Griddle pans are quite like grill pans except better. They’re bigger and flatter and they’re incredibly safe to use, just like a regular grill pan.
Let’s take a look at a step-by-step guide on how to season your griddle pan and some tips on choosing the best griddle pan for your kitchen.
Why You Need to Season Your Griddle Pan
Seasoning is a process that creates a non-stick coating on the surface of your pans to prevent rusting and keep food from sticking to them.
You need to season your new griddle pan because it’s part of the burn-in process.
New pans typically have leftover mineral oil on the surface after they’re manufactured, and seasoning helps get rid of these oils and gets the pan ready for cooking.
Seasoning Your Griddle Pan: A Step-By-Step Guide
Modern cast iron pans come with a coating that helps prevent rust.
It looks a lot like a thin layer of candle wax that you need to remove with a scourer, preferably a metal one, under hot running water before you can begin the process of seasoning.
- Once you’ve washed the pan and effectively removed this layer, you need to put your griddle pan on the stove over medium heat so that all the water droplets and moisture can dry out.
- When the pan is completely dry, you can choose a vegetable or animal oil of your choice, such as flaxseed oil, olive oil, lard, or other edible oils. Pour the oil all over the surface of the pan until it forms a thin, even layer.
- You can use a paper towel to wipe off excess oil to make sure only a fine layer is left on the surface because using too much oil can cause the pan to smoke and trigger the fire alarm.
- Place the pan on the stove over high heat for an hour until it reaches around 350 degrees Fahrenheit. After that, you need to turn off the heat and allow the pan to cool down for at least two hours.
- You’ll notice that your pan will now have a dark brown or blackened surface instead of grey. You can keep repeating the steps above until the surface of your griddle pan turns a nice black color. With continued use, your pan will also develop a shiny surface.
Keep in mind that you should never put a cast iron griddle pan inside the dishwasher.
Only use a little bit of dish soap, a gentle scouring pad, and water to clean it after every use.
Griddle Pan vs. Grill Pan
The only major difference between a griddle and a grill pan is the surface. Griddle pans come with a flat surface while grill pans do not.
Both of these pans come with their own set of advantages and disadvantages.
If you’re confused between the two and can’t determine, which will suit your needs the best, here are some things you need to know about both pans that might help you make the right choice:
- Griddle pans are relatively easy to use and take care of because of their flatter surface. If you haven’t mastered the grilling technique, it’s advisable to use a griddle pan as you’ll be able to keep the food intact while you cook it and prevent it from sticking to the pan.
- What’s great about griddle pans is that they toast the food uniformly. However, using a grill pan will create a more visually pleasing end product because your food will have those grill marks that you love.
- The surface of the grill pan separates the food from the juices, which helps ensure that the food will be grilled instead of poached or stewed. This also reduces steam, which makes them particularly ideal for smaller kitchens.
- Remember to keep the space in your kitchen and your style of cooking in mind when you’re choosing these pans. Even though both pans are equally great and can be used in a variety of ways, griddle pans are more versatile because you can use them to cook delicate foods like fish and vegetables.
- You may also consider investing in a reversible grill/griddle for a more efficient cooking experience because these pans come with a griddle on one side and a grill on the other.
Types of Griddle Pans
Before choosing your griddle pan, you need to take the cooking surface as well as the manufacturing materials into consideration.
To griddle your food properly, you need to cook it at very high temperatures. This means that you need to choose a pan that can work well under high temperatures throughout the cooking process.
Cast iron and cast aluminum griddle pans are recommended because they’re some of the best pans out there that are known for effective heat retention and distribution.
Griddle pans made of stainless steel and other materials are better for other kinds of cooking techniques and they aren’t generally recommended for grilling and griddling purposes.
Cast aluminum griddle pans are quite amazing because they’re a lot lighter, much easier to use, and more versatile than cast iron pans.
Moreover, they come with a non-stick surface, which means you get to cook your food with less oil while also making sure it doesn’t stick to the surface.
They can be cleaned quite easily, both by hand or inside the dishwasher.
It’s better to get conventional griddle pans over fancy electric ones because they’re much better for everyday cooking.
Electric griddle pans tend to take up a lot more space and require a lot more work, which can keep you from using them more frequently.
However, they can be set up anywhere in the kitchen where there’s an electrical outlet and don’t require gas or electric cooktop burners like the traditional grill and griddle pans.
There are many different types of griddle pans available today and each comes with unique features and uses that make them perfect for different cooking techniques.
Electric griddle pans have a large, open surface that’s ideal for preparing batches of foods such as grilled cheese sandwiches, quesadillas, or pancakes.
Reversible grill/griddle pans, on the other hand, are a lot more versatile because they can be used for both grill and griddle cooking.
A contact grill/griddle pan, also known as a panini press, comes with both a lower and upper grill that can be used to cook food on both sides simultaneously.
Smaller contact grill/griddle pans are typically designed to cook one or two sandwiches or other press-style foods.
Larger pans, however, can be folded flat to create two cooking surfaces. They also come with reversible plates and may feature waffle plates as well.
Before choosing a griddle pan, you also need to do your research about the kind of handles that will work best for your style of cooking.
Griddles with longer handles usually have a square cooking surface, whereas griddle pans with side handles provide a more stretched cooking surface.
Cooking with a Griddle Pan
Whether you’re using a cast iron griddle pan or a non-stick pan, the cooking technique is roughly the same.
Even though griddle pans can be used to cook a variety of foods, they are especially great for vegetables and steak because these foods react surprisingly well to flash-frying at high temperatures.
Frying is remarkably easy. All you need to do is cut your vegetables in thin slices or cut your steak at your desired level of thickness and brush them with an oil that has a high smoking point.
The great thing about griddle pans is that you don’t have to cover the whole pan in oil. You can simply oil the food if you’re looking for a less greasy finished product.
However, before you can get started with cooking, you need to preheat your griddle pan. This should only take about five minutes if you’re working with a cast iron pan or even less with a non-stick pan.
Remember to keep the pan over medium-high heat while preheating.
It’s also important to remember that you shouldn’t move the food around too much and only flip the ingredients when you’re halfway through cooking.
You need to trust the process and yourself if you want a perfectly and uniformly cooked end product that is packed full of flavor.
If you’re running out of time, you may cover your griddle pan with a lid to speed up the cooking process. This will also give the food a delicious, smoky flavor.
All griddle pans typically feature shallow sides with a large and flat cooking surface. They’re often made with cast iron and needed to be seasoned before the first use.
As we’ve established above, griddle pans are considered to be a lot more versatile as opposed to grill pans and can be used to prepare a variety of items like French toast, pancakes, and hash browns.
Remember to take proper care of both your grill and griddle pans and season them whenever necessary to prevent food from sticking to them and extend their lifespan.
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