There's a big difference between charring and burning food. Chargrilling enhances an ingredient’s flavour by caramelising its sugars and bringing a smoky taste to every bite. When food is burnt, these sugars carbonise and the taste becomes bitter.


Finding the magic balance between these two states creates a great complexity of flavour. It’s all about those chargrilled lines, so getting the right griddle pan is important.

Some griddle pans have a completely flat surface; these are ideal for when you want to achieve an all-over sear on whatever you're cooking.

We tested some of the best griddle pans available, ranging in price, size, and specs to help you find the right one for your kitchen.

We’d usually recommend brushing your ingredients with a little oil to eliminate any risk of sticking, but we fried some of ours dry to see how well each pan fared in a non-stick test. Read our griddle pan reviews to see what we discovered.

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Best griddle pans at a glance

  • Best griddle pan for fat-free cooking: Zyliss Cook square grill pan, £50
  • Best cast iron grill pan: Le Creuset Signature cast iron Grillit, £98.15
  • Best stainless steel grill pan: M&S stainless steel non-stick grill pan, £32
  • Best cheap grill pan: Tower Cerastone grill pan, £15.19
  • Best flat griddle pan: Hexclad 30cm griddle pan, £145.99

Best griddle pans to buy

Zyliss Cook square grill pan (26cm)


Best griddle pan for fat-free cooking


  • Good non-stick coating
  • No oil or butter needed


  • Ridging too shallow for good drainage

Zyliss has used Rock-Pearl non-stick technology by Ilag on this grill pan, which feels slick and glass-like to the touch. It’s PTFE- and PFOA-free, and food slides off it without any persuasion or oiling.

Although Zyliss says it’s safe to use metal utensils, we’d recommend sticking to wooden or plastic to help prolong the life of your non-stick pans. This one comes with a 10-year guarantee, which is good for peace of mind.

A soft-grip handle makes lifting this pan a breeze, even with damp or wet hands. It’s suitable for all hob types, including induction, and is dishwasher-safe, although you can clean it easily by wiping with warm water.

Available from:

Le Creuset Signature cast iron Grillit


Best cast iron grill pan


  • Versatile
  • Life-long use


  • Expensive

Le Creuset is known for its classic, hard-wearing designs, and the Signature cast iron Grillit is built to last.

Brush lightly with oil before cooking to help build the pan’s non-stick surface. The more you use this griddle, the better its natural patina will become, enhancing its searing capabilities.

Once up to temperature, you can sear meat and veg quickly to lock in flavour and moisture while also achieving those iconic griddle marks. The Grillit is heat resistant up to 250C, making it a versatile option if you’d like a pan you can move from the hob to oven or barbecue.

Being cast iron, this grill pan is a weighty piece of kit, and quite difficult to lift using its short handle alone when full. The additional handle on its far side makes moving the pan far easier.

M&S stainless steel non-stick grill pan (27cm)


Best stainless steel grill pan


  • 25-year guarantee


  • Small surface area for charring

Made of stainless steel, the pan looks stylish, and has a long metal handle that sits comfortably in the hand.

It can withstand heat up to 240C, which is useful if you’re cooking steaks that require time in the oven after being seared in the pan.

Despite its large size, the circular design of the grill lines means there’s quite a lot of drainage space around the pan’s edges. Its ridging produced professional-looking char marks on all the ingredients we tested, so it impressed in terms of performance.

As it's also dishwasher-safe, this grill pan has an additional element of practicality.

Available from:

Tower Cerastone grill pan (24cm)


Best cheap grill pan


  • Good non-stick coating


  • Not suitable for oven or grill use

Tower's grill pan has a Cerastone ceramic coating, which gives it really effective non-stick qualities. The smallest amount of oil or butter will suffice when using this pan for long periods of time, but we chose not to use any and our ingredients could be flipped and moved without any problems.

The pan is limited in that it can’t be used in the oven or under the grill. If you don't mind transferring ingredients to an alternative dish for further cooking in the oven, however, then this pan will result in good charring prior to that. A soft-touch silicone handle makes lifting and moving this pan easy. Plus, as it's small, it’s also lightweight.

