While gas and charcoal grills allow home cooks to prepare meals alfresco, the outdoor appliances have their limitations. An outdoor griddle is more versatile, capable of cooking many of the foods a grill can, including burgers, steaks, and chicken, along with some foods one could never cook on a standard grill, such as bacon, eggs, and pancakes.
An outdoor griddle consists of a broad, flat cooking surface made of rolled steel, cast iron, or stainless steel. The cooking surface is heated with gas burners powered by a propane tank. Outdoor griddles come as large standalone models, small tabletop units, or even plates that can cook on an existing grill. In this guide, we’ll examine the attributes to consider when shopping for a gas griddle and look at some of the top models.
- BEST OVERALL: Camp Chef Flat Top Grill
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Country Smokers The Highland Portable Griddle
- BEST UPGRADE: Blackstone 1984 Original 36 Inch Griddle
- BEST PLATE: Sizzle-Q SQ180 Stainless Steel Universal Griddle
- MOST PORTABLE: Royal Gourmet PD1202S 18-Inch Table Top Gas Grill
- BEST COMBO: Royal Gourmet Propane Gas Grill and Griddle Combo
- MOST VERSATILE: Cuisinart CGG-0036 4-Burner Gas Griddle
- ALSO CONSIDER: Cuisinart CGG-501 Gourmet Gas Griddle
Types of Outdoor Griddles
Outdoor gas griddles consist of three types—freestanding, tabletop, and plate. Freestanding griddles, like a gas, flat top, or charcoal grill, are attached to a frame with legs that elevate the griddle off the ground. This type has gas-powered burners that heat the surface of the griddle.
Metal plate griddles work with an existing grill. The plate fits on top of a grill and is heated by the grill’s gas or charcoal flame. These plates, which come in different sizes to suit different types of grills, serve as accessories that outdoor cooks can quickly add or remove from the grill surface.
A tabletop griddle is a small portable outdoor griddle that sits on top of a table. These models are compact and light enough for one person to carry. They also have limited cooking space and typically have only one or two burners.
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Outdoor Griddle
Though the size of a griddle’s cooking surface is an important factor one should consider when shopping for an outdoor griddle, other characteristics also matter, including the number of burners, the material of the cooking surface, and portability. Ahead, learn more about these and other attributes of outdoor griddles.
Size and Number of Burners
The size of an outdoor griddle determines how many burgers, grilled cheese sandwiches, hot dogs, or other food items one can cook on it at a time. Small and midsize griddles measure between 200 and 300 square inches, which is enough to prepare a meal for two to four people, while larger griddles can reach up to 750 square inches, enough to cook a meal that can feed eight or more people.
To heat the surface area, a griddle must have an adequate number of burners. Smaller tabletop griddles have one or two burners, while larger freestanding models might have three or four burners.
The griddle surface is one of the most important features to consider when shopping for a griddle. A stainless steel surface is one of the best options. Stainless steel and rolled steel are durable and won’t rust or corrode, which is essential for outdoor use.
Cast iron is also a great option. It’s one of the most durable surfaces and will become more seasoned the more it is used, adding flavor to the food. Cast iron, however, requires more care to prevent it from rusting. Smaller tabletop grills typically have grill surfaces with nonstick coatings. This makes them easier to use, but less durable than other materials.
In addition to offering a broad cooking space, many griddles have additional features for easier cooking or transport. Storage features include shelving below the griddle ideal for keeping grill tools, plates, spices, and other cooking needs close by. Most stand-alone griddles have side tables that provide the chef with space for prepping the food before it goes on the griddle and a place for food to land when it’s time to come off.
Since griddles lack the open slats that allow meat juices and cooking oil to drain off, they have drain holes on the cooking surface that lead to a removable drip tray to collect grease. Griddles are a popular tool to take on camping trips, have a cookout at a park, or for tailgating; many have design features that make them portable. This includes foldable legs for easy packing or wheels that allow the chef to maneuver them into place on a deck or patio.
Temperature Control and Ease of Use
Gas griddles feature controls similar to a gas grill or even a gas range. These controls consist of round knobs that allow the user to adjust the height of the flame. Each burner has its own respective control knob (a four-burner griddle will have four control knobs). This multi-burner design allows the chef to create different cooking zones on the griddle’s surface.
To make the griddle easier to use, most feature electric or piezo ignitions that create a spark to light the griddle, eliminating the need for a match or lighter.
Cleaning a griddle is an important part of maintaining it and ensuring it cooks food evenly and without causing it to stick. To clean a griddle, first scrape the surface clean with a metal spatula, scraper, or scouring pad, and then wipe it down with a paper towel. Pouring water on the grill while it’s still hot can also help to remove stuck-on food.
Of the different griddle cook surface types, stainless steel, rolled steel, and cast iron are generally the easiest to clean, and all will withstand harsh scrubbing without scratching. More care needs to be taken with griddles that have nonstick surfaces to avoid scratching and damaging the coating.
If a grill or griddle will live outside, it’s also a good idea to buy a cover for it to protect it from the elements.
