The best iron griddle
There are certain diner classics that you just can't recreate in a frying pan. Burgers, grilled cheese sandwiches, pancakes, french toast, and hash browns never seem to taste quite the same when you make them at home in a skillet. If you invest in an iron griddle, though, you can make your favorite diner foods in your kitchen without sacrificing any of the flavor. A griddle is a heavy, rectangular pan that usually fits across two burners on your stovetop to give you more cooking space. It also provides a flat cooking surface, which makes it easier to flip foods and doesn't trap moisture inside, so your food stays crispy.
With our buying guide, you'll have all the facts you need to find the best iron griddle for your kitchen. We've even included a few specific griddle recommendations like our top pick from Lodge, which can also be used for grilling and broiling and is pre-seasoned with vegetable oil to save you time.
Considerations when choosing iron griddles
Cast iron: Most traditional stovetop griddles are made from cast iron, which retains heat better than nearly any other cookware material. Unfortunately, cast-iron griddles take a long time to cool after use, which can sometimes mean burned fingers during clean up. They also require seasoning with oil to create a nonstick cooking surface and are extremely heavy.
Anodized aluminum: This material heats in a hurry and then stays consistently hot. Anodized aluminium griddles are much lighter than cast iron models, but they typically don't last as long, because they can warp with regular use. They usually have a nonstick coating, though.
Nonstick aluminum: You can also find nonstick aluminium griddles that are very budget-friendly. But that's because they aren't as effective at retaining heat or as durable as griddles made from other materials.
Classic cast-iron griddles are extremely heavy, so they're more difficult to move around the kitchen, particularly if you have joint pain or a hand injury. The added weight makes a cast iron griddle incredibly durable, though -- they can often last for 20 years or more.
If you need a lighter weight option, an anodized aluminum griddle is a good choice. It's not as heavy as cast iron, but it's thicker and more durable than regular aluminum.
When you're moving your iron griddle, you want comfortable, easy-to-grab handles to hold. While cast-iron handles are incredibly durable, they stay hot for a long time after you take the griddle off the stove, so you may burn yourself if you're not careful. Other metal handles can also stay hot, so you're better off with a griddle that features heat-resistant handles to protect your hands from accidental burns.
Some iron griddles have an edge along the cooking surface that's designed to catch any grease or fat that cooks off of your food. These grease wells not only keep your food from getting too greasy, but they also prevent the grease from dripping onto your stovetop and possibly causing a fire.
You can also find some iron griddles with a pour spout for getting rid of excess grease or cooking liquid. The spout allows you to pour the liquid in a targeted stream instead of worrying about it splashing all over your kitchen.
You'll usually pay between $20 and $100 for an iron griddle. An aluminum or anodized aluminum griddle usually costs between $20 and $35, while cast iron models typically range from $30 to $100.
Q. What foods can I make with an iron griddle?
A. You can use a griddle to prepare breakfast foods like eggs, bacon, pancakes, french toast, and hash browns, but it also works well for burgers, grilled cheese, and other hot sandwiches. You can even grill steak and chicken on your griddle.
Q. Do I need to use butter or oil on my griddle if it's been properly seasoned?
A. While a seasoned iron griddle should have a nonstick surface, it's still a good idea to add some butter, oil, or nonstick cooking spray to the surface before adding your food. Not only does it ensure that your food doesn't get stuck to the griddle and make clean up easier, but adding butter or oil also adds flavor to your food and helps give it a crispier exterior.
Iron griddles we recommend
Best of the best: Lodge's Pro-Grid Reversible Grill/Griddle
Our take: An outstanding, versatile griddle that offers superior heat retention and distribution, making it the best option on the market.
What we like: Pre-seasoned so you can use it right out of the box. Offers a very generous cooking surface that's large enough for pancakes and more. Reversible design offers a grill side. Features two easy-grip handles that can also be used to hang the griddle for storage.
What we dislike: Can be a pain to clean and handle when it's hot.
Best bang for your buck: Lodge's LDP3 Reversible Grill/Griddle
Our take: A more compact griddle that's still well-designed and constructed while coming in at an attractive price point.
What we like: A budget-friendly option from a trusted brand in cast-iron cookware. Boasts many similar features as more expensive griddles, including a pre-seasoned cooking surface and a reversible design. Ideal for camping.
What we dislike: Sides aren't tall enough to keep grease from dripping over the edge. Some buyers have an issue with uneven griddles.
Choice 3: Camp Chef's Cast-Iron Grill/Griddle
Our take: Features one of the largest cooking surfaces amongst iron griddles, though it's heavier and pricier than other models, too.
What we like: Provides enough cooking area to cook for large groups. Reversible design offers a grill side, too. Pre-seasoning allows you to use the griddle right away. Molded handles provide a good grip when you're moving it.
What we dislike: A very heavy griddle option that can be difficult to move. More expensive than other models.
Jennifer Blair is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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