Have you ever desired for grilled food when you are home alone but the thought of going through all the hassle of cooking something in the open fire just for you kind of killed your appetite? Well we get you, and that is why we are happy to talk about this amazing product today. If you want to treat yourself or a loved one to some ‘restaurant’ quality food then you can do so within the comfort of your own kitchen by using a grill pan. Yes, you can actually make tasty food without having to fire up the grill or going through any extra work.
So what is a Grill Pan? Also known as a griddle, a grill pan is a pan with grilled lines in the form of raised edges. These lines have about 1 to 2 centimeters distance between them and the edges are raised about 0.5 centimeters high. This allows the juice from the food to drip down. The pans usually have non-stick surfaces to avoid any food from sticking to the bottom but other materials are also used.
You can grill basically anything on these pans, starting from sandwiches to burgers, to veggies. It is a great way to cook delicious food and impress your loved ones with your cooking skills. Moreover, grilled food is also considered healthy so we don’t see any reason why not to have one in the kitchen. If you want to get a grill pan then we recommend doing a bit of research as the market is filled with so many different kinds of models. To make things a little easy for you, we have included some top grill pans available in the market today. But before you make your pick, read our buying guide to understand this kitchen appliance better. Of course if you are still not convinced whether you need a grill pan then the following reasons to why you should get one might just change your mind.
Lodge L8SGP3 Cast Iron Square Grill Pan, Pre-Seasoned, 10.5-inch
For restaurant style cooking, you will love the 10.5 inch square grill pan by Lodge. Being one of the oldest family-owned cookery foundries in America, Lodge is a well trusted name that has been in the business for over 100 years. Our first product is their L8SGP3 cast iron grill pan. It has the traditional ribbed bottom which drains fat so you don’t have to cook in unhealthy fat and can also collect a good amount of juice for other uses. The square shape gives you enough room to cook more than one item at one go with equal distribution of heat. Cast iron is not fully non-stick so you are safe from the harmful fumes created by chemically treated nonstick items but it is pre- seasoned so the food slides of easily. This improves with use and after a couple of uses you will notice how smoothly food lifts off. Heat retention capability is high and you can keep your food warm for a longer time. We love the fact that you can use this grill pan over anything and anywhere. You can take it along while camping to use over a campfire or prepare delicious food in your kitchen over the stove or simply toss it in the oven. It is extremely durable and you can pass it on for generations without any loss of performance. If you are planning on purchasing your first grill pan then we suggest you invest in a classic one like this product so you can enjoy years of great cooking and countless tasty recipes.
- Cast iron is one of the most preferred and complimented material used in cookware and it increases the durability as well as the quality performance of the pan.
- Pre-seasoned and ready to use
- Can be used on all cooking surfaces
- Excellent heat retention and even heat distribution.
- Great size for both indoor and outdoor grilling
- Cleaning the pan is somewhat difficult during the first few uses
Calphalon Contemporary Hard-Anodized Aluminum Nonstick Cookware, Square Grill Pan
If you are interested in non-stick cookware and enjoy the hassle free cleaning and comfortable cooking that non stick items offer then you can buy the Calphalon Contemporary grill pan. This 11 inch pan, made of hard-anodized 98.7-percent pure aluminum, comes in a square shape and displays a smooth black color finish. It contains 3 layers of non stick coating, making it durable while ensuring easy release of food. The non stick coating eliminates the need for too much fat and ensures healthy cooking. Food cooks really well with even distribution of heat and high heat retention. For authentic grilled marks and taste, the deep ridges will retain all flavors without making food greasy. The handles are long and they are designed to remain cool to avoid any accidents. You also get clear tempered-glass lids that helps keep the food warm and also gives a clear view of the food while covered. The pan is oven and dishwasher safe.
- 3 layered non stick coating for durability and easy release of food.
- Accommodates more than one serving and can be used to cook different items together
- Long stainless steel handle stays cool
- Oven proof
- Safe to use in the dishwasher
- The ridges are not high enough which may result in food being cooked in extra fat.
