Best Cast Iron Griddle: Which should you buy?

Written by The Kitchen Hand on . Posted in BBQ & Outdoor, Small Appliances

Every seasoned (pun intended) cook knows the importance of having a trusty non-stick cast iron griddle in the kitchen. If you haven’t tried cooking on a cast iron griddle, trust me when I say that it is an unparalleled kitchen equipment. It is versatile, functional, and very durable.

Although it is often associated with breakfast foods like pancakes, omelets, and French toasts, the cast iron griddle can be used to cook so much more. You can sear your steaks on it. You can stir-fry rice and vegetables on the griddle side. You can seal the edges of grilled cheese sandwiches. Or you can use the grill side to cook sausages and more.

To a cooking novice who has only ever cooked on aluminium, ceramic, or steel surfaces, cooking on something made of cast iron may seem intimidating. Who could blame you? You hear so many horror stories about accidentally destroying a thousand-dollar worth cast iron skillet by putting it in a dishwasher.

Yes, caring for a cast iron cooking equipment requires some extra knowledge but the benefits of using one far outweighs the effort of keeping it in good condition.

Benefits of Cooking on Cast Iron Electric Griddles

Iron is known for its high tensile strength. It should hold up to anything that you throw at it. Or throw it at. It is durable against most things except water. It is its kryptonite. Iron easily combines with the oxygen component of water. This results to rusting. Rust on your food may not necessarily kill you, it certainly won’t make your dinner taste better.

This is the reason why cast-iron skillets, pans, and griddles need to be seasoned. All this entails is coating them with a thin layer of vegetable oil or any other neutral fat and heating it in the oven. Some griddles come pre-seasoned while others don’t. It is important to remember to check this before using the griddle for the very first time.

After the first use, you will still need to re-season your griddle’s cooking plate from time to time. The oil is what keeps the iron from reacting with water and oxygen to stop it from rusting.

Cooking on cast-iron also offers health benefits. It infuses a healthy dose of iron into every meal. This is going to help you a lot if you are suffering from iron deficiency. So, besides adding more leafy greens, beans, and meats into your diet, you should also cook food items on a cast-iron griddle. Another health benefit is that you get to consume less oil.

Cast-iron is famous for being non-stick.

A well-seasoned iron cooking surface will not let any meat or vegetable stick onto its surface. The less fat you use on your food, the more healthful the meal becomes. Some people claim that they have lost weight when they started using their cast-iron griddles for preparing all of their meals.

Cast-iron also has incredible heat-retaining qualities. Because it is much denser and thicker than other metals like aluminum or copper, it takes a little longer to heat up, but it retains more thermal energy. This quality makes it perfect for searing steaks, vegetables, seafood, and burger patties to a golden brown.

Even if your ingredients are cold, you will not see much heat loss when you place them on the cooking surface. Heat loss is the number one culprit for soggy food.

With all these qualities, you would expect a cast-iron griddle to cost you an arm and a leg. You would be wrong. They are actually surprisingly affordable. That’s probably less than what you would pay for a meal at a fast-food restaurant. You will be able to replicate these meals once you have the best flat cast iron griddle in your kitchen.

“But I live in an apartment! I can’t have an outdoor griddle. I don’t even have space for a small stand-alone griddle in my kitchen,” you might say. If you can’t spare counter space for even a small portable electric griddle, don’t fret.

You can still grill inside your home with a cast iron stove top griddle. You can use the burners on your stove to heat the cooking plate. Now, let’s help you find one so you can start grilling as soon as possible.

* VonShef Cast Iron Reversible Griddle Plate & Meat/Bacon Press

The first cast iron stove top griddle we tested is manufactured by Vonshef. It is a trademark of Domu Brands Limited. They create everything from money boxes, vacuum cleaners, to cast-iron griddles. “Every kitchen can benefit from the Vonshef touch,” is what they have on their website. Read on to find out if our kitchen did benefit from their touch.

