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Best Outdoor Griddles: Take Your Culinary Capabilities to the Next Level

Outdoor Griddle
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updated: July 9, 2024
edited by Amber Katz

Outdoor griddles provide flat surfaces for cooking everything from burgers to pancakes and eggs. They’re usually fueled by propane gas and come equipped with multiple burners that can be heated individually. This allows you to cook a range of foods that require different heat settings at the same time. While you could simply plug in your electric griddle and carry it outside, a dedicated outdoor griddle opens up a world of amazing culinary possibilities. Some models even come with an air fryer and many offer cabinet and shelf storage options.

As far as whether a grill or griddle is the best choice for you, Nicole Johnson, founder, writer, photographer, and recipe developer at OrWhatverYouDo.com says, “I don't think one is better — they are just different. I couldn't go without both on my deck.”

As well as Johnson, I talked with Chef Eric Gephart, culinary director at Masterbuilt and Kamado Joe Grills, Dustin Green, head grill master at Weber Inc., and Rich Parente, chef and owner at Clock Tower Grill in Brewster, New York for their advice, recommendations and tips for selecting and cooking with an outdoor griddle.

Our top picks for best outdoor griddles 

Best outdoor griddle for the average griddle user: Weber Slate 30-inch Rust-Resistant Outdoor Griddle

Weber Slate 30-inch Rust-Resistant Outdoor Griddle

Weber Slate 30-inch Rust-Resistant Outdoor Griddle

Green recommends the new Weber Slate griddle. Yes, he works for Weber but the Slate earns this spot because, among other things, it comes out of the box ready to use — no pre-seasoning required. Additional features include a rust-resistant cooktop, a unique burner system that spreads heat evenly, wind guards for flame control, and a digital temperature readout that helps alleviate some of the guesswork.

Green says it’s also an excellent choice for beginners because of the digital temperature readout, easy set-up, and the pre-seasoned cooktop. Plus, it's equipped with side tables, grease slots, and two shelves.

Specifications

  • Length of cooktop: 30 inches
  • Cooking area: 540 square inches
  • Burners: 3
  • BTUs: 36,000 per hour
  • Fuel type: Liquid propane
  • Price on publish: $649

Pros:

  • Digital temperature readout
  • Pre-seasoned
  • Rust-resistant

Cons:

  • Accessories not included

The bottom line:

Pre-seasoned, rust-resistant, 30-inch griddle from Weber with digital temperature readout and even heating.

Best budget outdoor griddle: Pit Boss 5-Burner Deluxe Griddle

Pit Boss 5-Burner Deluxe Griddle

Pit Boss 5-Burner Deluxe Griddle

The Pit Boss 5-burner griddle offers a large cook space ideal for big families and outdoor gatherings at a budget-friendly price. Fueled by propane gas, it's easy to start via a push and turn ignition. Organization, storage, and portability features include folding side shelves, foldable legs, locking swivel caster wheels, and a bottom shelf.

Specifications

  • Length of cooktop: 37 inches
  • Cooking area: 753 square inches
  • Burners: 5
  • BTUs: 62,000 per hour
  • Fuel type: Liquid propane
  • Price on publish: $529

Pros:

  • Portable features
  • Large cooktop
  • Budget-friendly price

Cons:

  • No heat shield under burners means things can melt on bottom shelf

The bottom line:

Budget-friendly outdoor griddle with large cook space and five burners.

Best value outdoor griddle: Camp Chef Gridiron 36-inch Griddle

Camp Chef Gridiron 36-inch Griddle

Camp Chef Gridiron 36-inch Griddle

The Camp Chef Gridiron features four burners, a hood that allows you to tailor your cooking technique while protecting the griddle surface when not in use, plus a pre-seasoned surface and magnetic accessory storage/holding. A large grease trough and hidden grease bucket make cleanup easy and efficient while the leveling screws ensure you’re always cooking on even ground.

Available magnetic accessories (sold separately) include squeeze bottles, spatulas, and tongs and paper towel holders. (And don’t forget some outdoor furniture.)

Specifications

  • Length of cooktop: 36 inches
  • Cooking area: 616 square inches
  • Burners: 4
  • BTUs: 48,000 per hour
  • Fuel type: Liquid propane
  • Price on publish: $499.99

Pros:

  • Easy cleanup and grease management
  • Folding side shelves
  • Magnetic accessory system
  • Reliable flamethrower ignition

Cons:

  • Magnetic accessories not included

The bottom line:

A solid, mid-range outdoor griddle with flamethrower ignition, folding side shelves, four burners with even heating, and a magnetic accessory storage system.

