Top 10 Best Grill Pans Review for Better BBQ (Recommended)
Ever fancied a good and delicious grill? What if you don’t have a grill? Or maybe, you just don’t want the hassle of taking it out. Maybe you wanna grill indoors without triggering your smoke detector?
The answer to all that is simple, a grill pan. This will give you the grilling experience without the grill.
A grill pan is essentially a pan that bears the grill marks of a grill. It also can impart the smoky flavors in some cases. The best grill pan will not only give you something that looks like it was grilled; but the food will also smell, feel, and taste like something that was done on a grill.
That’s why, to help you choose a quality grill pan, we are gonna review the best options out there.
Our 10 Picks of the Top Rated Grill Pans
Benefits of Using Grill Pans
A grill pan basically gives you the benefits of a grill and takes out all the downsides. No smoke, or cumbersome instrument, no setup. Just heat a pan. And it gives you food that tastes as good as food just off the grill. It can sear the food and impart the fancy "grill marks" too. Hence it is a must-have for any homeowner.
Here are some reasons why you should definitely consider getting one.
Top 10 Best Grill Pans Review
Now you might be confused. Even if you aren't a newbie, you don't want to waste your money. Worry not, we did the research for you. Here is a list of the top rated grill pans on the market right now.
Made by the guys at Lodge, this model is molded from cast iron, and that makes it a heavy pan. While this would be considered a disadvantage on its own, it definitely is not one because the weight comes from its extremely durable build. It is, in essence, a heavy-duty pan. This thing comes with an enamel coating as well.
The enamel coating, while protecting the cast iron from corrosion, is not flawless. It tends to chip. And the chipping means putting your pan at risk. In fact, even just a little chip can absolutely mess your pan up, and it'll be rusted in no time. So, you should be very, very careful when you are cleaning it.
While not inherently non-stick, this pan is definitely still worth it because you can still season it. The seasoning puts oil on the surface, and it creates that nonstick feel to it. The enamel surface can hold the oil really well so after you've seasoned once, your pan is pretty much good to go for weeks.
One of the burning questions for customers is whether the pan will safely fit their precious glass top stove. This is because the glass is sensitive, and not all pans can fit there. But guess what, this is perfect. In fact, it is arguably the best grill pan for glass cooktop on the market as of now.
The pan is also portable, and this makes it ideal for outdoor trips too. You can take it camping or on a trip to the countryside. Wherever it is, it'll provide you with well-cooked, delicious food thanks to its even surface. The surface makes it possible for the heat to reach the food very uniformly, so the food gets cooked through and through.
One of the must-have attributes of a grill pan has to be the non-stick property. It makes cooking easy and doesn't mess up your food. Sticky pans can make it really difficult to cook something, and you might even burn your food. Don't worry, I've got you covered. This model uses a multilayer Teflon coat to make its surface smooth and non-stick.
The non-stick property also makes this pan very easy to clean. Careful, no scraping; that'll pull off the non-stick coat on the inside. Do you even need to scrape? The non-stick property extends to the grime too. So, you can just use a cloth, and that should leave it spotless.
People oftentimes appreciate a thick heavy-duty pan. However, the obvious downside to a thick pan is simple; it takes forever to heat up. Not this one though. Yes, it's thin, but that brings its own set of ups and downs. It heats up really fast. You could just go get the ingredients and return to see it burning hot.
However, the low thickness of the pan comes with a downside too. Obviously, it isn't as sturdy and strong as a thicker pan. Due to its build-structure, it tends to warp, especially if you dowse it in the water when it's hot. Fluctuations in temperature over the years also do a number on it. Careful now.
Aside from the lower thickness, structurally it is a good design. It is wide and low, and that makes it a good pan for soups and stews. The larger width makes heating up really easy, and the heat gets distributed much faster. Convection happens more easily too. Noodles also cook well because of this even distribution of heat.
This model has to be a contender for the best indoor grill pan because there is little smoke coming from this. And the little amount of smoke this thing produces isn't enough to set off your smoke detector. And just imagine, having grilled meat indoors. It is suited especially for people living in apartments.
This thing has a non-stick surface that makes moving food around in the pan easy as nothing sticks. However, this nonstick property doesn't come from any sort of material or something. It is simply a pre-seasoning. Despite so, it still works just as good as a non-stick coating and makes cooking easy.
Since it is, after all, a pre-seasoning, it will wear off after a couple of washes. So, you need to re-season semi-regularly; otherwise, food will stick to its surface. Seasoning is simply oiling it and then heating and oiling again. I recommend three to four times to make the surface nice and slippery.
