Cast Iron vs Stainless Steel vs Ceramic Griddle

Cast Iron vs Stainless Steel vs Ceramic Griddle

One of the key factors to look for when buying a new griddle is its material. This is because a material affects the performance, longevity, and even the cost of the griddle.

That said, the most common materials used for making griddles include cast iron, stainless steel, and ceramic. But which of these materials should you choose? You can only decide on the best griddle material if you understand what each material is all about.

Our guide below will take you through an in-depth comparison of these top materials and their benefits and drawbacks. This guide will leave you in a better position to decide which one meets your unique needs and expectations.

Comparison Table

 Cast IronStainless SteelCeramic Griddle
DurabilityHighHighMedium
Heat retentionHighMediumHigh
Ease of cleaningMediumHighHigh
Requires maintenance?YESNONO
Non-stick cookingYESNOYES
CostMore affordableCostlyInexpensive
PortabilityHeavyLightweightA bit heavy
ModelsCast iron griddlesStainless steel griddlesCeramic griddles

Benefits of cast iron griddle

Cast iron is one of the most popular materials used for making griddles. Big companies like Blackstone, Skeppshult, and Blue Rhino have their top-rated griddles made from cast iron.

Benefits of cast iron griddle

The top benefits of a cast iron griddle include:

Durable and long-lasting

Cast iron boasts its place as the most durable cookware material compared to stainless steel and other griddle materials.

The material feels extremely solid and heavy. It’s the perfect example of near bulletproof cookware that serves you for decades to come.

Even more surprising, cast iron doesn’t degrade like other materials as you continue using it. Like a fine wine, it gets better with age!

A well-made cast iron griddle will most likely outlast you and serve your future generations!

Inexpensive

Griddles can get quite pricey, especially when they’re made with high-end materials and craftsmanship. But cast iron griddles won’t cost you as high as most other materials.

This shouldn’t come as a surprise because cast iron cookware is generally affordable. You can come across a cast iron frying pan that costs you less than 30 bucks!

Excellent heat retention

Cast iron is also good at staying hot for extended periods! The material may take a long time to get hot, which may suck at times. But once it becomes hot, it stays hot.

Even when you add food, the temperature on your cast iron griddle will not fall. This makes it a great choice for searing a steak and achieving that crispy, brown crust!

 cast iron griddle

What’s more, it has excellent emissivity, which means it’s capable of radiating heat beyond its surface. This makes it a great choice for roasting meat and veggies or making thicker fry-ups, e.g., the hash browns.

Naturally non-stick

There are two types of non-stick cookware. The naturally non-stick surface and those coated with a non-stick finish are laden with chemicals. The former is safer for human use since there are no chemicals involved.

Luckily, cast iron falls in the former category of cookware. But keep in mind that this feature is only possible when your griddle is hot. If you try putting scrambled eggs to a cool griddle surface, you’ll most likely have to deal with a sticky situation.

Proper seasoning goes a long in empowering the non-stick capabilities of cast iron skillets. It’s simply heating the cooking surface and oiling it.

Transfers iron to food

Another reason why you may want to choose an iron skillet is because it transfers iron to your food. As you already know, iron is a crucial mineral for human health and aids in the production of hemoglobin.

However, the transfer process depends on the age of your griddle, what foods you cook with it, and how well it’s seasoned.

cast iron griddle

Many studies have found this to be true. One particular study even suggested the use of cast iron cookware in developing countries to curb iron deficiency and iron deficiency anemia (Source).

Benefits of stainless steel griddle

Stainless steel is also a popular material for making griddles. Below, we look at the top benefits you’ll enjoy when you get a griddle made from this material.

Benefits of stainless steel griddle

Durable

A griddle made from stainless steel is extremely sturdy and durable. A high-quality griddle made using this material will serve you for years to come and give you value for money.

Heats up fast!

While cast-iron takes time to heat, stainless steel heats up super-fast! This is a good thing because it saves you the time it takes for your griddle to pre-heat, so you can start cooking your favorite food almost immediately.

Lightweight

Unlike cast iron, stainless steel is pretty lightweight, and you can easily maneuver it and move it around. Carrying this grill with you to where your adventures take you is also easy! However, for carbon steel vs stainless steel griddle comparison, carbon steel is even lighter and more portable.

 stainless steel griddle

Easy to clean

Stainless steel is also easy to clean and care for. And this makes it a great choice for novice griddle users compared to a carbon steel pan or cast iron griddle. You just need hot soapy water after every use to properly clean it.

In case of any stuck-on food or grease, you just need to use a steel wool o scrub them off the griddle surface. And you don’t necessarily need to season or do any other form of regular maintenance on your stainless steel griddle.

Rust-free

It’s common knowledge that stainless steel material is resistant to staining and rusting. If you get a high-quality stainless steel skillet, you don’t need to worry about rusting and corrosion getting to it.

