Tools

3 Best Pans for the Grill

Everything you need for grilling success this summer—plus, a super handy grilling accessory.

By Rachel Baron
May 28, 2024
Hamburgers and bacon strips are sizzling on a flat griddle over a charcoal grill.

The smoke, the sizzle, the flame-kissed flavor—there’s so much to love about grilling. But if you’re looking to shake things up this year, you don’t have to stick with the old-school method of plopping food directly onto the grates: instead, you can actually use your grill as a kind of alternative stove top by adding grill-compatible cookware.

While your favorite frying pan is likely just as suitable for outdoor cooking as indoor, depending on what material it’s made of (stainless steel, cast iron, and carbon steel are all good to go), some pans just work better on the grill. Here are the best pans for grilling up perfect burgers and steaks, flame-enhanced veggies, a full breakfast fry-up, and more.

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    The smoke, the sizzle, the flame-kissed flavor—there’s so much to love about grilling. But if you’re looking to shake things up this year, you don’t have to stick with the old-school method of plopping food directly onto the grates: instead, you can actually use your grill as a kind of alternative stove top by adding grill-compatible cookware.

    While your favorite frying pan is likely just as suitable for outdoor cooking as indoor, depending on what material it’s made of (stainless steel, cast iron, and carbon steel are all good to go), some pans just work better on the grill. Here are the best pans for grilling up perfect burgers and steaks, flame-enhanced veggies, a full breakfast fry-up, and more.

    First Step: What Kind of Grill Do You Have?

    Before you buy any kind of cookware for your grill, make sure you know it’ll actually fit over the grates. As much as we love the ample surface of a carbon steel griddle, it’s probably not going to work with your tiny charcoal grill.

    For smaller or circular grills, we recommend using a smaller frying pan or grill pan (like our Half Griddle); if you’re working with a full-size grill, most anything we recommend below should be compatible.

    Best for Flame-Kissed Flavor: Grill Frying Pan

    Looking for the classic smoky flavor of grilled food, but with the portability and searing power of a regular frying pan? Say hello to our Carbon Steel Grill Frying Pan: featuring a bottom with 62 perforations, this pan gives you the perfect amount of flame-to-food contact and a beautiful brown crust, without the risk of losing any smaller ingredients to between grill grates.

    Because of its small size, the Grill Frying Pan is compatible with almost any style of grill, from hulking Traegers to tiny Webers. It also works with almost anything you might want to grill: from as large as a steak or chop to ingredients on the smaller side, like shrimp, mushrooms, or peppers. Because of the perforations, however, we wouldn’t recommend it for fried rice or anything that starts as a liquid (like a frittata).

    Best for a Flat Top Grill Extension: Carbon Steel Griddle

    Got a big grill? You’re in luck: wider cooking surfaces are perfect for our Carbon Steel Griddle. This broad, flat tool functions just like our Carbon Steel Frying Pans, offering excellent heat circulation and a naturally non stick surface—plus a much larger cooking surface area that covers two burners on a stove and is safe up to 1200F.

    What can you make on a griddle, you ask? Just about anything you can think of: from pancakes and eggs to whole branzino and paninis, there’s not much we wouldn’t cook on the Griddle (especially when equipped with our Griddle Tool Set, which make for easy flipping, turning, and searing all summer long).

    Our Griddle also features sloped sides, so you can safely cook batters, saucy marinated chicken wings, and other liquidy items without the risk of flare-ups or sticky messes. You can also opt for our Half-Perforated Griddle for added flexibility and plenty of flame-kissed flavor.

    Best for Searing: Carbon Steel Frying Pan

    This isn’t a grill-specific pan—but it’s so wonderfully compatible with smoky, high-heat cooking that we couldn’t leave it off this list. Carbon steel is durable and high-heat resistant (all of our Carbon Steel Cookware is safe up 1200F) making our Carbon Steel Frying Pan a natural choice for grilling and live-fire cooking.

    Since carbon steel also offers the ideal combination of quick, even heat conduction and a naturally non stick cooking surface, it gives you a bit more control over the finished product—a big advantage when grilling or live fire cooking, which can be a little chaotic compared to other, more controlled cooking methods.

    Best for Full Surface Contact: Stainless Steel Grill Press

    Yes, this is technically a list of pans, not grilling accessories. But we’d be remiss in leaving out our Stainless Steel Grill Press—mostly because it enhances the best parts of grilled food. Our Grill Press is made from durable stainless steel that’s safe up to 800F, with a raised handle to keep your hand safe from the intense heat of the grill.

    The grill press helps weigh down your food, maximizing contact with the cooking surface. This gives you richer, more evenly browned crusts and thin, crispy edges, which is why we love it for grilling items like paninis, smash burgers, and even bacon. You can use a grill press directly on the grill, or with any of the pans mentioned—it works especially well with the Griddle.

    Ready to Shop?

    Just because you’re not in your kitchen doesn’t mean you can’t have the same range of versatile, high-quality cookware to choose from. Grill-compatible cookware opens up a whole world of outdoor cooking options, from hearty grilled meats to delicate sautés with just a hint of smoky flavor—you know, just in case you needed a reason to spend the whole summer outdoors.