This griddle plate is pretty versatile. It can be placed on top of the stove for frying sausages and sunny side up eggs. You can also use it to toast bread or grill sliced tomatoes.  You can put it in the oven to bake a pizza. You can even fit it on top of the barbeque.

It comes pre-seasoned with vegetable oil, so that saves you a lot of time and effort.

It is also made using traditional cast iron construction method. This means it is not enameled. It is naturally non-stick. Some complaints posted claimed that the Vonshef Griddle plate is not seasoned enough. Eggs and fish tend to break when cooked on its rough surface. You can easily address this by seasoning the griddle again.

Some chefs suggest that even if a griddle comes pre-seasoned, it will still benefit from a few coatings of seasoning. Once you get the griddle plate out of the box, give it a rinse. Yes! Don’t be afraid of water. It will not kill your plate. Heat it on the stove until all the water has evaporated then carefully oil the entire cooking surface.

Blot the oil with paper towels to make sure that the coating is even. Place it in the oven for a few minutes in low heat. Allow it to cool then repeat. After re-seasoning, your food should easily slide off the plate.

The griddle plate measures 18 inches by 10 inches. That’s roughly 180 square inches of cooking surface. It is big enough to serve a group of 5 to 6 hungry people.

If you love entertaining, this is a good option for you.

You can also use it for cooking for a small group and simply switch on one burner. It is quite hefty for a cooking plate though. It weighs 13.15 pounds. As long as you are willing to carry that weight around as you wash the griddle, it shouldn’t be a problem.

The griddle plate offers two options for its cooking surface. One side is smooth and the other is textured. This means you can sear, fry, roast, and bake using one side, then grill on the other. The ridges on the grill side allow the excess oil flow off the meats.

You don’t want your burger patties to boil in its own fat, right? Too bad the smooth, griddle side doesn’t have a channel at the side to catch excess oil.

Another good thing about using the grill side of the plate is it leaves those lovely charred stripes on the food that you are cooking. The sad thing though is that it doesn’t leave the woody, outdoorsy flavor on the food like a traditional grill does.

It can be used on gas, electric, ceramic and induction stoves.

This means you won’t have to buy a new stove just to be able to use the Vonshef griddle plate. However, if you are using a gas stove, it is noticeable that there are hot and cold spots on the cooking surface. Naturally, the one closest to the burners would retain the most heat.

It has two slots on each end that serves as its handles. Be aware that this gets hot particularly if you used the griddle in the oven. Make sure that you always have a thick pot holder handy whenever you handle the griddle to avoid burning your fingers.

Clean-up is not so hard. Given that you cannot wash it in a dishwasher, you can easily wash the griddle plate on the sink using mild dish washing solution. You can scrub the surface with a stiff brush if there are some food stuck on it.

Don’t fret, the more you season your cast-iron griddle, the better the non-stick property becomes. As long as you preheat it, sticking food should stop being a problem after a few uses.

It comes with an 8” by 5” cast iron bacon press. It is also pre-seasoned with natural oils. Once you have placed the bacon strips, steak, or burger patties on the griddle, you rest the bacon press on top of them. It pushes the meat onto the hot cooking surface, flattening its edges. It helps make bacon crispier, steaks cook faster, and prevents oil splatter.

It can also be used to seal the edges of toasted sandwiches, quesadillas, and paninis. The bacon press’s handle locks upright so you can move it around easily while cooking.

You can fold the handle to be able to store it easily. Once you are done cooking, you can wash the press with mild soap and water. It should be allowed to dry completely before storing. It is worth $13.99 if bought separately so it is a good bonus.

It does not have any special features aside from it promising to be very durable. In time, you will be able to break even from purchasing this griddle. You just need to keep using it as often as possible.