Benefits of a ceramic griddle

Ceramic griddle is becoming the top choice for many homeowners who want to practice a healthy lifestyle. It is a 100% non-toxic cooking surface. It doesn’t release any toxins into your food like stainless steel and other griddle materials.

Benefits of a ceramic griddle

The benefits of using a ceramic griddle include:

Non-toxic

As we’ve stated above, one of the reasons ceramic griddles are gaining popularity is promoting healthy cooking.

The ceramic material doesn’t contain any toxic minerals like lead, PTFE, PFOA, heavy metals, or synthetic coatings. It’s only composed of natural minerals.

Unlike stainless and cast iron, this material is 100% non-reactive. It will not react will highly acidic foods and absorb their taste or odor.

Non-stick

Another reason to love ceramic skillets is that they have a non-stick surface. Manufacturers usually use ceramic gel made by infusing silicone and oxygen. The result is a stick-free surface that allows for easy griddle use and cleaning experience.

Benefits of a ceramic griddle

Good heat retention

Ceramic griddles outshine stainless steel models with the ability to hold heat longer. This means excellent heat conduction across the entire surface and even cooking results—just like cast iron!

Inexpensive

Compared to stainless steel, ceramic griddles are a more affordable option. This makes a good choice if you’re on a tight budget.

Ceramic griddles

Easy to clean

Because food doesn’t stick to the surface of these skillets, the cleanup part is a breeze for you! Just soapy water is all you need to make it as clean as new. And it doesn’t require any seasoning like the cast-iron models.

Cons of a cast-iron stove top griddle

Despite the many exciting benefits of cast iron skillets mentioned above, this material isn’t without a few problems.

The drawbacks you’re likely to experience when using your flat top cast iron griddle include:

Heavy

Cast iron is generally a heavy material. This means moving around, or maneuvering griddles made with this material can be a challenge.

Rusts easily

The material is also highly susceptible to rust. Neglecting your griddle will get it easily attacked by rust and corrosion.

cast-iron stove top griddle

Regular maintenance needed

You need to season your cast iron griddle surface. This is key in forming a non-stick layer that keeps food from sticking. Moreover, this seasoning will help keep the griddle rust-free.

Not ideal for preparing all types of foods

The flavor of acidic foods will get altered when prepared using a cast iron griddle. Examples of such foods include tomato, wine-braised meats, lemon sauces, etc.

This is due to the high quantities of iron transferred to these foods. Luckily, proper seasoning can help minimize the interaction with these acidic foods.

Cons of a stainless steel stove top griddle

Stainless steel is also not 100% flawless. It comes with a few drawbacks, which we have discussed below.

May lead heavy metals into food

Yes, stainless steel griddle grill might leach heavy metals into your food. This becomes highly possible if you cook acidic foods on the griddle for a long time.

Remember, this material is made up of chromium, iron, and nickel, which may get released into your food.

Stainless steel stove top griddle

Nickel has been shown to bring adverse effects to your health, including chronic systemic dermatitis (Source).

Poor heat retention

Despite its ability to heat up quickly, stainless steel doesn’t retain the heat well. This may slow and uneven cooking results.

However, most manufacturers now design their griddles with multi-ply design layering that involves placing aluminum between two stainless steel layers.

This helps bring onboard aluminum’s excellent heat conductivity performance, ensuring superb heat retention.

Prone to warping

Most users report their stainless steel griddles and even grill grates drooping and warping over time. This is bad because it leads to uneven griddling or grilling surfaces.

Cons of a ceramic griddle

So you think the healthiest griddle doesn’t come with any downsides? Well, here are some major issues you’re likely to experience when using this griddle.

Durability

Ceramic griddles don’t last forever like cast iron. The materials will break down with time. Also, it can easily chip due to impact.

Still at it, the surface of these griddles can easily get scratched by metal utensils such as a griddle spatula or scrapper.

ceramic griddle

Plastic utensils may also leave scratches on their surface.

Takes longer to heat

Ceramic also takes a little longer to heat up, so you’ll have to wait for a few minutes. This puts it below stainless steel, which heats up pretty fast!

But it compensates for this “flaw” by staying hot for longer, distributing heat well, and allowing for more even cooking.

Heavy

Ceramic griddles also have extra weight and maybe a challenge to maneuver for homeowners.

Head to head comparison: What material is best for griddle?

Having discussed the highlights and lowlights of the three materials, it’s now easier to picture how the three compare.

In this section, we’ll do a head to head comparison of the three options with reference to the following key aspects:

Cast Iron vs Stainless Steel vs Ceramic Griddle

Durability: cast iron is unbeatable when it comes to longevity and durability! Stainless steel comes second. Ceramic’s durability is questionable, though it can also serve you for a couple years with good care.

Heating performance: Cast iron and ceramic sit on one side as they take a long time to heat up correctly. But they compensate by staying hot for long and evenly distributing heat across their surface. On the other side, stainless steel heats up pretty fast but has poor heat conductivity.

