The 10 Best Electric Griddles
10. Black+Decker Family-Sized
9. Hamilton Beach 3-in-1
8. Zojirushi Gourmet Sizzler
7. Oster Reversible
6. Secura 2-in-1
5. Oster DuraCeramic
4. Broil King Professional
3. Cuisinart 5-in-1
2. Presto 22-Inch
1. Cuisinart Elite
The Many Forms Of The Griddle
Griddles have been used throughout history as an efficient way to cook a large amount of food. Over time they have taken a number of different forms and names. Early griddles were often made from stone, brick, or clay slabs and were heated by open fires.
In many Central American countries, the griddle is known as a comal and is used to cook tortillas, sear meat, and toast spices. Comals can be completely flat, convex or concave. Modern Central American societies often make their comals out of cast iron, but many indigenous tribes still make them out of clay in the traditional method. Many comals are handed down from generation to generation with idea that a long history of tempering allows them to heat up faster, cook cleaner, and impart more flavor onto the food. The use of comals dates back to the pre-Colombian era with the earliest found examples from 700 BCE.
In many South American countries, a griddle is commonly known as a budare, but some remote tribes refer to them as a blandona. Thinner variations of griddles are known as aripos. While the different types of griddles found across South and Central America are used in a similar manner, their style varies in design, handle placement, depth, and thickness.
In India, the griddle is called a tawa and is often used to cook roti, naan, pita and other flat pan breads. They may also be used to cook chaat, pan fry fish, and other meats. As with a comal, a tawa can be flat, convex, or concave, and is often made from cast iron, steel, or aluminum.
One can find large stainless steel griddles in most restaurants. Short order cooks made a name for themselves by cooking a large volume of food quickly, with almost every item from burgers to eggs being cooked on griddles. In residential settings, a griddle may be made of cast iron, aluminum, or carbon steel. Most home cooks prefer to use an electric griddle because of their ease of use and maintenance.
Benefits Of Using An Electric Griddle
One of the most notable features of an electric griddle is their ability to maintain a consistent temperature for long periods of time. When using a traditional griddle that is set over a stove's burner, it can be quite difficult to maintain the correct temperature. One will often find themselves adjusting the temperature either higher or lower. Electric griddles feature a rotary dial or digital display that allows them to be set to an exact temperature, resulting in perfectly browned food every time.
Electric griddles also have a large surface area on which to cook food. When using standard pans to cook a breakfast consisting of pancakes, eggs, bacon, and home fries, one would have to use four separate pans. All of these items can be cooked simultaneously on one electric griddle, so there is only one item that needs to be cleaned at the end of the meal.
Even if one isn't cooking a variety of different items, the large surface area of an electric griddle allows them to cook a higher volume of food more quickly. This can be a huge boon to large families or those entertaining friends. There is nothing worse than having to cook a meal in portions, where the first few items cooked sit on the side and get cold while the rest of the meal is being cooked.
The flat surface of an electric griddle makes flipping food easier. Instead of trying to maneuver a spatula around the curve of a pan, one can simply slide the spatula under the food, with less chance of accidentally damaging it. This makes them ideal for pancakes, crepes, crab cakes, and other similar foods.
Griddles are also a healthier way to cook food than traditional pans. When cooking in a pan, grease and fat that drips off of the food puddles up in the pan. On a griddle, grease drips off, so food doesn't wind up sitting in a puddle of oil.
Best Foods For An Electric Griddle
While an electric griddle can be used to cook almost any type of non-liquid food, certain foods lend themselves particularly well to this cooking method. Pancakes are one such example. Not only can they be difficult to flip when using a traditional pan, one is often left having to cook just one at a time. This is fine if only cooking for oneself, but if one is cooking pancakes for a family and wants everybody to eat at the same time, an electric griddle is invaluable.
Crepes are another food that perfectly lends itself to cooking on an electric griddle. Being able to accurately set the temperature makes it easier to perfectly brown a crepe, without accidentally burning it. The large surface areas also makes it easier to slide a spatula underneath them when it is time to flip, without taking the chance of tearing it because of the high sides of a traditional pan. If not using a griddle to cook crepes, then one should definitely use a specialized crepe pan. which also features a large flat surface area and low sides.
Other foods that work well on electric griddles are crab cakes, falafel patties, pitas, tortillas, hash browns, eggs, arepas, flank steaks, and grilled cheese sandwiches.