Here are the pros and cons to buying a VonShef Black Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Reversible Griddle Plate & Meat/Bacon Press:

Pros:

  • Excellent heat retention
  • Pre-seasoned with natural oil
  • Large cooking surface
  • Plate is reversible: grill on one side, griddle on the other
  • Can be used for all types of stoves
  • Very durable
  • Can be used for cooking over an open flame
  • Comes with a free bacon press

 Cons:

  • More expensive than other cast-iron griddles of the same size
  • Provides uneven heating
  • Side lip can easily cause oil spillage
  • Need to re-season the skillet
  • Not dishwasher-safe
  • Integrated handle can get extremely hot

* Victoria Rectangular Reversible Cast Iron Griddle

The next cast-iron griddle that we will review is made by Victoria. It is a family business that has been around for three generations. Located in Medellin, Colombia, the company has been designing and casting quality cookware since 1939.

They have won numerous awards for their cast iron cookware’s innovative design, product quality, and sustainability. Today we will take a closer look at this medium-sized cast iron reversible griddle.

Just like the Vonshef griddle, this also comes pre-seasoned with 100% Flaxseed oil. It is a natural, easy release seasoning. Some reviews claim that the seasoning base is not thick enough, so food still tend to stick to the surface.

Again, to address this problem, you can just re-season the griddle until you build a nice, even base. Be sure to follow the seasoning instruction on the manual. Improper seasoning techniques will leave you with oily puddles on the cooking surface that can cause it to become sticky.

It is usable in all types of kitchens.

You can cook with it on a gas, electric, or on induction stove. You can bake on it in the oven and grill over charcoal or wood. You can bring it during your next camping trip and cook everything from breakfast to dessert.

You can bake smores cookies on it! It is very versatile. You can use the smooth, griddle side to stir-fry vegetables, make arepas, or fry bacon strips. Then use the other side to grill shrimp and chicken. There is a small lip surrounding the plate so food and oil stays on the plate. You won’t have to worry too much about oil and juices dripping on your stove top.

The cooking surface of this Victoria Rectangular Reversible cast iron griddle is around 95 square inches. It measures 12.5” by 7.6”. It is smaller than your average two burner cast iron griddle. Some users claim that it is too small to cover two burners of an average size gas stove.

This is an issue because you only get to use one burner to heat up the entire griddle. You can use two burners, but you might accidentally singe some arm chairs in the process. You can fit two hamburger patties or six slices of bacon on it at a time. This is perfect if you are cooking for one or two. It could be a stretch for medium size families though.

The small size makes it easy to wash in the sink.

Unlike large griddles that do not fit the kitchen sink, this one easily fits under the faucet. Don’t soak it in water though as it will rust quickly. Just a quick wash and some swipe with a brush to dislodge any food stuck on the surface should do the trick.

It is a myth when it comes to using cast-iron cookware that you cannot use soap on it. You actually need to use some mild detergent to remove any leftover food residue that can stick into the seasoning base. After drying the griddle thoroughly, it can easily be stored in a drawer or in any kitchen shelf. You can also hang the griddle on a hook on your kitchen’s wall.

It tends to run hot. If you don’t moderate the heat well, you might end up with crispy pancakes outside while the inside is still half-raw. It takes a few tries to get used to the heat so be ready to eat a few charred pancakes in the process. While it takes a long time to heat up, it does retain heat longer.

Once your food is almost done, you can switch off the burner and cook the food all the way through using the retained heat from the cast-iron griddle. It will help you save on fuel in the long run, making your meal preparation economical as well.

It has easy-grip, integrated handles. They are wider than most other griddles, so it is easier to grip it with bulky pot holders. Since it is integrated, expect the handle to be as hot as the cooking surface. Do not try to touch it without a holder or you will surely burn your hands.

Numerous reports of the griddle cracking into two while it was being used have been posted online. This is a huge downside to buying the Victoria cast iron griddle because explosive cracking can actually damage glass-topped stoves.

It can break the surface of your induction cooker. The cracking incidence is actually contrary to what cast-iron cookware should be. Cast-iron is known to be durable and hardy. You can actually drop it and not even leave a dent.

