Outdoor cooking has always been a beloved tradition, whether it's a family BBQ or a camping trip. Among the various options available, outdoor griddles have gained significant popularity. But are outdoor griddles worth it? This article delves into the benefits and considerations of using an outdoor griddle for your cooking needs.

Key Takeaways:

  • Versatility and Variety: Outdoor griddles provide a flat cooking surface that can handle everything from pancakes to steaks.
  • Ease of Use and Maintenance: With simple heat controls and a flat surface, griddles are straightforward to clean and maintain.
  • Flavor and Cooking Quality: Griddles cook food evenly and can enhance flavor without the need for excessive oil or seasoning.
cooking process

tabletop griddles
Photo credit: Blackstone®

What is an Outdoor Griddle?

An outdoor griddle consists of a large, flat cooking surface typically made from cast iron or stainless steel. Unlike traditional grills that have metal grates, a griddle provides a solid surface that distributes heat evenly, making it ideal for cooking a variety of foods.

Outdoor griddles come in several forms, including freestanding and tabletop models, each offering unique benefits. Whether you're cooking scrambled eggs for breakfast or smash burgers for dinner, the griddle's versatility is unmatched.

Benefits of Using an Outdoor Griddle

Versatile Cooking Options

The flat surface of a griddle allows you to cook almost any type of food. From breakfast items like pancakes and French toast to dinner favorites like steaks and stir fry, the possibilities are endless. This versatility makes outdoor griddles a valuable addition to any cook's arsenal.

Better Heat Distribution

Griddles provide consistent and even heat across the surface, which is essential for properly cooking foods like pancakes or grilled sandwiches. This even distribution helps avoid hot spots that are common with traditional grills.

griddle cooking

Comparing Griddles and Grills

Surface Area and Heat Control

One of the key differences between a griddle and a grill is the surface area. Griddles offer a larger flat surface area than grills, which typically feature open flame and direct heat. This makes griddles ideal for cooking smaller pieces of food that might fall through grill grates.

Cooking Style Adaptability

Griddles are not just for frying or sautéing. They can also handle tasks typically reserved for grills, such as searing steaks or grilling hamburgers, thanks to their ability to reach high heat levels without the flare-ups of an open flame.

Exploring the Versatility of Cooking Surfaces: Griddle vs. Grill

When debating whether are outdoor griddles worth it, it's essential to consider the versatility of the cooking surface. A griddle provides a flat cooking surface that is ideal for foods that might fall through traditional grill grates, such as scrambled eggs, pancakes, or even smaller pieces of vegetables and seafood. This flat surface allows for an even distribution of heat, making it easier to cook delicate items that require consistent temperature. On the other hand, grills offer direct heat from an open flame, which is perfect for searing meats to achieve those coveted grill marks and a smoky flavor.

Griddles also shine in their ability to handle a diverse range of cooking styles. Whether you're looking to stir fry vegetables, cook steaks to perfection without the flare-ups that sometimes occur on a charcoal grill, or even whip up some smash burgers with all their delicious flavors intact, the griddle's flat surface makes these tasks more manageable. In contrast, grills are typically favored for cooking larger cuts of meat over high heat, where the direct contact with flames or hot coals can impart a depth of flavor and texture that a flat griddle surface might not achieve.

Ideal Foods to Cook on a Griddle

Breakfast Delights

Imagine starting your day with perfectly cooked scrambled eggs, pancakes, or French toast made right on your outdoor griddle. The broad cooking surface allows you to cook multiple items at once, saving time and enhancing your outdoor cooking experience.

Meats and Vegetables

Griddles excel in cooking various meats—steaks, hamburgers, bacon, and chicken cook evenly with delicious flavors. Vegetables like peppers, onions, and asparagus also benefit from the griddle’s consistent heat, retaining their texture and flavor.

Maintenance and Care

Cleaning Made Simple

The flat cooking surface of a griddle makes it easier to clean compared to grills with metal grates. Most griddles are equipped with a grease trap, collecting oil and food residues and simplifying the cleaning process.

griddle cooking

Longevity and Durability

Regular maintenance ensures your griddle remains in excellent condition. Cast iron models, in particular, can last a lifetime if properly cared for, making them a worthwhile investment for avid cooks.


Initial Investment vs. Long-Term Benefits

While some high-end griddle models can be an investment, the durability and versatility they offer often justify the cost. Additionally, the ability to cook a variety of meals can also lead to savings on other kitchen gadgets and appliances.

Energy Efficiency

Griddles often heat up faster and can be more energy-efficient than traditional grills or ovens, especially when cooking meals for a large group, making them both cost-effective and environmentally friendly.

User Experiences and Testimonials

Real-Life Applications

Many users praise the ease of transitioning from indoor to outdoor cooking with a griddle. The ability to cook different types of meals on a single surface not only enhances the cooking experience but also makes outdoor dining more enjoyable.

The Practical Benefits of Griddle Cooking in Outdoor Settings

One of the key differences between griddles and grills lies in their suitability for various outdoor cooking scenarios. Freestanding griddles have become increasingly popular in commercial kitchens and outdoor settings alike due to their substantial surface area, which allows for multiple food items to be cooked simultaneously. Smaller, more mobile, griddles are especially useful when camping. A camping griddle is typically made from cast iron and excels when cooking over coals from a campfire. This is particularly advantageous during large gatherings where efficiency and speed are crucial. Additionally, the grease trap feature on most griddles enhances safety by containing oil and fat drippings away from the heat source, reducing the risk of flare-ups.

Moreover, the ease of switching between different types of meals on a griddle—from breakfast items like French toast and bacon to dinner staples like steaks and hamburgers—demonstrates its adaptability and appeal for those who love cooking a variety of dishes. The continuous flat surface also means easier cleanup compared to grills, where food residue might stick between metal grates. For anyone considering an upgrade from a traditional grill to a more versatile cooking option, the griddle offers a compelling array of practical benefits that can transform outdoor cooking experiences.

Community and Support

The growing popularity of outdoor griddles has led to a vibrant community of users who share recipes, tips, and techniques, making it easier for newcomers to get started and for seasoned cooks to advance their skills.

cooking process


Outdoor griddles offer a unique and versatile cooking experience that can enhance your outdoor dining and entertainment. With the ability to cook a wide range of foods, easy maintenance, and the joy of cooking in the open air, it's clear that outdoor griddles are indeed worth the investment.

griddle faqs


What makes a griddle better than a grill?

Griddles provide a flat surface that offers even heat distribution, making them ideal for cooking foods that could fall through grill grates. They are also versatile enough to handle a wide range of cooking tasks, from frying and sautéing to grilling and toasting.

Can I replace my traditional grill with a griddle?

While griddles offer extensive cooking capabilities, they do not completely replicate the smoky flavor of foods cooked over an open flame or charcoal. For those who love traditional grilling, a combination of both a grill and a griddle might be the best solution.

Are outdoor griddles safe to use?

Yes, outdoor griddles are safe to use as long as they are operated according to the manufacturer's instructions. Ensure the griddle is set up on a stable surface and kept clean to avoid any safety hazards.

Related articles:

What Are the Disadvantages of a Griddle?
Explore some of the drawbacks of using a griddle in your cooking arsenal—what might you be sacrificing for convenience?