Julia Child said, “The only time to eat diet food is while you’re waiting for the steak.” This statement sums it up for most of us – grilled food is life. Not only are the marks satisfyingly crusty but they taste great. The real challenge, however, is getting a perfectly grilled lamb, shrimp and vegetables. But with a good grill pan there are no limits and you can make all this right in your kitchen.
Because of the popularity of grilled food, there are numerous grilling options, from gas grills
to camping grills, indoor grills
and charcoal grills
, but there is something special about grill pans. They are cheap, lightweight and easy to operate. When compared with other cooking pans, grill pans are usable both indoors and outdoors and have impressive heat retention abilities.
Grill pans can also cook lots of food simultaneously, saving you time. For instance, you can grill beef, chicken breasts and vegetables without needing extra pans or washing the pan every time you are done cooking one dish. Its efficiency is enhanced by the ridges that collect fat and oils, which you can later use on fish, gravy, and steak.
Grill pans come in a wide range of materials, shapes and functionalities, making it tricky to decide on one. In this post, we’ll take you through the different materials and types and finally show you our picks for the five best grill pans on the market. Be our grilling guest!
For a good grill pan, expect to pay between $20 and $200. We also came across cheap grill pans, which we didn’t review, as we don’t believe they can stand the test of time. The major determinants of price include the brand, material and size of the pan. A unit with dual pour spouts, made of enameled cast iron, which is broiler safe, as well as oven and induction cooking safe will most likely cost more than a smaller unit without pouring spouts and the other features.
Grill pans are available in a wide range of features, which explains the difference in functionalities and prices. Assess your specific grilling needs and get one that will meet those needs.
Here is a list of the important features to consider when buying a grilling pan:
- Heat conduction, distribution and retention abilities
- Grade of grill lines and ridges
- Presence of drainage
- Shape, size and weight of the pan
- Whether it’s dishwasher safe
Let’s now see how these features affect the construction and performance of a grill pan.
Construction and Design
The first consideration in the construction of a grill pan is the material. Here are the different materials that are used and their differences.
Cast Aluminum or Hard Anodized Aluminum: Grill pans made of cast aluminum have several layers which can be made of titanium, diamonds or sapphires to harden the pan. These pans are non-stick, have even heat distribution properties and can withstand high temperatures. Hard anodized aluminum is non-stick and promotes even distribution of heat.
Cast Iron or Enameled Cast Iron: Known for impressive heat retention, cast iron is non-stick when enameled or seasoned, and it’s a utensil-safe metal. It’s also advisable to season the pan regularly. These pans, however, are known for absorbing flavors, so it’s best to have several pans.
Coated Polished Stainless Steel: Similar to aluminum and cast iron, stainless steel grill pans are non-stick. The best thing about them is their fast heating rate, being tough and with impressive durability.
Other materials we came across include ceramic and satin formed iron. After deciding on your preferred material and budget, here are other features to consider:
Compatibility: Here, you’ll be looking at where you can use the pan. Check if the pan is broiler and freezer safe. Also check if you can cook in the oven or on an induction, electric, or gas cooktop. Cast iron grills are best for induction cooktops, but we recommend you not use cast irons pans on glass cooktops.
Drainage: One of the best things about grill pans is the spouts, allowing you to drain fat and juice for sauces. You’ll find that some models have double spouts, others have a single spout and others don’t have any.
Heat Distribution and Retention: As mentioned earlier, grill pans are made of different materials. Depending on the material, the heat distribution and retention of a pan varies. When buying one, ensure that the pan has good heat retention and distribution properties. This ensures that the food is properly cooked. Apart from material, the heating of a pan depends on the width of the pan – the thicker the pan, the better.
Performance and Ease of Use
The performance of a grill pan will depend on whether you choose one with the right features. Choose one depending on your grilling needs. If you have many mouths to feed and you intend to grill often, go for a bigger pan in your preferred shape and color. Also consider the size of your microwave if you’ll be using it, to ensure it can fit inside (don’t put a metal pan in the microwave, though).
Another feature that determines the performance of a grill pan are the grills, which are the probably what defines a grilling pan. You’ll come across a wide range of grill lines and ridges. Sharp and highly defined ridges produce better grill lines than rounded ridges. You’ll also find some pans that have detachable grills, making cleaning easier. Don’t forget to check the recommended mode of cleaning and if the lids can turn the pan into a sandwich press or Panini.
We also recommend following these steps to get good results. Cut or pound meat into ½-inch pieces for even cooking. Ensure that the pan is well heated before placing food inside and don’t oil it. Another element that influenced the ease of use is the handles. For ease of use, ensure the handle is heat resistant to avoid accidents when the grilling surface is extremely hot.
The best grill pan should help you make delicious grilled food just as you do on the actual grill. Before picking one, consider how to get the best value for your money and how to get the most out of your grill pan. The following are questions that will help you make a great pick. What material is the pan made of? Is it dishwasher safe? Can you use it in the oven? In this review, we have included different sizes, shapes, and other features. Read through and get the best one for you.
Since 1963, Calphalon has decorated kitchens around the world with their wide and impressive collections of cookware, bake ware, and cutlery. The brand’s mission is to be a leading culinary expert and to deliver a chef’s experience through their kitchenware. It has everything you need for meal planning, prepping, cooking, and baking.
