Which cast iron griddle is best?
No matter how good a skillet you have, there’s just something delicious about pancakes, burgers, grilled cheese sandwiches and hash browns made on a griddle that just you can’t beat. Iron griddles are the best griddles, because they can provide restaurant-quality results even at home.
An iron griddle is easy to use in any kitchen. It fits right over a burner or two on your stovetop, so you can replicate the large griddle at your favorite diner. The top model from Lodge is such a favorite because it has a large cooking surface and features pre-seasoning so that you can use it immediately.
What to know before you buy a cast iron griddle
Skillets vs. griddles
If you have a skillet you love at home, you may be wondering if you really need an iron griddle for your kitchen. The main benefit of a griddle over a skillet is its size. Most griddles span two burners on your stove, so you have more room to prepare food like pancakes and burgers. All the extra space allows you to cook your food more quickly, even when you have many hungry mouths to feed.
An iron griddle offers a flat cooking surface, making it much easier to flip and maneuver food while cooking. On the other hand, a skillet’s curved bottom can sometimes make those movements a challenge. The sloped sides also help trap moist air, making it difficult to get crisp edges in a skillet. A griddle allows you to get a nice crust even on food with high water content so that you can get crispy hash browns with ease.
Cast iron is the most common material used for griddles. That’s because it retains its heat extremely well and provides a super hot cooking surface. It works just as well for dishes that require brief, intense heat or recipes that call for consistent heat for longer periods.
Unfortunately, because it hangs onto heat so well, a cast iron griddle can take some time to cool. As a result, you have to be careful when handling it even after you’ve removed it from the stovetop.
You can also find griddles made from anodized aluminum. They can heat up pretty quickly and offer fairly consistent heat too. They’re not as durable as cast iron griddles, though, and can warp over time. Anodized aluminum griddles usually feature a nonstick coating, though it can flake off over time.
Nonstick aluminum is another material used for griddles, which stands out for its extremely affordable price point. They’re thinner than models made from other materials, though, so they don’t retain heat as effectively. They’re prone to warping, too, and don’t offer even cooking results either.
While highly durable, cast iron is also hefty. That can make a cast iron griddle more challenging to move around in your kitchen. If you don’t have much strength, you may prefer a more lightweight griddle. Anodized aluminum can be an excellent alternative because it’s still very sturdy but doesn’t weigh as much as cast iron.
What to look for in a quality cast iron griddle
For an iron griddle to cook your food properly, it has to stay in place on your stovetop. Griddles with a flat, weighted bottom are less likely to slide off your stove when you’re cooking.
Aluminum griddles are pretty easy to care for, but cast iron models require a little more work. You have to be much more careful with how you wash a cast iron griddle because soaking it in soapy water is a surefire way to ruin it.
Cast iron also requires seasoning, a process where you bake the oil into the material to prevent rusting and create a nonstick surface. When you notice your griddle starting to look dull, it’s time to re-season it.
An iron griddle’s handles are a vital feature because they can make moving the griddle much easier. You have to be careful that the handles don’t get too hot, though, or you’ll have trouble handling the griddle after it’s hot.
Cast iron handles are highly durable, but they can retain too much heat. Metal handles aren’t as sturdy and can also stay hot for a while. Some griddles have heat-resistant, looped handles, but they’re not always as sturdy as you might want.
Some iron griddles have safety features that make them easier to use. You can find models with grease wells that move the grease away from the food and keep it away from the burners where it might cause a fire. Some griddles also have a pour spout, making it easy to remove excess grease or cooking liquids.
How much you can expect to spend on a cast iron griddle
You’ll usually pay $14-$250 for an iron griddle. Aluminum griddles are typically the most affordable, with most ranging from $14-$60. Cast iron griddles are more durable but a bit more expensive. You can find a high-quality cast iron griddle for $25-$100, though some models cost as much as $250.
Cast iron griddle FAQ
How do I ensure even cooking on my griddle?
A. For even cooking, it’s essential to preheat your griddle. Preheating allows the heat to spread across the entire cooking surface, so there aren’t any hot spots where your food might burn. If you have a cast iron griddle, make sure that it’s adequately seasoned too.
How should I season a cast iron griddle?
A. The most common way to season cast iron is by applying a small amount of vegetable oil to the griddle. First, use a clean towel or paper towel to rub the oil into the griddle, including the backside. Next, put the griddle in your oven upside down, and bake it at about 350 degrees for an hour. When it’s finished baking, turn off your oven and allow the griddle to cool down inside.
How do I clean a cast iron griddle?
A. Make sure that your griddle is completely cool before you begin the cleaning process. Wipe down the surface of the griddle with a paper towel to remove any grease or food debris. You can gently remove any cooked-on food with a plastic scraper.
Wet a non-abrasive sponge with hot water and dish soap, and wipe down the entire surface of the griddle. Use hot water to rinse the griddle thoroughly, and dry it with a towel or paper towel. You shouldn’t leave an iron griddle to drip dry because it can cause the cast iron to rust.
What’s the best cast iron griddle to buy?
Top cast iron griddle
Lodge Pre-Seasoned Reversible Grill/Griddle
What you need to know: The best all-around iron griddle, thanks to its durability, versatility and size.
What you’ll love: Offers a large cooking surface that’s perfect for making pancakes and more for a group. Can be used for grilling and broiling. Comes pre-seasoned, it’s ready to use right away.
What you should consider: Some buyers report that the griddle takes a long time to get hot.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top cast iron griddle for the money
Lodge LDP3 Reversible Grill/Griddle
What you need to know: This is a small griddle that still offers high-quality craftsmanship.
What you’ll love: It uses a trusted cast iron cookware manufacturer and is seasoned after the manufacturing process. It features a reversible cook surface to provide a grill.
What you should consider: The edged walls aren’t wide enough to keep the grease contained. Some buyers receive uneven griddles that don’t sit flat.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: This is an excellent option for large families because of its generous cooking surface, though it does cost more than some of the competition.
What you’ll love: The large cooking surface can handle greater quantities of food, it is pre-seasoned, features a reversible grill side and has a lip to keep the grease contained.
What you should consider: It weighs more than many iron griddles, which can make it difficult to maneuver.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Jennifer Blair writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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