Before you buy a griddle pan, read our review. We tested them for flash-cooking steak, fish and veg over a high heat to get the desired charred finish.
GreenPan Venice Pro ceramic non-stick round grill pan, 28cm
It’s not easy to pass our ‘halloumi test’ and if you’re a fan of the squeaky cheese, we’d suggest shunning cast iron in favour of a non-stick pan like the Venice Pro, the best of this specific variety that we tested. Usually a notoriously adherent cheese, the halloumi flipped like a dream and pan cleaning couldn’t have been easier. GreenPan have the added bonus of good eco and health credentials, avoiding toxic materials in the production of their pans. (£44) Available from John Lewis.
Typhoon folding handle square cast-iron chargriller, 24cm
If you’re short on room or want a griddle pan that can be tucked away for occasional use then there’s no better choice than this chargriller from Typhoon. The straight sides and folding handle pack away neatly. Not only that, but you get all the benefits of cast iron, with great heat retention and well defined griddle marks at a very reasonable price. It’s oven safe and suitable for all hob types. (£22) Available from Amazon.
Best... investment buy
Le Creuset are known for their classic, hardwearing designs which often come in a range of beautiful colours. This heavy-duty pan in latest hue ‘marine’ won't disappoint as it heats up quickly and produces impressive restaurant-finish griddle marks. We loved the versatility of being able to transfer the pan from barbecue to oven to keep warm. It’s also dishwasher safe, suitable for all hob types and comes with a lifetime guarantee. Built to last! (£110) Available from Le Creuset.
Best... large capacity
Valira platinum induction griddle pan, 28cm
At first sight this looks like a regular big pan, but we found it opened up a variety of cooking options. The 28cm square, straight-sided design maximises on cooking surface area. Laying out sliced vegetables, cooking steaks for a family or friends or creating a griddled meal of meat and veg for one, showed this to be a practical choice. Other brands offered similar capacity but this one pipped them on price. (£54.99) Available from Lakeland.
Best… lightweight design
Denby hard anodised square grill pan, 24cm
Appreciated by lovers of traditional design, Denby is now also one to watch for modern cookware. Most of the griddle pans we tested were varying degrees of heavy, but this hard anodised pan proved to be lightweight and easy to handle while still producing wide, visible griddle marks. For this reason, we could easily see this becoming an everyday go-to pan. This is the only pan we chose that isn’t suitable for induction. (£65) Available from Denby.
Our guide to cooking the perfect steak is one of the most popular on the Good Food site and the fact that it’s visited by over a million people a year would suggest cooking a slab of beef is something you take seriously. Rightly so! The thing about steak is that everyone has a just-so idea of how they like it served, from what shade of pink is most acceptable, to whether Béarnaise sauce beats peppercorn. But aside from quality of meat, the most crucial element of creating a perfectly cooked steak is having access to a searingly-hot pan – and that's where the stovetop griddle comes in...
While a good non-stick frying pan should heat to an adequate level for flash cooking, a ridged griddle pan has the edge (quite literally) and it can be used for plenty of other ingredients aside from steak. A griddle pan's design allows for a chargrilled finish complete with darkened, seared stripes and juicy, speedily cooked meat, fish or veg that’s not suffered any flavour-sapping, lengthy cooking. This is thanks to a griddle’s weight – its heavy base conducts heat quickly and retains it efficiently – plus the beamed surface raises the ingredient from the base so it doesn’t steam in its own liquid. Some griddles are designed so that the space between ridges act as channels for rendered liquids that then spill down to a little moat that runs around the edge of the pan.
What should I buy?
Choose the size of pan according to the number of people you generally cook for, but if you can’t find one large enough to feed a family of five in one go, remember meat needs resting anyway, so pop it in the oven while you sizzle the rest. Weight is more or less a personal preference, but heavy-duty griddles may be more durable than those with a thin base, as repeated use can cause metal to buckle, plus big cast-iron pans can usually withstand way more knocks, bumps and scrapes.
What we looked for:
Heat conduction: A pan that gets super hot, super quickly.
Heat retention: A pan that doesn’t lose any of its heat during cooking.
Non-stickability: While it's important to oil your ingredients well to avoid them sticking, regardless of your pan, some griddles have better non-stick coatings than others. As well as steak, we tested halloumi cheese, which has a pesky habit of latching to pans like a limpet, making it a good gauge for a pan’s non-stick credentials.
Grade of ridge: To get the perfect striped finish on your food, ridges should be high and sharply defined, so slightly pointed instead of rounded.
Drainage: We looked for additional drainage channels, such as sloped sides or moats.
Weight: Not everyone has the wrist strength to haul around super-heavy griddles, so we looked for a range of pans, including lightweight versions that worked just as effectively as their heftier counterparts.
- Our method of testing included using steak, halloumi, aubergine, tuna steak and courgettes within each pan.
- We tested 12 pans in total.
Tips for griddling...
Our senior food editor, Barney Desmazery, gave us some top tips for using your griddle pan...
- The golden rule of griddling is to oil the food, not the pan. There's no point in adding oil to the pan as it'll drain away between the ridges.
- To clean non-stick griddles, leave them to cool then wash in soapy water – don't use anything too abrasive.
- Avoid griddling anythig with a thick, paste-like marinade as it'll just stick to the pan and burn. Oil or citrus-based marinades are fine, just drain them first.
- The key to stopping food from sticking to cast-iron griddle pans is to make sure they are well-marked before trying to lift them or turn them. The ‘char’ marks form a layer between the pan and food that will mean it should come away from the pan easily. To get a criss-cross pattern, turn your food 90 degrees once initially marked and to get a diamond pattern turn it about 50 degrees.
- A lot of griddle pans are ovenproof, which is really useful if you're cooking things like thick pork chops. Make sure the pan is really hot when you place it in the oven so it carries on marking the food while it roasts.
For more product picks, visit our reviews section.
This review was last updated in October 2017. If you have any questions, suggestions for future reviews or spot anything that has changed in price or availability please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do you own a griddle pan? We’d love to hear about your favourite models and why you love them so much…