When it comes to cleaning, never use soap. Soap will destroy the non-stick surface completely, and re-seasoning will be useless. You only use water. Dry and then season. However, the cleaning process, though particular is quite simple. You just grab a piece of cloth, wet it, and then wipe it over the pan.
One of the unique features that this grill pan provides is a smoky taste to its. Food. That's right; there is a component that imparts the same smoky "BBQ" flavor to the food it's cooking. So that means you get all the perks of cooking outside with a grill. Many have said that the mimicry is quite on point.
Another cast-iron pan, this might just be the most durable. Yes, it weighs a ton, but it is extremely robust. A truly "heavy-duty" pan. It'll last you for years with no signs of wear and erosion. And since it is thick cast iron, no amount of heat variation will tamper its structure in any way.
The cast iron is coated with a protective layer of insulating porcelain. While the porcelain protects the pans from chemical attacks, it itself is not the most durable and chips away quite easily. Be careful with it, as even a little scratch might pull away from the coating, and that means exposing your pan to the elements outside.
Although the enamel coating of porcelain has a non-stick surface, at a higher temperature it tends to wear off. It definitely is not as bad as a regular unseasoned cast iron pan, but it is still a neutered version of that. You can mitigate the situation by adding in a dash of oil to season it. That can greatly improve its properties.
Since at slightly lower temperatures, the non-stick property holds out just fine, cleaning this is simple. You could use a brush or cloth to wipe away the dirt after drenching it in water. But I will recommend against heating and trying to burn off the grime though as the non-stick property ceases at high heat.
Structurally, it is of good design. It looks pleasing aesthetically and is of a nice shape. It is completely flat. That makes it suitable for certain dishes such as eggs. It also makes it one of the best grill pans for fish as you need room to cook fish and the flat surface distributes heat well too.
While stainless steel is an uncommon choice for a grill pan, it is definitely plausible, and it brings with it its range of upsides and drawbacks. It trades in the "heavy-duty" property that all cast iron builds seem to boast for more resistance to corrosion. In fact, that property happens to be its claim to fame.
The other thing that all stainless steel materials have is a very smooth surface. This makes it difficult for things to stick to them, and thus turning them into non-stick materials is very easy. You just need a good polish, and it'll be a perfect non-stick surface, no seasoning needed.
This non-stick property also makes the grill pan rather easy to clean. With "sticky" pans, the grime and food particles can get lodged in and stuck. Not this one though. There are small nook and crannies here and reaching them can be hard, especially without a brush. However, you also have the option to soak the pan.
While it does trade in a little bit of strength and durability, stainless steel builds are still quite strong. They definitely have the robustness to withstand some level of temperature fluctuations and combined with their extreme chemical resistance; they can last for months or even years.
It dissipates heat rather uniformly, and that makes it suitable for cooking foods that tend to burn, like vegetables. With meat, you need a rather high temperature to burn it, but veggies are sensitive. This pan cooks well under low heat, and so it is perfect for cooking your vegetables.
This unique Korean style grill pan is probably the best non-stick grill pan. The surface is toned with a five-layer Teflon coating. This makes the non-stick property the best there is. No seasoning, nothing. It looks just like that. You don't even need to oil it!
Since it's got an extremely well nonstick surface, it shouldn't come as a surprise that you can clean this without any hassle. But recommend against soaking as that can rust your pan. You can use water though but apply using the brush and don't use soap. Soap will facilitate rusting.
Unsurprisingly this is excellent for Asian dishes, which make use of a non-stick surface. Asian dishes also often have little oil or use little oil, so this is perfect for that. Korean barbecue is perfectly made on this and tastes. Korean grilled vegetables are also a great choice to make on this. Unsurprisingly, Korean dishes cook well in this.
The design is unique too. There is a sort of spiral that leads down. This drains any residual oils and grease that might accumulate and lets them sit dead center of the pan. The spiral is covered by a flat porous panel. This panel prevents the food itself from piling down in there.
On top of all that, the pan is also easily portable. It is not as heavy as the other ones on the list. This sacrifices some strength, but it is still worth it as it means you can pack it in the bag. That means you can take it out on a road trip, or to camp anywhere you fancy and cook all the amazing Korean dishes you want.
While most pans mentioned here are built for the more seasoned cook, this one over here is suitable for all. There aren't any special procedures to be taken. You can just start working on it. So, if you're looking to just start cooking, this is perfect. Just a simple pan. It is also good if you only cook occasionally.
