- Cooking for a crowd? Then an electric griddle may come in handy.
- An electric griddle can cook a variety of foods, from pancakes to grilled cheese sandwiches and steaks. Some can even cook a large volume of food at the same time.
- The expansive and economical Black & Decker Family-Sized Electric Griddle with Drip Tray gets the job done with its 10-by-20-inch nonstick cooking surface that heats up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
If you’ve ever had to whip up tall stacks of pancakes to feed hungry mouths in rapid succession, as I did during my kids’ swim team breakfast, then you know how useful a large griddle can be. Also called a flat-top grill, griddles are nothing more than cooking appliances with a flat surface area. It could be cookware that is heated over a burner, a surface built into a range, or a separate appliance that heats up using a power source (like gas, electricity, or solar energy). This guide focuses on electric griddles for use at home or in a noncommercial setting, which you plug in, place on a counter or table, and fire up away from the stove.
Since an electric griddle has its own heating element, it’s convenient for making hot meals when you don’t have a working stove or want to cook outside (like frying bacon outside to avoid grease splatter and aroma in the house). Other benefits to electric griddles include:
- Not heating up the whole kitchen as a conventional stove would
- Greater energy efficiency and cost-effectiveness when compared to a full-sized stove (although the Federal Management Program with the U.S. Department of Energy said, "Idle or standby energy consumption is a significant portion (up to 40%) of griddle energy use. Griddles should be turned off when not in use, as most take less than 15 minutes to preheat.")
- More precise control of temperature (by degrees) than a stove-top
- The ability to cook (and then serve) a variety of foods quickly and simultaneously
- A convenient place to keep food warm
- No dirty pots and pans to wash (although you do need to clean off the griddle after use)
In addition to reflecting on my own experience using a griddle, I perused reviews sites and pored over feedback from professional and amateur chefs, family cooks, and other consumers. I’ve narrowed down to what we considered to be the best electric griddles available.
Here are the best electric griddles you can buy:
- Best electric griddle overall: Black & Decker Family-Sized Electric Griddle with Drip Tray
- Best small electric griddle: Presto Liddle Griddle
- Best large electric griddle: Broil King Professional Portable Nonstick Griddle
- Best electric griddle/grill combo: Hamilton Beach 3-in-1 Grill/Griddle
- Best versatile electric griddle: Cuisinart 5-in-1 Griddler GR-4N
What we looked for
When researching and choosing among different models of electric griddles, we considered features like:
- Size: Large models (12 by 22 inches or more in cooking surface area) are great for family feasts and crowds by accommodating more food — either a lot of one dish or a few different recipes — all at once, thus shortening overall cooking time. On the other hand, they need more time to heat up, more energy to maintain a steady temperature, more counter space for use, and more storage space. Bigger griddles also may be more cumbersome to clean and expensive. Medium (about 10 by 18 inches) and smaller (about 8.5 by 10.5 inches) models are usually easier to clean, store, and transport. The smallest models may better suit small families, couples, or individuals.
- Nonstick or regular surface: Nonstick electric griddles are popular due to convenience. Although a nonstick surface is easier to clean, its coating may also contain PTFE (polytetrafluoroethylene, a man-made chemical branded as Teflon) or PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid — also known as C8, another man-made chemical used in making Teflon). Although these chemicals aren’t proven carcinogens, studies have shown possible links between PFOA and cancer; check a griddle to see if contains PTFE and/or PFOA. With a man-made nonstick surface, use nonmetal implements that won’t scratch the coating, like a nylon or silicone spatula, wooden spoon, or rubber scraper. Health-conscious consumers like ceramic for its natural nonstick surface.
- Style: Does the griddle have one large, flat cooking surface? Or, does it have a divided surface that holds two removable plates, each with one flat side as a griddle and one ridged side for grilling? Models with divided surfaces often heat the two plates independently, creating separate heating zones or burners — no need to heat up the entire surface if not necessary — and versatility in function.
- Temperature range and control: Many griddles range in temperature from about 200 degrees to 400 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. Some models feature temperature controls that indicate general heat levels (i.e., low or high) while others are more precise and show actual degrees.
- Accessories: Most griddles have a drip tray to catch grease but some also include a warming tray for holding cooked food before serving.
- Ease of cleaning: If its electric components are removable, is the griddle dishwasher safe? Or, does it need to be hand-washed or wiped?
The best electric griddle overall
The Black & Decker Family-Sized Electric Griddle with Drip Tray offers ample room to prepare a feast for a big family easily, and it’s easy on the wallet.
