Are you looking for the best electric griddle for your kitchen? Finding the right electric griddle that fits your needs and budget is head spinning and real tough job. But don’t you worry; we are here to help you choose the best one for you. You just need to go through the information in this electric griddle buyer’s guide quite thoroughly and you will be an expert in electric griddles.
What is Griddle?
A griddle is a cooking appliance with large and flat surface. It is generally made out of cast iron, aluminum or steel and the surface is heated by gas, electricity, wood or coal. Griddles are used for both residential and commercial purposes. Usually the modern griddles have not-sticky surfaces. Most of the residential and commercial griddles use flame or electricity directly or indirectly for heating.
Traditionally, griddles are used to cook flatbreads like tortilla, crepes, pancakes and oatcakes. In modern days griddles are mostly used to breakfast stuffs like pancakes, French toast, bacon, scrambled eggs and more. Griddles are becoming more and more famous for commercial and even household purposes. They make the cooking easier and efficient with their large areas than the regular pots and pans. Also, griddles are more convenient as you do not need to get several pans dirty and make your kitchen a big mess.
In broader terms, griddles can be categorized as traditional griddles and modern griddles. Modern griddles can be further categorized as residential and commercial based on their uses.
- Traditional griddles are generally made from stone or clay and metal like aluminum, steel and cast iron. They are mostly placed over fire for cooking.
- Residential griddles can be made of cast or wrought iron, aluminum or carbon steel, mostly with non-stick coatings and rectangular in shape. They are portable and commonly use gas or electricity as the source of energy.
- Commercial griddles are the larger griddles that are freestanding countertop, mostly used in restaurants. Main components are plate, heat source and temperature control. They are generally made of cast-iron or aluminum and have ‘splashes’, vertical metal shields.
Types of Griddles on the basis of the heat source
Modern griddles in our kitchen are mostly made of aluminum and can be set on the kitchen’s countertop. Such griddles use either gas-fired flame or the electricity for the heating purpose.
Gas griddles are the most famous in the commercial sector because of the ample availability of natural and propane gas. Also they are preferred for their brisk heat-up and consistent temperatures, which are very essential for the commercial cooking. Normal gas griddles use 25,000–30,000 BTU (1 BTU = 1055 joules) per linear foot.
Electric griddles are more famous as a kitchen appliance at a household level. They are made of thinner plate material than the gas griddles and they have built-in heating element. People are choosing electric griddles over common stovetop pans because griddles have more surface area, heat evenly and full temperature control. Heating elements in the electric griddles are usually 4-5 kilowatt per linear foot.
Little more on Electric Griddles
You can never have pots and pans more efficient than a griddle if you are about to cook for a gathering. Griddles with in-built heating element and use electricity as heat source are called Electric Griddles. Electric griddles are roomy, easy to handle, heat quickly and evenly, and can be cleaned up easily.
More and more people are buying the electric griddles for many various reasons. The large surface area it provides is the biggest plus point over the usual stovetop pans. And they are portable, if you have access to the electricity, you can simply use it just anywhere. They are simple and easy to use and great for cooking larger amount of delicious food in a jiffy.
Electric griddles are just awesome for breakfast foods like pancakes, French toasts, eggs, bacon, and many more. The flat and large surface area of the griddles makes tossing and turning of the breakfast foods much easier and cooking for whole family a snap. Since most electric griddles have nonstick surface, cleaning process after cooking is lot easier.
Most griddles are made of stainless steel and aluminum and some with hard plastic as well. Some griddles have dual controls so that one side can be heated while the other side is not in use. This is handy when you are cooking two different items at the same time. They are constructed in a way that they are light enough to be moved from one place to another.
Different types of Electric Griddles
You can find electric griddles in various styles and designs. There are basically 3 types of electric griddles available in the market. You can choose the particular one that is best suited for your interests.
This is the traditional model of electric griddle that has flat and smooth surface. It is larger than your regular kitchen pans giving you opportunity to cook many items at one time. Also the heating is uniform across the surface, which makes the cooking much easier. You can cook items like grilled sandwiches, eggs, pancakes, grilled cheese and many more.