Instead of enamel, this pan is anodized. That means a layer of unreactive material is coated around it by electrolysis. This layer is actually much more resilient than the porcelain enamel that cast iron grill pans use. So that means you don't have to worry about chipping and your pan stays corrosion-free.
Since the pan is relatively small, it cannot bear too much food at once, but it is still enough for a meal for two or three people. And the benefit of being on the smaller side is that you can bring it indoors for a tasty grill. The pan is also designed to give off little smoke, so you don't have to worry about triggering your smoke detector.
The pan is made to be extremely durable. The sides and bottom are thick and thus are very heavy duty. While this does slow the heat up of the pan, with does hold that heat better.
And another great benefit it has is that it prevents warping. Warping usually happens from fluctuations in temperature; it is a big plus point to be immune to it.
Like an outdoors grill set, it has the signature grill marks and thus gives you the unique pattern on your food. The pan also sears quite well. The searing effect creates an attractive and chewy exterior that looks great.
All the while, the interior remains perfectly cooked. The pan also stabilizes the heat, so the sear doesn't end up being a burn.
Another small pan set, this comes in a more manageable size and shape. It's as if they were just made to be packed up in a bag. And that you can. In fact, each is a great tool to cook your food when you travel. Campers, rejoice this is perfect for you. They are shaped to be efficient and take as little space as possible.
Even indoors, it is a great option. Especially when you just don't want to take out the grill. Not everyone is blessed with a backyard after all, and it's always a hassle to smoke up the interior of your house. So, it's better to just use the pan. No smoke and you can enjoy grilled food in your apartment.
Don't scoff at its small size though. It is strong. It is constructed from cast iron after all and makes it very resistant to warping or deforming from use. Yes, that does mean it's not as light as you'd expect and that might cause some portability issues, but that is still worth the trouble.
You might be wondering how to protect your dear pan from the elements. Cast iron, after all, is very susceptible to rust and indeed, if left exposed, the iron won't last for even a month. Luckily there is a protective coating on your pan that keeps the rust out. Just be careful when you're cleaning because it tends to chip.
Although the most coveted property has to be the non-stick coat of pans, this model, unfortunately, lacks that. However, you're not stuck with a sticky pan. You can still season. And the grill pan comes with an initial season so the first meal on this will be great and easy to prepare, that's guaranteed.
This cast iron grill pan is brought to you by Let Creuset. And let me tell you, it is amazing. First off, since it is made of cast iron, you're all thinking I'm going to warn you about being careful with handling its enamel coat. Nope. The coating is very robust and can withstand scraping and chipping extremely well.
It might arguably be the best grill pan for electric stove thanks to its amazing searing effect. It imparts the signature "grill marks" you see on actual grilled food. And the searing is absolutely spot on. No burns or chars, just simple sear to make the exterior texture chewy and delicious.
Another unique attribute that this pan has is that it can be soaked. Most pans, especially ones of cast iron don't like extended exposure to water. The water slowly seeps in and then cause rusting to begin. It's all over if it starts. But this has a unique coat that lets you soak it in water to loosen up the debris.
This attribute also helps you side-step the consequences of a big flaw it bears, the lack of a non-stick surface. While it can be seasoned and comes in pre-seasoned, there is still the issue of re-seasoning it every time you wash it. Luckily washing isn't a big deal, and you can soak and scrape thanks to its very solid enamel.
Being made of cast iron and countering almost all of the drawbacks iron with its enamel coat, the grill pan is surely one of the best. It capitalizes on the plus points of being cast iron too. A bit heavy, but very strong and extremely resistant to bending and distorting. This makes the grill pan last for years.
From Anolon, this grill pan is definitely an interestingly unique piece. This is because it is made from anodized bronze. Bronze is rather hard and rigid, so your pan has a solid build, and since it is anodized, the grill pan will be very resistant to corrosion and thus will last you for years.
The surface has been polished and coated with a non-stick layer to aid you in cooking the stickier foods you might fancy, and it helps with cleaning too. Don't worry; you don't really need to be that careful when cleaning, the anodized layer of oxide is quite resistant to scrapes and scratches.
Being bronze, it is lighter than iron. And the durability is a little lower the steel. So, you might think it isn't all that. But you'd be wrong. It still is resistant to thermal warping, and the lightweight makes an excellent option when heading out.
You might be camping or out hunting. Whatever it is, you can take it with you to enjoy a delicious meal.
