Griddle: Your Ultimate Guide to Features, Uses & More

by Joost Nusselder | Last Updated:  May 31, 2022

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What’s better than a hot pancake on a cold morning? A hot pancake on a cold morning cooked on a griddle!

A griddle is a flat cooking surface typically made of metal, heated to cook food like pancakes, eggs, and burgers. They come in different shapes and sizes, ranging from rectangular to square and wide enough to fit a full breakfast spread.

In this article, I’ll tell you everything you need to know about griddles, including their history, types, and benefits.

What is a griddle

In this post we'll cover:

Everything You Need to Know About Griddles

A griddle is a flat cooking surface that is typically made of metal, such as cast iron, stainless steel, or carbon steel. It is a solid piece of metal that is heated and used for cooking food. Griddles are available in different types, including electric, traditional, and reversible. They come in various shapes and sizes, ranging from rectangular to square, and can be used for cooking a wide range of foods.

Types of Griddles

There are different types of griddles available, including:

  • Traditional griddles: These are typically made of cast iron and are heated on a stovetop. They are often rectangular in shape and have a handle on each end for easy lifting.
  • Electric griddles: These are powered by electricity and are available in different models. They are lightweight and extremely helpful in creating a large cooking area on a table or countertop.
  • Reversible griddles: These griddles have a smooth surface on one side and ridges on the other, allowing you to cook different types of food.

Benefits of Using a Griddle

Using a griddle has plenty of benefits, including:

  • Allowing you to cook a lot of food at once
  • Creating a smooth and hot surface for cooking
  • Lower heat means less smoke and better cooking
  • Higher heat means faster cooking
  • Simple to use and easy to clean
  • Better for cooking certain foods, such as pancakes, eggs, and burgers, than traditional pans or grills

How to Choose the Best Griddle for You

When choosing a griddle, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Size: Consider the size of the griddle and whether it will fit on your stovetop or countertop.
  • Material: Choose a griddle made of a strong and durable material, such as cast iron or stainless steel.
  • Price: Griddles can range from inexpensive to high-priced, depending on the type and model.
  • Nonstick surface: Consider whether you want a nonstick surface for easy cleaning.
  • Open or closed: Decide whether you want an open griddle or one with ridges, like a grill.

How to Cook on a Griddle

Cooking on a griddle is simple and straightforward. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • Preheat the griddle before adding food.
  • Use a lower heat for cooking foods that require longer cooking times, such as pancakes and eggs.
  • Use a higher heat for cooking foods that require shorter cooking times, such as burgers and steaks.
  • Flip the food only once to ensure even cooking.
  • Check the food frequently to prevent burning.

Using a Griddle in a Restaurant or Commercial Setting

Griddles are commonly used in restaurants and other commercial settings. They are available in tabletop models and can be used to cook a wide range of foods quickly and efficiently. When using a griddle in a commercial setting, it is important to:

  • Run the griddle at the correct temperature for the food being cooked.
  • Keep the griddle clean and well-maintained.
  • Use the griddle to cook a variety of foods, including meats, vegetables, and breakfast items.

The Origins of the Griddle: A Journey Through Time and Words

The word “griddle” has a long and fascinating history that starts with its Latin roots. The Latin word “craticula,” which means “fine wickerwork,” is the key to understanding the origins of the griddle. From there, the word evolved through several languages, including French, where it became “gridil,” before finally settling into its current form in English.

The Evolution of the Griddle’s Function

The griddle’s function has also evolved over time. Originally, griddles were made of metal and used for frying food on a flat plate surface. Today, electric griddles are a popular option for cooking a wide variety of foods, from pancakes to scones to cake.

The Highest Number of Griddles in Use

The griddle’s popularity has only continued to grow over time. In fact, the highest number of griddles in use can be found in Australian households, where they are a useful tool for cooking everything from flapjacks to plumfield to batter for puffy pancakes.

The Relationship Between Griddles and Other Cooking Tools

Griddles are often compared to other cooking tools, such as frying pans and grills. While they share some similarities, griddles have their own unique features that make them better suited for certain tasks. For example, griddles are ideal for cooking large batches of food at once, while frying pans are better for smaller portions.