Griddle & Grill Combo
This type of griddle has the grill insert providing you more cooking options. You can easily and happily do the outdoor cooking inside your kitchen. The grill insert makes cooking of burgers, hot dogs and any other item that needs grill possible. You don’t need charcoal or propane like a traditional grill. Also, these grill inserts have ridges that lets you get the grill marks like the traditional grill.
These are the griddles that offer more than just one function. Besides the functions of griddle and grill combo, the multi-purpose griddles can work as a Panini press or a closed grill. They have interchangeable plates and offers great variation in cooking options.
Some benefits of an Electric Griddle
Nothing becomes favourited without any advantage. There are many benefits of electric griddle and that is why people love it. Here are some benefits that electric griddles provide making them a must-have appliance in the modern kitchen:
Large surface area
As mentioned earlier, griddles offer larger surface area than the regular pots and pans. Larger area means the possibility of cooking so many foods at the same time and in one appliance. For example, you can cook 2-3 tortillas at one time. This saves you from dirtying many pans and your time.
Flat surface area
The completely flat surface makes the tossing and turning of your foods much easier. You can move around your spatula more freely flipping foods.
Electric griddle heats up uniformly across the area and provides the equal heating throughout the cooking process. Stovetop griddle does not provide this. Also the temperature control and adjustment is lot easier in electric griddles.
Stove is free
Electric griddle can be set on your kitchen countertop without any hassle. You can place it in once corner and plug it in and cook things. This will free up your stove (regular gas stove) and you can cook multiple things at the same time. This way makes the preparation of big meal real easy.
Meals get healthier
Nonstick surfaces allow you to use little or no grease at all. That means your food gets healthier with lesser amount of fat. And when you make the huge batches of greasy foods, there sure will be the extra grease on the griddle. But it’s not a big deal. There is usually a well type part around the griddle where the extra grease trickles off and gets collected in it.
Keeps food warm
Some electric griddles have some space underneath it that gets warm while the griddle is being used. This lets you place your dishes in a handy warming tray underneath the griddle. When you are still cooking, your already-cooked food will still be warm.
Electric griddle is the best kitchen appliance, if you are planning to cook a full breakfast for your family. As mentioned earlier, the large and flat surface area let you cook all your breakfast food at once. You don’t need to cook each item turn by turn or use many pans at once in an attempt to prepare all at once.
Cleaning up after large meals is always a hefty job. Cooking with the electric griddle makes the cleanup process lot easier. You won’t mind cooking big meals more often. Instead of dozen pans, you would be cleaning just one griddle. The food won’t stick (thanks to nonstick surface) and you can submerge whole griddle into water after removing the heat controls. Damp rag or sponge is enough to clean the metal or the plastic frame.
Easy & Appealing designs
Electric griddles are so simple and easy to use and that makes them a great choice for those who don’t cook much. The heating system of the electric griddles is just so fast and you can control the heat turning the dial from low to high suiting your preferences. They come in great designs: stainless steel to black, flat or ridged surfaces.
General Features of Electric Griddles
There are many companies manufacturing electric griddles of various styles and designs. The major ones are: Presto, Hamilton Beach, Oster, Broil King and Black & Decker. They are famous brands and they always give the best products. You can decide one for you after checking the features, size and price of each one.
Here are the general features of electric griddles:
There are both small and large sized electric griddles available in the market. Small can serve 2-3 people easily while the larger ones can be essential cooking for large family. If you have larger number of people that you should cook for then small griddles are of no use to you. Make sure you have enough space or the designated place for larger griddle.
Electric griddles are mostly used for preparing breakfast foods like pancakes and eggs. Thus most of the griddles come with the nonstick surfaces so that such food won’t stick. But the griddles without nonstick surface are also available. But better choice is always with the nonstick surface.
The electric griddles, which come as the combo of griddle and grill, have the grill inserts. This gives you some extra cooking options. Also the grill inserts have the ridges that give your food the grill marks like traditional grill.
Depending on the electric griddle, it may have simple dial of low, medium and high for heat control or an actual temperature like 350 degrees and so on. Having the temperature variety is always handy because all foods cannot be cooked at the same temperature. Make sure to check the manuals for instructions.
Commonly, electric griddles come with single thermostat but few have dual thermostats. That means dual control; you can turn off the heat completely on one side while cooking on the other side. You can also cook at one temperature on one side and different temperature on the other.
