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Five tips to get strong griddle lines on food using a griddle pan

Produce impressive meals with beautiful restaurant-quality char marks on your grill-fried vegetables, halloumi and steak

Five tips to get strong griddle lines on food using a griddle pan

Griddle pans are a great way to enjoy the taste of summer, even if it’s wet and gloomy outside. But there is a knack to cooking with them.

Our recent cookware tests gave us great insights into how best to use a griddle pan.

Find out how to heat the pan, how much oil or butter to use, optimum timings for each food and what equipment is best to use, so you can get the most out of your griddle pan.


Best griddle pans: check out the Best Buys in our tough tests


1) Preheat your griddle pan

griddle pan ready to cook

Let your griddle pan heat up a bit before you begin cooking. This will ensure the entire surface is equally hot, so your food cooks consistently at the same rate.

Generally non-stick pans heat up faster than cast iron pans.

For either, always start with medium heat, as a rapid change in temperature can damage the pan.

From our tests we found the following:

  • For cast iron griddle pans it took about four to five minutes on medium heat to reach around 200℃
  • Most non-stick pans, which tend to be thinner and lighter, heat up to 200℃ in around three minutes on medium heat.

2) Use the right amount of oil or butter

Melted butter and baster

You heard it here first, there’s no such thing as too much butter.

Dubious medical advice aside, using the right amount of oil or butter makes a world of difference on your griddle pan.

For non-stick, you won’t need as much cooking grease, but for cast iron, it’s more or less essential.

If choosing butter, melt it first, then place the melted butter or cooking oil in a small bowl.

Then with a fine hair basting brush (natural or synthetic – either is fine) lavishly spread the oil or butter over the surface area of the food item you are going to cook.

3) Have a good pair of barbecue tongs

Corn on cob and tongs

Once your buttered (or oiled) food is ready to cook, we’d recommend reaching for your trusty pair of barbecue tongs.

You’ll want the tongs so you can flip the food easily when the time comes and then serve it without burning your fingers.


Is your kitchen lacking in the tongs department? Check out our test of the best BBQ tongs.


4) Time it carefully

a family eating together

With cooking, timing is crucial otherwise you’ll have undercooked or overcooked food.

To help you griddle to perfection here are the recommended timings for a wide variety of foods.

Food Timings
Aubergine slices 4 to 5 minutes per side
Beef burgers 6 minutes per side
Burger buns 1 to 2 minutes per side
Chicken breast 5 to 6 minutes per side, then at least 5 more minutes on the pan with the heat off
Courgette slices 2 to 3 minutes per side
Fillet of fish 1 minute per side
Halloumi 3 to 4 minutes per side
Peppers 15 minutes, skin down
Steak (rare) 3 to 4 minutes per side
Steak (medium rare) 4 to 6 minutes per side
Steak (well done) 2 to 4 minutes per side, then turn the heat down and cook for another 4 to 6 minutes
Tofu 3 to 4 minutes per side

5) Choose a Best Buy griddle pan

cooking with a griddle pan

Last but not least, you need a good griddle pan.

We recently put 10 griddle pans to the test and found two brilliant pans that would be perfect for any ambitious home chef.

During these tests, we found a few pans didn’t create ideal grill marks, even when following the rest of these tips.


Find out how we tested griddle pans and which we recommend in the best griddle pans.


We purchased all the products we tested. No food was wasted to bring you the results.

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