There’s nothing more comforting than eating homemade pancakes in the comforts of your home. Pancakes have been an essential part of the classic, all-American family breakfast because it’s filling, delightful, and easy to whip up in the morning.
But to cook soft, golden, perfectly yummy pancakes, you must use the right cooking tools, the correct temperature, and the batter recipe. Investing in an excellent pancake griddle would be nice if your family loves breakfast.
A pancake griddle allows you to quickly cook a big batch of pancakes, enough for every member of the family. Because griddles are flat, you won’t have any raised edges that prevent that perfect pancake flip. A griddle’s large, flat surface also allows for versatility in pancake shapes and sizes. If you’re feeling particularly creative one morning, it’s better to cook at a pancake griddle than a pancake maker with permanently set molds.
The great thing about pancake griddles is that you can also use them for cooking other breakfast goodies like bacon, eggs, hash browns, ham, toast, and grilled cheese sandwiches! You can quickly cook pancakes and their savory toppings simultaneously.
If you’re considering buying a pancake griddle for your household, learn what things you must take into consideration before purchasing, as well as some tips on how to use them properly.
Things to Consider When Choosing a Pancake Griddle
To make sure that you’re going to purchase a griddle that suits your breakfast needs, consider these factors when shopping for one:
For a cooking gadget designed to cook pancakes, you will need something that heats evenly and will release food easily. When it comes to griddles, these are often made of materials like aluminum, cast iron, or stainless steel.
Aluminum, either cast or hard-anodized, is the most affordable and lightweight material. When paired with a nonstick coating, it makes a smooth pancake-flipping experience. It’s also very reactive to acidic and alkaline foods. The only drawback with aluminum is that any scratches will be quite visible because the material is soft.
Stainless steel is non-reactive and doesn’t let scratches appear on its surface. It’s durable, but the heat distribution is below average.
Meanwhile, cast iron is durable and can distribute and retain heat excellently. This material is naturally nonstick and doesn’t react to acidic foods. However, it’s a heavy material, which is undoubtedly a con.
If you plan to cook for a long time, like when making lots of pancakes for the whole household, a well-seasoned cast iron griddle will work well. It can hold heat longer, so you can continuously cook without waiting to reheat.
There are different sizes available for pancake griddles. The best size will depend on your approach to cooking pancakes. You may want to get a larger one if you often cook lots of pancakes for your whole family. But if you live alone or if you prefer making pancakes in small batches, a square or round griddle will work for you.
3. Cooking surface
Any griddle with a nonstick surface lets you flip the pancake without any problem and without needing too much oil or butter, just to ensure that the pancakes won’t stick. When your pancakes stick to the griddle, they will not have the smooth and golden-brown finish that all of us desire when cooking pancakes. Usually, aluminum and steel cookware and as well as electric griddles come with special nonstick coatings.
If you prefer to buy a material that is not naturally nonstick, then make sure it has a nonstick coating so that the pancake preparation is easy.
Why do you need a pancake griddle when you probably already have a large skillet where you can also cook pancakes? Well, it’s mainly because of the sides of a pancake griddle. Skillets usually have high sides or edges to keep food from falling while stirring them. But since pancakes do not need to be stirred when being cooked, you do not need the protective sides of a skillet.
A griddle with a small lip or no lip around the side makes it easier to get a large turner under whatever you are cooking because no side would get in the way. It will allow you to approach the pancakes from any angle to maneuver the spatula under them. A pancake griddle with low sides will allow you to easily lift and flip your pancakes.
5. Electric or stovetop
Pancake griddles can be in the form of an electric kitchen appliance or a simple pan that you put on top of the stove.
An electric pancake griddle will do a lot of the work for you – sometimes even cooking both sides of the pancake at once. It can also be useful for cooking other foods, like a full English breakfast for the whole household. However, you can’t put an electric pancake griddle in the dishwasher, which would take up some of your counter space. Also, a separate appliance like this would be a worthy purchase if you are going to cook pancakes regularly. Otherwise, it would only take up a big portion of your counter space.
Meanwhile, pancake griddles are a no-nonsense option that you can use just like a regular nonstick pan. Just put the griddle on top of a stove and cook your pancakes on its surface. It’s a cheaper and more practical option, especially if you won’t be cooking other things on the stove while you’re preparing the pancakes. Depending on its size, some griddles can take up the space of 2 to 4 burners on the stove. Also, it’s easy to clean and store.