Able to cook up 15 small pancakes or an entire pack of bacon all at once, the Black & Decker Family-Sized Electric Griddle with Drip Tray is a "lifesaver" for feeding multiple hungry mouths, as one Amazon shopper called it. The 200-square-inch nonstick cooking area is versatile enough for making myriad other foods, like toasted croissants, chicken, barbecued rib-eye steaks, shrimp, veggies, frozen French fries, and more. According to Spectrum Brands, the company that makes Black & Decker-branded home products, this griddle’s nonstick surface is PFOA-free but contains PTFE.
According to many owners, it heats up quickly (up to 400 degrees F within 10 minutes) and evenly and performs very well. As with most electric griddles, it reportedly has hot spots closer to the edges. A thermostat with an adjustable knob, marked with numbers (for several users, the numbers wore off within four or five gentle cleanings), controls the temperature and connects the griddle to a short power cord.
A removable drip tray catches grease while you’re cooking. Numerous owners felt that the drip tray is inadequate and needs frequent emptying (which can be messy to do while cooking); Griddle Chef, which included the Black & Decker Family-Sized Electric Griddle with Drip Tray among its top three picks, agreed, stating that it’s "pretty tiny and holds about a half-cup of oil, which is too small if you’re going to cook very greasy foods like hamburgers or bacon."
The griddle doesn’t have side handles that jut out, so it doesn’t take up extra countertop space or storage room. Instead, the sides remain cool during operation. Foodal, which chose it as its top pick, pointed out that "you can move the griddle without the risk of burning your hands on the hot surface," instead of having to wait for the entire unit to cool off.
After you are done cooking, clean-up is easy since the griddle (minus electronic parts) is dishwasher safe. Its large size sometimes makes fitting it into the dishwasher tricky. Because it’s lightweight (5 pounds) and the cooking surface is nonstick, however, many owners opt to hand wash it.
The Black & Decker Family-Sized Electric Griddle with Drip Tray is recommended by Kitchen Byte, Tasty Kitchen, Village Bakery, and Electric Griddles Review. It earned an average rating of 4.2 out of 5 stars from more than 1,300 Amazon reviewers.
Note: Black & Decker sells a similar version that includes a warming tray.
Pros: Large cooking surface, economical price, quick and even heating
Cons: Small grease drip tray, short cord
The best small electric griddle
Small but mighty, the Presto Liddle Griddle is a portable powerhouse perfect for individuals, couples, and campers.
The Presto Liddle Griddle heats up quickly and evenly, no doubt due to its small (8.5 by 10.5 inches) cooking surface. In fact, it performs well and maintains a constant temperature for a long time, which is important if you’re cooking multiple batches of food.
Its consistent temperature across the cooking surface is impressive: Some cooks noticed variations in temperature, but the differences weren’t drastic (390 degrees Fahrenheit in one corner, 400 in another). Other users noted that it runs a bit "too hot." When the griddle reaches the desired temperature, a red light turns off but no other light comes on to indicate it’s hot, so be careful and warn anyone walking by it.
The Presto Liddle Griddle’s small size makes it well-suited for individuals, couples, and small families, but probably not for families of four or more. Taking up little counter- and storage space, this griddle is lightweight (under 3 pounds) and conveniently portable for traveling and camping. The cooking surface can accommodate a couple of servings simultaneously (e.g., two eggs and two slices of French toast); four silver dollar — not regular — pancakes can fit on it at once. Owners said they have cooked sausages, hash browns, grilled cheese sandwiches, quesadillas, burgers, chicken breasts, pork chops, and steaks.
A built-in drip channel runs along one side of the cooking surface to catch grease drippings and crumbs. Although people love this convenient feature, as Electric Griddles Review noted, "Since the grease channel is a part of the machine and can’t be separated, you have to tip the whole thing up to empty it. You don’t want to do [it] when the griddle is still hot but if you wait [for it] to cool down, some of the fats will set."
Nonetheless, overall clean-up is quick and easy because the Presto Liddle Griddle is fully immersible and dishwasher safe when the heat controller/plug is removed. Since this model is small and nonstick, many owners prefer hand-washing or wiping it.
This griddle is durable, reliable, and resists peeling or chipping. There are reports of it being used (sometimes daily) for up to nine years. In fact, numerous owners bought a second one as a backup griddle or as a gift. Griddle Chef, Kitchen Gear Zone, and Kitchen Byte included it as their top picks. Among more than 1,200 Amazon reviewers it earned an average rating of 4.6 out of 5 stars.
Pros: Petite yet powerful, heats up quickly and evenly, light, durable
Cons: Too small for groups above three, no heat indicator light (besides preheating light), short cord
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