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Testing Stovetop Griddles

By Miye Bromberg Published

Stovetop griddles make brunch a cinch. Which model is best?

Update, August 2021

Our previous winning stovetop griddle, the Calphalon Classic Nonstick Double Griddle Pan, was recently discontinued, so we tested a promising alternative. We now have a new winner: the Cuisinart Chef’s Classic Nonstick Hard Anodized Double Burner Griddle. We love its large, upright handles; spacious cooking surface; and raised edges. It also scrubbed clean easily and came through our durability tests unscathed.

When we’re cooking for a crowd, we love using our favorite electric griddle, the BroilKing Professional Griddle with Backsplash

But it’s quite large, making it a less appealing option for cooks with limited storage or counter space. Stovetop griddles are more compact and easy to store and still give you the extra cooking surface you need to make lots of pancakes, eggs, bacon, grilled cheese, and even steaks or burgers on top of your range in relatively few batches. Since we last reviewed these griddles, our winner and several other models were redesigned or discontinued. So we put eight new models, priced from about $44 to about $230, to the test, using them to cook pancakes, eggs over easy, and big pub burgers. For this review, we chose models designed to straddle two burners, since single-burner griddles don’t offer much of a size advantage over our favorite skillets.

All the griddles performed well during testing, browning pancakes evenly, cooking eggs consistently, and searing the burgers respectably. But a few factors made some models more durable and easier to use, clean, and maintain than others.

Dimensions Matter

Not surprisingly, since we use these griddles to cook large batches of food, we liked models that gave us as much space as possible to cook on, preferring those that had a usable surface area of at least 160 square inches. More specifically, we preferred griddles with cooking surfaces that were fairly wide. Models less than 9.25 inches wide were a bit too narrow, requiring us to stagger and squeeze in just six pancakes at a time instead of the eight we could make on wider griddles.

Associate editor Miye Bromberg makes pancakes on a stovetop griddle.

Models with Walls Limit Flare-Ups

Many of the models had walls on their sides that rose up at least an inch above the cooking surface. While these walls occasionally got in the way when we flipped pancakes or eggs, they proved their value when we seared burgers, helping contain any grease that was released. Griddles with no walls allowed that grease to spatter or flow over their edges—even when the models had dedicated grease troughs—causing dangerous flare-ups as the fat hit the flame.

As a result, we much preferred models with walls. Although those walls didn’t entirely prevent flare-ups, they significantly decreased their frequency. The higher the walls, the better the protection; a height of 1 inch or more was best.

We Prefer Discrete Metal Handles

We also liked griddles with handles that extended up and out from the cooking surface; they were easier to grab and lift than griddles with flat handles that were simply cut out of the base. The handles of one griddle were coated with silicone, which melted a little during a flare-up; as a result, we concluded that uncoated metal was best.

Consider the Type of Metal

The type of metal from which the griddles were made was important. Most of the griddles in our lineup were made from either hard-anodized or cast aluminum, usually with a nonstick coating on the interior. Aluminum conducts heat very well, so it takes relatively little time for the cooking surface to come up to temperature—between 1½ and 3 minutes to reach 350 degrees on medium heat, depending on the thickness of the griddle. By contrast, models made from less-conductive carbon steel and cast iron took a bit longer—between 3½ and 6 minutes. Because they retain that heat so much better than the aluminum models, the carbon-steel and cast-iron models did a beautiful job of searing the burgers, forming thicker, more deeply browned crusts than those made on the other models. That heat retention has a downside, though; it took 16 to 24 minutes for these models to cool down enough for us to move them off the stovetop and clean them, compared to just 7 to 14 minutes for the aluminum models. While you might not get quite as thick a crust on an aluminum griddle, you can still get a respectable sear without having to wait as long for the griddle to heat up or cool down.

The carbon-steel and cast-iron griddles had a few other issues. They are noticeably heavier than aluminum models of comparable size; weighing between 8 and 14 pounds, they were cumbersome to lift. The aluminum models weighed just 3 to 6 pounds, making them much more maneuverable. Traditional carbon steel and cast iron also require more care in order to maintain and develop the seasoning that makes them nonstick; while the models we tested came preseasoned, they weren’t totally nonstick at first, so sometimes eggs and burgers stuck to their surfaces, requiring extra scrubbing and consequently extra maintenance to touch up their seasoning. The aluminum models were slick and nonstick from the start and stayed that way, requiring no maintenance and proving a breeze to clean.

In theory, cast iron and carbon steel are more durable than aluminum. But although the two cast-iron models were, in fact, seemingly impervious to damage, the carbon-steel model warped. We saw no such issues with any of the aluminum models, and no model of any material was damaged when we scratched the surface of each with a metal spatula 25 times. There are two caveats to using hard-anodized aluminum models. One is that because they’re made of aluminum, they won’t work on induction cooktops. In addition, you may want to exercise caution when using them over high heat, as certain models have nonstick coatings that contain polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), which can break down and release toxic fumes at high temperatures.

The Best Stovetop Griddle: Calphalon Classic Nonstick Double Griddle Pan

In the end, our favorite stovetop griddle is the Calphalon Classic Nonstick Double Griddle Pan. A rimmed, nonstick hard-anodized aluminum model weighing just over 3 pounds, it heats up and cools down quickly and is easy to pick up, thanks to metal handles that extend up from the griddle. Although it doesn’t sear meat as deeply as cast-iron or carbon-steel models do, it still browned the burgers very nicely and cooked other foods evenly. It has one of the largest usable griddle surfaces, providing a spacious, flat 177 square inches on which to cook.

Equipment Review The Best Stovetop Griddles

Stovetop griddles make brunch a cinch. Which model is best?

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16 days

Absolutely the best chicken ever, even the breast meat was moist! It's the only way I'll cook a whole chicken again. Simple, easy, quick, no mess - perfect every time. I've used both stainless steel and cast iron pans. great and easy technique for “roasted” chicken. I will say there were no pan juices, just fat in the skillet. Will add to the recipe rotation. Good for family and company dinners too. I've done this using a rimmed sheet pan instead of a skillet and put veggies and potatoes around the chicken for a one-pan meal. Broccoli gets nicely browned and yummy!

Absolutely the best chicken ever, even the breast meat was moist! It's the only way I'll cook a whole chicken again. Simple, easy, quick, no mess - perfect every time. I've used both stainless steel and cast iron pans. great and easy technique for “roasted” chicken. I will say there were no pan juices, just fat in the skillet. Will add to the recipe rotation. Good for family and company dinners too.

9 days

Amazed this recipe works out as well as it does. Would not have thought that the amount of time under the broiler would have produced a very juicy and favorable chicken with a very crispy crust. Used my 12" Lodge Cast Iron skillet (which can withstand 1000 degree temps to respond to those who wondered if it would work) and it turned out great. A "make again" as my family rates things. This is a great recipe, and I will definitely make it again. My butcher gladly butterflied the chicken for me, therefore I found it to be a fast and easy prep. I used my cast iron skillet- marvellous!

11 days

John, wasn't it just amazing chicken? So much better than your typical oven baked chicken and on par if not better than gas or even charcoal grilled. It gets that smokey charcoal tasted and overnight koshering definitely helps, something I do when time permits. First-time I've pierced a whole chicken minus the times I make jerk chicken on the grill. Yup, the cast iron was not an issue.