Theres no better way to do your griddle buying homework that kicking it off with our Guide to Griddles!
Griddles are a great addition to your cooking appliances. Whether you want an outdoor or indoor griddle, you have a broad range of options for cooking food on a flat surface.
The following guide explains the different types of griddles and the main features to consider when comparing griddles.
Learn more about electric griddles, gas griddles, and griddle plates, along with the pros and cons of each option.
- What Is a Griddle?
- Main Types of Griddles
- Flat-Top Grill Versus Griddle – What’s the Difference?
- Gas Griddles
- Electric Griddles
- Panini Griddles
- Griddle Plates
- Stovetop Griddles
- Griddle Combos
- Main Considerations When Choosing a Griddle
- Heat Sources for Griddles
- Temperature Control
- Indoor/Outdoor Use
- Cooking Area
- Cooking Zones
- Griddle Materials
- Griddle Accessories
What Is a Griddle?
No guide to griddles is complete without explaining what a griddle actually is.
Griddles are cooking devices with flat surfaces. The oldest griddles were slabs of rock or brick placed over a hot fire.
Modern griddles rely on electricity, gas, coal, wood, or a stovetop to heat a metal surface.
Griddles are often used to cook breakfast foods, such as eggs, pancakes, bacon, and hash browns.
However, a griddle is suitable for cooking just about anything that you can cook in a frying pan.
Some of the advantages of using a griddle to cook include:
- The flat surface makes it easier to flip food
- The open cooking area does not trap moisture
- The cooking surface is typically heated evenly
Griddles allow you to easily flip food, as the large flat surface offers more room for inserting a spatula. The large, open cooking area also keeps moisture from getting trapped.
Allowing moisture to escape helps you cook crispy foods, such as bacon and hashbrowns.
Compared to a frying pan or grill, they also typically provide a more even cooking surface.
Electric and gas have heating elements underneath that heat the entire surface, which eliminates cold spots.
Main Types of Griddles
Griddles come in a wide range of styles and sizes. Each option has separate advantages and disadvantages.
- Gas griddles
- Electric griddles
- Panini griddles
- Griddle plates
- Stovetop griddles
- Griddle combos
Here is a closer look at each type of griddle.
Flat-Top Grill Versus Griddle – What’s the Difference?
Flat-top grills are often called griddles and vice versa, as both options share several features. A flat-top grill is essentially a grill with a flat top instead of a plate with ridges.
The flat-top surface is typically made from stainless steel. Circular heating elements transfer heat to the stainless-steel cooking surface.
The heating elements may receive power from gas, electricity, wood, and even charcoal.
Depending on the size of the flat-top grill, it may have one to eight heating elements with each heating element acting as a separate burner.
You can turn up the heat on one burner to increase the temperature under one area of the cooking surface.
Yet, a flat-top grill may still be called a “griddle,” as it has a griddle-like surface instead of a grill.
Griddles are traditionally cooking plates with a flat surface. However, instead of a sheet of stainless steel, the griddle is often made from one of the following materials:
- Cast iron
- Carbon steel
- Chrome steel
The most basic griddle is a flat rectangular tray with a lip around the edges to keep grease from leaking. It sits on top of one or two burners on a stovetop instead of having its own heat source.
Residential electric griddles include a separate heating element that runs side to side instead of in a circular pattern. They are often compact and easy to store.
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Most gas griddles are also flat-top grills. They often include multiple burners with circular heating elements instead of a single H-shaped heating element.
A gas version is powered by natural gas or propane. Natural gas is used for permanent installation in outdoor areas.
Most of the consumer gas griddles rely on propane unless its a tabletop/portable version like the Blackstone Adventure 17.
Natural gas and propane-powered griddles need to be used outdoors, as the vapors from the gas can lead to severe health risks and safety issues. In many areas, it is illegal to use gas grills and griddles indoors.
Large gas griddles tend to resemble outdoor grills. They include a gas hookup on the side and knobs for adjusting the temperature of the heating elements.
