Step-by-step: How to Season and Cook on a Cast Iron Griddle

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So you’ve just bought a new cast iron griddle. Cast iron is a good choice in cookware because it will last you a lifetime. Here’s what you need to know to get the best cooking results from your cast iron griddle and get the most out of it for longer.

What is a cast iron griddle? A cast iron griddle is a shallow pan with (or without) ribbing on the cooking surface. It differs to a skillet in that it has only a small lip around the edge. It can be round, square or rectangular.

Lodge Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Reversible Grill/Griddle With Handles, 20 Inch x 10.5 Inch - One tray

They come in a range of options…

  • You can choose between a cast iron electric griddle, cast iron stovetop griddle, a specifically designed cast iron pancake griddle, or other types to suit your needs.

They are durable…

  • Being made of cast iron cookware, the griddle is extremely durable (with many people believing that they get better with age).
  • It’s one of the best things to take camping.
  • It will withstand high heat flames.

See also: My article on the best cast iron skillets for glass stovetops

How to cook on cast iron griddle

Cast iron griddles are versatile and robust. You can use them indoors and out. The low sides make them perfect for flipping food, such as pancakes, eggs, or burgers…much easier than in using a skillet or frying pan.

In the UK, people traditionally use griddles for scones, bread, crumpets, and pancakes. In the US and other parts of the world (inc. the UK) today, people use griddles for a wide variety of foods, including the cooking of meats, seafood, veggies, and even pizzas.

A griddle is versatile in the foods you can cook on it

Here’s an incomplete list of what you can enjoy from a griddle…

  • pancakes
  • sausages
  • bacon
  • eggs
  • hash browns
  • French toast
  • burgers
  • grilled sandwiches
  • fajitas

Heating and heat retention

It may take a bit of getting used to, if you aren’t familiar with cooking with cast iron. Cast iron heats slower than conventional cookware but it will heat evenly throughout and maintain that heat for longer. It will also remain hot for a fair amount of time after withdrawing it from its heat source. (It’ll keep the food warm for longer.)

The benefits are that you won’t have hot or cold spots when cooking steaks, chicken, or fish and your food will cook all the way through.

Just be careful not to burn or overcook the food. It can be easy to set the heat on very high longer than necessary. It won’t hurt the pan because cast iron can handle extremely high heat, but unless you enjoy overly-charred food, it’s best to avoid it.

Virtually Non-Stick

The ‘seasoning’ of cast iron cookware creates a surface film that’s virtually nonstick, allowing you to flip or remove the food without it sticking to the surface.

These virtual non-stick characteristics will last the life of the griddle given it remains seasoned. This outdoes the coating of nonstick cookware, which deteriorates with use over time.

Tools and utensils

You can use metal, bamboo, wood, and silicone spatulas, tongs, forks, and eggs flippers with cast iron cookware. No plastic. I don’t recommend plastic accessories as part of these essential tools as they tend to melt with high heat and cast iron cookware can sustain very high heat.

Because cast iron holds the heat, it’s important that you protect your hands when handling the griddle. Use an oven mit or something similar to avoid getting burnt. Some, like the Lodge reversible griddle shown below, have openings especially to hook an accessory into to lift the griddle off the heat source. Otherwise, leave it in place until it has cooled sufficiently.

Drawbacks of a cast iron griddle

  • They can be heavy. Lightweight cookware make for much easier handling.
  • You need to season them. Some come pre-seasoned, saving you the initial trouble but seasoning needs to be maintained to keep them in top condition.

Caring for your cast iron griddle

With cast iron griddles and pans, there are simple steps to ensure your pan performs well over a lifetime of use.

Like most items you value, you won’t want to jeopardise the performance of your cookware by how you clean or store it.

I’ve put together the following sections to help you with this — there’s much to be gained from a cast iron griddle in top shape.

How to season cast iron griddles

Most cast iron griddles come already seasoned (though they’ll need redoing along the way).

Some griddles won’t come seasoned, and you will need to do this yourself before first use.

Don’t feel overwhelmed by the idea of having to season your griddle. The process is fairly straightforward. Read on for the steps before first use (or for its rejuvenation)…

Step-by-step how to season cast iron griddle

  1. Heat the griddle.
    Use a medium-high heat source until the griddle is hot hot. Then remove.
  2. Cover the griddle with oil.
    Use tongs to wipe the griddle over with several paper towels that have been drenched in two tablespoons of oil. Do this until the oil on the griddle smokes and no oily residue remains. It’s important to use tongs to avoid burns.
  3. Let the griddle cool.
    Leave it sit to cool on the stovetop or on a board or other means that protects your working surface from oil stains.
  4. Repeat the process.
    Do it at least once more, or up to three to five times if you’re wanting an especially well seasoned griddle.