It could be because the material that Victoria used isn’t up to standard. If you notice, the griddle weighs significantly less than the other cast-iron griddles of the same size. Another possible cause is people could be heating the plate too fast. Some veteran home cooks advice that you gradually heat your cast-iron cookware.

Preheating it for about ten minutes is ideal. You have to gradually let it cool too. Don’t drop your sizzling hot griddle in cold water right after cooking. You will eventually crack it from the stress.

Now we get to the price. Since it doesn’t come with anything else, is very reasonable. It is the cheapest flat-iron griddle out of the four in this review. But cheapest isn’t always the most reasonable buy.

Here are the pros and cons of buying the Victoria Rectangular Reversible Cast Iron Griddle:

Pros:

  • Solid quality cast iron griddle
  • Very affordable
  • Reversible grill/griddle plate
  • Highly versatile
  • Works with any cooktop
  • Excellent heat retention
  • Sturdy handles with enough space to maneuver
  • Easy to clean

Cons:

  • Some food stick on the surface
  • Requires re-seasoning
  • Not dishwasher-safe
  • Cracks after a few uses

* Bruntmor Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Reversible Grill/Griddle Pan

This two-burner cast iron griddle is made by Bruntmor. It is a trademark of KW trading Corp. Bruntmor is known for manufacturing innovative housewares like flatware, tumblers, glassware, and cast-iron cookware.

Bruntmor boasts that their reversible grill/griddle combo can be used to cook every meal, from breakfast, snacks, to desserts. You can bake, broil, braise, sear, sauté, grill, and fry on this cooking plate.

Just like the others, the cooking plate comes pre-seasoned. You can cook on it as soon as it comes out of the box, or so they say. A lot of people have complained that the cooking plate smells bad. One customer said the coating smelled toxic when she took it out of the box. On top of that, when they tried cooking on the griddle straight out of the box, food stuck on its surface like crazy.

Some either tried to re-season (which only made it sticky) while others opted to start from scratch. What this means is that they scraped off the original seasoning base and applied oil on their own. Seasoning is really key when it comes to cast-iron cookware.

If you do not apply an even base, you will have food sticking on your cooking surface all the time. Again, follow the seasoning instructions on the manual to avoid ruining your cast-iron stove top griddle.

We have to say that it is versatile.

You can use the griddle side to make pizzas and quesadillas. You can also just fry sausages while making omelets. Flip it and you can grill barbecued chicken and shrimps. And, it is oven safe until 500°F. You can use this griddle to bake bread!

The cooking plate is meant to sit on top of two burners. Just like the Victoria griddle, it doesn’t quite cover it enough. This means some heat hits the handle area rather than the cooking area. You can opt to use just one burner to avoid this problem.

Just make sure to preheat the griddle long enough for it to accumulate enough thermal energy. The surface also tends to run too hot. This is particularly problematic if you are trying to make pancakes.

The outside quickly starts getting crispy, but the inside remains half-cooked. The extra hot surface is good for searing though. The heat will sear in the juices of any meat that you are cooking.

While people have no complaints about the grill side of the plate, the griddle side is getting some heat. Literally and figuratively. It is very rough, so it is difficult not to pop an egg if you are frying it “sunny side up”. You’d probably end up having scrambled eggs. Some reviewer fixed this by grinding and polishing the surface then re-seasoning it.

Speaking of heat, since the handle is incorporated, then you must remember that it can get as hot as the entire cooking surface. Do not try to hold it with your bare hands. The slots on the handles are pretty small so it is a little hard to get in there with your fingers. You might as well hold it like a tray when you carry it around using your pot holders.

Another common post about this particular flat cast iron griddle is that it is surprisingly heavy. It weighs 11.96 pounds. With its dimensions being 20” by 10” that doesn’t seem heavy at all. But, remember that it is made of cast-iron, which is supposed to be hefty in the first place. It what makes it durable. Speaking of dimensions, it is something that some people commented on.

