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Stovetop Griddles

Published July 2019

How we tested

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.

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.

Methodology

We tested eight stovetop griddles, priced from about $44 to about $230, using them at different heat levels to cook pancakes, eggs over easy, and pub burgers. We then evaluated the models on performance, ease of use, cleanup and maintenance, and durability. All models were purchased online and appear in order of preference.

RATING CRITERIA

Performance: We evaluated how evenly the griddles cooked pancakes and eggs and how well they seared burgers.

Ease of Use: We evaluated how easy it was to lift the griddles, to maneuver different foods and utensils within the griddles while cooking, and to avoid flare-ups. We also rated how quickly the griddles heated up and cooled down and how large the cooking surfaces of the griddles were.

Cleanup/Maintenance: We evaluated how easy the griddles were to clean and how much maintenance was required after use.

Durability: We evaluated how well the griddles withstood damage.

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The Results

Winner
Recommended

Design Trifecta 360 Knife Block

Admittedly expensive, this handsome block certainly seemed to live up to its billing as “the last knife block you ever have to buy.” The heaviest model in our testing, this block was ultrastable, and its durable bamboo exterior was a breeze to clean. Well-placed medium-strength magnets made it easy to attach all our knives, and a rotating base gave us quick access to them. One tiny quibble: The blade of our 12-inch slicing knife stuck out a little.

$248.64*
Recommended

Schmidt Brothers Downtown Block

This roomy block completely sheathed our entire winning knife set using just one of its two sides—and quite securely, thanks to long, medium-strength magnet bars. Heavy, with a grippy base, this block was very stable. An acrylic guard made this model extra-safe but also made it a little trickier to insert knives and to clean; the wood block itself showed some minor cosmetic scratching during use.

$141.90*

Schmidt Brothers Midtown Block

This smaller version of the Downtown Block secured all our knives nicely, though the blade of the slicing knife stuck out a bit. With a base lined with grippy material, this block was very stable. An acrylic guard afforded extra protection against contact with blades but made it a little harder to insert knives and to clean; the wood itself got a little scratched during use.

$67.99*
Recommended with Reservations

Swissmar Bamboo Magnetic Knife Block

This small, scratch-resistant model had a stable, rubber-lined base and could hold all our knives, though the blade of the 12-inch slicing knife stuck out a bit. But inch-long gaps between its small magnets made coverage uneven and forced us to find the magnetic hot spots in order to secure the knives. Its acrylic guard made it safer to use but harder to insert knives and to clean.

$49.93*
Not Recommended

Messermeister Walnut Magnet Block

This handsome block was done in by its shape—a tippy, top-heavy quarter-circle that wasn’t tall or broad enough to keep the blades of three knives from poking out. It lacked a nonslip base, and its extra-strong magnets made it unnerving to attach or remove our heavy cleaver. Finally, it got a bit scratched after extensive use.

$129.95*

Epicurean Standing Knife Rack 12"

This magnetic block sheathed all our knives completely, though with a bit of crowding. But it was hard to insert each knife without hitting the block’s decorative slats on way down, and because the block was light and narrow, it wobbled when bumped. Worse, we couldn’t take it apart, so splatters that hit the interior were there to stay. Additionally, the outside stained easily, and when we wiped it down, the unit smelled like wet dog.

$99.95*

Kapoosh Rondelle Knife Block

This model stabilized knives with a mass of stiff, spaghetti-like bristles that shed and nicked easily after extensive use, covering our knives with plastic debris. While all our knives fit securely, several of the blades stuck out, making this unit feel less safe overall. Finally, though the bristles could be removed and cleaned in the dishwasher, their nooks and crannies made this block hard to wash by hand.

$24.99*

Kuhn Rikon Vision Knife Block, Clear

This plastic block required us to aim each knife into the folds of an accordion-pleated insert that was removable for easy cleaning but got nicked easily with repeated use. Because we could only insert the knives vertically, longer knife blades stuck out; a cleaver was too wide to fit. The lightest model in our lineup, this block was dangerously top-heavy when loaded with knives.

$35.88*