Portable Electric Griddle Vs. Stove Top: Which One Is Better?
In this article, we will enter the great griddle debate. Which kind of griddle is better, a free-standing electric griddle or a griddle designed to fit across the burners on your cook stove? As with any debate, there are various arguments and points of view to consider. We will look at several of these arguments in this article.
Electric standalone griddles offer portability, ease of cleaning, and most come with a non-stick surface. Griddles designed to fit across the burners of your cook stove come in two varieties. On the one hand, there are lightweight griddles that often have a non-stick surface. The other option is the traditional cast iron griddle which requires special attention when cleaning.
Both styles of griddle have their advantages and disadvantages. In general, both will perform superbly in the right situations. Your lifestyle and cooking habits dictate, to a large extent, which style of griddle best suits your situation. We hope to provide enough information for you to make the best decision about which style of griddle best fits your needs.
Portable Electric Griddles
Portable electric griddles are a popular accessory in many kitchens. Users of portable electric griddles point to several advantages of portable electric grills. These advantages include:
- Ease of use – Many homeowners choose a portable electric griddle because of the ease of use. There is no need to heat the cookstove to heat a griddle. Portable electric griddles sit comfortably on the countertop and plug into an existing electrical outlet. Most portable electric griddles have clearly marked, and easy-to-understand thermostat controls for precise heat when cooking.
- Quick cleanup – Many portable electric griddles have detachable cook surfaces coated with anti-stick compounds. These detachable cook surfaces make the entire griddle surface submergible for cleaning. The non-stick coatings reduce cleaning time considerably.
- Portability – Unlike your cookstove, these electric griddles are easy to relocate. This portability means you no tethers to the cookstove. If you want to cook pancakes on the patio, plug your portable electric grill into the outlet near your outdoor table and go to work. There is no more running back and forth to the kitchen to prepare and serve an outdoor meal.
- Functionality – Many portable electric griddles owners report that their electric griddles cook more evenly and with fewer hotspots than the stovetop griddles they have tried. Even heating across the griddle surface makes cooking easier and more efficient in many cases.
As with anything else, the manufacturing quality can make a significant difference in how well a portable electric griddle operates and cooks. Please don’t make the mistake of purchasing the cheapest griddle on the market and expect it to cook like top-of-the-line models.
Gas Fired Portable Griddles
If portability is high on your priority list of features and you want to cook where electrical service is not available. A propane or butane-fueled portable griddle might offer a solution. While these gas-fueled griddles are not quite as simple as a portable electric griddle, they can provide excellent cooking options without the need for electricity.
Gas-fueled portable griddles come in two varieties, propane and butane. Each has advantages and disadvantages. How you intend to use your griddle and the size of your griddle will affect your fuels choice.
- Propane – Propane griddles are available from units the size of typical electric countertop portable griddles to large, wheeled units with cook surfaces the size of a regular stovetop. For grills with larger cook surfaces, propane is the fuel of choice. You can purchase propane bottles from small canisters the size of a large can of vegetables to large tanks that hold one hundred pounds of propane. Adapters are available to allow almost any propane griddle to use any of these fuel canisters.
- Butane – Typically, butane-fired griddles are smaller and lighter than their propane cousins. Butane-fired griddles are meant more for backpacking and other back-country adventures. The fuel containers are usually smaller than propane canisters and are not refillable. These smaller griddles are useable in and around your home, but the size of the griddle and the fuel cost is a disadvantage for home use.
Most gas-fueled griddle manufacturers include warnings against using their gas griddles indoors. Like any gas-fired appliance, gas griddles produce toxic gases as a byproduct of burning gas. If you choose to use a gas-fired griddle in your kitchen, be sure you have adequate ventilation for your safety.
Stove Top Griddles
The other option for griddle selection is a griddle designed to fit across the burners of your cook stove. For many homeowners, this is a perfect solution. Some higher-end cookstoves include a griddle as an accessory or as a built-in feature in the cooktop. Many people prefer a stovetop griddle for several reasons.
