When I first met my husband, he lived in a small apartment with a teeny-tiny galley kitchen that could barely fit the both of us in there without some awkward dancing and shifting. While he had a good set of kitchen equipment and was careful to stay away from extraneous gadgets and appliances, he had one thing that I thought was a bit odd and random: an electric griddle.
Over the past 10 years, I've now come to embrace this inexpensive but bulky appliance, and here's why!
What is a griddle anyway?
A griddle is simply a large, flat cooking surface. The surface is usually has a nonstick coating, but it can also be made out of cast iron. Electric griddles have a heating element built in, and stovetop griddles are designed to be heated by the grates of the stove, usually utilizing two burners.
What are griddles used for?
Griddles are usually used for making breakfast foods like pancakes, French toast, or bacon. My husband has one because he absolutely loves pancakes and his family always makes their special pancakes on an electric griddle. I, however, prefer savory breakfasts so left the pancake making up to him and otherwise ignored the griddle.
That is, until recently. Staring at it one day, I got to thinking, "It's basically just a big flat cooking surface — what else can we make on there besides pancakes?" Once I started experimenting, I couldn't stop and now love using the griddle.
The Benefits of an Electric Griddle
Now that I'm using our griddle more often, here are the things that I really like about it:
- Surface area: Like I mentioned earlier, the big cooking area means I can cook a lot of food on there at the same time, unlike frying pans which can only fit a few pieces. Big flour tortilla quesadillas? No problem, two or even three can be cooking at the same time.
- Completely flat surface: The flat surface with no raised edges makes it easier to maneuver a spatula around for flipping.
- Even heating: While there may be some cooler spots in the areas between the stove grates on a stovetop griddle, an electric one has nice, even heat.
- Frees up the stove: Again, for an electric griddle, you can plug it in on the counter and free up your stovetop for something else. Think about using it to keep side dishes warm during a big meal like Thanksgiving.
- Grease drips off: There's usually a well around the griddle so that grease drips off and pools in it.
- Warming functions: My electric griddle sits in a frame, so there's some space underneath it that gets warm when the griddle is in use. We've utilized that space to warm plates or keep the first batches of food warm while the rest is cooking so we never have to turn on the oven.
As for food, it's been great to be able to prepare more than just breakfasts on the griddle. Here are some of my new favorite foods to cook on it:
- Grilled cheese sandwiches
- Falafel patties
- Savory pancakes
Other people have highly recommended making English muffins from scratch on the griddle, and I can't wait to try it myself! What do you use your griddle for?