Steak lovers who don’t have enough room for grills delight in the use of grill pans. They are usually heavy-duty pans studded with ridges, making it possible to grill meat without actually bringing out a grill.
Many of these pans are affordable and can easily be taken on camping trips to make agonizingly tasty meat. If you are in the market for a grill pan, we have compiled an expository review of the best grill pans.
America’s Test Kitchen Best Grill Pans Reviews for 2021
#1. Lodge Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Pan
Lodge’s Cast Iron grill pan is a modern remake of a timeless classic. It is a square pan with curved edges that give you access to that extra surface area you need for larger meat chunks.
The pan has been seasoned from the foundry with premium carbonized oil, set to get better with time. The seasoning prevents the rusting of the heavy metal used in the making. Lodge’s pan flaunts extraordinary heat retention capabilities.
The heavy-duty pan offers incredible versatility, allowing you to safely use it on almost all heat sources, including stovetops, induction cookers, ovens, campfires, grills, etc. The only exception is the microwave. You can also sauté, sear, bake and stir fry in addition to grilling.
It has a mid-sized handle made of thermoset plastic that is sturdy and comfortable, endures the heavy pan’s weight. The handle also bears an elongated hole, with which you can hang the pan. The relatively short handle is complemented by a helper handle on the opposite side of the pan.
The pan has to be hand washed as well; you might end up damaging your dishwasher if you wash it with it. You don’t have to do a thorough wash either, but it is recommended to rub it with oil lightly after each use.
- Second handle for better control
- Great for induction cooktops
- Comes pre seasoned with vegetable
- Even heating and better heat retention
- Requires a lot of maintenance
#2. Cuisinel Cast Iron Grill Pan with Glass Lid
Cuisinel’s skillet is a significantly heavier grill pan than the others listed here. It weighs a considerable mass of 9.8-pounds. But all that weight is put into good use – as you get some of the best heat retention and distribution possible in a grill pan in this masterpiece.
It is a cast-iron pan, with even rows of ridges and a seasoned finish. The black seasoning protects the cast iron from rust and adds to its durability. You also get a glass lid. The high-quality glass lid has a thin stainless-steel film protecting its edges, as well as a plastic handle. It functions to prevent splashes and spills while cooking.
The pan itself has two handles, one long, silicone-padded handle for one-hand movements and for balance when stirring or turning your food. Also, there’s a second, smaller handle for added support when lifting the pan.
While the pan lacks a non-stick coating, it can still be readily cleaned – using a stiff brush and water. Just water, as soap might damage the seasoning. It doesn’t support dishwashing either.
- Impressive cooking versatility
- Excellent heat retention
- Superior craftsmanship
- 30-day money back guarantee
- No vent on the lids
#3. Le Creuset Enameled Cast Iron Signature Skillet
Le Creuset is a celebrated maker of premium skillets, known for their pans and utensils’ durability and quality. This modern grill pan is by no means different. At first glance, you can experience first-hand the impressive enamel finish and the elegant glow it adds to the pan. It is sure to add a spark of class to any kitchen it graces.
It has a sleek handle with a shiny enamel finish, supported on the other side by a smaller helper handle for balanced movement. Both handles are firm to grip, providing sturdy and reliable support while lifting. On the other sides of the pan are pourers used to transfer collected fat drips into different containers.
The pan’s weight helps it retain incredible amounts of heat to cook meat evenly. Le Creuset’s grill pan has high ridges that allow for low-fat cooking, collecting fat drips while grilling meat pieces. The ridge also adds the signature parallel marks of an outside grill to your food.
The exterior body is enamel coated as well. And while it provides long-lasting protection against rust and prevents chips and cracks, it also makes induction heating difficult. The interior also becomes sticky after use, making it a bit difficult to clean.
- Steady, even heat
- Includes large loop helper handle
- Superior heat retention
- Dishwasher safe
- Complains about grippy cooking surface
#4. Jean Patrique – The Whatever Pan
The Whatever pan is a die-cast aluminum grill pan made by Jean Patrique. It is a unique diversion from conventional heavy-duty pans. The aluminum base gives it a more bearable weight that is more flexible for other uses.
The aluminum pan has a round shape with two semi-circular handles for lifting. The handles, however, are also made of aluminum and can sometimes heat up to scorching temperatures. A consistent row of ridges provides a gap between fat drips and your meat.
Another significant advantage of a cast aluminum pan is the non-stick coating. This makes it ridiculously easy to clean right after use.
While one might think the aluminum pan might not offer the same heat retention or distribution heavier cast iron provides, Jean Patrique has endowed this model with a bonded steel base. The steel base gives it incredible heat retention abilities and makes it possible to cook on most heating surfaces.
The Whatever pan is so named because of its impressive versatility. Not only does it serve as an exceptional griddle pan, but it can also be used to sear and sizzle. It comes with a heat-proof glass lid that prevents splashing and spilling of oil while grilling.
