Some people just do not have the luxury of being able to grill outside on a grill due to space constraints or just the overall availability. Others so no want to have to go out and buy a separate appliance like an electric grill to use indoors. That is where the best grill pan money can buy will come in handy in your kitchen arsenal.
You will be able to gain almost all of the same effects a grill will provide for your food. It will even mimic the grill marks on your food just like grill grates would. They are very easy to use and can be used on just about any kind of heat source. Some say they are even easier to use than using a grill without a lot less waiting and cleanup.
In this article, we will go over some of the different kinds of grill pans and what to look for in one when purchasing a new one. We will also cover some of the grill pans that are available for purchase currently on the market and which one may be the best fit for you and your family.
How to Choose the Best Grill Pan
When choosing the best grill pan, its best to follow some of the same rules you would when buying any other pot or pan. First and foremost, you want to make sure that the pan you purchase is made with the highest quality of materials used to construct the pan. These pans tend to get very hot so you want to make sure the pan will not warp or break over time from extended usage. Make sure the construction is solid as well.
There are many different designs and not all look the same or have the same features. To make sure you are covered, try to get a grill pan that comes with some kind of manufacturer guarantee or at least a warranty to protect the pan in the off-chance damages or defects that occur while in use or during the shipping process. The pans can get quite pricey, so having a warranty will definitely give you some peace of mind.
Most pans are recommended to be washed by hand but some are able to be placed in the dishwasher which will help in the long run when it comes time to clean up. One thing you will want to look for in a grill pan is making sure that it can be placed in the oven. This way you will not have to transfer pans when you just want to get some nice grill marks on a steak and then finish it off in the oven.
Some of the pans come with heat resistant handles which is nice when you are trying to protect your hands from hot surfaces but it also may not allow you to put the pan in the oven or at least not at very high temperatures. So makes sure you decide which is most important to you.
Construction and Design
There are several different types of grill pans and many different materials used to construct them. Which you will choose will really depend on your preference or how you plan on using the pan mainly. The most common or best material used in grill pans is cast iron. Mainly because the heat can be evenly distributed across the entire surface of the pan and it has a great ability to retain heat for extended periods of time. It is also able to be placed in the oven up to very high temperatures. Cast iron will also last forever if you treat it properly and keep the pan well-seasoned. Another good thing about cast iron is that it is naturally non-stick so there will be no need for a grill brush.
There are other materials used like anodized aluminum and ceramic to name a couple. These are also good conductors of heat and have some plus sides but also have some downsides. If you want to play it safe, just go with cast iron.
You also want to make sure the bottom surface of the pan has very deep ridges. This will help you to attain that classic grill marks and allow the fats and juices from the food flow evenly to the bottom of the pan.
There are some different shapes as well, round and square being the most popular. According to most consumers, the square shape is the best to go after. You will be able to fit more food in the pan without having to squeeze the food in too close together. For instance, most meats are easier to fit in a square shape rather than a round shape since most portions are of the same shape.
Also, consider the weight of the pan. Not all pans will have handles also, this is really just a preference to the user. Most of the pans will already be non-stick but there are some pans that have a non-stick coating placed on the surface of the pan. This is fine just make sure that the coating is not full of harmful chemicals that could potentially contaminate your food as it cooks.
Some grill pans come with a press or heavy lid. This will help you to achieve the coveted grill marks on your food and help to cook the meat faster without burning or over-charring the food.
Most of the pans will also be able to be used on just about any heat source. You can even take the pan camping or to a picnic and use it on any type of portable grill instead of using direct flame which is a time saver. Just make sure to check either the materials used to construct the pan or if they are compatible with the heat source.
Best Grill Pans to Choose Today
Le Creuset Square Skillet Grill
The Best Grill Pan
This is one of the best grill pans available on the market because of its versatility and simplicity. The pan is quite expensive at almost $200 but it does come with a lifetime warranty to protect it.
The pan is constructed of enameled cast iron which provides excellent heat retention. The pan also does not need any additional seasoning ever again due to the black enamel coating which really takes a lot of work out of the care process and cleaning. It still has all the same qualities of any other cast iron construction meaning it won’t rust break or warp and should last forever if taken care of properly. It is completely oven-safe up to 500 degrees and is also dishwasher safe.
The bottom of the pan has very deep ridges to provide excellent grill marks. The pan is square-shaped and has two handles on either side for easy handling with oven mitts.
- The pan is constructed of enamel cast iron which provides great heat retention
- The pan will never need to be seasoned and is dishwasher safe
- The pan is covered by a lifetime warranty
- Even though there is a warranty, the pan is very expensive
All-Clad E7954064 HA1 Square Grill Pan
The Next Best Thing
This pan may not be cast iron but it does have a lot of great qualities. The pan is very affordable and comes with a limited lifetime warranty.
This square-shaped 11-inch grill pan is constructed of hard-anodized aluminum which heats up evenly across the pan. It also has a stainless-steel handle that is held on by solid rivets. There is an anti warp base that helps it when placed in the oven up to 500 degrees. The pan has thick ridges and a scratch-resistant non-stick coating for healthier cooking with less oil. The pan is also able to be placed in the dishwasher.
- The pan is constructed of hard anodized aluminum which heats up evenly across the pan
- The pan is oven safe up to 500 degrees and is also dishwasher safe
- The pan is very affordable and comes with a lifetime warranty
- The handle is not part of the pan is of different material which may fall off or break over time
Cuisinart Chef’s Classic Nonstick Round Grill Pan
An Equally Great Grill Pan
Here is another great option for a grill pan. The pan is very affordable but does not come with a warranty to protect it.
