The 13 Best Grill Pans, Tested by Allrecipes
For apartment dwellers or anyone facing an end to outdoor grilling season, there are many reasons to invest in a grill pan. A grill pan allows you to achieve those stunning sear marks on your stovetop, no electrical outlets are needed. And while you may be able to achieve a sear in a traditional skillet, albeit without the marks, the ridges on a grill pan also serve to elevate your food above its juices and fats, giving you a better sear and a less greasy result.
To help you find the best grill pan, we asked Allrecipes product tester Jessica Harlan to put the top options on the market to the test. She considered each pan's construction and design, heat retention, performance, cleaning, and storage.
After hours of testing, she deemed the Scanpan Professional Grill Pan to be the very best.
Keep reading to discover the best grill pans, according to our testing.
Best Grill Pans at a Glance
- Best Overall: Scanpan Professional Grill Pan
- Best Budget: Cuisinel Preseasoned Cast Iron Grill Pan
- Best Nonstick: Anolon Advanced Deep Square Grill Pan
- Best Cast Iron: Finex Cast Iron Grill Pan
- Best Square: Staub Enameled Cast Iron Grill Pan & Press
- Best Round: GreenPan Chatham Ceramic Nonstick Round Grill Pan
- Best Double Burner: All-Clad HA1 Nonstick Double Burner Grill
- Best Reversible Griddle/Grill: Lodge Chef Collection Cast Iron Reversible Griddle/Grill
What To Consider When Buying a Grill Pan
Size and Shape
Grills pans usually average around 10 to 11 inches in size, enough room for grilling four to five small hamburgers. You may decide to go smaller, should you only need to serve one to two people. But if you're feeding a crowd, you may want to spring for a double burner grill pan. As the name suggests, these are rectangular-shaped grill pans that span the length of two stovetop burners for increased surface area.
We found in our testing that most grill pans on the market are square, and for good reason. Surface area is key when grilling — your food needs to be cooked in a single layer, as opposed to a stir-fry or any sauteed dish. Square grill pans offer more surface area. But round pans do have their advantages: They tend to heat more evenly than square pans, which don't always get as hot around the edges and corners.
Some grill pans even feature reversible sides, one with a ridged surface for grilling and another with a smooth surface for griddling.
- Cast Iron: Cast iron is a no-brainer for a grill pan. It can reach and maintain high temperatures, mimicking the grates of an outdoor grill. It's also oven-safe, so you can easily finish up thicker cuts of steak in the oven after you've developed a nice sear on the stovetop. But the clear disadvantage to cast iron is always cleanup and maintenance. With time, cast iron will develop a naturally nonstick patina, but that requires regular use and routine seasoning with oil. And as with all cast iron, it must be hand washed and dried immediately.
- Enameled Cast Iron: Although it comes with a heftier price tag, enameled cast iron gives you the heat retention of cast iron without the finicky cleanup. The enamel glaze helps to prevent sticking and rusting, no seasoning required.
- Hard-Anodized Aluminum: This is a term you'll see thrown around a lot when it comes to grill pans and other cookware. It refers to aluminum that has been hardened through a chemical process of oxidation to make it more durable and resistant to corrosion. It's usually coated with a nonstick coating for easy cleanup, and the aluminum base provides excellent conduction. Keep in mind that you should avoid using metal utensils or cooking over super high temperatures with nonstick cookware.
- Cast Aluminum: Cast aluminum cookware comes from molten aluminum that is poured into a mold. The process, known as "casting," creates a harder and more durable product. Like all types of aluminum, it's an excellent conductor, and it's much lighter than cast iron. And like hard-anodized aluminum, it's often layered with a nonstick coating.
- Ceramic Nonstick: Often touted as the alternative to Teflon-based nonstick coatings, ceramic-coated cookware is usually made of a metal base (either aluminum or stainless steel) that has been coated with a silicone-based nonstick coating. It offers an easy-to-clean nonstick surface with optimal heat conduction, but is said to be less durable than it's traditional nonstick counterparts.
You'll find grill pans with one handle or handles on both sides. Dual-sided handles make it easier to move the pan to and from the stovetop or oven, especially if it's made of a heavier material like cast iron. Some handles can become very hot to the touch, such as cast iron and certain metal handles. However, you can find metal and plastic handles that stay cool to the touch, but keep in mind the latter may not be oven-safe.
Many grill pans featured in this review feature pour spouts or grease channels. Though not essential, these can make it easier to clean and discard accumulated grease. Plus, a pan that has accumulated a lot of grease can make it more difficult to achieve a proper sear.
Now that you're well-versed in the world of grill pans, read our thoughts on the 13 pans we put to the test.
The Best Grill Pans of 2022
Other Grill Pans We Tested
Though still functional, these grill pans fell just short of the competition.
How We Tested Each Grill Pan
To test each grill pan, Allrecipes product tester Jessica Harlan used them to grill the following:
After use, Jessica cleaned each pan according to the manufacturer's instructions. During testing, we paid special attention to the following factors:
- Construction and Design: What materials is it made of? What is the size and weight? Are the handles comfortable to hold?
- Heat Retention: How quickly does it heat? How well does it maintain that heat? Any hot spots?
- Performance: Does food stick to the surface? Does it produce well-defined grill marks? What about a nice sear or caramelization?
- Cleaning/Storage: Is it dishwasher-safe? Is it difficult to clean between the grooves? Does it feature a pour spout or grease channel? Is it too bulky to store or is it easily stackable with other cookware?