Grill Pan Vs. Griddle Pan: Which Is The Best Pan To Buy?
Though the names are similar and are sometimes used interchangeably, grill pans and griddle pans are different pieces of cookware and are used for different purposes.
What Is A Grill Pan? A grill pan has raised ridges, allowing fat to drain down from cooking meat and creating blackened grill lines on the food.
What Is A Griddle Pan? A griddle is a smooth pan, useful for making pancakes, French toast, bacon or eggs. You can also buy a reversible pan that has the features of both.
Want Grilled Food Without Having To Use A Grill?
Check out a grill pan. If you don’t have a backyard grill, like to grill steaks and vegetables in any kind of weather or just enjoy the convenience of grilling indoors, a grill pan will be a valuable addition to your cookware collection. Though you don’t get the smoky flavor of meat cooked on an outdoor grill, the ridges drain fat away from the cooking meat and provide the blackened, slightly crunchy stripes that make grilled meat so delicious.
Grill pans are made of cast iron, stainless steel or aluminum and are available with and without nonstick coatings. A good grill pan must be thick and heavy and be able to stand up to very high temperatures. Because of this, the majority of cooks favor a cast iron pan, but for some, the lighter weight and easier cleaning of a nonstick aluminum pan makes it the winner. Look for a pan with high, well-defined ridges, a sturdy handle and if cast iron, preseasoning. There are three styles of grill pan:
1. Grilling For A Big Crowd?
Get a double grill pan. These rectangular grill pans stretch across two burners on your stovetop. There’s a small lip around the edge, but no raised sides. Though obviously the center of the pan that is between burners will not get as hot as the section directly over the burners, a good pan will transfer enough heat to do the job. Double pans are great for cooking up several burgers, kabobs, steaks or pieces of chicken at the same time, making them the best choice for a large family. Be aware that it is a large pan to store and may be difficult to fit in your sink for washing after use.
2. Want To Gill Up Some Veggies?
Get a single grill pan with sides. Grill pans with sides are useful if you plan grilling lots of vegetables or if you want to use the pan inside the oven. While there are square and round pans available, many cooks find it is easier to fit steaks or chicken breasts into a square pan. A 10-inch or 12-inch pan is a good size for most cooks.
3. Only Want To Grill Meats?
Get a single grill pans without sides. Grill pans with a small lip instead of high sides make it easy to slide your spatula under the meat when it’s time to flip it over. If you expect to use your pan mainly for steak or chicken, this style of pan is the way to go. Usually square, a 10-inch pan is large enough to grill for two to three people; a 12-inch pan is large enough to grill for three or four.
Want To Cook Up A Hearty Breakfast?
Check out a griddle pan. Similar to a grill pan but without the ridges, a griddle pan is smooth and flat and is perfect for preparing a hearty breakfast of pancakes, bacon and eggs. This is the pan to reach for on a Sunday morning for a family-pleasing hot cooked breakfast. You can also use a griddle pan for cooking tortillas, quesadillas or even for preparing fish, chicken or meat.
As with grill pans, you can choose from cast iron, stainless steel and aluminum. However, many cooks favor nonstick anodized aluminum over cast iron. You should always use care when cooking on nonstick cookware as it will easily scratch. Use a wooden or nonstick-safe plastic spatula and never scrub your pan with a heavily abrasive cleaner. Some aluminum griddle pans are dishwasher safe, but the majority must be washed by hand.
Like grill pans, griddle pans are available in double-burner sizes and round or square single-burner sizes. A 10-, 11- or 12-inch single-burner griddle pan is sufficient for cooking for two or three people, but if you have a larger family or want to cook up a really big breakfast, a double-burner pan will be most practical. Most grill pans are completely flat or have only a small lip around the edge though there are a few with low sides. When cooking the typical griddle fare, ease of sliding a spatula under the food is very important making the flat pans the easiest to use.
Want The Best Of Both Worlds?
Check out a reversible grill/griddle pan. If you just can’t choose between a grill or griddle pan or you want to be able to cook a delicious steak dinner on the grill followed by a hearty pancake breakfast the next morning, a reversible grill/griddle pan will let you do both. With a flat, smooth side for griddling and a ridged side for grilling, these combination pans give you the best of both worlds.
Most combination pans are double-burner, giving you plenty of space for cooking for a large family. Cast iron is the most popular choice, but nonstick, anodized aluminum pans are also available. When choosing a cast iron pan, look for a preseasoned pan to avoid the bother of seasoning it yourself and remember that the pan will be very heavy. Wash your reversible grill/griddle pan by hand and lightly season with oil if it is a cast iron pan.
Once you discover how many foods can be easily prepared on a grill or griddle pan, you will find yourself reaching for these kitchen gems frequently. Whether you grill, griddle or choose a combination of both, your pan will provide many delicious meals.