ELECTRIC GRIDDLES

Published Thursday, January 01, 2009. From Cook's Illustrated.

We knew what we wanted in an electric griddle. Could any of the seven we tested meet all of our expectations?

PRODUCT NAME DESCRIPTION BACON PANCAKES FRENCH TOAST HEAT DISTRIBUTION CLEANUP PRICE
Recommended
  Broilking Professional Griddle

This heavy-duty cast-aluminum griddle performed the best in every test, evenly distributing heat for perfect, crisp browning, and accurately producing the temperatures desired. With the largest surface area of all the griddles, this model could comfortably fit 11 pieces of bacon, eight pancakes, or eight pieces of French toast at once. A removable backsplash protected the walls and countertop from splattering grease, which neatly drips down to a pull-out tray. The nonstick surface was a breeze to clean.

*** *** *** *** *** $99.99
Recommended
  West Bend Cool-Touch Nonstick Electric Griddle

With a quick heat-up time and fairly consistent heat output, this best buy produced evenly cooked food. The smaller surface area made cooking a little cramped, causing a few of the pancakes to stick together. The angled grease well allowed grease to drip down easily. The nonstick surface cleaned up with minimal scrubbing.

*** *** *** ** *** $51.95
Recommended
  Cuisinart Griddler

This innovative folding griddle can switch from indoor grill to griddle to panini press with the press of a button. Although its two-part griddle appears small, it holds nearly the same quantity of bacon and pancakes as larger models, though French toast was a little crowded. Removable griddle surfaces made cleaning a breeze. Our only gripe: The grease-catching system is a pair of lightweight plastic cups that simply sit beneath drain spouts at the corners of the griddle. Because they’re not attached, they seem likely to become lost or tip over.

*** *** ** ** ** $129
Recommended with Reservations
  Rival Nonstick Electric Griddle

While this griddle heated quickly, its surface temperature was slightly uneven, leaving bacon under- and overcooked in spots. French toast browned spottily, and the slices were undercooked in the center. Pancakes fared better, but the smaller cooking surface only fit six average-size pancakes. Grease drained well.

** ** ** ** *** $39.99
Not Recommended
  Presto Professional 22-inch Jumbo Electric Griddle

This griddle was roomy, but did not heat evenly due to its thin cooking surface, leaving several underdone sections on the bacon strips. Its surface temperature kept climbing (running an average of 70 degrees higher than its designated setting) while we made pancakes, burning our second batch. This griddle’s light construction and nongrip feet led it to slide across the countertop as we tried to cook. Grease dripped neatly into the tray.

* * ** * *** $39.99
Not Recommended
  Cuisinart Electric Nonstick Grill and Griddle

As the only model that did not have a numbered temperature dial, indicating only low, medium, or high, it was impossible to set the exact temperatures we wanted. This heavy, cumbersome appliance cooked evenly but was painfully slow to heat, taking twice as long as other models to cook bacon, pancakes, and French toast. This griddle was the heaviest in the lineup at more than 11 pounds. The nonstick surface did not clean up well and started to chip off as we scrubbed. Grease collects in a removable tray.

* * * ** * $99.95
Not Recommended
  Black & Decker Family-Size Electric Nonstick Griddle

Despite attractive extras, including a warming tray to keep food hot after cooking, this model’s cooking performance fell short. It burned every piece of bacon, and both French toast and pancakes turned out spotty and uneven. And no wonder: Temperature readings at different points of the surface revealed a more than 100-degree difference from the set temperature. Because food burned on, the nonstick surface required too much effort to scrub clean. Grease pooled in the trough because it wasn’t angled well enough to drain into the tray.

* * * * * $29.99