Best large outdoor griddle: Weber Slate 36-inch Rust-Resistant Griddle

Weber Slate 36-inch Rust-Resistant Griddle

Weber Slate 36-inch Rust-Resistant Griddle

“For those looking to indulge,” says Green, “the Slate griddle offers a larger size with additional features that are worth the splurge.”

While it comes in two sizes, the three-burner 30-inch and the four-burner 36-inch, Green says that opting for the larger size with the extra burner, expandable side table (which makes for a perfect prep table), and storage bins is a decision you won't regret. “It enhances your griddling experience and provides more convenience,” he explains.

Made from carbon steel, Weber Slate griddles arrive at your home pre-seasoned and rust-resistant. During the manufacturing process, the carbon steel hardens and bonds to the surface under extreme heat and pressure, creating a material that reduces the ability for moisture to collect.

The Slate is compatible with Weber’s Prep, Grill, and Store System which includes a range of accessories like a condiment holder and cutting board.

Specifications

  • Length of cooktop: 36 inches
  • Cooking area: 756 square inches
  • Burners: 4
  • BTUs: 48,000 per hour
  • Fuel type: Liquid propane
  • Price on publish: $999

Pros:

  • Rust-resistant
  • Side table expands to make a great prep table
  • Digital temperature display

Cons:

  • Assembly can take a while

The bottom line:

Large, pre-seasoned griddle from Weber featuring rust resistant surface, expandable side table, and storage bins.

Best splurge outdoor griddle: Blackstone 36-inch Griddle with Air Fryer and Cabinets

Blackstone 36-inch Griddle with Air Fryer and Cabinets

Blackstone 36-inch Griddle with Air Fryer and Cabinets

Johnson has been cooking on and developing recipes for outdoor griddles for the past six years. She’s owned both Camp Chef and Blackstone griddles and have found both to be high-quality and very durable.

This particular Blackstone Grill takes your outdoor cooking setup a couple steps further with its two 4-quart air frying drawers, one 4-quart warming drawer, and cabinet storage space. Other features include electronic start ignition, heavy duty hood, side shelf accessory hooks, and magnetic toolbar, paper towel holder, and cutting board. It’s sold with Blackstone’s accessory kit of spatulas, scrapers, storage bin, and more.

Specifications

  • Length of cooktop: 36 inches
  • Cooking area: 769 square inches
  • Burners: 4
  • BTUs: 60,000 per hour
  • Fuel type: Liquid propane
  • Price on publish: $1,398

Pros:

  • Tons of storage and prep space
  • Air fryer drawers
  • Accessory bundle included

Cons:

  • Expensive though potentially worth it for the air fryers

The bottom line:

Large Blackstone outdoor griddle with two air fryer drawers, a warming drawer, cabinet storage, and tool/accessory bundle.

Best outdoor griddle for beginners: Char-Griller Flat Iron 3-Burner Griddle

Char-Griller Flat Iron 3-Burner Griddle

Char-Griller Flat Iron 3-Burner Griddle

“Char-Griller offers Flat Irons in numerous sizes, and they all include easy to use features such as automatic ignition, wind guards, and more to ensure you are set up for success right out of the box no matter the skill level,” says Gephart.

The steel griddle top provides three individual cooking zones and the slide grease drawer makes cleanup easy and efficient. There’s also a folding side shelf and bottom shelf for storage and prep. Plus, the cart itself has foldable, collapsible legs making it portable for camping and tailgating adventures.

Specifications

  • Length of cooktop: 30 inches
  • Cooking area: 520 square inches
  • Burners: 3
  • BTUs: 36,000 per hour
  • Fuel type: Liquid propane
  • Price on publish: $299

Pros:

  • Easy cleanup
  • Portable
  • Includes wind guards and hinged cover

Cons:

Some reviewers report that the tool holders don’t accommodate the spatulas in the starter kit

The bottom line:

Sturdy, 3-burner griddle with folding side shelf, wind guards, and automatic ignition making it perfect for beginners.

Best built-in outdoor griddle: Le Griddle Original 30-inch Built-In/Countertop Propane Gas Griddle

Le Griddle Original 30-inch Built-In/Countertop Propane Gas Griddle

Le Griddle Original 30-inch Built-In/Countertop Propane Gas Griddle

My brother has one of these installed in his outdoor patio kitchen and loves it for its heat distribution and dual plate system—meaning, each burner can be set for a different temperature.