The Care and Maintenance of Griddles

To get the most out of your griddle, it’s important to take good care of it. This includes cleaning it regularly and seasoning it properly to prevent food from sticking. With the right care and maintenance, a griddle can last a lifetime and become a beloved household possession.

The Many Variants of the Griddle

The griddle has many variants and doublets, including the grill, which is a similar tool that is often used for cooking meat. Other variants include the flat plate griddle and the oven griddle, both of which are useful for different types of cooking.

The Enduring Usefulness of the Griddle

Despite the many changes that have taken place in the world of cooking over the years, the griddle remains a key tool for many households. Whether you’re making pancakes for breakfast or frying up some chicken for dinner, a griddle is an essential tool that can help you cook delicious food with ease.

Griddle: The Perfect Cooking Surface for Breakfast and More

  • A griddle is a flat cooking surface that is typically rectangular or square in shape.
  • It can be electric or stovetop.
  • Unlike a grill, a griddle has a smooth surface without ridges.
  • It is distinctively separated from the cooktop, giving it plenty of space for cooking larger items.
  • Griddles can be raised or recessed, which reduces the amount of fat content in the cooked food as it collects in the recessed area.

Choosing the Perfect Griddle for Your Cooking Needs

When looking for a griddle, the size and material are key factors to consider. The size of the griddle depends on the area you have available in your kitchen and the amount of food you need to prepare. If you’re looking for a griddle to serve a large group of people, a rectangular griddle with a size of at least 18 x 10 inches is ideal. However, if you have a smaller kitchen or only need to prepare food for a few people, a smaller griddle may be more suitable.

The material of the griddle is also important. Traditional griddles are typically made of cast iron or enameled stainless steel, which are great for distributing heat evenly and preventing hot spots. Electric griddles, on the other hand, come with heating elements that require electricity to run. They are typically made of metal and are available in different thicknesses, with thinner versions being cheaper but not able to maintain heat as well as thicker ones.

Choose Between Natural Gas and Electric

When it comes to choosing between natural gas and electric griddles, it depends on your needs and preferences. Natural gas griddles are great for professional kitchens that require a constant supply of gas to run. They are typically more expensive but are able to maintain heat better than electric griddles. Electric griddles, on the other hand, are easier to use and maintain, and they don’t require a gas supply. They are also more suitable for home kitchens.

Consider the Features

When shopping for a griddle, there are several features to consider that can make preparing food easier and more efficient. Some of these features include:

  • Multiple heat zones: This allows you to cook different foods at different temperatures.
  • Channel for grease: This helps prevent grease from getting all over the griddle and makes it easier to clean.
  • Cart: This is a great feature for those who need to move the griddle around.
  • Rock positioning: This allows you to tilt the griddle to drain grease away from the food.
  • Ability to cook rice: Some griddles come with a rice cooker element, which is great for preparing rice dishes.

The Classic: A Basic Guide to the Standard Griddle

The basic design of a standard griddle allows people to prepare a variety of foods at the same time, making it a popular choice for cooking breakfast foods like pancakes, eggs, and bacon. The flat plate of the griddle is able to fit multiple pans and skillets, allowing you to cook different foods simultaneously.

What Makes a Standard Griddle Different from Other Griddles?

One advantage of a standard griddle is that it is able to fit over multiple burners on a stove, which means that you can cook more food at once. Another advantage is that it can be used both indoors and outdoors, making it a great option for camping trips or outdoor cooking.

How to Use a Standard Griddle?

Using a standard griddle is simple and straightforward. Here’s how to get started:

  • Preheat the griddle to the desired temperature.
  • Add a small amount of oil or butter to the surface of the griddle to prevent sticking.
  • Place your food on the griddle and cook until it is done.
  • Use a spatula or tongs (like these top choices) to flip the food as needed.
  • Clean the griddle after each use to prevent food from sticking.

What Foods Can You Cook on a Standard Griddle?