It contains the grill patterns to place the trademark "grill marks" on the food you are going to cook. Out of all the pans this list, this is the best grill pan for fish. It sears them just right, and they taste absolutely amazing after. It is an amazing grill to cook bacon as well as it doesn't burn them.
Aside from bacon, it can cook chicken, and vegetables really well too. This is because of its even surface that distributes the heat very uniformly. Non-uniform pans often have the issue of burning food at certain places and leaving other sides raw, and that tastes horrible. A uniform heating pan is hence a treasure.
Before You Buy Top Grill Pans, What to Look For
There are a couple of things that you should watch out for when buying a grill pan, other than ratings and prices. How important they might be can vary, but what's undeniable is that they definitely are significant. They are as follows:
While not something that immediately comes to mind, durability is extremely important. In terms of raw physical stress, durability is basically the ability to retain its shape in the harshest of stresses. This might be a fall, or clang or simply the accumulation of stress from repeated use. Whatever it is, durability is important.
Cast iron is the better choice here, hands down. Iron, especially when strengthened with the crucial four percent carbon can take a beating. It is used in all aspects of everyday life. And iron is a mainstay in cookware. Cast iron, if coated properly, can last for years without a single sign of distortion.
Stainless steel, while not nearly as resilient as iron is, still does enough to claim a spot as a utensil material. Blunt force, such as from drops, is easily withstood. However, as you use it, steel tends to bend and distort over the passage of time, and after a couple of years, it can become unusable.
• Non-stick Property
It definitely is the most sought after property for all grill pans. This lets you cook the food easily without worrying about things sticking to places and making a mess. Helping with cooking aside, a non-stick surface is also easy to clean. A wipe with a piece of cloth or a brush should clean it up.
Cast iron does not have any such property. Either you have to season it or buy a cast iron grill pan coated in enamel. The former is somewhat tedious though since you have to re-season again and again after a couple of uses. With an enamel that has a non-stick finish, you can truly enjoy using a non-stick pan.
Stainless steel has a natural tendency to be non-sticky. This makes it a great material of non-stick kitchenware of any kind from grills to pots to pans. And of course, they make great grill pans too. You can add an extra layer of non-stick material by seasoning the pan too. But even without that, the non-stick property of steel is great.
• Resistance to Corrosion
Physical resistance and chemical resistance are whole different aspects. Physical resistance refers to how the grill pan holds out under stress; on the other hand, chemical resistance is its ability to resist chemical attack, primarily corrosion. All metals corrode, but there are things you can do to slow that down.
Iron is quite vulnerable to corrosion. In fact, a bare iron grill pan will be eaten through by rust in months. Therefore, most cast iron grill pans use a coating of porcelain called an enamel.
This protects the cast iron from getting rusted. However, unless properly set in, the enamel might chip away and expose your pan to the elements.
The claim to fame for stainless steel has to be its ability to resist corrosion. While not absolutely immune to corrosion, it is resistant enough to last for years, and by the time it does start rusting, the pan will already have been obsolete from structural issues. This makes it an excellent material for any type of grill pan.
Anodized materials such as anodized aluminum and bronze get a mention here too since they all possess an impenetrable layer of oxide that locks out all air and thus protects the material from corrosion. This layer is also quite durable, so you need not worry about chipping of any kind.
Here we deviate a little from comparing different kinds of grill pans in terms of material. That's because you can make any shape from either iron or steel. So, the material used doesn't matter much. Shape matters because it determines the heat distribution. Certain foods will cook better in a particular shape of the pan.
First off, we have the flat-shaped pans. These are usually a more generalist type of grill pan. Meat, poultry, vegetables, and fish all cook fairly well on this. Fish and poultry, as well as thin pieces of meat get cooked the best as the pan distributes heat very uniformly, so they are cooked thoroughly.
Next, are the concave pans. These grill pans have a slope, with the lowest point at the center. The underside is shaped like a cave. This is a specialist type of pan. While you can cook almost everything in this too, you should be careful as the center part is the hottest. This is well suited for eggs and meat.
• Heat Conductivity
It should be obvious that the pans need to conduct heat well. Otherwise, you would have to forever for the thing to heat up. So, it is important they be conductive. You just have to use metal. That usually does the trick. Earthenware can also be used, but that usually is very slow and cannot reach high temperatures. Go for metal.
Here no one material really has a clear "win" for example; stainless steel is far better at conducting than iron. It flares up just like that. With iron, it is much tougher. You might even have to preheat if you need very high temperatures, especially for cooking large cuts of meat which have thick cross-sections.
