Best Griddle of 2021
The Presto Ceramic 22" is a heavy-duty, plus-size grill that is easy to operate and clean. The unique removable handles don't require any tools to free them from the grill, and this feature helps to save space both on the countertop and below. The unit has even heat distribution for consistent cooking, and the temperature control covers a wide range (160 - 400ºF) for everything from slow cooking sunny side up eggs to searing steaks.
We didn't have too many grievances with this model, though the texture of the non-stick surface was a bit rough, which resulted in some food retention on the scrambled eggs and left the surface pattern on fried eggs. Additionally, this is a pretty big appliance and thus may not be appropriate for smaller kitchens. That said, we really like the grease tray design, and the grill's edge makes it easy to scrape off a spatula if it has food stuck to it.
All-Clad HA1 Square is a single burner non-stick grill with a sharp look. We found that the square shape — as compared with round models — makes it easier to utilize the entire surface area. In particular, bacon fits this shape much better. The non-stick coating worked great, most notable with pancakes where no oil was needed. Additionally, this model had some of the best heat distribution across its surface that we have seen.
On the downside, the All-Clad HA1 has no grease management, so the foods like bacon are left to sit in their fat until removed. Also, the non-stick coating tends to hold on to scrambled eggs and, while they easily release, we were left with some flaky material in the mix. Critiques aside, we really liked that you can pop this model into the oven if need be, and it's also a breeze to clean. All in all, the HA1 is a solid product and a good fit for most kitchens.
The Bella Copper offers consumers a whole lot of performance at a very competitive price. First off, it has an effective non-stick surface and plenty of real estate to cook for the whole family. Grease is relatively easy to manage thanks to the removable grease cup, and its heat distribution is among the best of the models we've tested.
While there is plenty to praise this grill for, it is not perfect. One bone of contention is that the gap between the grill surface and frame filled with batter and grease, making it difficult to clean. Also, our scrambled egg tests showed that the cooking surface retained a thin film of egg that later came up and created a less than desirable texture. Shortcomings aside, this model remains effective and offers great value for the cost.
The Nordic Ware 2-Burner is a great addition to any camp kitchen kit. This aluminum sheet is coated with an effective non-stick surface that makes cooking for a large group a breeze. Since the heat comes from whatever double burner it's placed on, it has no moving parts, and thus nothing can break or malfunction. However, that is not to say the design is not without flaws.
Our main gripe with the Nordic Ware is that it lacks a grease draining system. As it is, bacon and the like are cooked in a pool of their fat, and draining the grill is somewhat precarious. Additionally, the heat distribution across the surface can vary, as the heat comes from the two separate burners below. As with many other non-stick grills here reviewed, we observed some food release issues in our scrambled egg test. Despite these limitations, this model proved its worth when making lots of food on a double burner stove.
The Presto Tilt 'n Drain's name says it all. This model has tons of cooking real estate, and its surface tilts forward when the handles are pulled apart so that it will drain. The drain works nicely, too — a helpful feature when cooking large quantities of anything that produces ample amounts of grease. Its surface has really good heat distribution, turning out evenly cooked food across the board.
While we really like this model for cooking for big groups, we did find it a bit hard to clean. The grease drains into the removable catch through a channel that makes a mess in a tricky to clean spot. Also, while the heat distribution across the surface isn't terrible, we have observed better results in other models. Still, this behemoth has a very effective non-stick coating and is a godsend when you need to crank out large quantities of pancakes, eggs, or bacon.
The Presto 22-Inch 07061 has one distinguishing feature that helps to set it apart from the class: the handles are easily removed without the use of a tool. Why does this matter? It allows those with smaller kitchens and storage spaces to have a large electric grill. Aside from that, this model's performance is without laudable distinction.
The main issue we take with the 07061 is that its non-stick properties are subpar. In fact, this is one of the few models tested that we would recommend using oil on for better food release. On top of that, it doesn't distribute heat evenly across its surface. However, we found this model's grease catch boasted one of the most effective designs of the test group, and it's overall quite easy to wipe down with a wet cloth.
