A griddle, used for cooking, has a flat cooking surface with a heat source underneath. A griddle can be a piece of cookware, such as a cast iron griddle that is heated over a burner, or it can be built into a range. Electric griddles are also a popular option that are plugged in and stand separately from a stovetop.
Cooking on a Griddle
Griddles are also often used for cooking burgers and other hot sandwiches.
A commercial griddle (i.e. a griddle that is built into a range top) is similar to a flat top but they're different in certain respects. For one thing, flat tops tend to be made of lighter steel, and the heat source underneath the griddle is a straight heating element, not multiple round ones. Also, food is cooked directly on the griddle, whereas a flat top can accommodate cookware (such as pots and pans) on its surface as well as food.
Whether cooking on a standalone electric griddle or on a built-in griddle on a range, it's important to keep some key safety tips in mind.
- Always use an oven mitt when working with a griddle. As the griddle gets hot, it can be easy to forget that all elements of the griddle (including the handles and edges) will heat up. Some griddles may move around slightly during cooking and without the proper safety tools, you will burn yourself if you touch a griddle without protection from the heat.
- Use a properly sized spatula. If you are cooking oversized sandwiches or other large food items, use a larger spatula to prevent burning yourself (and the food).
- Keep an eye on excess grease during cooking. If you are cooking bacon, you will have a lot of excess grease and will need to make sure the grease can be drained. Grease fires occur when grease interacts with an open flame.
- The benefit of cooking with a griddle is the big smooth surface it provides. Make sure that you use a proper amount of oil, butter, or non-stick cooking spray to ensure your food does not stick to your griddle.
- You can create different zones with your griddle, from hot to warm. Utilize the different burner strength to create temperature zones on your griddle or if using your griddle over a grill, keep the very hot area separate from the warmer zone. This will allow you to cook to at more precise temperatures and keep your food warm while other elements may be cooking.
- If you are using a very large griddle, it can be helpful to keep your oil in a plastic squeeze bottle. You can then precisely point and aim when adding oil to the griddle.
Cleaning and Caring for a Griddle
When you are finished cooking, scrape off all the food reside and cooked bits from your griddle. It can be helpful to follow that by wiping the griddle clean with a damp rag. Wear protective gloves, as the griddle will still be hot. Finally, add a thin coat of cooking oil, wipe it down with a rag, and safely store it so you will be ready to cook next time.