Griddles are a popular cooking appliance to take to a campground, park cookout, or tailgating event, so many are designed for portability. Portable models consist of either freestanding gas griddles with legs that fold into the body or tabletop models that are compact and lightweight.
Most portable tabletop griddles weigh 30 pounds or less and are small enough that a single person can lift the unit and carry it to the trunk of a car. Larger gas griddles that weigh 100 pounds or more may not be portable; however, many feature sturdy casters that allow the user to maneuver them around a deck or patio.
Tips for Seasoning Your Outdoor Griddle
As exciting as it might be to throw a few steaks or burgers on the griddle once it arrives, it’s crucial to season the griddle first to make sure the food doesn’t stick to it and to protect the cooking surface from scratches.
Start by cleaning the surface with soapy water to eliminate any dirt left over from manufacturing, and then rinse. Next, heat the griddle with nothing on it for about 15 minutes or until the surface begins to brown, then turn it off. Pour cooking oil over the surface of the griddle, then evenly distribute it over the surface with a paper towel.
Next, turn the heat on high until it blackens and smokes. Allow it to cool and then add several more layers of cooking oil by repeating the process.
- Clean the griddle surface
- Heat it on high for 15 minutes
- Spread cooking oil over the surface
- Heat until it smokes
- Repeat the oiling process two more times
Our Top Picks
The list below uses the above shopping considerations to narrow the field to some of the top gas griddles by size and type. This list includes griddles capable of cooking for a large family gathering as well as smaller models suitable for camping trips.
An excellent design, ample cooking space, and powerful burners make this model from Camp Chef one of the top griddles on the market. In addition to 604 inches of cooking surface, which are powered by four 12,000-BTU burners, this griddle offers more storage than nearly every other griddle on the market. Two large end tables extend from the sides for food prep, and two shelves below the cooking surface offer plenty of space for storing cooking tools and spices.
This griddle is versatile, too, thanks to interchangeable plates that allow it to function as both a griddle and standard gas grill. Wheels on one end of the frame enable the chef to move the griddle around the deck or patio while a convenient rack holds a standard 20-pound propane tank.
- Cooking Surface: 604 square inches
- Burners: Four 12,000 BTU
- Type: Freestanding
- Ample storage space
- Broad cooking surface
- Interchangeable grates convert it into a grill
- 12,000 BTU burners are less powerful than other top models
- Nonstick cooking surface versus rolled steel or stainless steel
For those willing to compromise a few bells and whistles, this griddle from Country Smokers offers ample cooking space at a budget price that’s just a fraction of other similar size griddles. Its 597 square inches of cooking space gather heat from four 11,000-BTU burners, so its size is ideal for handling larger backyard barbecues of up to 10 people.
The top consists of heavy-gauge stainless steel that resists rust and corrosion, while a collapsible design allows outdoor chefs to take this griddle on the road for tailgating or camping. Its low price comes with a few concessions. It does not have side tables or shelves for prep and storage. It also lacks a holder for the propane tank, which makes it a little more challenging to move from place to place.
- Cooking Surface: 597 square inches
- Burners: Four 11,000 BTU
- Type: Freestanding
- A lot of cooking space at a low price
- Pre-seasoned stainless steel cooktop
- Foldable legs for portability
- No side tables or shelf
- No wheels or holder for the propane tank
With 768 square inches of cooking space, this gas griddle from Blackstone is worthy of a large backyard barbecue or even a professional outdoor kitchen. Four powerful 15,000-BTU gas burners heat that broad swath of cooking surface, and a rear grease drain capably handles drippings from all those burgers or steaks.
A rolled steel cooktop provides a sturdy surface, while the unit’s powder-coated black steel frame can withstand the elements. Large casters keep the hefty griddle easy to roll around. Since there needs to be a place for all that food to go when it’s done cooking, this griddle comes equipped with two large side tables and a tray under the griddle. A strip of utensil hooks and a paper-towel holder are also useful additional features.
- Cooking Surface: 768 square inches
- Burners: Four 15,000 BTU
- Type: Freestanding
- A total of 60,000 BTUs of cooking power
- Ample 768 square inches of cooking space
- Durable steel construction
- One of the most expensive outdoor griddles
- Large size and heavy weight make it harder to move
Plates are an affordable means of turning any gas grill into a griddle, and the Sizzle-Q Stainless Steel Universal Griddle is a top option. The stainless steel griddle plate rests on top of an existing grill, so it is easy to install or uninstall quickly. At 18 inches long and 13 inches deep, it offers 234 square inches of cooking space.
A high lip runs around three sides, and a grease trough on the front of the griddle catches grease to reduce runoff and flare-ups. With its stainless steel construction, this griddle plate resists rust and corrosion. Welded cross braces on the underbody prevent warping, even under intense heat.
- Cooking Surface: 234 square inches
- Burners: N/A
- Type: Plate
- Durable stainless steel construction
- Grease drain prevents flare-ups
- Reinforced body resists warping
- Large size for a plate option
- No handles; difficult to pick up with gloved hands
Weighing in at just 24 pounds and measuring 23 inches long and 14 inches deep, this Royal Gourmet tabletop gas grill and griddle is compact enough to take on the road for a weekend of camping or an afternoon of tailgating. It’s powered by a single 12,000-BTU gas burner, which uses a 1-pound propane gas canister that attaches conveniently to the underside of the control panel. The grill rests on four sturdy feet with nonslip bottoms and cooks food on a porcelain-enameled surface.