Featuring a push-button electronic ignition system, two U-shaped gas burners, and an enameled cast iron sub plate, this built-in griddle provides even heat in a reliable and convenient configuration. A thermocouple valve shuts off the gas in the event of a flame outage and the removable griddle plate and grease collection tray make cleanup easy.

Specifications

  • Length of cooktop: 30 inches
  • Cooking area: 465 square inches
  • Burners: 2
  • BTUs: 18,000 per hour
  • Fuel type: Liquid propane
  • Price on publish: $2,299

Pros:

  • Even heating
  • Can be converted to natural gas if desired (please consult a professional)
  • Can also be used as a portable model

Cons:

  • Expensive

The bottom line:

High-end, built in griddle with two U-shaped burners, electronic ignition system, and reliable, even heating.

Best flat top outdoor griddle: Trager Flatrock Flat Top Grill

Trager Flatrock Flat Top Grill

Trager Flatrock Flat Top Grill

The three separate cooking zones (outfitted with U-shaped burners) on the Flatrock feature heat shield insulation which effectively separates each zone allowing you to truly cook at different temperatures. Includes a fuel gauge, grease and ash keg, two folding 17-inch side shelves, and a pop and lock accessory rail that you can outfit with storage bins, cup holders, hooks, and roll rack.

Parente owns a Traeger Flatrock and loves it. “It’s perfect for making breakfast, like pancakes and eggs, and it’s great for making smash burgers, too,” he says. Parente prefers burgers cooked on a griddle because “they wind up juicier and more delicious.”

Specifications

  • Length of cooktop: 33 inches
  • Cooking area: 594 square inches
  • Burners: 3
  • BTUs: 43,500 per hour
  • Fuel type: Liquid propane
  • Price on publish: $899.99

Pros:

  • 3 separate U-shaped burners
  • Versatile customization with the accessory rail
  • Even cooking

Cons:

  • Some reviewers report a rougher cook surface which requires extra seasoning layers

The bottom line:

Full featured outdoor griddle with three separate temperature cook spaces powered by U-shaped burners, fold-out side shelves, fuel gauge, and customizable side accessory rail.

Best outdoor tabletop griddle: Blackstone 22-inch Omnivore Stainless Front Panel Tabletop Griddle

Blackstone 22-inch Omnivore Stainless Front Panel Tabletop Griddle

Blackstone 22-inch Omnivore Stainless Front Panel Tabletop Griddle

With two independently controlled cooking zones, painted hood, and rear grease management system, this portable, tabletop griddle from Blackstone is the perfect addition to your camp and outdoor cooking gear. Built-in wind guards and the 361 square inches of cooking space make whipping up delicious meals away from home easy, efficient, and fun.

Specifications

  • Length of cooktop: 22 inches
  • Cooking area: 361 square inches
  • Burners: 2
  • BTUs: 21,000 per hour
  • Fuel type: Liquid propane
  • Price on publish: $249

Pros:

  • Easy to clean
  • Two independent cooking zones
  • Wind guards

Cons:

  • Some reviewers report hot spots

The bottom line:

Portable, 2-burner, easy to clean tabletop griddle from Blackstone with hood; ideal for camping and those who don’t want to invest in a full cabinet/cart type griddle.

Best outdoor griddle insert: Kamado Joe Karbon Steel Flat-Top Griddle Insert

Kamado Joe Karbon Steel Flat-Top Griddle Insert

Kamado Joe Karbon Steel Flat-Top Griddle Insert

Kamado Joe offers a few griddle accessory inserts including the new Karbon Steel flat-top griddle insert,” says Gephart, “It’s a great addition to your Kamado Joe, expanding your cooking versatility.”

This carbon steel griddle comes pre-seasoned and includes a grease drain for easy cleanup and stainless-steel handles for efficient serving.

Specifications

  • Length of cooktop: 18.5 inches
  • Cooking area: 347 square inches
  • Burners: N/A
  • BTUs: N/A
  • Fuel type: N/A
  • Price on publish: $199

Pros:

  • Pre-seasoned
  • Grease drain
  • Stainless steel handles

Cons:

  • Nothing

The bottom line:

Pre-seasoned, versatile griddle top for Kamado Joe and other 18-inch round grills.