6. Heat conductivity
Another secret to cooking perfectly brown pancakes is using a griddle that can distribute heat evenly across its surface. Aluminum griddles can quickly heat up and maintain an even temperature. Meanwhile, a cast-iron griddle may not heat up just as quickly, but it can produce evenly cooked pancakes. Whatever you choose depends on your preferences and needs.
Pancake batter can get messy. You will be cleaning a mixing bowl and a whisk or a mixer already, so it’s better to choose a low-maintenance griddle that can be tossed inside the dishwasher for easy cleaning. Some come with removable parts, which makes cleaning more convenient. Some can be simply wiped down with a damp cloth.
8. Special features
With griddles, you don’t need many bells and whistles since all you really need is a surface that can get the job done. Some griddles come with temperature settings, while some can double-duty with removable plates, so you can also grill sandwiches, meats, and vegetables.
Griddles are great for making pancakes, but that’s not all you can cook on them. When shopping for a pancake griddle, it’s best to look for one that boasts features that can help you cook other foods well. Most griddles can also be used for cooking eggs, bacon, sausages, hotdogs, burgers, vegetables, and more. You can also use it to heat up pita bread, tortillas, hamburger buns, or anything that can benefit from a flat, large cooking surface.
A versatile griddle will help you get the most out of your purchase, and it is especially a pro if you don’t have a lot of kitchen space or a lot of money to spend on pans for every type of food you cook. A kitchen tool that can do more than one job is preferable to a dedicated pancake griddle.
Griddles can be used for years, making them an investment for the kitchen. These products are available at different price ranges, depending on brand and quality. With kitchen appliances or tools, you must not consider the cost too much because if you save too much on the initial purchase, you will more likely end up spending double the amount on maintenance, repairs, or replacements. So, make sure you are buying something that has high quality.
Tips for Cooking Pancakes in a Griddle
Always preheat the griddle before using it to prevent the batter from sticking to the surface. A large griddle would need more time to get heated, while you can give it a few minutes to preheat a smaller griddle. However, be sure not to let your griddle overheat, or you will burn the pancakes on the outside but undercook them on the inside.
Add a pat of butter or some type of oil before cooking the pancake. Be careful not to preheat your griddle at a temperature too high, or it will burn the butter, which isn’t good flavor-wise. Your choice of butter or oil would impart some flavor to the pancakes, so choose one that is to your liking. Butter can add a delightful flavor to pancakes, but for health-conscious individuals, it’s not the best fat of choice. Coconut oil is an option full of heart-healthy fats, and its slight coconut flavor blends well with sweet pancakes. For best results, add two tablespoons of butter or oil to the griddle and spread it along the surface right before adding the batter.
When bubbles appear on top of the pancake, it’s a sign that it’s cooked on the other side, and you can flip it. But before you flip your pancakes, make sure there are enough bubbles on the whole pancake (not just on one side), and the edges are browned. Otherwise, your pancake batter may stick to the griddle or spatula.
Do not flip the pancake more than once or press them down to help it cook faster. It will make your pancake too firm and less fluffy.
How to Clean a Pancake Griddle
Always refer to the manufacturer’s instructions on how to clean your griddle. Since they come with a nonstick surface, do not clean them using abrasive sponges or cleaners so as not to damage the nonstick coating. Pancake griddles, especially electric ones, don’t even need soap and water after every use – sometimes wiping it with a clean cloth will suffice. But if you need to clean it with soap and water, make sure you use a soft, non-abrasive sponge.
If there is cooked-on food debris, it’s best to soak the griddle for a while first. Or, use hot water and scrub it with a soft brush (or use the rubber spatula you used) to remove the debris.
You can also use vinegar or cream of tartar to remove stuck-on food. Let it sit on the griddle for more than five minutes, then use a sponge to clean it up.
Pancakes are one of the most indulgent breakfast foods around, and buying a nice griddle would enable you to enjoy it better every morning. If you follow these tips, you will be one step closer to cooking a perfect batch of pancakes every time.
When picking up a griddle to buy, make sure it suits your needs. Whether it’s a stovetop griddle or electric-powered, always keep in mind its usability in the future.