How To Choose Grill And Griddle Pans

Do you need a grill pan or a griddle pan? While their names are similar, you won't want to get them mixed up when choosing your cookware. Here are the main differences between grill and griddle pans, and how to choose the best one for your kitchen.

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How to Choose the Best Grill and Griddle Pans?

While griddles are typically used for breakfast items, and grills for meat and vegetables, there's plenty more to bear in mind when making your choice. Here's the lowdown.

Grill Pans

Generally rectangular or square-shaped, with deep sides, dedicated grill pans make an excellent choice for grilling in your home. Thanks to their built-in ridges, just like a home BBQ, your meat cooks in its own juices for a healthier, better tasting meal. You can also use grills for great tasting vegetables and fish steaks.

Why you need one - For tasty grilled meat, tuna and vegetables complete with sear marks, as well as a healthier, lower-fat meal with better all-round texture and taste.

Best types of grill pan:

  • Cast iron: one of the best options to go for, cast iron retains heat well and is highly durable. However, do not go for this type if you have a ceramic hob, as it could cause damage.

  • For easily damaged cooktops, such as glass or ceramic, opt for stainless steel, ceramic or heavy-weight aluminum grill pans. To improve performance clad versions contain internal layers of other materials that offer good heat retention capabilities.

  • Choose a square or rectangular grill pan for a larger usable cooking surface area than circular ones.

  • Raised ridges - the higher the ridges, the stronger your sear mark will be.

  • Grill pans with presses will give you even more dramatic sear marks.

  • Opting for a grill pan with a lid means you can cook with both direct and indirect heat, allowing you to finish larger cuts on the hob without having to put them in the oven. This also works in a similar way to outdoor grills.

Cast Iron Grill Pan in Teal
Aluminum Non-Stick Grill Pan
Long Cast Iron Grill Pan
Round Non-Stick Grill Pan
Grill Pan in Black and Green
Big Silver Grill Pan

Griddles

Flat for full contact with your food, griddle pans are often made from cast iron. Some versions have a non-stick coating, but all are typically large with shallow sides.

Why you need one - The shallow sides of a griddle make flipping your food easier, while the open, flat cooking surface is great for crisping up or browning your hash browns, pancakes and French toast.

Griddles are also useful for cooking hot sandwiches and breakfast items, including bacon and eggs.

Best types of griddle:

  • Cast iron is a popular choice for its heat retention and durability. However, anodized aluminum and carbon steel are also good griddle materials to choose from that heat well and will last. Check your griddle material's compatibility with your stovetop and avoid using cast iron with glass tops.

  • Non-stick coatings make your griddle much easier to use, preventing eggs and pancakes from sticking. However, non-stick coatings can be fragile and not all are dishwasher safe.

  • As with grill pans, square or rectangular versions provide a greater usable surface area.

  • Larger griddles that spread over two burners allow you to create two different temperature zones. This is ideal for cooking multiple foods at the same time, or for keeping items warm while you cook the rest of breakfast.

Stainless Steel Plate Griddle
Round Plate Ceramic Griddle
Aluminium Non-Stick Griddle with Handle
Round Stainless Steel Griddle
Round Cast Iron Griddle
Black Aluminium Non-Stick Griddle

Reversible grill pan & griddles

Purchasing a reversible grill pan and griddle can save you storage space and money. Simply flip over your cooking surface for a ridged grilling surface or use the flat side for your toast.

On the downside, you can't use both sides at the same time. Also, due to the reversibility, these types of models tend to be very shallow, so you won't have those deep sides to contain your meat juices, or extras such as presses or lids.

Square Grill and Griddle Pan
 Aluminum Reversible Grill and Griddle Pan
Round Reversible Grill and Griddle Pan
Non-Stick Reversible Grill and Griddle Pan
Press Non-Stick Grill and Griddle Pan
Cast Iron Reversible Grill and Griddle Pan

2-in-1 grill & griddle pans

2-in-1 models feature a split surface, one half a ridged grill, the other a flat griddle.

These are also space savers and mean you can use both your grill and griddle simultaneously. On the downside, they are less suitable for larger households. Also, their sides can be tooshallow for larger cuts of meat, yet too deep for easy pancake flipping.

Which Type of Grill Pan Handle Should You Choose?

Your grill pan handle is one of the most important elements, so you'll want to pay particular attention to it. Here are the most popular types and why you may or may not want to choose them.

Long handles

Long handles are a popular choice and can be found on many different models.

Pros:

  • Easy to hold.
  • Stay cool. Long handles protrude away from the heat source, so they don't heat up, meaning you won't risk burning yourself.
  • More comfortable.
  • One-handed use.

Cons:

  • Take up more storage space.
  • Not all are oven proof or will fit in your oven.
  • Less suitable for heavy/wide grills and griddles.

Good for: easy one-handed use with small/one burner grill pan and griddles.

Non-Stick Griddle with Long Handle
Grill Pan with Long Handle
Round Grill Pan with Long Handle
Flat Griddle with Long Handle
Long Handle Non-Stick Griddle
Long Handle Red Grill Pan

Side handles

Built-in or riveted on, side handles are well worth considering on your griddle.

Pros:

  • Suitable for heavy, large grills and griddles.
  • Ovenproof.
  • Save storage space.
  • Solid and sturdy.

Cons:

  • Handles get very hot - remember to always have a cloth at the ready.
  • Need two hands free to move your grill or griddle.

Good for: Double burner and heavy cast iron grills and griddles, as well as oven use, and tucking away smaller models when not in use.

Cast Iron Grill Pan with Side Handles
Grill Pan with Silver Side Handles
Deep Griddle with Side Handles
Griddle with Side Handles
Side Handles Carbon Steel Griddle
Side Handles Round Griddle

Removable handles

Removable handles feature various clip-on systems.

Pros:

  • Easy to store.
  • Can remove for oven use.
  • Use one or two hands as required.

Cons:

  • Can get lost.
  • Some can be tricky to attach securely.

Good for: organized cooks who need optimized storage, as well as oven use.

Top Tips

To summarize, here's how to choose your grill pan or griddle in a nutshell.

  • Decide on what type of foods you want to cook with it. Mainly meat and vegetables? Go for a grill pan. For pancakes, French toast and eggs, plus other breakfast items, you'll need a griddle.

  • Short on storage space? Opt for a reversible or 2-in-1 grill and griddle.

  • Stove compatibility: check your grill pan or griddle's compatibility with your stove type before you buy. Not all are induction and oven compatible. Bear this in mind if you like to keep your breakfast warm or finish off your meat in the oven.

  • Handle design is important!

    • Long handles can limit your storage options but are practical for cooking.

    • Side handles can get very hot but are great for sticking your grill in the oven and compact storage.

    • Removable handles offer the best of both worlds, just be sure they provide a good fit. They can be, however, easily misplaced.

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