Best griddle combo: Masterbuilt Gravity Series 800 Digital Charcoal Grill, Griddle, and Smoker

Masterbuilt Gravity Series 800 Digital Charcoal Grill, Griddle, and Smoker

Gephart recommends the Masterbuilt Gravity Series 800 Digital Charcoal Grill, Griddle, and Smoker which has a griddle insert included out-of-the-box. It’s a great solution if you’re in the market for a combo outdoor cooking station. 

This isn’t the outdoor grill you grew up with though. It’s Wi-Fi-/Bluetooth-enabled, so you can control it via the Masterbuilt app which allows you to set and adjust the temperature, monitor the meat probes, and turn it off entirely.

The gravity feed charcoal hopper holds 10 hours (16 pounds) of lump or briquette charcoal while the digital fan directs air from the hopper to the cooking chamber to hold the cooking temperature steady. Includes foldaway racks that can be used as cooking or warming space.

Specifications

  • Length of cooktop: 30.5 inches
  • Cooking area: 800 square inches
  • Burners: 1
  • BTUs: N/A; hopper capacity: 10 hours or 16 pounds
  • Fuel type: Charcoal
  • Price on publish: $999.99

Pros:

  • Versatile
  • Digital display
  • Controllable via app over Wi-Fi and Bluetooth

Cons:

  • Some reviewers report issues with app connection

The bottom line:

Charcoal combination grill, griddle, and smoker with digital display and Wi-Fi connectivity.

How I selected the best outdoor griddles 

Expert recommendations

I talked with expert chefs and grill masters about their specific product and brand recommendations, as well as what to look for when selecting an outdoor griddle.

Online reviews

I read through dozens of online customer reviews and evaluations to ensure the products I selected garnered sufficient positive feedback from consumers.

Features and value

I weighed all of the product recommendations against criteria like price, features, ease of use, ease of cleaning, product availability, durability, and overall value to compile a list of the best griddles for a range of scenarios, cooking levels, and people.

What to consider when buying outdoor griddle

Features

Johnson says to purchase a griddle with a rolled steel top and stay away from anything with a non-stick coating. “The brand isn't all that important,” she says, “but the extra features you're getting might be.”

Some models have shelves under the griddle (very helpful) and shelves on the sides (even more helpful). “You also want to pick up some accessories like long spatulas, squeeze bottles, and some scrapers,” she adds.

Sturdiness

Parente says to make sure whichever griddle you buy feels sturdy. Griddles aren’t inexpensive so you want one that will last. Consider models from reputable brands like Weber and Blackstone. “Look for an outdoor griddle from a reputable name that has good ratings to make sure other people have been happy with it,” Parente advises.

Standalone or not?

If you’re not planning to use the griddle often or you’re mostly cooking for a small group, then getting a griddle that can be placed on top of your grill is a good idea, suggests Parente. “If you’re entertaining often or are cooking for a larger family, then a standalone unit is the way to go.” 

Griddle versus grill

“With a grill,” says Parente, “you cook over an open flame directly on the grates.”

A griddle, on the other hand, is a flat cooking surface that heats from underneath and consequently cooks food more evenly.

Both provide high heat to help get a good sear on your food, Parente says, and both can cook some of the same foods, but smaller items or liquids (like pancake batter) are better suited for griddles as they would fall through the grill grates. 

Tips for best tasting results from your outdoor griddle

“It’s all about versatility, heat management, and having fun,” says Gephart. One of the best things about griddles are the multiple cooking zones. If you have three knobs, you can have three zones. If you have four, you can create four zones.

“The idea,” Gephart says, “is to gradually taper the heat from one side of the griddle to the other.” Gephart prefers to make the right-side cooler (set the gas burner at about one-quarter open), increasing the level of heat as he progresses to the left. Creating these different and increasingly hot zones means you’ll know where to place a particular item to be cooked depending on if you want to sear or melt or speed up or slow down the cooking process, he explains. “This is a great way to sportify griddle cooking and know exactly what to expect from it.”

Johnson suggests cooking at a lower temperature than you think you should. And, she says, “Don't flip too early, as it takes time to build a crust.” Oh, and remember that butter and oil are your friends. Prepping before you cook is also important. “If you've cleaned your griddle properly, it won't need much, if any, pre-cook prep aside from letting it preheat,” Johnson says, “but prepping your ingredients is key.”

Johnson likes to do all of her chopping, measuring, and assembling of ingredients while the griddle preheats. Then, bring everything you need outside. “You do not want to have to leave the griddle to run and fetch things from the kitchen,” she explains, “and don't forget a plate or tray to put the finished food onto.”