- Deep ridges
- Oven friendly design
- Excellent non-stick performance
- Lightweight, die-cast aluminum construction
- The handles get pretty hot
#5. Le Creuset Enameled Cast Iron Deep Round Grill
This round grill pan bears the elegant smoothness Le Creuset is known for. It has more depth than most grill pans, hence, its name. Beautified with an enamel finish, the cast iron pan is available in several cool, bright colors.
The enamel finish is not just for decoration either. It contributes significantly to its durability. It protects the pan from scratches, cracks, shocks, chips in addition to resisting rust. On the other hand, the interior is coated with a special enamel that enhances heat-retention at high temperatures. On the flip side, the enamel coating promotes sticking, making it difficult to clean off fat drippings.
Two carefully angled handles are provided. The handles have adequate room to accommodate a curled fist and provides the perfect lifting balance. The impressed tag on the handle provides an increased grip for moving the pan around.
It bears the usual parallel ridges of griddle pans, although a bit higher than other pans. On the sides of the pan not bearing its handle are pourers for removing collected drips.
Grilling is a joy with this beauty of a pan. The enamel’s weight and quality allow prolonged heat retention and proper heat distribution that ensures that every part of your food is evenly cooked. The enamel coating also prevents smoking while the pan is heating.
- Colorful exterior enamel
- High ridges
- Ergonomic handles and knobs for easy lifting
- Even heat distribution
- Poor quality control
#6. GreenPan Prime Midnight Ceramic Pots and Pan Set
The prime midnight ceramic set stands out as the only set reviewed on this list. The set includes two pans, a pot, a slotted turner, and a cooking spoon. The pots and pans have a ceramic interior in a black, subtle finish.
One major benefit of the ceramic finish is the ease by which it can be cleaned. The ceramic prevents sticking and makes it easy to wipe off stains and dirt. The set also makes the second listing that is dishwasher safe. The exterior is diamond-reinforced to resist scratching and rusting.
The saucepan offers an incredible weight that allows for high heat retention compared to the toughest griddle pans. It has a wide surface area as well, letting you cook large pieces of meat at once. It has a long handle, finished in stainless steel – which offers superior support for the pan.
The pans do not bear ridges of any kind, so you might be sacrificing the particularly satisfying parallel patterns of a real griddle pan. But the pan offers exceptional quality at an impressively affordable price.
The set is also followed by glass lids. The lids are just as tough, resistant to high temperatures, and easy to clean.
- Metal utensil safe
- Dishwasher safe for easy cleanup
- Durable, see-through glass lids
- High-performing ceramic nonstick coating
- Heat distribution could be better
What to Look for When Buying a Grill Pan
Anyone who hears of the incredible effectiveness of grill pans in recreating the effects of an outdoor grill can hardly wait to get their hands on one. However, there are a few essential criteria that must be satisfied before you bring out your wallet to buy a grill pan.
To get the best outcome of grilled meat, you must cook it under high temperatures. Therefore, any pan that aims to replicate this effect must be able to heat up to high temperatures without incident. Cast Iron does the best job of this.
The iron is able to absorb high-temperature heat and retain it for a long duration, allowing an evenly grilled meat. But cast iron pans are usually super heavy and difficult to move comfortably while they are hot.
Sometimes reinforced aluminum can be used. When supported by a steel base, aluminum offers similar benefits at reduced cost with more flexibility. However, aluminum griddle pans are not as durable as cast iron, which can last several generations when properly taken care of.
Most pans come with handles. The handle gives you the maneuverability to ensure properly grilled meat. We recommend getting a long handle with a plastic or silicone cover.
Thermoset plastic or silicone is heat-resistant and protects you from getting burned when touching the pan accidentally. Long handles allow you to manipulate the pan easily. You can maneuver the heavy pans without expending too much energy.
Most quality pans usually have additional handles on the other side to add balance and make it easier to carry.
Grilling can be enjoyable, and the best part is enjoying well-grilled meat. But it can easily become tedious when you have to clean a sticky pan after cooking.
A ceramic interior makes cleaning so much easier. Non-stick coatings are just as effective – preventing sticky residue and making clean-up a breeze.
Also, the popular grill pans made of cast irons are not dishwasher-friendly. Hence, it would help if you always opted for a non-stick or ceramic so that you can clean up your pan with a wipe.
How To Season A Cast Iron Grill Pan Before Use
Having a grill pan can be a lovely companion, especially for those who love steaks and briskets and don’t have enough room or space for a grill. They give you very similar results at a cheaper, more comfortable, and faster rate.
It is important to note that they should be re-seasoned after a couple of years of use or when you notice that the seasoning is wearing off. When you treat your cast iron grills well, you can easily leave them down for coming generations to use.