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When cooking for a crowd, a good electric griddle can be a timesaver.
Published Feb. 8, 2019. Appears in Cook's Country TV Season 12: Beef, Dressed Up
What You Need To Know
Electric griddles have a reputation for being, well, a bit retro. A June 1955 issue of Good Housekeeping stated that a “thermostatically controlled” electric griddle was the solution if you “turn out leathery pancakes.”
However, a good electric griddle still has the same appeal today; it allows you to cook a big batch of something without having to divide a recipe into as many batches—or perhaps any batches at all. And unlike a stovetop griddle, an electric griddle frees up your burners for other tasks when you’re cooking for a crowd.
All the electric griddles we previously recommended, including our previous winner by BroilKing, were discontinued or redesigned, so it was time to retest. We selected six models, including the updated version of the BroilKing, all with nonstick surfaces and priced from about $30 to just under $100. We used each one to make our Best Buttermilk Pancakes, our Extra-Crisp French Toast, and hamburgers.
The Best Griddles Heat Evenly
Electric griddles get their heat from an electric coil on the underside of the cooking surface. As with ovens, the heat cycles on and off to maintain the temperature you set on the control panel. Most of the griddles in our lineup have indicator lights that tell you when the unit reaches the desired temperature.
When our griddles signaled that they’d reached 350 degrees, we tested the surface temperatures in several locations. The results were all over the map. Most had hot and cold spots on their surfaces, and we saw this in the food we cooked, too; pancakes were both raw and overcooked in the same batch. The worst model varied by 80 degrees across its cooking surface: It was 319 degrees in one corner and 399 degrees in another. The best varied by less than 10 degrees, giving us pancakes that were uniformly browned and fluffy.
In general, griddles that were the most inconsistent in temperature were the quickest to heat up. The worst model indicated it was ready in just 4 minutes, while the most consistent griddle—the one that varied just 10 degrees—took more than 10 minutes. But time didn’t tell the whole story. Even when we gave that bad model more time to heat and cooked a second batch of food, we saw the same inconsistent heating patterns. In this griddle and others, we could actually see the outline of the heating coil charred into the pancakes, and in one particularly inconsistent model, half the pancakes burned within 3 minutes, while the other half of the batch was only partially cooked.
To understand these differences in heating, we examined the material and thickness of each griddle. We discovered that our top two griddles were both made of nonstick c...
Everything We Tested
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