What Is a Grill Pan And What Food Should You Cook In It?

What is a grill pan? Well a grill pan is simply a small piece of cookware that has multiple ridges going all the way across it. This replicates the effect that a grill has where it leaves grill lines going across the food.

Now you’ve probably heard people say grill pan and griddle pan before, and you might be thinking they are the same as people tend to use the terms interchangeably. But they have a slight difference which actually results in completely different food being cooked on each one.

But before we get into depth of griddles, let’s talk more about the grill pan.

What is a grill pan used for?

A grill pan is typically used to cook foods that have too much fat content in them, such as beef burgers or steak, this is because the ridges hold the food up whilst the fat drips down into the bottom of the pan. This prevents the food from reabsorbing the excess fat.

But a grill pan can also be used to make food more stylish, such as sandwiches and vegetables. We all love it when you see those dark brown grill lines going across the food.

What is the difference between a grill pan and frying pan?

Grill pans and frying pans are very different from each over.

A grill pan is a square with ridges, where as a frying pan is a circular shape with tall vertical sides at the edge and a flat surface.

The two differences make them completely different for which foods you cook in them. As discussed above, grill pans are for high fat content foods and foods that look appealing with grill marks on them.

Frying pans are used for searing meats, browning foods and deep frying them in oil, these are the cooking techniques that you cannot achieve with a grill pan.

What can I use instead of a grill pan?

Realistically, the only viable alternative to a grill pan would be the grill in the oven, or a grill on a barbeque, both will achieve the same results as a grill pan.

You would normally buy a grill pan if you have neither of these options and don’t have a lot of room for any of them either.

What do you cook on a grill pan?

There are quite a few different meals that you can cook on a grill pan, and it’s mainly about either the grill marks or the fat drainage.

Steak

Steak is probably the most common when using a grill pan, the excess fat drains off and you get beautiful looking grill marks on it.

Burgers

Burgers are also a common item to be used on the grill pan, mainly to drain the fat as burgers tend to have a fat content high enough to end up with juices running all over. But also the meat looks delicious with grill marks on them.

Vegetables

Vegetables are popular because they get a nice charred taste from the grill pans.

Sandwiches

Grilling sandwiches has been around for a long time, some people toast toast their sandwiches but for the best flavor it’s always best to go with a grill pan for these.

Is cooking on a grill pan healthy?

Cooking on a grill pan is much healthier than cooking in a regular pan, simply because it drains the excess fat from foods, and typically speaking it’s meats that are grilled so it will remove a lot of saturated fat.

But keep in mind that it’s healthier and not “Healthy” because people don’t typically cook only “Healthy foods” on a grill pan. So the word healthy is subjective to which food your cooking.

But overall it is healthier than a regular pan.

How do you use a grill pan on the stove?

Grill pans are basically the same as any other pans on the stove, you should place them on the stove and heat them up.

However there is one slight difference, since the food is cooked on the ridges of the grill pan, you should coat the food in cooking oil instead of the pan.

Can I use a skillet instead of a grill pan?

Using a skillet is essentially the same as using a frying pan

So if you are looking for excess fat drainage and grill marks on your food then you will have to stick to using a grill pan instead of a skillet.

When cooking vegetables, you can use a cast iron skillet instead, as skillets are fantastic at cooking vegetables due to their sides.

Do you really need a grill pan?

You don’t need a grill pan, but it does help bring flavor and texture into specific foods. If your cooking a beef burger with a high fat content on a regular pan, then it becomes too juicy and this can really mess with the entire bun once it’s on it.

The last time I tried to cook a beef burger in a frying pan, there was so much juice dripping from it once I took a bit, the burger just fell apart. And I grilled the bun to try and prevent that. But sometimes there is just too much fat there and that’s why a grill pan is a great addition to the kitchen.

Do cast iron grill pans work?

Cast iron grill pans do work, and they are considered to be the best material for a grill pans cooking surface. One thing to note though is that cast iron take a while to heat up due to the poor heat conduction, but it has a really high heat retention and it’s durable.

So you can heat cast iron grill pans up to very hot temperatures and it will stay warm for quite a long time after you are finished cooking. That’s why you sometimes see flaming grill chains serve their food on cast iron grill pans. Especially steak as it keeps your steak nice and hot for a long time whilst your eating it.

Is a cast iron grill pan worth it?

Cast iron grill pans are worth it. I think they are the best grill pans on the market, cast iron is known for adding iron to foods, and this compliments meats such as steak and burger extremely well.

So if you love your meats, then a cast iron grill is more than worth it.

What to look for in a grill pan?

Material Of Grill Pan

The material of the grill pan is probably the most important feature. Depending on which type of metal you go for, your food will taste different and cook differently.

We recommend going for a cast iron grill pan, simply because it adds iron to food and gives it a better flavor when it comes to meats. Additionally, it a cast iron grill pan retains it’s heat better than any other material used for a grill pan, so your food will stay warmer for longer.

If you are looking for something that heats quickly, then aluminum would be the best and cheapest choice for the kitchen.

The Handles

The handles on a grill pan are important to some, not to others. It’s all about preference.

You should really try to find a grill pan with longer handles as the longer they are the longer they will take to heat up.

Longer handles will also make it heavier due to the extra leverage, so you need to make sure you find a grill pan with a helper handle on the other side.

The cooking surface

The cooking surface is important, if you are going to use a grill pan that is made from cast iron or stainless steel, you’ll want to try and find one that’s preseasoned, otherwise you will need to season it yourself with some oil to create a non stick coating.

If you opt in for an aluminum grill pan, then you’ll need to make sure that the non stick coating they use on it is not toxic.

The shape

As with all cookware, grill pans have different shapes.

You can either get a square grill pan or a circular grill pan.

Most opt in for a square one since you get a bigger surface area, but you can choose either. It’s personal preference.

What is a griddle pan used for?

A griddle pan is the same as a grill pan except it has a flat cooking surface instead of ridges, so you won’t get your grill marks on your food.

Griddle pans are mainly used for fry up type meals such as bacon, eggs, onion rings ect. Basically foods that benefit in flavor and texture when absorbing oil.

Is it worth buying a griddle pan?

In my opinion, if you have space in your kitchen, it’s definitely worth buying a griddle pan. It can be used hand in hand with a grill pan to create delicious foods. You can have some foods cooking in fat like bacon, and others grilling like buns to create the best bacon sandwiches.

Overall, having a griddle pan only makes your cooking more versatile allowing you to create more flavorful recipes.

Is using a griddle pan healthy?

A griddle is not a healthy choice, it’s more designed for treats. Since all the foods you cook on it will absorb the excess fat due to the flat cooking surface, you’ll not only have a higher calorie count in your meal, but you may go over the recommended amount of saturated fat for the day.

But then again, we all love a good treat now and again.

What can you cook on a griddle pan?

Since a griddle pan it designed not to drain the fat away from the food, you typically want to be cooking leaner meat in here or vegetables.

Some examples of what you can cook in a griddle pan are:

  • Lean Steak
  • Chicken
  • Fish
  • Shrimps
  • Lean beef
  • Pork
  • Buns

As you can see, it’s primarily food that don’t contain a lot of juices. This is something you need to be aware of, because any food that contain a lot of juices are going to end up reabsorbing those juices. And that’s not good for some recipes.