The DASH Everyday griddle has a cool-looking retro aesthetic that comes in 5 color options to match your kitchen's decor. This model is easy to wipe down, and its cooking surface distributes heat well. There is also a grease drain and catch that makes cooking bacon much less messy while simultaneously promoting high-quality results.
Conversely, the Everyday is kind of a pain to clean. The gap between the cooking surface and the plastic shell holds grease and is difficult to access with a cloth. Additionally, we had some food release issues with this machine's non-stick surface that, while not terrible, showed a lower quality as compared to the competition. But, all told, this machine is a decent purchase, especially if you have an eye for color.
The OXO Good Grips Non-Stick Pro is a versatile little pan. Its square shape better fits bacon or sliced veggies, and you can pop it into the oven if needed (up to 439ºF). Also, the OXO is a breeze to clean as it has no nooks or crannies to hold grease or other food particles, and there are no electrical components to protect from moisture as with other models we tested.
While the simplicity of the OXO offers a lot of benefits, it causes some problems, too. For one, there is no good way to drain the grease produced from cooking bacon and sausage. Additionally, while the three-ply non-stick coating suggests long-term durability, the food release properties proved to be subpar. Perhaps with use-induced seasoning, it will improve over time — we can't say. Despite these issues, we think that this model has a lot to offer such that it will fit well in most kitchens.
The Lodge Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron is a simple kitchen tool that can do a lot. It's great for searing and finishing in the oven. It has excellent heat retention and distribution. Thus, it yields great pancakes. Additionally, it makes a killer sunny side up fried egg in the traditional fashion. That said, it has its shortcomings to be sure.
The trouble with the Lodge is that its shape and size are limiting. Bacon doesn't fit on the round surface very well, and the 10.5-inch diameter doesn't offer much real estate. Additionally, there is no good way to remove the grease while cooking, so you're faced with a lot of splatters. Lastly, the pan isn't non-stick and requires oil for reliable food release. However, this pan's handle and size make it easy to move when it's hot, and that's a real boon.
The T-fal A92114 is a decent square pan. Its high sides are nice for holding in grease, and it's a cinch to clean. Moreover, the shape accommodates a lot more food than round models of the same width.
Unfortunately, the T-fal has some of the most inconsistent heat distribution that we encountered. Additionally, there is no practical way to drain the grease off the grill while cooking. However, if you're using this pan for eggs and pancakes, its food release properties will leave you smiling as your food comes up without resistance.
The Lodge Pre-Seasoned Reversible is an old west throwback grill. Its heavy-duty construction is suited to the rigors of a chuck wagon, and it has space enough to accommodate the appetites of several cowhands. In reality, most folks will use this grill on their home range as it's wide enough to span two burners. The double-sided design features a grill to let meat juices flow to the edges, and the griddle allows for cooking pancakes and eggs. Plainly put, it's simple and functional.
In general, the main problem with cast iron is that it's heavy. Additionally, this unit's handles are almost impossible to use when they're hot, pretty much forcing you to leave the griddle on the stove until it cools. Cast iron is not a non-stick surface, so a liberal amount of oil is needed for fried eggs and pancakes to easily release. However, Lodge was kind enough to preseason this item for you.
Why You Should Trust Us
Senior Research Analyst Michelle Powell is an ace in the kitchen — be it at her home or the artisan breakfast joints she managed throughout her twenties. Added to this background are years of product testing in our lab, and you can bet your bottom dollar she'll settle any quarrel on the quality and functionality of a kitchen appliance. Complementing Michelle's know-how is Senior Review Editor Nick Miley, who is no slouch in the kitchen either. Having spent many a summer day sweating over the grill at family get-togethers, he knows a good kitchen appliance when he uses one.
Together this duo worked to devise simple but telling tests for the diverse group of grills found in this review. The tests consisted of cooking eggs, bacon, and pancakes as well as measuring the heat conduction and food release properties of these products. We also had ample opportunities to clean these products between tests. The revelations resulting from those chores are included in our analysis.