The pan is constructed of hard-anodized aluminum which provides even heat distribution across the thick ridged bottom surface. The pan is also coated with Quan Titanium non-stick to provide an easy release of food. The handle is attached by rivets and is also stainless steel. The rim of the pan is also tapered to provide a cleaner edge and a drip-free pour.
- The pan has a durable exterior and a non-stick coated interior
- The edge is tapered for easy pouring and drip-free
- The pan is constructed of hard anodized aluminum which heats up evenly
- While the pan is very affordable, it does not come with a warranty to protect it
Lodge 10.5 Inch Square Cast Iron Grill Pan
The Long-Lasting Grill Pan
This grill pan is made by Lodge which is known for making inexpensive cast iron cookware exclusively. The pan is very affordable but does not come with a warranty to protect it.
The pan is constructed of cast iron and has deep ridges on the bottom of the pan and high edges to contain food properly when cooked. The pan is square-shaped and is one solid piece that will retain heat very well and remain hot. The pan is able to be placed in the oven to temperatures over 500 degrees without damaging the pan. There are also two handles on either side for easy handling.
- The pan is constructed completely of cast iron
- There are two handles on either side for easy handling
- The pan has excellent heat retention and can be placed in the oven for temperatures over 500 degrees
- While the pan is very affordable, it does not come with a warranty
Calphalon Hard-Anodized Aluminum Nonstick Square Grill Pan
The Safe Bet
Another great pan here which is constructed of hard-anodized aluminum and will heat up evenly across the surface of the pan. The pan is also affordable and does come with a lifetime warranty.
The body has a heavy gauge construction and the pan is also triple coated in non-stick enamel for easy food release and pan protection. The handle is constructed of stainless steel and is held by 3 rivets against the lip of the pan. The pan is also dishwasher safe and is able to be placed in the oven for temperatures of up to 500 degrees. The pan also has a square shape and is 11 inches across.
- The pan is constructed of hard anodized aluminum for even heat distribution
- The pan is very affordable and come with a lifetime warranty
- The pan has a triple non-stick coating for easy food release and pan protection
- The handle of the pan is stainless steel and held by rivets which mean it could break or fall off after some use
Anolon Hard-Anodized Nonstick 11-Inch Deep Square Grill Pan
The Lesser Quality Pan
This is another hard-anodized aluminum pan which will distribute heat evenly across the pan but does have a fall back. The pan is also very affordable but does not come with a warranty to protect it.
The pan has a square shape and deep sides to keep food contained while cooking. There is a nonstick coating to prevent food from stick and a long-rubberized handle for comfort when using on the stovetop. It is oven safe but only for temperatures up to 350 degrees and it is also dishwasher-safe.
- The pan is constructed of hard anodized aluminum which provides even heat distribution
- The pan has a rubberized handle for easy and comfortable grip
- The pan is oven safe up to 350 degrees and dishwasher safe
- While the pan is affordable, it does not come with a warranty to protect it
Rachael Ray Hard-Anodized Nonstick 11-Inch Grill Pan
The Odd Ridged Pan
This grill pan does have deep ridges on the bottom of the pan but they are in four separate areas of the pan and going different directions which could cause some inconsistency in the way the grill marks look on food but help more with the drainage of juices.
The pan is constructed of hard-anodized aluminum which will heat the pan up evenly. The sides are very deep as well to keep food contained and the bottom has a non-stick coating. The handle has an orange grip that is heat resistant. It is also an oven safe up to 350 degrees and dishwasher safe. The pan is fairly affordable but is not covered by any kind of warranty.
- The pan is constructed of hard anodized aluminum that distributes heat evenly
- The handles of the pan are heat resistant and comfortable to grip
- The sides of the pan are deep and there is a non-stick coating as well
- While the pan is affordable, there is no warranty to protect it
- The ridges on the bottom are poorly placed for grill marks, but good for drainage
TeChef – Stovetop Korean BBQ Non-Stick Grill Pan
The Pie Pan Grill Pan
This grill pan could easily be mistaken for a pie pan with its round mid-sized edges pan. The bottom of the pan also has ridges for drainage and grill marks but they are in a patent swirl design to help the flow of juices. The pan is still fairly affordable but does not come with a warranty to protect it. It has a Teflon coating for easy food release and pan protection. The pan is oven safe for temperatures up to 450 degrees and is dishwasher safe.
- The pan is coated in Teflon for easy food release and pan protection
- The pan is oven safe for up to 450 degrees and is dishwasher safe
- The bottom of the pan has a swirl design ridge for easier drainage
- The pan is fairly affordable but does not come protected by a warranty
- There are no handles on the pan
Lodge LPGI3 Pro-Grid Cast Iron Grill/Griddle Pan
The Reversable Grill Pan
Here is another Lodge grill pan that is still constructed completely of cast iron but is very different from the rest of the pan on the list. It is still very affordable but does not come with a warranty to protect it. Like all their other pans this still needs to be seasoned and it will last forever. This is a griddle pan that is able to be placed over two burners for cooking. It has a reverse side that has ridges to be used as a grill pan. There is a small hole also for drainage of fats and oils as well. It can be used as a grill pan but not really what you would be looking for if you are in the market for a grill pan.
- The pan is reversible, one side as a grill pan and the other a griddle
- It is constructed of cast iron which will retain heat very well
- If well-seasoned and properly taken care of, the pan will last forever
- It is affordable but is not covered by a warranty
- Is not really considered a grill pan but more rather a griddle and a rather large one at that
So, when choosing a grill pan it would be best to go with one of the top 3 on this list. You won’t have any problems with any of those and they are covered by warranties if you do. They will work better than most grill pans but they will cost more in the long run. But they will be the last grill pan you will ever need to buy.