A standard griddle is able to cook a wide range of foods, including:

  • Pancakes and waffles
  • Eggs and omelets
  • Bacon and sausage
  • Grilled sandwiches and paninis
  • Quesadillas and fajitas
  • Steak and chicken

The Griddle Pan: A Unique and Excellent Alternative to Grilling

A griddle pan works by heating up the cast iron or flat surface of the pan to a high temperature. The heat is then transferred to the food, cooking it evenly and producing a natural finish. The thickness of the pan and the heat source used can affect the performance of the griddle pan, so it’s essential to test the pan’s heat before cooking. To increase the heat of the pan, you can start by heating it on low and gradually turning up the heat until it reaches the desired temperature.

What Foods are Suitable for Cooking on a Griddle Pan?

A griddle pan is suitable for cooking a wide variety of foods, including:

  • Meat: Griddle pans are excellent for cooking cuts of meat like steak, chicken, and pork.
  • Seafood: The smooth surface of a griddle pan makes it an ideal choice for cooking delicate seafood like shrimp and scallops.
  • Vegetables: Griddle pans are perfect for cooking vegetables like asparagus, zucchini, and bell peppers.
  • Pancakes and Eggs: The flat surface of a griddle pan makes it easier to cook foods like pancakes and eggs.

What is the Best Griddle Pan to Choose?

The best griddle pan to choose depends on your specific needs and preferences. Some factors to consider when choosing a griddle pan include:

  • Size: Choose a griddle pan that is large enough to cook the amount of food you need.
  • Shape: Griddle pans come in round or rectangular shapes, so choose the one that works best for you.
  • Material: Griddle pans can be made from cast iron or other materials, so choose the one that suits your cooking style.
  • Heat: Look for a griddle pan that heats evenly and maintains a consistent temperature.

In general, a cast iron griddle pan is an excellent choice for most cooking needs. Cast iron is durable, heats evenly, and produces excellent results.

The Electric Griddle: A Kitchen Equipment That Makes Cooking Easy and Portable

Most electric griddles have a nonstick coating, which makes cooking and cleaning easy. However, some electric griddles are made out of cast iron, which is a durable and long-lasting material.

Safety and Regulation

When using an electric griddle, it is important to observe safety rules and regulations. Some electric griddles may contain PTFE or PFOA, which are chemicals that can be harmful when heated. Always check the label of the griddle before purchasing and using.

Power and Heating Component

Electric griddles are powered by electricity and have a heating component built-in. This allows for even heating across the entire surface of the griddle.

Cleaning and Maintenance

To ensure the longevity of your electric griddle, it is important to clean and maintain it properly. Always unplug the griddle before cleaning and avoid using abrasive materials that can damage the nonstick coating.

Popular Brands of Electric Griddles

Some popular brands of electric griddles include Presto, Broil King, and Griddlean. These brands offer a variety of sizes and features to fit your cooking needs.

What Can You Whip Up on a Griddle?

A griddle is the perfect tool for preparing breakfast foods. Here are some dishes you can cook on a griddle:

  • Bacon: The key to cooking bacon on a griddle is to let it cook slowly on a low heat. This will allow the fat to render out and create crispy bacon.
  • Pancakes: A griddle’s smooth surface is ideal for creating perfectly shaped pancakes. Simply pour the batter onto the hot surface and let it cook until bubbles form on the surface, then flip and cook the other side.
  • Eggs: Whether you want to fry, scramble, or make an omelet, a griddle is a great way to prepare eggs. The even heat distribution ensures that your eggs cook evenly.
  • French Toast: Dip your bread in a mixture of eggs, milk, and cinnamon, then cook it on the griddle until golden brown on both sides.
  • Home Fries: Chop up some potatoes and onions and cook them on the griddle until they are crispy and golden brown.

Lunch and Dinner Options

A griddle is not just for breakfast. Here are some lunch and dinner dishes you can cook on a griddle:

  • Grilled Cheese: The griddle’s smooth surface is perfect for creating a crispy crust on your grilled cheese sandwich.
  • Quesadillas: Cook your tortillas on the griddle, then add your filling and fold it over to create a delicious quesadilla.
  • Pork Chops: A griddle is a great alternative to a traditional grill for cooking pork chops. The even heat distribution ensures that they cook evenly.
  • Vegetables: Grilling vegetables on a griddle brings out their natural sweetness and creates a delicious char. Simply chop them up and cook them on the griddle with a little oil and seasoning.
  • Thin-Cut Meat: A griddle is perfect for cooking thin-cut meat like steak or chicken breasts. The high heat allows you to cook them quickly and evenly.