On the other hand, iron retains heat very well, and gradual heat up allows for a more uniform distribution. That is crucial for thinner cuts of meat, poultry, and fish as they need thorough heating to cook. Aluminum tends to be hottest at the flame site and cooler all around. This can burn the food in places and leave other parts raw.
Tips for Maintaining Seasoning Layer
Here are the steps you should follow for maintaining the seasoning layer:
1. Wash the Grill Pan
You need to clean the pan of all dirt and grime. These can be food bits from a previous session or maybe even some dust that has collected from you not using it for a long time. Whatever it may be, you need to carefully wash it. Any such debris will hamper with the seasoning process. However, unless it is a corrosion-resistant material, don't soak.
2. Dry the Pan
Make sure the is completely dry before you start the next step. Let any excess water drip off, and then allow it to stand for a while. You could speed this up by using a kitchen towel to wipe off the water.
3. Oiling Process
After the pan is nice and dry, you can begin oiling. The oil acts the layer of a non-stick material that makes cooking easy. I suggest you use unsaturated oils because then bind better to the surface of the pan.
Olive oil is a good example. Use a kitchen towel to gently apply the oil onto the pan. Avoid saturated oils like lard. They don't bind well.
4. Heat and Repeat
Lastly, you have to heat the pan. Heat it to a high temperature, about 300 degrees should be enough. There will be a lot of smoke, and you'll definitely smell it. Don't be alarmed. Keep letting it burn. After some time, your grill pan will darken a little. That's how you know that it's time to stop. The dark part is the non-stick layer.
Keep that up. After the oil is nice and settled. Add more oil and then reheat until it darkens even more. You need about three to four separate layers of oil to have a secure non-stick pan. However, remember that their layers will wear down, so you have to re-season from time to time.
How to Maintain?
Here’s how to maintain the grill pan:
1. Regular Use
Never let your pan sit around for more than a couple of weeks. This is a surefire way of letting it fester. It won't rot, but lack of use will allow rust and corrosion to slowly creep in. If you have it seasoned, that's all the more reason to use it regularly. Dust will definitely ruin the seasoning and make a nasty mess.
2. Wash It After Every Use
Other than being a gross violation of normal hygiene, not washing the pan after use will cause the food particles to remain and fester in the pan. This might cause rust to form as reactions happen in the pan. Not to mention it'll ruin and seasoning and smell awful. Clean your grill pan regularly.
3. Dry Well After Washing
Remember to dry before you stow it away. While certain types of grill pan can handle standing water, most cannot, and it is imperative that you neatly dry the pan. Otherwise, it might begin corroding. Use a cloth to pat the pan dry or let the water drip and keep it for inflowing air to dry fast.
4. Don't Scrape or Use Rough Tools
The consequence of that is simple; your non-stick coating will come off. In the case of cast iron, the enamel might chip.
Stainless steel is resistant to this, but I still advise against using any abrasive tools to clean up. Use a brush or a soft cloth to gently clean off the grime. A non-stick surface shouldn't even require you to scrape as nothing should even stick.
5. Avoid Cooking Acidic Foods
Metals are vulnerable to acid. No matter the type, combination, or alloy, metals don't fare too well against acid. Even anodized surfaces wear away when you expose them to acid. Avoid cooking pickles or overly sour food on the grill as it will corrode your pan over time, especially if you do it regularly.
FAQs: Frequently Asked Questions
Q1. Will it work on my stovetop?
There are many different grill pans that work on the stovetop. However, you should take a look at one that says it does. There are ones listed here that say they do.
Q2. Should I soak it to clean?
Only if it says so. Usually stainless steel and very securely coated cast iron can resist prolonged exposure to water. Most pans can not, however. So, you should be careful about soaking lest it kickstarts the rusting process.
Q3. Do I scrape it?
If steel, yes. If cast iron, never. Cast iron is made rust-free by imparting a layer of porcelain around it. This layer of enamel is often vulnerable to scraping. This makes it very risky to scrape. You might chip the coat away.
Q4. Do I need to season the pan?
Usually, cast iron pans need a little bit of seasoning. Steel pans are fine. However, seasoning any pan isn’t harmful in any way. You can if you want.
Q5. How to get the grill marks on the food?
Sear it well. Grill pans often have the ribbed bottom that imparts this on the food. Just cook at high heat, and it should mark the food.
Final Words: Now that you have read the reviews, you should be able to find the best grill pan for you. It can be different from someone else’s, and that’s perfectly fine. Get one that suits you. Happy hunting.