Electric griddles have drip trays so that the extra fat/grease while cooking can go and drip off. Some have channels along the edge where the grease goes and then runs into a drip tray. Others have holes allowing the grease to drain right into the tray. Both ways are fine as long as your griddle has a way to dispose extra grease.
Warming trays are not mandatory parts of the electric griddles. But those with one are really handy. You can keep the already-cooked food on the warming tray while cooking the rest. This way you can have hot meals served.
The tilting ability of a griddle is a feature and not the type. Some griddles have tilt design that enables grease to be drained off while cooking meat, without having to unsafely pick up the griddle.
Power cords of electric griddles are usually short to avoid them tangling and to make it more safe. Standard voltage on most electric griddles will be 120V. Try avoiding the use of extension cord but if you must, make sure it’s of the same capacity or more.
The nonstick surface of electric griddles makes the post-cooking cleaning up process real easy and fast. Many electric griddles have removable heat controls, which allow you to soak whole griddle (after removing the heat controls, of course) into soapy water or into the dishwasher. Cleaning after using is necessary for the griddles.
Electric griddles are available in all price ranges; inexpensive to super costly depending on the advanced features. It is possible to find the electric griddle that fits all types of pockets.
Safety measures for Electric Griddles
Electric Griddle is just like any other electrical appliances. Though easy to use, you must be careful while using it. Here are some safety measures that every electric griddle user should take into consideration while using it. Always stay on the safe side.
- Always place your griddle on a dry and level surface that is heat resistant like countertop or island or a solid table. Never make a mistake of using griddle on the floor or on a bed or any soft surface.
- Never forget to place the drip tray in its designated place. Hot grease can cause nasty burns. Make sure drip tray is placed correctly to catch any drippings.
- First plug the power cord onto the griddle and then the wall outlet. Make sure your hands are dry when you do that.
- If you are using a griddle with variable heat settings, refer to the heating charts. These charts are mostly included in the user manual.
- Let the griddle preheat for 5-10 minutes only. After that you can add your food and do the cooking. Always attend the griddle if in use.
- After you are done with the cooking, turn off the heat and unplug it from the wall first. After the griddle is cooled down, unplug the cord from the griddle. Let the dripping tray cool down before dumping it.
- Most of the models of electric griddles have nonstick surface. Hence, you should never use metal spatulas and such on nonstick surface. Also, you need to be more careful while cleaning the griddle. Make sure you don’t get the surface scratched or damaged in any way.
- The surface of the griddle is for food only. Don’t set pots, pans, plates and bowls or any other kind of dishes on the griddle and cook that way.
- Always be careful with the power cord. Don’t let it hang down over the edge of the counter you are cooking on. Always use the power cord that came with the griddle and not other. Do not use power cord that is damaged in any way.
- Children should be kept away from any electric appliances. Make sure they are under supervision while you are cooking on electric griddle.
Cleaning the Electric Griddle
Follow the simple process to clean your electric griddle properly.
- After you are done cooking, remove the food from the griddle and turn off the heat. Unplug the griddle from the wall and let it cool down. Then unplug the power cord from the griddle and remove the heat controls.
- Remove the drip tray after it has cooled down. Soak it in soapy water or rinse with hot water and put it in a dishwasher.
- Clean the entire griddle in hot soapy water thoroughly using a nylon or plastic scrubby. You can put it in a dishwasher if it fits safely.
- Never use abrasive cleaners or the steel wool to clean the griddle as they can scratch and damage the nonstick surface.
- Make sure the power cord and heat controls are always dry. You can wipe the cord off (no plug) with a dry rag.
Are Electric Griddle and Electric Skillet the same?
No. Many people confuse electric skillet with electric griddle. There is no doubt that both make the whole cooking process much easier. They both have number of advantages but there are actually few major differences between them.
|Electric Griddle||Electric Skillet|
|Large and flat surface, flipping and cooking is more easy||Provides flat surface with small walls around and a cover|
|Breakfast foods and grilled food can be prepared||Liquid ingredients can be used while cooking|
|Dial lets you control the heat||The lid gives better control over cooking process|
There is nothing called perfect electric griddle but you can always compare and get the right one for you that suits your needs and budget.