Non-stick cooking surface: You won’t have to worry about your food sticking when using a ceramic or well-seasoned cast iron griddle. However, sticky situations may arise with stainless steel griddles.

Healthy cooking experience: Ceramic winds hands down in this category! It’s the only material that doesn’t release any toxins into your food, assuring you of 100% healthy cooking. The other two materials will interact with acidic foods that release metals into the food. However, well-seasoned cast iron can minimize interaction with acidic foods for healthy cooking.

Cast Iron vs Stainless Steel vs Ceramic Griddle

Maintenance: Cast iron requires regular seasoning to maintain its non-stick surface and prevent rusting. Cleanup may also be a challenge. Ceramic and stainless steel skillets generally require no seasoning and are super-easy to clean.

Portability: Cast iron is the heaviest, while stainless steel is the lightest of these materials. The good thing is the manufacturer now arm these griddles with caster wheels to allow for easy maneuverability.

Cost: Ceramic and cast iron models feature more affordable price points than their stainless steel counterparts.

FAQ

Still want more? This section will answer those burning questions you maybe ask yourself about cast iron, stainless steel, or ceramic griddles.

Are Blackstone griddles cast iron or stainless steel?

All Blackstone griddles come with a cast iron cooking surface, which the manufacturer simply refers to as cold-rolled steel.

Cast iron vs stainless steel strength: which is stronger?

Cast iron is stronger than stainless steel. It has a nice heft to it and is generally more durable. Moreover, its durability gets better with age. A cast iron griddle will always outlast a stainless steel model with good care.

Can I use cast iron griddle on stove top?

Absolutely! You can use a cast-iron griddle on stovetop to prepare bacon, sandwiches, sausage, eggs, steak, and more.

How do you clean a cast iron griddle?

Here are quick steps on how to clean a cast-iron griddle after every use:

  • Give your griddle time to cool down to avoid burns
  • Use a metal spatula or scraper to get rid of food debris off its surface
  • Wipe the surface down with a paper towel
  • In case of stuck-on or baked-on food, pour water on the griddle while it’s still warm. This will make the tough stuck-on foods easier to remove
  • Now rub a scouring pad gently on the surface
  • Rinse off the water using a paper towel
  • Dry the surface with a clean cloth
  • Finally, coat it with a layer of oil to prepare it for the next use and keep away rust.

NOTE: You shouldn’t use soap or other cleaning products when cleaning a cast iron griddle. These will ruin the seasoning layer and leave your skillet exposed to rust. They may also leave behind a funky taste that affects the flavor of your next griddled meal.

Will a stainless steel griddle rust?

A stainless steel griddle will not rust. However, we suggest keeping your griddle dry to maximize rust resistance.

Can you cut on stainless steel griddle?

We don’t advise you to cut on a stainless steel grill griddle. This is because you’ll likely scratch it up with your knife and damage its smooth surface. The more you cut on it, the more scratches it develops and ultimately turns into a rough, unsightly surface.

Do you season a stainless steel griddle?

Stainless steel griddles aren’t generally meant for seasoning because they’re rust-free. However, you may want to season your unit to keep foods from sticking to its surface.

Is ceramic griddle safe?

A ceramic griddle is 100% safe and doesn’t release toxins into your food. It’s made using natural minerals only and contains no chemicals, making it a non-toxic cooking solution for a healthier lifestyle.

How do you clean the top of a ceramic griddle?

A ceramic griddle is easy to clean due to its naturally non-stick surface. Here are the quick steps to follow in cleaning your griddle:

  • Remove all the grease remaining on the griddle with the help of a spatula or a scrapper. But be gentle with the peeling to avoid scratching the surface.
  • Give the griddle time to cool off
  • Fill your sink with water and dip the skillet in there. Add a few drops of cleaning liquid into the water and let it stay for about 5-10 minutes
  • Now take out the skillet and clean it with a soft sponge, a soft towel, or cloth. Avoid using anything rough on the griddle as it may cause scratches.
  • Rinse the skillet with clean, warm water
  • Lastly, dry it with a dish towel, and it’s ready for reuse!

Do you need to season a ceramic griddle?

Ceramic griddle generally doesn’t require seasoning. However, some models may come with instructions to season them before the first use to revitalize their non-stick surface.

Final Words

That’s everything you need to know about Stainless steel vs cast iron griddle vs ceramic griddle materials.

Now that you know the key benefits and drawbacks of the three materials and how they compare to each other, it’s easier to determine which one will work for you.

Cast iron is the best choice for the ultimate durability, while stainless steel is ideal if you want something that heats up fast! If you’re on the market for the safest griddle for a healthy lifestyle, you can’t go wrong with a ceramic unit.

Overall, none of these three materials is bad for a griddle. After all, top companies still use them to produce their products.

The best material for your new griddle will ultimately come down to your unique needs and personal preferences.

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