Analysis and Test Results
We structure our testing with categories or metrics that collectively analyze all practical uses and applications of the products in our review. This method allows one to make side-by-side comparisons of diverse models in a particular product class. The following is an in-depth discussion of each metric in this review and the products that performed well in each.
As the name suggests, the heat distribution metric evaluates the even spread of heat across the surface of a grill. This property is important to all cooks, whether they know it or not, as it is the single biggest factor contributing to consistent food outcomes. The All-Clad HA1 and the Bella Copper both had exceptionally even heat across their respective surfaces. The DASH Everyday and the Presto Ceramic 22" were close behind in the ranking.
The astute reader might look at this and say: "Hey, wait a minute. Those all different size models." And, to them, we'd say: "you're right, but it doesn't matter." We just want to assess the consistency of the heat across the surface regardless of size. To do this, we use an infrared thermometer to take temperature readings at 5 points on the grill surface — all 4 corners and the center. We then assess the consistency of the temperature by calculating the standard deviation. To put this into context, the All-Clad had a standard deviation of 12º F, whereas a low performer like the Nordic Ware has a standard deviation of 50º F. Finally, we look at whether there are any significant hot or cold spots. With this data, we rate each model.
You just can't beat a griddle if you want to make a lot of fried eggs in a reasonable amount of time. As such, we tested each of these products for the ability to not only cook at the lower temperatures required to cook an over-easy egg but also their food release properties as observed during the flip. For good measure, we also made scrambled eggs, as the runny nature of this cooking method has a stickier quality. While none of them totally blew us away in these tests, the Bella Copper, Nordic Ware, Presto Tilt 'n Drain, DASH Everyday, and T-fal all delivered comparable results overall that were satisfactory.
The main criticism falling on the models mentioned above is that they hold on to a film of egg when the scramble is poured onto the grill surface. This film hardens and then releases to be incorporated into the eggs adding a subtle but notable crunchy texture that conflicts with the moist, fluffy texture that is characteristic of a good scrambled egg.
It's worth mentioning that while cast iron is a poor surface for making scrambled eggs, they do great for making traditional fried eggs — that is, eggs that are cooked in grease or oil. Thus, the Lodge products did well in the fried egg test of this evaluation, but terribly in the scrambled egg test.
Similar to rice, cooking bacon is simple but easy to mess up. To get the best bacon, the cooking surface must have an even and consistent temperature, there must be plenty of room for the bacon to lay flat, and it's really nice — though not absolutely necessary — if the grease can be easily moved off the surface while cooking. The Presto Ceramic 22" and the Presto 07061 both knocked the proverbial ball out of the park on this one. Even, consistent temperature? Check. Large surface area? Check. Grease management system? Check! These two machines set the bar for the class.
Other models that did well in this evaluation are the Presto Tilt 'n Drain (for reasons made obvious by its name) and the Lodge Pre-Seasoned Reversible. It is worth noting that most of the models did reasonably well in this evaluation, the only exception being the Lodge Preseasoned Griddle.
For the pancake evaluation, we repeatedly packed the grills full of these delicious morsels to assess the non-stick properties. We wanted to know if the cooking surface became stickier after a couple of rounds, how evenly they cooked, and if any residue remained when the cakes were removed.
Two products stood out in this evaluation, the All-Clad and the Presto Tilt 'n Drain. These models have very smooth non-stick surfaces that released the cakes well from the first round to the last. Moreover, they both cooked the batter consistently, with the tell-tale bubbles bursting evenly across the batter and clearly indicating the time to flip.
This review has covered all the common uses of griddles while analyzing key properties such as grease management and heat distribution as well as the non-stick surface. We made many batches of pancakes, dozens of eggs — both scrambled and fried — and pounds of bacon. The above review organizes the performance of each model in such a fashion as to allow direct comparison so that you can easily pick the best model to suit your needs. So, here's to golden-brown bacon, perfect fried eggs, and belly slapping satisfaction.
— Nick Miley and Michelle Powell