They did not expect it to be that small. One thing though, it is a medium sized griddle and is only meant to serve 2 to 3 persons comfortably. It should be big enough to make a couple of grilled cheese sandwiches in one go.

The second thing is, it is the second biggest stovetop griddle of the four that we reviewed here. Which is why it is surprising that this factor came out so much in the reviews.

It is small enough to fit under a faucet, making it easy to clean.

Quickly wash off any food debris and excess grease using mild detergent and a brush then dry it off. If possible, dry it over your burner so you can quickly get rid of any lingering moisture. Remember, cast-iron rusts quickly. Getting rust flakes on your stir-fry is not part of the deal. Its size also makes it easy to store.

You can put it inside a drawer or stand it at the side of a shelf with your other cooking items. You can even put it on top of your refrigerator if you really don’t have the space. Just avoid any place that has a lot of moisture.

If you can install a heavy-duty hook on your wall, you can hang the griddle on it by its handle. Take note that I mentioned heavy-duty. Regular hooks will not be able to hold up this griddle.

The Bruntmor cast-iron pan has a grease trap running all around its sides. This is good because you won’t have to worry about your food sitting in its grease for too long.

The unfortunate thing about it is, since some of the griddles get delivered warped, if you try to cook something liquid, like scrambled eggs, the egg just flows into the grease trap. Plus, it will save you a lot of time during clean up as you won’t have to mop up used oil once you are done cooking on the griddle.

For its size, and lack of bells and whistles, the Bruntmor is a little pricey. There are other bigger griddles that cost less. This, on top of the warping issues may turn off a few people from choosing this as their next griddle.

Pros:

  • Comes pre-seasoned
  • Reversible grill/griddle plate
  • Highly versatile
  • Works with any cooktop
  • Excellent heat retention
  • Easy to clean
  • Good for searing

Cons:

  • The griddle surface is too rough
  • Some food stick on the surface
  • Requires re-seasoning
  • Not dishwasher-safe
  • Some units get delivered warped
  • More expensive than other griddles with the same dimensions

* Lodge Lpgi3 Cast Iron Reversible Grill Griddle

If experience was our only basis for judging cast-iron griddles, this last one will surely win hands-down. It is manufactured by Lodge, which started making high quality cookware in 1896. It is a family business that operates in Tennessee and is known for great craftsmanship.

At first glance, this Lodge lpgi3 Cast iron reversible grill griddle, now more popularly known as the Lodge Pro-Grid Iron Grill and Griddle, is essentially the same as the other three that we have already talked about. It is black. It is rectangular in shape. It has side handles incorporated in the plate. It comes pre-seasoned.

The Lodge seasoning process has many steps to ensure that their griddle maintains an even base coating of oil. It is ready for use right after you take it out of its box. The manufacturer, however, recommends that the surface be slightly coated or sprayed with vegetable oil to ensure that your food doesn’t stick on the surface while cooking.

People are raving about how evenly the cooking plate distributes heat. There is very little difference in the temperature throughout the cooking area, so you can cook on any part of it. Some people, though, who have smaller gas stoves experienced some parts of the cooking plate go beyond the actual stove because it is too long.

It measures 20” by 10.44”. Meaning a good two to three inches of it are not being heated by the burners. Nevertheless, many are still happy about the cooking quality. It is big enough to cook for a small family of 3 but you can always keep on cooking to accommodate a bigger crowd.

It is very durable.

You can drop it (Don’t!) and it won’t break. It is tough enough to be used over a camp fire for making burgers on the fly. Just place it over the burning wood and try to balance it on something stable so you don’t spill your meal. You can use it as a grill or as a griddle.

However, some people claim that it is not a good idea to buy a reversible cooking plate as the side that doesn’t often get used, the side that’s always exposed to the heat, loses its seasoning.

It has two handles that are quite easy to grip with the use of pot holders. You can also use the slots to hang the cast-iron griddle on a heavy-duty hook.