Any cooking oil will do for the seasoning effect you’re seeking. Durable ones include flaxseed, sunflower, and soybean oils, all of which are said to oxidize at a faster rate to create the seal you’re looking for.

Maintaining the seasoning is part of care needed for cast iron cookware and it’s simple to do…

How to clean cast iron griddles & retain seasoning

This guide provides my best tips for keeping a griddle looking and performing well…

Step by step on how to care for cast iron griddle

After using the griddle…

  1. While still warm, remove excess fat or oil.
    Use a paper towel or cloth to remove what you can.
  2. Next, immerse the griddle in hot water.
    I like to soak it for a while to help with removing the burnt on bits, but if that’s not for you, move onto the next step.
  3. Scrub with a non-abrasive pad or brush.
    Scrub to remove the remaining grime. I add a smidgen of dish detergent to help but I recommend you avoid overdoing it to maintain the seasoning.
  4. Rinse the griddle and dry it completely.
    Use a cloth or paper towel. A quick way to completely dry it is to sit it over medium-low heat until all signs of moisture disappear.
  5. Before storing
    Add a dab of oil and rub it over the griddle for a complete coverage that brings out the blackness of the griddle. This will stop it from oxidizing (rusting) on the surface and help retain a seasoned pan.
  6. Wipe away surface oil residue.
    Use a paper towel to remove any residue and then store the griddle away for next time.

I certainly do not recommend using a dishwasher to clean cast iron cookware including these griddles. The dishwasher detergents are too harsh and corrosive and you’ll harm the seal of a seasoned pan.

Best griddle pan options on the market

The following covers some popular buys to help you find that cast iron stovetop griddle, camping griddle, or for the outdoor gas grill.

If you want to use it for outdoor use or camping, a classic style is what most prefer, but then there are the reversible griddles.

Reversible griddles

Some griddles you can reverse and use the other side. They have a flat side and a side with raised ridges, making them more versatile than griddles with one sided use only. People use the flat side for pancakes and other ridged side for sausages and other meats and vegetables that they want to char-grill.

Lodge Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Reversible Grill/Griddle, 16.75 Inch x 9.5 Inch, Black

What they look like? This top seller at Amazon: Lodge Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Reversible Grill/Griddle, 16.75″, is what to expect with a reversible griddle.

These are useful when camping or cooking outdoors because of their versatility. Their “double play” means you have one item for the purpose of two (saving space) and that’s why you’ll find these and others like them online at camping and outdoors suppliers: See the latest price at Camping World.

A lot of people choose Lodge cast iron cookware because it is made in the US.

Round and flat: Lodge Cast Iron Griddle – 10.5 Inch Cast Iron

Best for: Pancakes, pancakes, quesadillas, and pizzas.

Lodge Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Griddle With Easy-Grip Handle, 10.5 Inch (Pack of 1), Black

If you’re looking for a cast iron round griddle for pancakes, quesadillas, and even stovetop pizzas, then check out the Lodge cast iron griddle – it’s a good choice.

A highly respected brand in the cast iron industry, Lodge started designing and manufacturing cast iron cookware over 100 years ago. This goes a long way towards adding confidence in this griddle being one that will more than live up to your expectations.

This griddle pan comes pre-seasoned for your convenience and has been built to last a lifetime.

Where to buy:

  • Lodge 10.5 Inch Cast Iron Griddle is available at Amazon — see details.

Weber Cast Iron Griddle

Best for: bacon and eggs on the outdoor grill

cast iron griddle
Cast iron round griddle by Weber – click image for details at Amazon

The Weber cast iron griddle is the perfect choice for those who are looking to get more out of a griddle investment.

The smooth surface suits pancakes, eggs, and bacon and cooking the perfect fish and veggies will be easier than ever.

While this griddle is suited to outdoor grills, its simple design also allows it to work well for stovetop use.

Where to buy:

Weber.com for BBQs and grills…

SEE LATEST PRICE!


Griswold cast iron griddle

If you ever find yourself with a Griswold cast iron griddle or pan in your hand, then hold onto it for dear life. This cast iron cookware was made between the years 1870 and 1957.

While they were once considered staples in most homes and were made as both round and square cast iron griddles, they are now extremely collectible and should be treasured by their owners. This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t use them. Actually, it’s quite the contrary.

If you find yourself lucky enough to come across one of these pans, make sure that you season it and start using it as soon as you can to take advantage of the tremendous quality that this company always maintained.

Summing it up

There’s no doubt that cast iron cooking equipment is some of the most convenient and useful around. However, when it comes to griddles, what makes one cast iron brand better than the next? A reputable brand is one.

Look for information on the warranty and return policies. Do they provide good after purchase service?

I hope the above sections help you with what else to consider.

Cast iron griddles and pans can be some of the most convenient tools in anyone’s kitchen when they’re used correctly. Keep these products, tips, and suggestions in mind so that you can get the most out of your cast iron griddle today.

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