Lodge LPGI3 Cast Iron Reversible Grill/Griddle
Sometimes you want to use your grilling pan to cook eggs or pancakes but the ridged edges won’t allow it. However, that is no longer an issue because with the Lodge LPG13 you get two sides of cookware which lets you to cook every possible item. The cookware comes with a smooth side and a ridged side, which doubles the pleasure of cooking. Made of cast iron, the griddle can be used over campfire as well as stove tops. You can even use it in the oven and enjoy delicious meals cooked in evenly distributed heat. Since heat retention is high, food can be kept warm for long without loss of flavor. Cast iron grills are not non-stick, although they do come pre-seasoned with oil. The release performance gets better with use but we still recommend spraying or coating vegetables with a bit of fat before use. Normally meats can cook in their own fat so you may or may not choose to brush them with a bit of oil before placing them on the grill. Cleaning cast iron griddles may not be as easy or quick as non-stick cookware but you can still keep them looking new and fresh by cleaning them with hot water and a nylon brush after every use. Avoid using soap and stay away from harsh chemicals. Towel-dry as soon as the pan has been washed and rub a little oil while it is still warm to promote easy release with use.
- Has a cooking surface of 19-1/4 by 8-1/2 inches which makes catering for a crowd easier, especially during parties and family gathering.
- Comes with two sides- smooth and ridged
- High heat retention and even heat distribution
- The flat design makes it a little difficult to handle when hot
Vremi Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Square Grill Pan
We all love grilled food, not only for the delicious taste but also because it is super healthy. The Vremi pre-seasoned grill pan is designed with the perfect ridges to keep food from soaking up in extra grease while also creating professional grill marks on them. The cast iron keeps food warm for a long time and its heavy duty built ensures that the cookware can be used for years on end. With regular use the pan creates a non stick coating so performance actually gets better in the long run. Using a few drops of oil before using the pan will not only prevent the food from sticking but also make cleaning easier. Iron cast pans are extremely durable and can be used over a camp fire as well as on stove tops and ovens. The handle is covered with heat resistant silicone to avoid burns but for safety reasons it is always a good idea to wear gloves when handling a hot pan. To keep the pans clean just wash with warm water and mild soap before drying well. It is not dish-washer safe.
- Long lasting iron cast pan
- Creates professional ridge marks
- Makes great tasting healthy food
- Food may stick to the pan if extra oil is not used to season the pan before cooking
Calphalon Contemporary Hard-Anodized Aluminum Nonstick Cookware, Square Grill Pan
Our next item is the Calphalon Contemporary non stick grill pan. It is made of hard anodized aluminum and bears 3 layers of non stick coating, allowing you to cook without the worry of food sticking to the pan. The first two layers of the coating also ensure that the pan lasts long and maintains its high quality and performance. Without the need for extra oiling, you can serve your family and friends with healthy dishes that taste just as good as restaurant food. Grilled items only look authentic if they show off ridged marks and with this grill pan you can create the perfect marks on steak and large vegetables. Serve food in style directly from the pan if you wish to as the pan displays an attractive design that will look great on any counter-top. For safety, the handles are extra long and heat resistant. Non stick pans are very easy to clean as they only need to be wiped after use but you can also toss it in the dishwasher if you are in no mood to do the cleaning yourself. Use over any cooking surface or in the oven for food that is rich in taste and flavor.
- Comes with 3 layers of non stick coating for long lasting effect
- Large enough to accommodate more than one serving and also a number of different items togeher
- Heat resisting long handle
- Can be used in the oven
- Dish-washer safe
- The light weight seems to reduce the quality of the pan
Cuisinart 630-30 Chef’s Classic Nonstick Hard-Anodized 12-Inch Round Grill Pan
We had to include this grill pan by Cuisinart for its perfect 12 inch round shape and high non stick quality. It is a well known fact that Cuisinart is a trusted name in the cookware industry and their products are very popular in the market. The 630-30 Chef’s Classic non stick grill pan is an excellent cookware that makes perfectly grilled food that you will want to impress your loved ones with. The quantanium non stick interior and the titanium reinforced nonstick cooking surface increases the quality of the pan and makes cooking time a pleasurable experience. Food release is smooth and clean up is a breeze. Unlike many other non-stick items, you can use metal utensils without any worry as it is highly wear resistant and durable but we suggest sticking to wooden or silicon utensils only. It is not dish washer safe but washing by hand only takes a few minutes and maintenance is quite easy.