- Convenience – Setting a griddle across your stovetop burners offers convenience. The stovetop griddle is usually more compact and smaller than an electric or gas countertop portable grill. In kitchens with space issues, this can be important. There are also no cords to deal with or fuel canisters to store.
- Easy setup – A stovetop griddle eliminates the stand, electric cord and finding a place to plug the connection into an outlet. If gas is your choice, you must set up the griddle, connect the gas, check for leaks, and keep the fuel tanks full. A stovetop griddle is as simple as laying the griddle across the burners and turning on the stovetop.
- Cleanup – Most stovetop griddles go straight into the sink for cleanup. Some cast-iron griddles require special cleaning but are, in most cases, no more trouble than those that are washable in the sink. Some stovetop griddles may go in the dishwasher, making cleanup even easier and quicker.
- Cooking – Cooks who routinely use a stovetop griddle admit a learning curve associated with cooking on the griddle. Stovetop griddles may have hotspots near the burners, and some may not get as hot as an electric griddle. These heat issues are usually because the burners on your stove don’t put out as many BTUs as the electric coils. Cast-iron griddle cooks, by and large, swear that food cooked on a properly seasoned cast iron griddle has better flavor.
Some higher-end cookstoves come with an accessory griddle that custom fits across two or more of the burners on your stove. In some luxury model cookstoves, a griddle is built into the middle space of the cooktop. These are, of course, excellent options and generally work well with the cookstove. However, the cost of these cookstoves is often out of the budget range of most homeowners.
Consider Your Cookstove Before Electing for a Stovetop Griddle
Before you opt to purchase a stovetop griddle for your cookstove, there are some things you should consider.
- BTU output – Every burner on most cookstoves has a different BTU output. Putting a griddle across two burners with different BTU output can cause uneven heating and cooking on your griddle. Uneven BUT output can often be mitigated by adjusting your burners to give more even heat output to make your griddle cook evenly across the entire surface.
- Gas cookstoves – By and large, gas cookstoves work better with stovetop griddles. The heat output of gas cookstoves is easier to manage and generally produces a much more even heat distribution.
- Electric cookstoves – Electric cookstoves are much more common than gas cookstoves. Unfortunately, many models and styles of electric cookstoves are not suitable for using a stovetop griddle. Manufacturers of glass top electric cookstoves generally recommend against using griddles on the glass cooktop. Likewise, induction-style cookstoves don’t work with griddles unless the griddle is specially built to work with the induction heating system. If your electric cookstove has exposed electric burners, you may use a griddle, but adjusting the heat output and getting even heat distribution is often a problem.
Your cookstove may pre-empt using a cooktop griddle on your stove. Be sure your cookstove is suitable for using a stovetop griddle. Information about using a stovetop griddle is available from the manufacturer of your cookstove or in the user manual that came with the stove.
In our view, if you routinely use a griddle for cooking pancakes, eggs, sausage, or grilling sandwiches, a portable electric griddle with non-stick surfaces and a removable griddle surface is the way to go. These portable electric griddles offer such flexibility around the kitchen and home that I can’t imagine a kitchen without one.
However, there is much to be said for a traditional cast-iron griddle on your cookstove. Cast-iron cooks evenly and holds heat well. When the cast iron is properly seasoned, the surface is almost as easy to use as any non-stick surface coatings. The downside of cast-iron is the weight and the extra care they require to cook properly.
The Cook’s Decision
In the end, whoever does most of the cooking on the griddle will have their preferences. Personal preference is a key factor in making your decision. I hope that the information in this article gives you the key information you need to make the best decision. Weigh your choice based on the key advantages and disadvantages we have found and your preferences and needs.
Dennis is a retired firefighter with an extensive background in construction, home improvement, and remodeling. He worked in the trades part-time while serving as an active firefighter. On his retirement, he started a remodeling and home repair business, which he ran for several years.
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