The plate is made with a slight slope to it so the grease and fat drain into the grease gutter. This keeps the oil away from the food, so you can eat a little bit healthier. Some complain that this slope prevents them from cooking eggs properly because you have to keep on pushing the liquid egg towards the center.

This can be addressed by slightly raising one area of the plate until the eggs become solid enough. I guess it is a small price to pay if you want to cook more healthful, less greasy meals.

There were some complaints that their Lodge Pro-Grid Iron Grill & Griddle cracked after several uses. Again, just like the Victoria, it could either be a production flaw or it could be cracking because the users heated the cooking plate too fast. Cast-iron can take a long time to get to the cooking temperature that you desire.

You can hurry it up by increasing the size of the flame, but this puts stress onto the material. It is better to just be patient and wait until the plate pre-heats gradually. Ten minutes of pre-heating should be enough. Use that time to prepare your ingredients.

Just like the others, the Lodge cast-iron griddle is easy to clean.

Just scrape off the remaining food on the surface, quickly wash with mild detergent, then rinse. The manufacturer says harsh detergents, especially ones with bleach, should never be used. It would strip off the oil base and expose your cooking plate to the elements. It can rust quickly and would render your two-burner cast iron griddle useless.

Finally, we get to the price. Since it is just a cast-iron griddle with no press, it is a little expensive. You might be paying more for the name rather than for the product.

Here are the pros and cons of buying the Lodge Pro-Grid Cast-iron grill & griddle:

Pros:

  • Very high-quality
  • Solid cast-iron
  • Reversible grill/griddle plate
  • Highly versatile
  • Works with any cooktop
  • Excellent heat retention
  • Pre-seasoned
  • Ideal for indoor and outdoor cooking
  • Very good non-stick surface
  • Oven safe up to 500ºF
  • Easy to clean

Cons:

  • Very heavy
  • Slightly more expensive than other brands
  • Reports of cracking
  • Not dishwasher safe

Features at A Glance

Here is a side-by-side comparison of the important features of each cast-iron griddle. This can surely help you in making that decision of which to get for your kitchen.

VonShef Black


Victoria Rectangular


Bruntmor


Lodge Pro-Grid


Dimensions


18” x 10”


12.5” x 7.6”.


20” x 10”


20” x 10.44”


Weight


13.15 lbs


5.3 lbs


11.96 lbs


16 lbs


Additional Features


Bacon press


None


None


None


Rating


4.6 out of 5


4.3 out of 5


4.3 out of 5


4.5 out of 5


Price


 ***


*


**


***


Conclusion – Which Non-Stick Cast Iron Griddle Should You Choose?

After looking at each of the four two burner cast iron griddles, it is safe to say that the Vonshef, Bruntmor, and the Lodge models are basically the same. The dimensions are close to each other, the Lodge being the biggest of the three. They are all hefty. Their weights range from 11.98 to 16 pounds. They all have the feel of a cookware that will last for a very, very long time.

If you want to get a free bacon press, then it is advisable to get the Vonshef griddle. If you trust the Lodge name more, get that and then buy a bacon press separately. If you are trying to save a few bucks, get the Bruntmor and get about $10 savings. If these three are too big for your stove, then you should consider getting the Victoria rectangular reversible cast-iron griddle.

Not only is it the smallest, it is also the lightest and the cheapest of the four. Be warned though, it also received the most complaints about cracking. If you insist on getting the Victoria griddle, always remember to heat the cooking plate gradually. Take the time to preheat it to avoid putting too much stress on the material.

What we are sure of recommending though is that you get a cast iron griddle for your kitchen as soon as possible. It is durable and should last a lifetime if you take care of it properly. It is also very versatile. You can use them with any type of stove, and even on an open flame.

You can grill, sear, fry, and all sorts of other cooking methods that you would do on a skillet, but with the level of heat retention that non-cast-iron cookware would not even come close to. You can try recipes that your grandparents handed down to you. And you will be able to hand down those recipes and the cast iron griddle to your grandchildren in time.

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