A decent electric griddle will save you time while cooking for a large party.

Electric griddles have a reputation for being a little old-fashioned. If you “turn out leathery pancakes,” according to a June 1955 issue of Good Housekeeping, a “thermostatically powered” electric griddle is the remedy.

A decent electric griddle, on the other hand, has the same appeal today: it helps you to cook a large batch of something without having to break it into as many batches—or even any batches at all. When you’re cooking for a crowd, an electric griddle, unlike a stovetop griddle, frees up the burners for other activities.

Griddles that heat evenly are the best.

An electric coil on the underside of the cooking surface heats an electric griddle and makes it best electric griddle. The heat cycle on and off, much like an oven, to maintain the temperature you set on the control panel. The majority of our griddles have indicator lights that illuminate when the device has reached the target temperature.

During our testing of some of these countertop cooking devices, Assistant Editor Riddley Gemperlein-Schirm tests the temperature of the cooking surface of an electric griddle.

We checked the surface temperatures in several locations after our griddles indicated that they had reached 350 degrees. The outcome was all over the place. The majority of them had hot and cold spots on their surfaces, and we found this in the food we cooked as well; pancakes were raw and overcooked in the same batch. The worst model had an 80-degree difference in temperature across its cooking surface: 319 degrees in one corner and 399 degrees in the other. The best had a temperature difference of fewer than 10 degrees, resulting in pancakes that were evenly browned and fluffy.

All but one of the electric griddles had these loop-like heating elements because electricity moves in a circuit. However, the central location of these heating elements resulted in hot spots, which were usually located along the loop’s perimeter or in the middle.

Griddles with the most inconsistency in temperature were the fastest to heat up in general. The worst model claimed to be ready in 4 minutes, while the most accurate griddle—one that only differed by 10 degrees—took over 10 minutes. However, time did not say the whole tale. We saw the same erratic heating patterns when we gave the bad model more time to heat and cooked a second batch of food. We could see the outline of the heating coil burnt into the pancakes on this griddle and others, and on one especially inconsistent model, half the pancakes burned within 3 minutes, while the other half was only partially cooked.

We looked at the material and thickness of each griddle to figure out why they were heating differently. Our top two griddles were found to be made of nonstick cast aluminium, while the lower-ranking ones were made of nonstick-coated thin metal sheets. The best performer had the thickest cooking surface, measuring about 12 inches thick—more than four times thicker than the others.

Thickness is significant, according to Bridget Smyser, a mechanical engineer and associate teaching professor at Northeastern University. “Something that is very dense will take longer to heat up, and as a result, the mass of material will remain hot,” Smyser explained. Heat, on the other hand, passes easily through thin metal, resulting in hot spots.

Except for the lowest-ranking griddle, all of the griddles we tested had nonstick coatings. While some claimed to use ceramic nonstick coatings, which are advertised as a greener alternative to conventional nonstick, we didn’t find any differences in nonstick performance during our testing.

It’s Important to Consider the Size of the Cooking Surface

Even, the real benefit of a griddle is the extra space: We want a big enough cooktop so that we can easily prepare meals for a large community. One of the models was woefully insufficient. While it appeared to have a large cooking surface, just a small area in the centre heated up, measuring 12.5 by 8 inches (100 square inches). This griddle could only hold four pancakes, while all other versions with at least 190 square inches of usable space could hold eight or more.

However, bigger was better, with cooktops with at least 230 square inches of available cooking space being the most flexible. Although slightly smaller griddles could easily accommodate eight pancakes or burgers, they couldn’t suit an entire recipe’s worth of French toast (eight pieces) without some slices hanging over the side. The two largest griddles housed whole batches with plenty of room to spare when rotating, allowing us plenty of room to rotate our spatula.

Easy Cleanup Equals Good Grease Drainage

Grease isn’t a problem with pancakes or French toast, but fatty foods like burgers and bacon can be. Despite getting large grease traps, many of the griddles didn’t drain grease when we cooked burgers. The grease pooled on the surface and sometimes sputtered dangerously since most had absolutely flat cooking surfaces with no slope to allow fat drainage. Our favourite griddles had a solution: a flat cooktop with back legs that could be propped up at an angle to drain grease when needed. We used this feature to cook burgers, and the grease poured straight into the traps, making cooking safer and cleanup easier.

After cooking a batch of burgers, grease pools on the surface of an Elechomes electric griddle, and splatter is visible on the table. The Presto electric griddle’s slight downward slope guides drippings to the drain and grease tray.

A detachable power cord was another feature that made cleanup easier. We were able to wash griddles in the sink without having to worry about destroying their electronics. When cleaning models with permanently attached power cords, we had to be even more vigilant.

Two Massive Griddles

Finally, we found two griddles that we liked, one with slight improvements over the classic appliance. The Presto 19-Inch Electric Tilt-n-Fold Griddle ($43.99) is our Best Buy because it has the largest cooking surface, making it a good choice if you’re cooking for a big group. It did, however, take the longest to heat (13 minutes) and didn’t cook as evenly as our favourite griddle. slid off the side. Golden-brown pancakes, crispy French toast, and evenly seared burgers were consistently made.   

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