Making the Healthier Choice: Griddle or Grill for Your Next Meal?

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updated: 03/16/2023

When it comes to cooking, there are plenty of methods and appliances to choose from, but two popular options are griddles and grills.

Both of these tools offer unique ways to prepare delicious meals, but you may be wondering which is healthier.

In this blog post, we’ll explore the differences between griddles and grills, their respective benefits and drawbacks, and how to incorporate them into your healthy cooking routine.

Griddles: The Flat Surface for Even Cooking

A griddle is a versatile flat surface, typically made from cast iron, steel, or non-stick materials. This cooking tool is ideal for preparing foods such as pancakes, eggs, and various types of meat.

One of the main benefits of a griddle is its ability to cook food evenly, which can lead to better overall taste and texture.

When it comes to health, griddles often require little to no oil, allowing you to cook with less fat. This can be particularly beneficial if you’re looking to reduce your fat intake or follow a low-fat diet.

Grills: The Open Grate for Lower Fat Content

Grills are characterized by their grate-like surface, with open spaces that allow fats to drip away from the food as it cooks.

This feature can result in a lower fat content in grilled foods, making it a healthy option for those looking to reduce their calorie intake.

Additionally, grilling imparts a unique flavor to food through charring and smoke, creating a delicious taste that’s hard to replicate with other cooking methods.

However, there are some potential health concerns associated with grilling. When fat and juices from meat drip onto the heat source, smoke is produced, which can contain harmful compounds like polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and heterocyclic amines (HCAs).

These compounds have been linked to an increased risk of certain cancers when consumed in large quantities.

Making the Healthier Choice: Tips for Griddle and Grill Cooking

While both griddles and grills offer potential health benefits, there are some tips you can follow to maximize these advantages:

  1. Choose lean meats: Opt for lean cuts of meat when cooking on either a griddle or grill to reduce the overall fat content of your meal.
  2. Use minimal oil: When using a griddle, use non-stick cooking spray or a small amount of oil to minimize added fat.
  3. Marinate your food: Marinating meats before grilling can help reduce the formation of HCAs and PAHs. Opt for marinades containing herbs, spices, and acidic ingredients like vinegar or lemon juice.
  4. Control the heat: Avoid cooking at extremely high temperatures, as this can increase the production of harmful compounds. Instead, opt for medium or medium-high heat.
  5. Clean your grill: Regularly clean your grill or griddle to prevent the build-up of charred residue, which can contain harmful compounds.

Cooking Techniques for Healthier Meals

Griddle Cooking Techniques:

  • Steam vegetables: Use a griddle to steam vegetables by adding a small amount of water and covering with a lid. This will help retain nutrients and color.
  • Make healthier breakfasts: Opt for whole-grain pancakes or waffles, and use fresh fruit or yogurt as toppings instead of sugary syrups.
  • Stir-fry: Use your griddle for stir-frying by cooking thinly sliced vegetables and lean proteins quickly over medium-high heat with minimal oil.

Grill Cooking Techniques:

  • Grill fruits and vegetables: Incorporate more plant-based options into your grilling routine by cooking fruits and vegetables, which typically don’t produce harmful compounds when grilled.
  • Use indirect heat: When grilling larger cuts of meat, use indirect heat to cook more slowly and reduce the risk of charring.
  • Opt for skewers: Prepare kebabs with lean meats, seafood, and vegetables on skewers to encourage portion control and even cooking.

Choosing the Right Equipment for Healthier Cooking

Griddle Options

Non-stick griddles: Look for griddles with a non-stick surface to reduce the need for added fats while cooking. b.

Electric griddles: Consider an electric griddle with adjustable temperature controls to ensure even cooking and prevent overheating.

Cast iron griddles: Seasoned cast iron griddles provide a naturally non-stick surface and can retain heat evenly for consistent results.

Grill Options

Gas grills: Gas grills offer precise temperature control, allowing you to cook at lower temperatures and reduce the risk of harmful compound formation. b.

Charcoal grills: If using a charcoal grill, choose natural lump charcoal instead of briquettes, which can contain additives and produce more smoke. c.

Infrared grills: Infrared grills use radiant heat to cook food, resulting in less smoke and fewer flare-ups, potentially reducing the formation of harmful compounds.