- The perfect sized ‘dinner for two’ pan
- Non stick makes food release easy
- Easy to clean
- Not dish washer safe
- Non stick coating wore off after a couple of uses for some customers
Weber Style 6435 Professional-Grade Grill Pan
The Weber Style 6435 is a professional-grade grill pan designed to be used on gas or charcoal grills. This stylish grill tray is perfect for delicate items such as shrimp, fish fillets and even fruits, mostly items that may fall between the grates of large traditional griddles. The criss-cross ridges give restaurant style grill marks to almost every small item you can think of grilling while locking in the flavor. The slits are about 1/8 inch so juices flow out easily, leaving food grease free and healthy. The high handles also make handling safe. Made from high quality stainless steel that retains heat to the maximum, you can enjoy cooking food in accurate temperature and also keep food warm until it is ready to serve. The pan can be cleaned simply using water and soap.
- Designed especially for delicate food
- Can be used on both charcoal and gas grills
- 1.8 inch slits give food the authentic grill marks and also keep extra juice away
- High heat retention
- Easy to clean
- Surface may stain after a few uses
Cooksmark Copper Pan 10-Inch Nonstick Square Grill Pan
The last item on our list is the deep grill pan by Cooksmark. It is a stylish 10 x10 copper non stick square pan that not only looks attractive but is also the ideal cookware to cook some of the classiest recipes in. It is wear resistance and warp resistant, which means that you get to enjoy its company for years. This ultra durable pan is also dish washer safe so keeping it in great condition won’t be a problem. The triple non stick coating allows you to turn and pick up food easily while leaving behind all the extra fat and juices which flow into the ridges. You can cook using very less oil and eliminate the risk of serving unhealthy food to your family and friends. With one of these sleek looking pans in your kitchen, you will be proud to show off your cooking skills in style, or if you want to host a party outdoors, you can still use it on the open grill. With so many options and features, cooking will be a pleasure.
- Sleek design
- Non stick
- Scratch resistant and ultra durable
- Dish washer safe
- Can be used on indoor cooking surfaces as well as on outdoor grills
- Comes with a sticker in the middle of the pan which may be a nuisance to remove
Things to look out for when buying a grill pan
The first thing you want to look at is what kind of coating the pan has. Non-stick pans may be coated with enamel which prevents food from sticking to the pan and there is also no need for seasoning. Enamel coated pans are expensive and require quite a bit of maintenance. Despite the price, people prefer the non-stick feature due to its high quality and convenience while cooking. Bare pans on the other hand will cause food to stick during the first few times but with regular use and seasoning, the sticking will stop. In terms of durability, bare pans last much longer even though they are cheaper than the enamel coated pans. You must also keep in mind that the coatings on non-stick pans are not permanent, they do wear off at one point, making the pans lose their value. Cast iron pans have some advantages over all other kinds with their heat retaining capability and peaks, leaving clear grilling marks on the food. Nonstick pans maybe easier to clean but they hardly make grill marks and also leave the food greasier.
Heat conduction and retention
A good quality grill pan will not take too long to heat up and neither will it heat up instantly. Heating up too fast will result in burnt food or food that burns quickly on the outside but remains uncooked in the inside. Heat retention means how long a pan remains hot once it is away from the heat source. Cast iron pans retain heat best when compared to other kinds of pans.
Square pans have a larger surface area when compared to round ones. Even if the size of the pan is equal, the room inside will vary quite a bit. Most grill pans are round in shape but if you can find a square one then that will be a better pick.
Grilling requires more fire and heat to cook the food so naturally the pan tends to get super hot and sometimes the fire maybe felt from the sides. To prevent burns and accidents, opt for pans with longer and sturdier handles so you can safely remove the pan from the stove or oven. The longer the handle the further away your hands are from the heat. However, gripping on to the far end of a long handle may cause the pan to wobble, especially if it is heavy, in which case you can look for long handles that have little helper handles fitted below for extra support.
It is believed that the heavier the cookware, the tastier the food will turn out. This is because heavier cookware has better heat retaining capabilities and ensures even cooking, whereas lighter cookware may burn food when left unattended. Although cookware these days are becoming lighter due to their convenience and ease of use but we still feel a little bit of weight just adds on to the quality of a product, especially if its the best grill pan.
When it comes to brands, there are plenty well known names that manufacture cookware. Brands such as Cuisinart, Calphalon and Lodge are just some of the well trusted companies in the market. You can pick a good brand if you want the safest option and also read more customer reviews about the product so you know what to expect.