You can choose from gas griddles with tabletop designs and griddles that come with carts.
Tabletop gas griddles are made to rest on a table. They are compact and easy to transport, making them perfect for camping and picnics.
An outdoor griddle with a cart or stand eliminates the need for a table or flat surface to place the griddle. Many carts also include shelving.
You can find options with side shelves, lower shelves, and cabinets for storing food, utensils, and accessories.
Ever wanted to know how hot a Blackstone Griddle gets? I tested 3 versions including the Blackstone Electric Griddle with video results, the final numbers are surprising!
What Is the Best Gas Griddle?
The Blackstone 36-Inch Cooking Station is one of the best gas griddles available. It is a large propane griddle with four separate burners and a rolling cart.
The cart includes four wheels with locking mechanisms, allowing you to easily roll the griddle into position and keep it in place.
It also includes two side shelves and a lower shelf. One of the side shelves features a removable cutting board and a trash bag holder.
Yet, the best feature is the griddle itself. It has a cooking area of 720 square inches, which is enough space for up to 28 hamburgers.
It is heated with four separate heating elements with independent heat control. Few other options offer the same amount of cooking space.
An electric griddle has a built-in heating element that is powered with electricity. Many household griddles are compact electric griddles.
The frame of the griddle is often made from stainless steel or aluminum.
Most electric griddles include a nonstick surface on top of cast iron, aluminum, or steel.
These griddles are often rectangular and sit on the kitchen counter. You plug in the griddle and turn it on to start heating the surface.
Electric griddles are equipped with a single heating element that runs side to side or in an H-shape.
Depending on the model, you may be able to adjust the temperature with a knob or choose from preset temperature settings.
As electric griddles require electricity, they are not a common choice for camping and outdoor adventures. These griddles are best suited for use in your kitchen.
What Is the Best Electric Griddle?
The Presto 22-Inch Electric Griddle is one of the most convenient electric griddles for your kitchen. It includes a 22-inch aluminum tray with a nonstick coating and 231 square inches of cooking space.
The griddle has a temperature control knob with a maximum temperature of 400 degrees Fahrenheit. The heat control knob and the handles are removable for easy storage and cleaning. After removing the handles and heat control, you can fully immerse the griddle in water.
The Presto griddle also has a small drip tray for collecting grease while cooking. The drip tray is a nice feature for those who are concerned about grease, as most griddles do not include this option.
Along with standard electric griddles, you can find electric griddles designed for cooking specific dishes. For example, the panini griddle is a type of electric griddle with two flat plates.
The upper plate presses down on the sandwich, allowing you to heat both sides at the same time.
Panini griddles may come with different plates, such as grill plates or waffle plates. The removable plates are typically dishwasher safe and covered in a nonstick coating.
What Is the Best Panini Griddle?
The Cuisinart GR-11 Griddler 3-in-1 is a panini press, griddle, and grill in one. It is powered by electricity and takes up minimal counter space. It measures just 12.8 x 10.9 x 6 inches and weighs a little over five pounds.
The Griddler includes a lid with a second griddle plate, allowing you to press sandwiches and paninis. The griddle plates are removable, as the appliance also comes with grill plates. You can switch out the griddle plates for grill plates to grill hamburgers or hotdogs.
Instead of temperature control, the Cuisinart GR-11 includes a preset temperature. You simply turn the device on and wait for it to heat. An indicator light turns on to let you know when the food is likely cooked.
Griddle plates do not have a dedicated heat source. The plates are essentially flat frying pans with handles. The stovetop burners heat the surface of the griddle plate in the same way that a burner heats a frying pan.
As with frying pans, griddle plates come in a variety of materials, including cast iron and aluminum. You can also find options with nonstick coatings.
A cast iron griddle pan is often made with an aluminum base. Aluminum distributes heat quickly, making it an ideal material for frying pans and griddles. However, a solid aluminum griddle may not retain heat well.
A cast-iron surface holds more heat and is less prone to scratches and damage compared to aluminum.
