Griddle vs. Grill: Which Outdoor Cooking Surface Is Better?

A great burger is a thing of beauty. Make sure you’ve got the right tool for the job.

By Rachel Baron
May 16, 2023
griddle cooking burgers
Share This

When we want to cook a lot of food at once over high heat, we typically go for one of two options: a grill or a griddle. Both are suitable for high heat cooking, offer plenty of surface area, and can be used to cook outdoors. Yet while there are a ton of foods that you can cook on both a grill and a griddle, they’re not completely interchangeable: for one, a grill exposes your food directly to open flame, achieving a deeper and more robust char than a griddle, which is placed over a heat source and keeps the flames from touching your food.

Despite their differences, both tools can bring a rich, complex flavor to some of your favorite foods, from steaks and seafood to stir fries and paella. Here’s how to decide which one to buy for your home cooking setup, and whether or not you should spring for both.

What Is a Griddle?

griddle steak and eggs

If you’ve ever peeked behind the counter at your favorite diner or burger spot, you’ve probably seen the cook tossing sizzling ingredients on a wide, flat cooking surface. This is a griddle, which is typically made with high heat-resistant materials like carbon steel or cast iron and does a great job of cooking a bunch of different foods—like hamburgers, eggs, and breakfast meats—all at the same time.

Since the enormous griddle at your local greasy spoon isn’t the best option for a home kitchen, however, home cooks looking to replicate the spacious, high heat cooking surface of a sizzling flat-top should consider a stovetop griddle. Our pre-seasoned carbon steel griddle is large enough to fit over two burners on your stove (including gas, induction, or electric), but slim and lightweight enough to store between uses, making it a great space-saving option. Our griddle is also made with hand-welded handles, making it easy to transport from the kitchen to your outdoor grill and vice versa.

When to Use a Griddle

We reach for a griddle whenever we want the complex smoky flavors of grilled food, but with the convenience of cooking on a flat, non stick surface. If you do have a gas or charcoal grill, however, we still highly recommend using a griddle: the naturally nonstick carbon steel surface makes for easier cleanup, and you also won’t have to worry about grease dripping into the flames and causing flare-ups.

What Is a Grill?

burgers on griddle

A grill is a cooking implement that uses dry heat and direct flame to cook food, which is placed directly onto the metal grates. The two main types of grill are charcoal and gas, gas being the more expensive option. Both types of grill bring a deep, flavorful char to your food that can’t be fully replicated using any other cooking method, aside from open fire cooking. We love using a grill to cook almost any kind of protein or vegetable—even delicate ingredients like asparagus or ramps. Grills are also compatible with high heat-resistant cookware like cast iron or carbon steel pans.

When to Use a Grill

The intensely smoky flavor a grill adds to your food is just one of the many benefits of using a gas or charcoal grill. Because of a grill’s ample cooking surface, you can also use it to cook a lot of food at the same time, and you can even create different temperature zones to avoid overcooking certain foods. If your steak is charred on the outside but still a bit rare on the inside, for example, simply move it to the cooler part of the grill to gently finish cooking it through.

A grill is also ideal for health conscious cooks: because it uses dry heat, you can get away with using little or no oil to cook your food, without sacrificing flavor.

Key Differences Between a Griddle and a Grill

Because there’s more surface area on a griddle, it allows for more contact between the cooking surface and your food. This makes a griddle ideal for foods like steaks or smash burgers, as it produces better Maillard browning and a crispier crust than you would get from a grill.

That surface area also allows you to cook smaller pieces of food that would fall between the grates of a grill, as well as liquidy items like pancakes or eggs. A griddle also makes for easier cleanup: our carbon steel griddle is naturally non stick, so you can spend less time scraping burnt bits of food off the grates.

Which Is the Better Outdoor Cooking Surface?

griddle asparagus

It’s hard to pick between a grill and a griddle: these two classic tools complement each other beautifully, and which one you go for is highly dependent on your preferred style of cooking. Do you love cooking outside in warm weather? Go for a gas or charcoal grill. Don’t have the space for a grill, or don’t see yourself doing enough outdoor cooking to justify the expense? A griddle is the way to go.

If we had to choose one of the two, however, the griddle would have to be our pick for the most versatile and approachable cooking method. Since a griddle converts any cooktop into a makeshift grill—and because you don’t need to own a grill to use it—we’d recommend it to any cook who wants to cook a lot of food at once over high heat.

Ready to Cook?

Ready to Shop?
  • Carbon Steel Griddle
  • Griddle
  • $159
or 4 payments of $39.75 with

If you’re as stoked for warm weather cooking as we are, you’re probably looking to get your grilling setup on lock as soon as possible. Both a grill and a griddle make for fantastic Fourth of July barbecue, succulent seafood, and gorgeous grilled vegetables. Since our carbon steel griddle combines the ease of stovetop cooking with the flavors of grilled food, however, it definitely gets our vote.