It is amazing how the prices can vary from as low as $16 to anywhere above $150. It all depends on the make, size, quality and much more. We don’t believe that you necessarily have to purchase the most expensive one in the market for the best cooking experience but don’t be too quick on bringing home a cheaply made product if you need some durability.
Why you should consider buying a Grill Pan
The first reason had to be for health reasons. Grilled food is healthier than deep fried food or even some curry style items which require a lot of unhealthy oil and spices to cook. While not all food can be grilled but whatever food you grill you know you are going to have some nutritious juices locked in.
Healthy and tasty? Cannot get better than that. Not only are grilled food healthy but they taste delicious. The solid grill marks on meat add extra crisp and a unique taste to it. You simply cannot get that distinguished taste anywhere else.
Collect fats and juices
The ridges on the grill pan collect fats and juice which can be used in sauces for fish and steaks. This is something extra which a grill pan can offer.
No need to go outdoors
One the most convenient feature of the grill pan is that it can be used indoors, on any cooking surfaces. You can enjoy steaks and burgers even during rainy days or when you suddenly have friends over and don’t really want to go through the hassle of firing up the grill outside. You don’t even have to own an outdoor grill if you have a grill pan in the kitchen.
Cook more items in one pan
The style of cooking in a grill pan lets you to add meat and veggies or even buns all at once. Since the juices drop down the ridges, the liquids don’t intermix, allowing each item to cook on its own and retain its own flavor. If your grill pan is big enough to accommodate more than one kind of item then do not hesitate to cook everything at once as you can save a lot of time this way.
A variety of food can be grilled
When you choose to grill food you get a large number of items which can be cooked in the style. Other than meats like beef, chicken and lamb you can grill shrimps, vegetables, sandwiches and much more. Each grilled item has its own taste and you can treat your loved ones to some fantastic recipes, all within the four walls of your kitchen.
How to use a grill pan
You don’t need any extra tutorials to learn how to use grill pans. They are just like regular pans but with ridges and unique coatings. They do require a little extra maintenance, especially if they are non stick but it is nothing you don’t get used to. Here are some simple steps to follow when using a grill pan:
Chop the food – Too thick or too thin strips may change the way the food is cooked and may not always result in the perfect taste. Half inch thickness is usually okay depending on what you are cooking. Make sure the food is flat on the pan so heat can be equally distributed. You don’t want over or under cooked food and to ensure that the center is done right you must prepare the food well.
Heating – The heat should be medium high and should take anywhere between 5 to 15 minutes to get the pan ready. Grill pans can handle high heat but proper heat plays a big role in the condition of the cooked food. Food cooked using the right amount of heat will look and taste better.
Oiling – There is a difference in oiling regular pans and grill pans. With grill pans you must never pour too much oil directly into the pan. You can instead coat vegetables with a few drops of oil before grilling. For meats you don’t need to add any extra oil as they release fat which is enough to cook in. You don’t want to end up with greasy food and in order to avoid unhealthy oil just use as minimum oil as possible.
Start cooking– Place your food directly on the grill, for meats you can turn the items around halfway through cooking for square grill marks or if you prefer just flip over when one side is done to get lines at 45 degrees only on each side. Once the meat is flipped, continue grilling until you feel that both sides are equally done. For veggies you can use the same method depending on their kind and shape.
Can grill pans be used on glass top stoves?
Most grill pans can be used on glass top stoves as well as other indoor cooking surfaces. We recommend you read about the product description on that particular model to see what it is compatible with.
Can I use my griddle over stove top burners?
Some griddles are designed to be used on burners while some are meant for glass top stoves. Some pans can be used on both. It all depends on the specific griddle and its design.
Will be okay if I use metal utensils on my grill pan that has a ceramic coating?
No, it is best to stick to using utensils meant for non-stick cookware so you don’t end up scratching the coating off. One of the fasting ways in which you can damage the non-stick coating is by using metal utensils and by rubbing them with harsh scrubbers during cleaning.
One thing we realized during our research was that most health conscious people chose to purchase cookware that made cooking restaurant style food at home easy. Think of all the money spent on restaurant bills and also the fact that not all restaurant food is healthy, should be enough to keep you away from eating out. The good news is that you can create delicious grilled food in the comfort of your own kitchen or backyard without spending hundreds of dollars or even worrying about consuming unhealthy food. The food will taste as good as it will look. Investing in a good grill pan will also give you the opportunity to improve your cooking skills and host great parties at home.