Simple and Healthy Recipes for Griddles and Grills:

pancakes with berries on ceramic plate
Photo by Anete Lusina on

Whole-Grain Blueberry Pancakes (Griddle)


  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk (or milk of your choice)
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons honey or pure maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries


  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the whole wheat flour, rolled oats, baking powder, and salt.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the almond milk, egg, honey (or maple syrup), and vanilla extract.
  • Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Gently fold in the blueberries.
  • Preheat your griddle to medium heat and lightly grease with cooking spray or a small amount of oil.
  • Pour 1/4 cup of the batter onto the griddle for each pancake. Cook until bubbles appear on the surface, then flip and cook until golden brown on the other side.
  • Serve with fresh fruit, yogurt, or a drizzle of honey or maple syrup.
top view of mexican food
Photo by alleksana on

Griddled Chicken Fajitas (Griddle)


  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, thinly sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 green bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fajita seasoning
  • 8 small whole-wheat tortillas
  • Optional toppings: salsa, guacamole, low-fat sour cream, shredded cheese


  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the chicken, bell peppers, onion, olive oil, and fajita seasoning. Toss until the chicken and vegetables are well-coated.
  • Preheat your griddle to medium-high heat and lightly grease with cooking spray or a small amount of oil.
  • Cook the chicken and vegetable mixture on the griddle, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is cooked through and the vegetables are tender-crisp (about 5-7 minutes).
  • Warm the tortillas on the griddle for 30 seconds on each side.
  • Serve the chicken and vegetables in warm tortillas, topped with your choice of salsa, guacamole, low-fat sour cream, or shredded cheese.
griller with barbeque cooking
Photo by RODNAE Productions on

Grilled Vegetable Kebabs (Grill)


  • 2 bell peppers (any color), cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch thick slices
  • 1 red onion, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 1 cup button mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Wooden or metal skewers


  1. If using wooden skewers, soak them in water for at least 30 minutes before grilling.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, basil, parsley, salt, and pepper. Add the vegetables and toss to coat.
  3. Thread the vegetables onto the skewers, alternating between different types.
  4. Preheat your grill to medium heat.
  5. Grill the vegetable kebabs for 10-15 minutes, turning occasionally, until the vegetables are tender and slightly charred.
  6. Serve the vegetable kebabs as a side dish or over a bed of brown rice or quinoa for a complete meal.
cooked chicken on white plate
Photo by Engin Akyurt on

Lemon-Herb Marinated Grilled Chicken (Grill)


  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


  • In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, rosemary, thyme, parsley, salt, and pepper.
  • Place the chicken breasts in a shallow dish or resealable plastic bag and pour the marinade over the chicken. Ensure the chicken is evenly coated, then refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 4 hours.
  • Preheat your grill to medium-high heat.
  • Remove the chicken from the marinade and discard the excess marinade. Grill the chicken for 6-7 minutes per side, or until cooked through and the internal temperature reaches 165°F (74°C).
  • Let the chicken rest for a few minutes before slicing and serving with your favorite side dishes.
close up shot of delicious grilled salmon on black plate
Photo by Ruslan Khmelevsky on

Grilled Salmon with Yogurt-Dill Sauce (Grill)


  • 4 salmon fillets (about 6 oz each)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper


  1. Season the salmon fillets with salt and pepper.
  2. Preheat your grill to medium heat.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the Greek yogurt, dill, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and pepper to make the sauce.
  4. Grill the salmon for 4-5 minutes per side, or until it flakes easily with a fork and reaches an internal temperature of 145°F (63°C).
  5. Serve the grilled salmon with a dollop of yogurt-dill sauce and your choice of side dishes.

These recipes should provide you with some healthy and delicious meal ideas to enjoy using your griddle or grill.


Both griddles and grills can be part of a healthy cooking routine when used properly. By understanding the differences between these cooking methods and following the tips outlined above, you can enjoy delicious meals while maximizing the health benefits of each tool.

So, whether you’re whipping up a stack of pancakes on a griddle or grilling a juicy steak, you can feel confident in your choice to cook healthier meals for yourself and your loved ones.