Chef’s Specials

Chefs at famous restaurants use griddles to create some of their most popular dishes. Here are some examples:

  • Apple Pancakes: Add chopped apples to your pancake batter and cook them on the griddle for a delicious twist on a classic breakfast dish.
  • Red Velvet Pancakes: Mix red food coloring into your pancake batter and cook them on the griddle for a fun and colorful breakfast treat.
  • Double Cheeseburgers: Cook your burgers on a griddle to create a crispy crust on the outside and a juicy center on the inside.
  • Scraping the Griddle: Some chefs scrape the griddle with spatulas or knives to create a crispy crust on their dishes. This technique works well for dishes like hash browns or chopped vegetables.

Overall, a griddle is a versatile tool that can be used to cook a wide range of dishes. Whether you’re preparing breakfast, lunch, or dinner, a griddle is a great way to cook your food quickly and evenly. The smooth, rectangular shape of a griddle makes it easier to cook different types of food, unlike a typical frying pan. Electric griddles are also available, which means you can cook your food anywhere there’s an electrical outlet. The benefit of using a griddle is that it takes a little bit of work to prepare and clean, but the end result is always worth it.

Caring for and Cleaning Your Griddle

Before you start cleaning your griddle, there are a few things you need to do to prepare:

  • Turn off the heat: Make sure the griddle is completely cool before you start cleaning it.
  • Scrape off any excess food: Use a scraper or spatula to remove any leftover bits of food from the surface of the griddle.
  • Wipe away any residual grease: Use a paper towel to wipe away any leftover grease or oil from the surface of the griddle.

Cleaning the Griddle

Now that you’ve prepared your griddle, it’s time to start cleaning it:

  • Use a griddle block or pumice stone: These tools are specifically designed to clean griddles and will help to remove any debris or leftover food particles.
  • Scrub the surface: Use a scrubbing pad or towel to scrub the griddle surface, paying extra attention to any areas where food may have gotten stuck.
  • Add water: Pour a bit of water onto the griddle surface to help loosen any remaining debris.
  • Scrub again: Use the scrubbing pad or towel to scrub the griddle surface again, making sure to remove any remaining debris.
  • Wipe away any residue: Use a paper towel to wipe away any leftover residue from the griddle surface.

Cooking on a Griddle- Everything You Need to Know

  • Arrange the bacon strips in a single layer on the griddle
  • Cook on medium-high heat until crispy and browned
  • Use tongs to flip the bacon occasionally
  • Drain the excess fat by placing the bacon on a paper towel

Cooking Meat on a Griddle

  • Preheat the griddle to high heat
  • Add a little oil or fat to the griddle to prevent sticking
  • Place the meat on the griddle and cook until browned on one side
  • Flip the meat and cook until it reaches the desired doneness
  • Let the meat rest for a few minutes before slicing

Preparing Vegetables on a Griddle

  • Cut vegetables into thin, even pieces for even cooking
  • Preheat the griddle to medium-high heat
  • Add a little oil or fat to the griddle to prevent sticking
  • Arrange the vegetables in a single layer on the griddle
  • Stir occasionally until the vegetables are tender and slightly charred

Additional Tips and Tricks

  • For a double griddle, arrange the food on one side and use the other side to keep it warm
  • Adding a little water to the griddle can create steam and help cook food more quickly
  • Use a griddle with a pronounced lip to prevent food from falling off
  • Depending on the size of your griddle, you may be able to cook a range of foods at once
  • Thin foods like pancakes and crepes cook better on a griddle than a traditional skillet
  • The best way to tell if your griddle is hot enough is to sprinkle a little water on it- if it sizzles and evaporates quickly, it’s ready to use.

