A griddle vs. a skillet is something many casual cooks wonder about. What’s the difference between these two kitchen staples? Is one better than the other? Like most things, it all depends on what suits your needs. Both shine in different areas and are designed to make various cooking tasks easier, and ultimately, tastier.
If you’re thinking about investing in a griddle or skillet but would like more information on what these kitchen tools offer, you’ve come to the right place. Keep reading to find out the differences between a griddle vs. a skillet, what you can cook on a griddle or skillet, and electric skillets vs. electric griddles.
What is a Griddle?
A griddle is a piece of cookware consisting of a flat cooking surface and a heat source underneath. They can be square, round or rectangular and can come with or without a handle. You can find non-stick and cast iron griddles, both of which can be heated over a burner or built into a range.
Electric griddles are also available, which work separately from the stovetop. Outdoor gas griddles are another type of griddle available that have been rising in popularity. Sometimes referred to as a flat top grill, these propane-powered gas griddles allow you to cook in your backyard or take it with you camping.
Cooking on a Griddle
Many people associate the griddle with breakfast, and for a good reason. People worldwide used traditional griddles (made of brick, stone, or clay slabs) to make flatbreads throughout history. In more recent history, griddles have found their way into 24-hour diners where cooks crack eggs onto the surface, flip pancakes and bacon sizzles on the side.
No doubt, griddles are great for cooking breakfast items. The large, open surface area makes it easy to cook multiple things, and foods like hash browns and bacon can get nice and crispy.
The benefits don’t stop at breakfast. Griddles are also ideal for cooking:
- Hot sandwiches like grilled cheese and paninis
- Burgers, steaks, chicken, shrimp
- Grilled vegetables
- Stir-fried rice, veggies, and meat (think hibachi)
Griddles shine when cooking for a crowd, which can come in handy during the holidays and group gatherings. There’s also been a rise in outdoor gas griddles, also called flat top grills. These are like a traditional gas grill but with a griddle top instead of grill grates.
What is a Skillet?
Peek in anyone’s kitchen cabinets, and you’ll probably find at least one skillet. This stovetop staple is a type of frying pan with a flat bottom and sloped rounded sides. There are non-stick, and cast-iron skillets on the market and electric skillets plugged in and work separately from the stove. Small and compact in design, skillets are incredibly portable and can be used indoors over the stove or outdoors over a campfire.
Cooking on a Skillet
Skillets are versatile and are great when cooking with mixed ingredients and liquids. Sauté vegetables, fry eggs, and bacon or cook a steak. From simple to advanced recipes, the humble skillet can take on almost any task. You can use a skillet to:
- Sauté vegetables
- Pan fry chicken or pork chops
- Bake desserts, casseroles, frittatas
- Pan sear a steak
Skillets are smaller than griddles but provide different recipe options because they’re a pan instead of flat surfaces. Skillets are made for frying and searing and are compact enough to place in the oven for baking if it’s cast iron. Its small size also means it takes up less space but isn’t the best tool to prepare a meal for a larger crowd.
Electric Griddle vs. Electric Skillet
When cooking dinner, choosing between a skillet or griddle is one thing, but have you considered an electric version of these kitchen items? The differences between the electric griddle vs. electric skillet are subtle but worth knowing and understanding. Yes, both are hot surfaces and can cook similar food items, but each is designed to prepare certain foods.
An electric griddle is similar to its stovetop sibling in design, as it’s typically a large, flat, open surface that’s rectangular or square. Where it differs is that it’s heated by electricity rather than by gas. Many cooks prefer electric griddles because the surface heats evenly and is easily maintained. Plus, having the griddle separate from the stove saves burner space.
Electric griddles are ideal for just about anything a non-electric griddle is good for, although grilling isn’t as efficient, and you may not get the same kind of sear you’d get if you went the traditional griddle. You’ll find indoor cooking a breeze; plug in the electric griddle and scramble eggs, prepare pancakes, or cook up a batch of sliders for the whole family.
Electric skillets are similar to electric griddles in that they offer quick heating times and save stove space. Where they differ is in the design. The electric skillet has small rounded walls that contain food items, which makes it much easier to stir and mix ingredients. You can also use the liquid in a skillet, which you can’t on a griddle.
Being able to contain your ingredients will change how you cook, and having a lid for an electric skillet will give you even more control over the heating process. You can cook all kinds of dishes with an electric skillet, from chili and casseroles to sautéed vegetables.
The best way to decide between skillets vs. griddles is to know your cooking needs and what kinds of meals you typically make. For example, if you tend to use liquid ingredients or love a good stir-fry, then you’ll want to stock your kitchen with a non-stick or cast-iron skillet.
On the other hand, if you want to cook typical breakfasts consisting of pancakes, eggs, and bacon, a griddle may be a better choice. Also, if you love hosting dinner parties and grilling outdoors, a gas griddle will be a great option for you
Think about whether an electric version of the griddle or skillet is better suited for your kitchen. If you need space on your stove or want better heat control, an electric griddle or skillet may be a better option.
Overall, there’s no right or wrong answer. They are both great cooking tools, and having one of each may be your best bet. This way, you can use a griddle when appropriate and a skillet when appropriate.