet.
Cooking surface and overall size
These two work hand in hand. The overall size of a cooking griddle generally also determines its cooking surface. And if there is one thing to note, it is that having a wide cooking area on your griddle or pan can never hurt. Besides, you are spending a ton of money on your griddle, it is only right to purchase one with enough cooking surface to prepare a meal for your family as a whole.
The only drawback here is that the bigger the overall size, the more awkward it can be to store it. However, this is easily avoidable. All you have to do is consider your kitchen, the size of meal you want to prepare now and, in the future, using the griddle and you should be good to go.
Yes, you need to consider some important things before buying a cast iron griddle as you can't just buy any. However, they would only help you choose the perfect griddle for you. There is still a ways to go to truly enjoy the griddle.
As a result of this, we would discuss some important ways you can make your griddle not only last long but also remain in excellent shape throughout its lifespan. This section would contain a small guide on how to effectively clean your griddle to make it last longer. It would also contain some tips on how to maintain your cast iron griddle, especially the enameled ones that are very prone to cracking after continuous use or due to improper handling.
Without further ado, let's get down to it:
To be honest, we can all wash and clean every utensil and ware we use in the kitchen. However, some are quite delicate and need to be treated with care. Of course, the griddles are not so delicate especially when you consider how thick and heavy they come.
Instead, we are talking about how to clean them so they don't quickly develop faults like the enamel coating breaking or cracking in several areas for instance. That said, the following tip will help you on your way to improving the durability and lifespan of your iron griddle:
With the above cleaning tips, one would think that is all there is to know about cast iron griddles right?
Well, there's more!
We've got some tips that can help you maintain your pan better than you might think!
So, there you have it. Now you know everything there is to keep in mind about a cast iron griddle. Before we round up this post, we would also like to answer some of the questions you might still be having especially after reading the tips we discussed above.
You can cook any type of food in your griddle except acidic food such as food that requires lots of tomatoes, etc.
Essentially, when you cook such food in your pan, you should ensure you wash the griddle immediately. However, to be on the safer side, do not cook acidic food in one.
The reason is quite simple really. Acidic food messes up the cooking surface of the pan and causes it to break.
When this happens, it gives the raw metal of the griddle the space it needs to mix with the food you are cooking. As a result, you end up finding out that the food has a metallic taste to it.
Yes and No - this mostly depends on the type of cast iron pan you buy. However, for the most part, you can't ever go wrong by adding seasoning oil to your pan. Why? Because you would not have to worry about food getting stuck on the pan.
That said, yes, you require seasoning oil if you have an uncoated cast iron griddle. Griddles that have an enamel coating on the other hand do not require you to add seasoning every time you want to cook. But adding some does not hurt and It will only improve your cooking experience by making it hassle-free.
Well, the answer is simple. Failure to do that increases the probability of food getting stuck on the cooking surface of your griddle. While this might not seem like a problem while cooking or dishing the food, it quickly becomes one when you want to wash it.
NOTE: If for whatever reason you happen to have food stuck on the cooking area of your griddle, do not soak it underwater. Instead, you a scrubber on it immediately you are done cooking until it is sparkling clean.
The straight answer is no!
Please note that doing this would not immediately ruin your griddle and you might get away with it once or twice. However, continuously submerging your pan underwater would only cause rust to set it.
Rust is bad for both coated and uncoated griddles. For instance, in a coated griddle (i.e. enameled one), rust causes the coating to break which then leads to the metallic taste of food cooked in such griddle.
This is not necessarily a bad thing. Yes, you can wash your griddle with cold water. There we said it!
The important thing to note with washing your pans with cold water is that regularly doing so can affect the pan. This is because metals shrink whenever they are placed in a cold environment. So if you wash your griddle in cold water over and over again, you force it to shrink and expand every few days that you use it and wash it.
In the long run, this can easily lead to the griddle developing micro holes which can lead to leaking over time.
NOTE: This holds for all griddles regardless of how expensive it costs.
For staying with us throughout the long review and detailed buying guide, we really must say hats off to you. We are confident you have had all the important information you need about buying a cast iron griddle.
Yes, a griddle is one of the basic essential pieces of equipment in a commercial kitchen. Yes, they are essentially flat metal plates that you can use when preparing a variety of recipes. However, the one thing you need to remember is that buying one isn't a walk in the park. As basic as they look, each comes with its unique pros and cons. Some are only useful if you are using an electric cooker while some can work on both electric and natural gas cookers.
Remember to choose the griddle that works for what you have in mind and not just one that is cheap or meets your budget!
About Christopher Jones
Chris is an avid traveler and a gastronome.
He used to live for years in Europe and has far reached to many humble corners of Asia.
While at it, he never stopped seeking for the local cuisine to try some.
His favorite motto is "how can one live well, travel well, and work well without having good food every time?"
Chris received his MBA at University of San Francisco at the age of 24.