Hand-washing will prolong the life of the non-stick, but if convenience is your top priority, this grill pan can be put in the dishwasher. It’s a great one for getting started with grilling.

Hexclad 30cm hybrid griddle pan

hexclad griddle pan

Best flat griddle pan

Star rating: 3.5/5


  • Comfortable handle
  • Versatile
  • Oven-safe


  • Domed, so oil gathers
  • Some sticking

This versatile Hexclad pan feels like a hybrid between a pancake and frying pan. It’s also reminiscent of a Mexican comal. Although it's called a griddle pan, it doesn’t have ridges like a traditional griddle; rather, it’s more like a flat plate.

Like the other Hexclad pans we’ve tested, this model is attractive, sturdy and has a reassuring weight to it. It also comes in a useful storage bag. This pan is oven-, metal utensil- and dishwasher-safe, and has a comfortable handle that remained cool during testing.

The griddle pan needs to be seasoned before use, which was easy to do thanks to the useful instructions. Seasoning did highlight one issue with this pan, however – it’s not as flat as we first believed. Rather, the pan domes in the middle, meaning all the oil gathered around the perimeter, so we had to keep brushing it back into the middle of the pan to ensure the entire surface was seasoned.

Because this pan should only be used at medium temperatures, the courgette slices in our test cooked slower than we’d have liked. Notably, browning was more significant on the slices around the edge of the pan, compared to those in the middle.

We found the same thing happened when we cooked slices of aubergine. Next, we cooked halloumi slices, and despite seasoning the pan before use, there was a great deal of sticking – we found that the pieces of halloumi around the outside of the pan browned and crisped up nicely in the oil, but the pieces in the centre of the pan just dry-fried and didn’t cook at the same rate as the other pieces.

We also cooked a thick steak in the pan, then put it in the oven. We managed to achieve a thick, brown crust on both sides of the steak, which was only enhanced after being in the oven.

For steaks and foods with a large surface area, this pan is a good option, but it struggled with delicate cooking, unfortunately.

Available from:

Hexclad (£134.99)

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Why buy a griddle pan?

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 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, well-cooked meat, fish or veg that still holds plenty of flavour.

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.

How to choose a griddle pan?

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 that 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 more knocks, bumps and scrapes.


How we tested griddle pans

We cooked a range of foods that are commonly griddled: courgette, aubergine and halloumi. We inspected each ingredient for well-defined grill lines and an even cook. We also cooked meat to test the pan's ability to cook larger items.

Heat conduction: a pan that gets super-hot, super-quickly.

Heat retention: one that doesn’t lose any of its heat during cooking.

Non-stick qualities: while it's important to oil your ingredients well to avoid sticking regardless of your pan, some griddles have better non-stick coatings than others. As well as steak, we tested halloumi, which has a pesky habit of sticking to pans, making it a good gauge for non-stick credentials.

Grade of ridge: to get the perfect char marks on your food, ridges should be high and sharply defined.

Drainage: we looked for additional drainage channels, such as sloped sides or moats.

Weight: not everyone has the wrist strength to haul around heavy griddles, so we looked at a range of pans, including lightweight versions that worked just as effectively as their heftier counterparts.

Oven-proof: a grill that can go from hob to oven gives you flexibility in what you can cook in it.

Dishwasher-friendly: purely for convenience, it’s sometimes nice to pop a dirty pan straight into the dishwasher and let the machine do the rest.

Top tips for griddling

Food editor Barney Desmazery gives us his top tips for using your griddle pan:

  • The golden rule of griddling is to oil the food, not the pan. There's no point adding oil to the pan, as it'll drain away between the ridges.
  • To clean non-stick griddles, leave to cool, then hand-wash in soapy water – don't use anything too abrasive.
  • Avoid griddling anything 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 the excess off 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 or turn them. The ‘char’ marks form a layer between the pan and food that should allow the food to come away from the pan easily. To get a criss-crossed pattern, turn your food by 90 degrees once initially marked, and to get a diamond pattern, turn it by 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 charring the food while it roasts.

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