Griddle Cooking: The Ultimate Healthy Cooking Technique

Yes, it is! Griddle cooking is a great way to prepare food that is both healthy and delicious. Here are some benefits of cooking on a griddle:

  • Griddle cooking does not require oils, making it a healthier option than traditional cooking methods that require a lot of oil.
  • Griddles allow you to cook a wide variety of foods, from vegetables to meat to rice and more.
  • Griddles are easy to clean and require minimal maintenance.
  • Griddle cooking is quick and easy, making it a great option for busy weeknight dinners or weekend lunches.
  • Griddles allow you to cook both sides of your food at once, which can help to lower the number of calories in your meal.

What Are Some Tips for Griddle Cooking?

Here are some tips to help you get the most out of your griddle:

  • Always use a griddle scraper to clean your griddle after each use. This will help to prevent the buildup of any harmful compounds that can be created when foods are cooked directly on a hot surface.
  • To protect your griddle, always use a double layer of foil or a griddle cover when cooking bacon or other foods that tend to splatter.
  • When cooking meat on a griddle, be sure to let it rest for a few minutes before serving. This will allow the juices to redistribute and will help to keep the meat moist and tender.
  • To create a balanced meal, add some fresh vegetables to your griddle along with your meat or other protein source.
  • Griddle cooking is a popular technique among chefs and is used in many famous restaurants around the world. Give it a try and see what you can create!

Griddle vs Grill: What’s the Difference?

Griddles and grills are two commonly used cooking methods that people usually choose depending on the food they want to prepare. Griddles are flat, smooth, and typically made of metal, while grills have a series of bars or ridges that leave a smoky, charred edge on the food. Here are some key differences between the two:

  • Griddles have a large, flat surface that is placed over your heat source, while grills use direct, dry heat and expose your ingredients directly to an open flame.
  • Griddles are typically easier to control and offer a smooth, even cooking surface, while grills require careful attention to prevent burning or undercooking.
  • Griddles are perfect for making foods like eggs, bacon, and pancakes, while grills are great for meat and vegetables that benefit from a smoky flavor.
  • Griddles are usually found as a small, additional element to a standard stove, while grills come in a variety of sizes and can be bought as a standalone appliance.

Which One Should You Choose?

Ultimately, the choice between a griddle and a grill depends on your own personal preferences and cooking needs. Here are some things to keep in mind when making your decision:

  • If you want a versatile cooking method that can handle a wide variety of foods, a griddle is probably the way to go.
  • If you’re a meat lover who wants that smoky flavor and doesn’t mind spending time outside, a grill might be the better choice.
  • If you have limited space or a smaller budget, a griddle is a great choice as it can be found as a small, additional element to a standard stove.
  • If you want a larger cooking surface and the ability to cook for big groups of people, a grill is the way to go.

Griddle vs Flat-top Grill: Which is Better for Cooking?

When it comes to cooking, the surface area and heat distribution are crucial factors to consider. Griddles have a solid, metal surface that spreads heat evenly across the entire cooking surface. On the other hand, flat-top grills typically have slated grates that are half an inch apart, which exposes food to open flames and varying heat levels. This can yield smokier meats and different cooking capabilities, extending to items like vegetables and seafood.

Cooking Capacity and Ready-to-Use

Griddles have a larger cooking capacity than flat-top grills, making them ideal for cooking a series of foods at once. They are also typically ready-to-use, requiring only a quick heat-up period before cooking. Flat-top grills, on the other hand, take longer to heat up and require more preparation before cooking.

Cooking Styles and Suggested Foods

Griddles are great for frying foods, such as pancakes, eggs, and bacon, as well as cooking meats and vegetables. Flat-top grills are better for grilling meats and vegetables, as well as items that require a smokier flavor, such as burgers and steaks.


So, that’s what a griddle is- a flat cooking surface typically made of metal. You can use it to cook a lot of different foods, from pancakes to burgers, and it’s a useful tool in any kitchen. 

So, now you know what a griddle is, you can go out and buy one for your kitchen!

Joost Nusselder, the founder of Lakeside Smokers is a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new food with BBQ Smoking (& Japanese food!) at the heart of his passion, and together with his team he's been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with recipes and cooking tips.