The griddle lights easily with a piezo lighter, and a simple control knob adjusts the flame size. A slide-out grease tray collects drippings and makes disposal easy. Despite its small size, the griddle offers 221 square inches of cooking surface, enough to handle eight hamburger patties.
- Cooking Surface: 221 square inches
- Burners: One 12,000 BTU
- Type: Tabletop
- Weighs just 24 pounds
- Offers ample cooking space despite overall size
- Easy to start and control
- Only a single burner
- Porcelain cooking surface not as durable as other types
Should you choose a gas griddle or grill? How about both? This Royal Gourmet propane combination model splits its cooking surface into a griddle and a grill, creating two cooking zones that outdoor chefs can use simultaneously. Each cooking zone provides 292 square inches of cooking space with two 12,000-BTU burners each.
Two large side tables offer additional prep space, and four hooks under the grill provide storage for cooking utensils. Other thoughtful features include a convenient bottle opener attached to one side table and four sturdy casters that make it easy to maneuver this griddle around a deck or patio. Despite its large size, this griddle is portable with legs that fold under the grill for transport.
- Cooking Surface: 292 square inches each
- Burners: Four 12,000 BTU burners
- Type: Standalone
- Grill and griddle combo adds versatility
- Foldable legs for transport
- Ample cooking space
- Burners not as powerful as other models
- No storage tray under the grill
The Cuisinart 4-Burner Gas Griddle has powerful burners, a durable cooktop, and a design that makes it easy to maneuver. In addition to a large rolled-steel cooking surface that boasts 760 square inches of cooking space powered by four 15,000 BTU gas burners, this griddle offers ample space for meal prep and tool storage. It features two large side tables and an under-griddle shelf.
The Cuisinart griddle also features a leg design that sets it apart from other griddles. Its curved legs feature wheels that allow the user to maneuver it as a stand-alone grill or fold them in to convert to a tabletop model.
- Cooking Surface: 760 square inches each
- Burners: Four 15,000 BTU burners
- Type: Standalone or tabletop
- Foldable legs add versatility
- 60,000 BTUs of cooking power
- Large side tables and an under-griddle shelf
- Some issues with uneven heating
- Plastic as opposed to metal control knobs
With its two powerful 10,000-BTU stainless steel burners, this tabletop outdoor griddle is small but mighty. It boasts 285 square inches of cold-rolled steel cooking surface. The burners are controlled by two knobs and light with a twist-to-start ignition. A large rim around the cooktop keeps grease in the pan, while a drainage hole in the lower corner leads to a removable grease catch.
The griddle measures 20 inches wide by 20 inches deep and weighs just 30 pounds, so it is hefty but compact enough to take on the road. A built-in hose connects to a 20-pound propane tank, and the griddle lifts and carries easily, supported by large handles on the sides.
- Cooking Surface: 285 square inches each
- Burners: Two 10,000-BTU burners
- Type: Tabletop
- 20,000 BTUs of cooking power
- Thick rolled steel top
- Durable stainless steel burners
- Heavy for a tabletop option at 30 pounds
With its high burner output, large cooking surface, and durable steel construction, the Camp Chef Flat Top Grill is a worthy choice for home or professional kitchens. If a more affordable model suits your budget, the Country Smokers Highland Portable Griddle is also an excellent choice.
How We Chose the Best Outdoor Griddle
To select the products on our list, we looked at three of the most crucial factors for outdoor griddles, including the size of the cooking surface, heat output, and construction. Freestanding griddles with broad cooking surfaces, multiple burners with high BTU output, and rolled steel or stainless steel cooking surfaces ranked highly. Additional features such as side tables, storage shelves, and wheels also factored into our rankings.
For tabletop models, we considered portability as well as cooking surface and burner heat output. For cooking plates, we looked mainly at material with stainless steel plates ranking higher than other materials.
If you still have questions about which outdoor griddle to buy or how to cook with a griddle, then read on for answers to these and other commonly asked questions about these outdoor cooking appliances.
Q. What brand is the best outdoor griddle?
When it comes to outdoor griddles, it’s tough to beat Blackstone. The brand is well known for the quality of its construction, which includes durable rolled steel or stainless steel cooking surfaces and steel construction in the frames. Blackstone griddles also include powerful burners and thoughtful additional features such as side tables, storage shelves, and wheels.
Q. What is the best griddle to buy?
One of the best overall griddles on the market is the Camp Chef Flat Top Grill, which serves as an excellent example of the high quality outdoor griddles available.
Q. What is the best oil to use on an outdoor griddle for cooking?
Canola is the best cooking oil to use on an outdoor griddle. It has a high smoke point of 400 degrees Fahrenheit and won’t leave much taste on the food.
Q. What can you cook on an outdoor griddle?
You can cook virtually anything on an outdoor griddle that you can cook indoors, including eggs, pancakes, hamburgers, hotdogs, steaks, vegetables, and fish.