Calphalon Nonstick Panini Pan & Press is made from heavy-duty aluminum to facilitate even heat distribution and deliver great grilling results. To ensure you won’t have to buy another grill pan any time soon, the aluminum used in construction is hard-anodized, which has multiple benefits: A fast heating rate, even distribution of heat, heat retention, and great cooking results.
The pan’s interior has three layers of coating. The non-stick coating gives it its durability while the top-most non-stick layer ensures that food does not stick to the ridges, which can affect the pan’s lifespan. The non-stick surface is easy to clean, so you won’t need to worry about fat sticking to it when you’re grilling. To ensure you don’t get burned, the pan handles are made of brushless stainless steel.
With Calphalon Nonstick Panini Pan & Press, you can comfortably prepare Panini sandwiches, cuts of meat, sear chicken, and grill vegetables right in your kitchen. The pan is also oven safe, adding to its usefulness. The grills are uniquely designed to leave impressive char marks as well as hold drippings, grease, and any liquid residue emanating from what you are grilling. Finally, it’s dishwasher safe and made from PVOA-free materials. As a sign of quality, Calphalon Nonstick Panini Pan & Press comes with a lifetime warranty.
Cuisinart is a prestigious kitchen appliances brand. The four-decades old brand has grown from a small brand to one of the largest appliance brands with over 20 product lines. They have a wide collection of electric appliances, cookware, bake ware, cutlery, tools and gadgets, and everything else you need for your kitchen.
Cuisinart 11-Inch Round Grill Pan is a multilayered grilling pan, featuring ArmorGuard™ Protective Coating Technology, an exclusive Cuisinart technology aimed at offering professional grilling results and unmatched durability. The technology also makes the pan dishwasher safe. The multilayer construction is comprised of Eterna™ non-stick interior, pure aluminum core, hard-adonized core, and AmorGuard™ Protective Technology. The pan is deep and safe to use in the oven, too.
Adding to its durability is the non-stick interior, which is safe for utensils and built to last. The Eterna™ coating heats quickly and evenly. The results are perfectly grilled pieces of meat, vegetables, and Paninis without hot spots. To make your grilling easier and more comfortable, the pan’s handles are ergonomic and stay cool.
The pan comes with a tight-fitting tempered glass cover to lock in moisture and seal in the flavor. As a quality assurance, you get a lifetime warranty when you purchase this pan.
Staub is a decorated French brand known for its enameled, cast-iron cookware and its bake ware collections. The four-decades old brand became part of the Zwilling J.A. Henckles Group in 2008. Today, the brand boasts numerous achievements, including its cookware being used by some of the world’s best chefs.
Staub Iron Square Grill Pan delivers great grilling right in your kitchen. The pan has a rough texture purposely designed to brown your food just like a real grill. The ridges, which don’t require any seasoning, are designed to produce mouthwatering sear marks. With this pan, draining the juices or fat is easy as it has spouts on both sides. This is a great feature for both right- and left-handed people.
The pan’s smooth enameled bottom works well on all stovetops, adding to its convenience. To make your grilling easy, the pan is oven safe and dishwasher safe, too. Something else that stands out about this pan is its depth and stable handle.
Lodge is one of the few family-owned companies founded in the 18th century and dominating in the 21st century. The 120-year old brand is known for its cast-iron cookware collection. In all its cast-iron skillets, griddles, Dutch ovens, and bake ware product lines, all cook ware has enameled, pre-seasoned surfaces.
If you have a low budget and you badly need a grill pan, Lodge Pre-Seasoned Grill Pan is our recommendation. With less than $20, you can own this pan because it is ten times more affordable than other pans on the market. This pan is ten folds affordable than other grill pans on the market. While you may associate a low price with hidden compromises, this is not the case with Lodge’s Pre-Seasoned Grill Pan. This best-selling pan has impressive ratings on Amazon and other retailing sites.
The pan’s ridges help drain grease and fat while branding your Paninis, vegetables, or cuts of meat with bold sear marks. While the pan is pre-seasoned, it is always recommended to re-season it every once in a while. The pan has a black patina, which develops during production, and the vegetable oil used is functional rather than cosmetic.
This pan stands outs for its rate of heating, even distribution of heat, and heat retaining abilities. The results are great grilling marks and evenly grilled food. You shouldn’t be purchasing a grill pan every year. It should be durable enough to serve you for the longest time possible. Lodge’s Pre-Seasoned Grill Pan is brutally tough! You can use it on any cooking surface, from induction cook tops to ovens to over campfires and on the stove. Maintenance is easy—just don’t use soap to clean it.
Even when the outdoors won’t allow you to grill, you can still do it indoors and achieve the same, or even better, results—provided you have a good grill pan. The Utopia Kitchen Cast Iron Square Grill Pan, which is made of cast iron, is a pre-seasoned pan with a ribbed bottom—for excess fat and grease—that allows you to enjoy low-fat cooking.
While keeping the grease away, the ribbed bottom also leaves char marks on your favorite grilled food. It is rated as one of the best for impressive heat distribution and heat-retention abilities. This directly adds to your cooking results, creating better and more evenly cooked food.
Did you know that grilling using a cast iron grill pan increases the iron content in your food? This is another benefit you get— apart from your deliciously grilled food! Cleaning this pan is easy, too: Just use a stiff brush and hot water when cleaning. No dish soap is necessary. You can use this pan to prepare Paninis, steaks, and vegetables. For easy handling, the pan has a long handle on one end and a short handle on the upper end.
We hope you’re now more informed about grill pans. Assess your specific needs and pick the right pan to meet them. Good luck!