A griddle pan also typically includes heat-resistant handles. Yet, the handles can still grow quite hot, requiring the need for oven mitts.
What Is the Best Griddle Plate?
The Lawei 12-Inch Cast Iron Griddles are a top recommendation for those that want a simple griddle plate. The griddle plate is double-sided. One side has a flat griddle surface while the other side works as a grill.
Both sides include a small lip to keep grease from spilling over the edges. The plate also includes handles.
However, the handles are likely to get hot during use, requiring oven mitts or potholders to handle.You can use the griddle plate on a stovetop burner, gas range, or open fire.
It is made from durable cast iron, which can last a lifetime with proper cleaning. Instead of scrubbing the plate after each use, you simply need to wipe it clean and season it with oil before using it again.
Griddle plates and stovetop griddles are both designed to be placed on top of the stove. You use the burners to heat the griddle. However, instead of a circular design, a stovetop griddle often has a rectangular design.
Stovetop griddles also typically cover multiple burners. You place the griddle over two adjacent burners, giving you a large cooking area compared to a circular griddle plate.
As with griddle plates, stovetop griddles are often made from cast iron or aluminum. They also have handles on each end.
Griddle plates and stovetop griddles are useful for those that do not want another large appliance.
You can easily store a griddle plate or stovetop griddle with your pans and pots. You also do not need an additional electrical outlet, as the heat comes from the stove.
What Is the Best Stovetop Griddle?
The Amazon Basics Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Reversible Grill/Griddle is comparable to the Lawei Iron Griddle.
Both options are made from cast iron and designed for use on stovetops, gas ranges, or open fires.
It also has a reversible design with a grill on one side and a griddle on the other.Yet, the Amazon basics Grill/Griddle is rectangular shaped.
It measures 20 x 10.39 inches, allowing it to sit over two burners on your stove.
You can prepare larger meals or more servings compared to the smaller griddle plate.
Blackstone and several other manufacturers make griddle combos that include a griddle and a second cooking appliance.
The most common type of griddle combo is a griddle/grill combination. You can also find griddles with air fryers and deep fryers.
The griddle and the second appliances are often placed side by side on a single frame. A combo appliance allows you to cook a wider range of foods without using multiple devices.
The griddle and the second appliances are powered by the same heat source, such as gas or electricity.
Although two-in-one appliances are more commonly made for outdoor use, some electric griddles include a removable grill plate. You can use the electric appliance as a griddle or a grill.
What Is the Best Griddle Combo?
The Blackstone 36-Inch Griddle with Air Fryer is the best griddle combo. The combination of the flat-top griddle and the air fryer makes it one of the most versatile cooking appliances.
Air fryers can prepare any foods that you would normally prepare in a deep fryer or microwave.
You can even use air fryers for baking. The Blackstone Griddle/Air Fryer Combo is large, with 756-square inches of cooking area on the griddle. The air fryers add even more cooking capacity.
The griddle and the air fryer are propane-powered.As a propane griddle, this option is intended only for outdoor use.
However, it also has a large hood to protect the cooking surface and internal components from light rain and snow.
Main Considerations When Choosing a Griddle
Now that you know a little more about the types of griddles and how they work, you may want to know how to choose the right one. Here are some of the main features to consider when choosing a griddle:
- Heat sources
- Temperature control
- Indoor/outdoor use
- Cooking area
- Cooking zones
Choosing a griddle from a recognizable manufacturer is also recommended. Black & Decker, Hamilton Beach, Blackstone, Presto, Ninja, Farberware, and Bella are all trusted manufacturers of kitchen appliances and accessories.
Heat Sources for Griddles
Griddles may be powered by natural gas, propane, electricity, wood, charcoal, or a stovetop.
Stovetop griddles and griddle plates are designed for use on a stovetop but can also be placed over charcoal or wood on an open fire.
A stovetop griddle or griddle plate is often the least expensive option. You can also use them at home or when camping.
