Stovetop Griddles

Published June 1, 2008. From Cook's Country.

Which models can take the heat?

Overview:

Nonstick skillets are perfect for smaller breakfasts, but if you need to feed a crowd (and feed them quickly), a griddle that can span two burners is the way to go. Setting goals of perfectly crisp bacon and golden-brown pancakes every time, we gathered eight models priced under $100 and headed to the stove.

The capabilities of each griddle soon became clear, with the results for both bacon and pancakes nothing short of extreme: raw to incinerated. Only two models provided consistent, even heat across the entire griddle, with no hot spots, producing golden pancakes and crispy bacon. Why did the other models produce such extreme results?

Heat distribution was the important factor. Anodized aluminum griddles heated the most quickly and evenly over the entire surface of the griddle, which translated into more evenly cooked food. Griddles made from cast iron started slowly, but then rapidly became uncontrollably hot (reaching well over 500 degrees), causing food to burn severely. Griddles made from ceramic or cast aluminum were less… read more

Nonstick skillets are perfect for smaller breakfasts, but if you need to feed a crowd (and feed them quickly), a griddle that can span two burners is the way to go. Setting goals of perfectly crisp bacon and golden-brown pancakes every time, we gathered eight models priced under $100 and headed to the stove.

The capabilities of each griddle soon became clear, with the results for both bacon and pancakes nothing short of extreme: raw to incinerated. Only two models provided consistent, even heat across the entire griddle, with no hot spots, producing golden pancakes and crispy bacon. Why did the other models produce such extreme results?

Heat distribution was the important factor. Anodized aluminum griddles heated the most quickly and evenly over the entire surface of the griddle, which translated into more evenly cooked food. Griddles made from cast iron started slowly, but then rapidly became uncontrollably hot (reaching well over 500 degrees), causing food to burn severely. Griddles made from ceramic or cast aluminum were less able to maintain a consistent heat level and produced unevenly cooked food. Lighter griddles made from anodized aluminum had the fastest cool-down time, and heavy pans made from cast iron were the slowest.

We also found other features that separated the pack. Handles matter—a lot! Flat handles made it hard to move the griddles on and off the stove and took longer to cool down. Metal handles became too hot to hold after just a few minutes of cooking. Overall, we prefer heat-resistant loop handles that remained cool throughout cooking.

Other important features included weight —griddles ranged in weight from 3 to 14 pounds, and testers found the lighter models much easier to handle. We had also assumed that a grease well would help drain off bacon fat, but we found that most grease wells were too shallow, and on one model grease overflowed, causing a dangerous fire. Finally, models with pour spouts won extra points, as did those with nonstick coatings.

Methodology:

We tested 8 stovetop griddles and evaluated them according to the criteria listed below:

PERFORMANCE:

We cooked both pancakes and bacon across the entire surface of the griddle, looking for consistent results for each cake and bacon strip. For a maximum rating, each pancake had to be evenly shaped and uniformly golden-brown and each bacon strip had to crisp quickly and easily, finishing at the same time.

HEAT DISTRIBUTION:

To measure how quickly the heat traveled across the entire griddle surface, we recorded temperatures at 1-, 3-, and 5-minute intervals at three different spots on every griddle, with only one burner set to medium. We also measured the time it took griddles to cool down to 100 degrees (cool enough to handle).

HANDLE HEAT RESISTANCE:

We asked testers whether they could comfortably hold the handles, without protection, during the entire cooking period.

DESIGN:

Models with certain design features were rated more highly: The griddle should be light enough to easily handle; Grease wells should be deep enough not to overflow; Pour spouts needed to work efficiently; The griddle had a nonstick coating.

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  • Product Tested

    Results Key:

    Good ★ ★ ★ Fair ★ ★ Poor
  • Prices are subject to change.
  • Recommended - Winner

    Anolon Advanced Double Burner Griddle

    Comments: This griddle cooked up golden-brown pancakes every time. Bacon crisped quickly, and a convenient pour spout made grease disposal easy. Light construction makes this griddle cool down quickly (only 14 minutes) and easy to wash—convenient enough for everyday use.

    • Bacon ★★
    • Pancakes ★★★
    • Heat Distribution ★★★
    • Handle Heat Resistance ★★★

    $68.99

    BUY NOW Amazon
  • Recommended

    All-Clad LTD Grande Griddle

    Pancakes were golden brown, but trying to fit six large ones on the surface was a challenge—as the batter spread into the well, the round pancakes warped into odd shapes. The bacon was crisp, and most of the fat ended up in the large well, making the strips less greasy.

    • Bacon ★★★
    • Pancakes ★★
    • Heat Distribution ★★★
    • Handle Heat Resistance ★★

    $99.95

    BUY NOW Amazon
  • Recommended with Reservations

    Kitchen Essentials from Calphalon Pro Series Double Griddle

    This griddle had the greatest width, letting us use a large spatula to flip the pancakes. While the bacon cooked right over the burners crisped in a short time, strips in the middle of the pan took a few extra minutes—a minor flaw.

    • Bacon ★★
    • Pancakes ★★
    • Heat Distribution ★★
    • Handle Heat Resistance ★★

    $59.99

  • Recommended with Reservations

    Circulon 2 Double Burner Griddle

    The circular ridges on the griddle surface kept food from sticking, but tasters weren’t crazy about the ringed pattern these ridges imprinted on the pancakes. The bacon, which did not pick up the circular marks, crisped quickly and evenly.

    • Bacon ★★
    • Pancakes ★★
    • Heat Distribution
    • Handle Heat Resistance ★★★

    $49.99

  • Recommended with Reservations

    KitchenAid Gourmet Essentials Double Burner Griddle

    This griddle cooked pancakes pretty evenly, but bacon didn’t fare as well. Slices arranged across its narrow 7.25-inch width hung over the edges and didn’t crisp properly. The bacon began smoking after 3 minutes, which did not happen on the other griddles.

    • Bacon
    • Pancakes ★★★
    • Heat Distribution
    • Handle Heat Resistance ★★★

    $39.99

  • Not Recommended

    NordicWare Pro Cast Flat-Top Reversible Grill/Griddle

    The lack of lip and slippery surface made flipping pancakes almost impossible, with most of them sliding off the griddle. The bacon cooked more easily, but the prospect of cleanup scared off testers, who, given the lack of handles, feared that hot grease would splash onto their hands when they tried to pour it off.

    • Bacon ★★
    • Pancakes
    • Heat Distribution ★★

    $53.85

  • Not Recommended

    Lodge Reversible Pro Grid Iron Griddle

    This griddle is a challenge to maneuver, clean, and store. Controlling the heat was difficult, with both pancakes and bacon scorching within seconds—even with the burner on medium-low. With a 35-minute cool-down time, this 14-pound griddle is a beast.

    • Bacon
    • Pancakes
    • Heat Distribution ★★
    • Handle Heat Resistance

    $42.99

  • Not Recommended

    Kitchen Essentials from Calphalon Cast Iron Reversible Griddle

    This griddle should come with a warning to keep a fire extinguisher close by. So small that it barely covered both burners, it also has flat handles that let flames from the stove reach the surface of the griddle, igniting a small grease fire. Only four pancakes fit at once, and batter spilled into the hard-to-clean well.

    • Bacon
    • Pancakes
    • Heat Distribution ★★
    • Handle Heat Resistance

    $39.99

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