For an optimal griddle experience Johnson recommends using long spatulas which will help protect your hands from the heat, as well as a pair of good grilling gloves. “When cooking at high temps or with things that spatter, your hands and arms will thank you.”

She also suggests a good dome for melting cheese and steaming vegetables. The brand isn't really important, but make sure it has a heat-resistant handle.

Also, when cleaning she suggests using the good blue shop towels as you'll have less paper towel dust on your griddle.

Green says that when using a griddle, make sure it's at the right temperature for the food you are cooking. Having the proper heat for the food you are cooking is essential, as this allows the natural protein sugars to caramelize.

“For instance,” he explains, “if the temperature is too low, the caramelization or crust doesn't develop; if it's too high, it burns.” Known as the Maillard reaction, caramelization occurs when the natural sugar in food converts to flavor through heat. A griddle allows you to create a distinct level of flavor and color because of this.

Whether using a stand-alone griddle, a compact travel griddle, or a griddle insert, you want to make sure the griddle is cleaned and pre-heated properly, Green says. “Always preheat a griddle for at least 10 to 15 minutes before cooking, and use a neutral oil like canola, vegetable, or olive oil before placing food on the cooktop.”

Frequently asked questions (FAQs) 

Is an outdoor griddle worth it?

Absolutely, according to all the experts I spoke to. Griddles open up a whole new range of outdoor cooking possibilities. 

What are the disadvantages of a griddle?

Gephart loves griddles for their simplicity and adaptability, saying that the only disadvantage he can come up with is that he wouldn’t necessarily deep fry with it. Though, it is possible. “Throw the intended purpose to the wind and let your imagination run wild,” he advises, “A griddle’s limitations are self-imposed.”

For instance, while your griddle is not a smoker, it’s possible to get creative with methodology and finish a large steak or roast with a dome-covered smoke sear, he tells me. “Whoever said don’t play with your food missed the boat and obviously never cooked with a griddle,” Gephart adds.

Does an outdoor griddle need to be vented?

If your outdoor griddle is directly underneath a ceiling of any sort, then yes, Gephart recommends venting it to keep safe from the smoke and heat. If you are in an open backyard setting, venting isn’t required. 

Is an outdoor griddle better than a grill?

Gephart says this depends on the cooking style you are wanting to achieve. “Griddles offer great versatility in terms of the types of foods you can make (burgers, breakfast, hibachi, etc.),” he explains, “while most charcoal grills will offer you more cooking styles for versatility (baking, roasting, searing, etc.).” 

How do you season a griddle?

“Do not season your griddle by cooking bacon on it,” says Gephart. This is because bacon contains salt and will not season as a plant-based oil would. It can also lead to pitting and chipping.

He recommends the following process to achieve the dark patina look that helps you cook like a pro. “This process creates a nonstick surface allowing your food to caramelize properly, thus imparting more flavor,” he explains, “It also helps create a rust-free environment that is crucial to the ease of the griddle lifestyle.”

First, clean the griddle with soapy water. Using a kitchen towel, spread a bit of flaxseed or olive oil across the entire cooking surface then, “crank the griddle up to high heat till it begins to smoke,” Gephart says, generally, about 10 minutes.

After the oil smokes, use a pair of tongs to hold the cloth and oil. Coat the surface again and bring it to the same smoking point. “There will be some discoloration on the cooking surface, but this is normal,” he says. Feel free to do a third layer if you like.

How do you clean an outdoor griddle?

Parente cleans his outdoor griddle similar to how he would a cast iron pan. “I scrape the surface clean and then season it with a thin layer of oil which helps to create a natural non-stick surface.”

Johnson cleans her griddle after cooking by “scraping it down after the food comes off, turning the heat down to low, and then pouring some water on it and wiping down with tongs and paper towels.”

Once the towels come away clean and all the water has evaporated, turn the heat off and wipe down with a very thin coat of oil.

Green adds that the best way to clean an outdoor griddle is always at the end of the cook. If you have a lot of residue he suggests spraying a little water on the cooktop to help loosen it. Use a metal scraper to push the residue off into the drip pan. “You'll also want to make sure the griddle top is cool and dry before closing the top or putting on a cover,” he says.

Description: Roundup of 11 the best outdoor griddles for a range of purposes and price ranges. Includes expert advice and tips, including how to season and clean.

The information presented here is created independently from the TIME editorial staff. To learn more, see our About page.

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