Electric griddles are made for indoor use. These options are often compact and sit on the countertop during use.
Propane griddles require a propane tank, which means that they should only be used outdoors. However, gas-powered griddles tend to produce a distinct, smoky flavor that you cannot get with an electric griddle.
Griddles that include heating elements typically include temperature control. Smaller griddles may include a single knob for adjusting the temperature while larger griddles may include separate knobs for each heating element.
Some of the electric griddles and panini griddles include an on/off button instead of a temperature control knob. The temperature is preset at 350-degrees Fahrenheit.
A preset temperature is more convenient but prevents you from being able to adjust the temperature for cooking different types of foods.
Gas griddles are intended for outdoor use while electric griddles can often be used indoors or outdoors. For example, you may use an electric griddle in a park or campsite with an electrical hookup.
Yet, if you want a griddle specifically for outdoor cooking, a gas griddle may be a better option. Gas griddles often have larger cooking surfaces and are less likely to become damaged when exposed to rain.
Griddles designed for outdoor use may include a tabletop design or a cart. A tabletop design works well when you have access to an outdoor table, such as a picnic table.
Otherwise, you should look for options that include a cart. The carts may include extra storage space and hooks for holding utensils.
The cooking area of the griddle is an important consideration, as cooking on a small griddle is not convenient. You may need to prepare food in batches, especially when cooking for a large group.
The cooking area can vary from a little over 200 square inches to more than 720 square inches.
Two hundred square inches is more than enough to cook at least four burgers or pancakes at a time.
If you plan on cooking for more than four people, consider going with a larger griddle.
Large griddles often include multiple heating elements, which creates multiple cooking zones.
Choosing a griddle with multiple cooking zones allows you to cook foods that require different temperatures.
For example, you may want to use a lower temperature for eggs and a higher temperature for bacon or sausage.
Large flat-top grills are often made with cold-rolled stainless steel. The material is carefully processed to eliminate imperfections and ensure a smooth surface.
When shopping for a griddle, whether that be electric, stovetop, and plates, you are likely to come across a variety of materials.
The most common options include aluminum and cast iron. However, if you have an induction cooktop instead of a standard stovetop, avoid buying aluminum or copper.
Aluminum and copper do not conduct electricity well enough to properly heat on an induction cooktop.
Aluminum covered in stainless-steel, cast-iron griddles, and enamel-covered metal griddles are all suitable for use on induction cooktops.
When shopping for electric griddles, most options are likely to include an aluminum surface with a nonstick coating.
Nonstick coatings are easy to clean but also require more caution to avoid scratching the surface.
As with an outdoor grill, an outdoor gas griddle may include cooking utensils and cleaning equipment.
You can also find accessories for use with gas or electric griddles. For example, a handheld panini press can be used on a flat-top grill, an electric griddle, or a griddle plate to press sandwiches or paninis without using a dedicated panini griddle.
Griddles are useful appliances, whether you plan on cooking outdoors or indoors. If you want to use a griddle outdoors, compare propane griddles and flat top grills.
These options often include large cooking areas.
Tabletop gas griddles are convenient for campers, whereas an outdoor version with a cart is useful for backyard cooking.
If you mostly cook indoors, you have a variety of electric griddles, griddle plates, and stove top griddles to choose from.
Plates and stove top griddles are easy to store and use but take up one or more of your stove top burners.
If you do not want to give up a burner on your stove, you may prefer an electric griddle. An electric griddle gives you an extra cooking surface in your kitchen instead of using a portion of the stovetop.
The most basic electric griddles include a large rectangular surface and are perfect for cooking breakfast staples, such as eggs and pancakes.
Other options include electric panini grills and griddles with removable plates.
You should also consider how many people you are cooking for. Cooking for two to four people only requires a small griddle.
Yet, if you want to cook for a large group, consider going with an outdoor griddle with a larger cooking area.
In the end, any griddle that you choose will give you more ways to cook. Remember to think about how and where you intend on using the griddle to find the best option.