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We cooked zucchini, grilled cheese, pork chops, and hamburgers on these grill pans to find the best of the best
If you want to enjoy your favorite grilled foods all year-round, a grill pan is a must-have in your kitchen. These handy pieces of cookware have a unique ridged design that gives you similar results to grill cooking, but they can be used right on your stove.
“Grill pans are a favorite in my kitchen due to their ability to replicate the charred, smoky flavor of outdoor grilling,” explains food blogger Yaz Pernell of By The Forkful. “I love using mine to grill asparagus for a smoky touch or even pineapple slices for a caramelized dessert.”
Cast iron grill pans perform the best in terms of heat retention and putting a beautiful char on your food, and we prefer square grill pans, which offer a bit more capacity than round models. Other factors to consider when shopping for a grill pan include its size — you’ll want to match it to your stove burner for best results. To help you narrow down your choices, we tested 20 of today’s top-rated grill pans, evaluating them on their design, ease of use, performance, and more.
The following are the best grill pans we tested.
Best Overall: Lodge Seasoned Cast Iron Square Grill Pan
The pan created well-defined grill marks on a variety of different foods.
The pan has sloped walls, which make it easy to flip food.
The small extra handle at the front of the pan makes it much more comfortable to lift.
The inner ridges could be slightly taller to help keep food out of moisture in the bottom of the pan.
The Lodge Cast Iron Grill Pan may be affordable, but don’t let its low price fool you — this cast iron pan is an absolute workhouse in the kitchen, and it’s the perfect choice for experienced home cooks, beginners, and everyone in between. The brand is known for its high-quality (yet affordable) cast iron cookware, and this grill pan lived up to the hype. It has a beautiful, smooth seasoning right out of the box, and we loved its dual-handle design, which makes it much more comfortable to move on and off the stove.
This grill pan has a 10.5-inch interior, and in testing, we found that it’s spacious enough to hold five zucchini planks at a time. Because the sides of the pan slope outward, it’s easy to flip food, and nothing we made stuck to the pan’s pre-seasoned finish. Plus, all the food we cooked in this pan — including grilled cheese, pork chops, and hamburgers—came out with beautiful char marks, just like you’d get on a real grill.
The Lodge Grill Pan also bested many of its competitors in terms of heat distribution and retention, providing an even temperature across most of the cooking surface. Its inner ridges are high enough to keep food out of any liquid that may gather in the bottom of the pan, but if we had to nitpick, the grate could be a teeny bit higher for even more defined char marks. It’s a minor complaint, though — overall, we think anyone will be pleased with the performance of this grill pan, especially at such a reasonable price point.
Price at time of publish: $21.90 (orig. $35.95)
Dimensions: 17.25 x 10.5 x 2.62 inches | Shape: Square | Weight: 6.5 pounds | Material: Cast iron
Best Overall, Runner-Up: Le Creuset Square Skillet Grill Pan
The pan heats very evenly, leaving precise and consistent grill marks on all foods.
It’s easy to pour off liquid as needed thanks to the spouts on both sides of the grill pan.
This pan has a sleeker and more compact design than many of its competitors, making it well-suited for smaller kitchens.
When cooking high-fat foods, the pan’s ridges aren’t quite high enough to keep food out of the liquid.
If you’re willing to spend a little more on a heritage-quality grill pan, this model from Le Creuset will make a versatile addition to your cookware collection. It’s made from the French brand’s signature enamel-coated cast iron, and it comes in a range of vibrant colors to brighten up your kitchen. Compared to other grill pans we tested, the Le Creuset pan is sleeker and more compact — without compromising cooking space — and we think it’s well-suited for smaller kitchens where storage space is at a premium.
In addition to being good-looking, this grill pan performed extremely well in all of our tests. It heats up evenly, resulting in consistent char marks, even when foods are placed toward the sides of the pan. The 10.5-inch interior can easily hold five zucchini planks, and there’s still plenty of space to flip ingredients comfortably. The enameled surface is nonstick and a breeze to clean, as you don’t have to worry about seasoning it, but we did notice that the ridge’s aren’t quite high enough to keep fatty foods from sitting in their own juices. The good news, however, is that there are pour spouts on both sides of the pan, making it easy to get rid of excess liquid while cooking.
Price at time of publish: $169.95 (orig. $215)
Dimensions: 13.9 x 15.1 x 2.6 inches | Shape: Square | Weight: 7 pounds | Material: Enameled cast iron
Best Budget: Cuisinart Chef's Classic 9.25-Inch Square Grill Pan
The ridges in this pan are closer together, which helps to keep food out of the grease or liquid below it.
The pan created defined char marks on most of the foods we cooked.
The pan’s enameled surface is easy to clean, even when food gets stuck to the surface.
Because the cooking surface is on the smaller side, the pan doesn’t hold as much, and it can be a bit tricky to flip foods.
There’s no handle on the front of the pan, which can make it unwieldy to move.
The Cuisinart Enameled Grill Pan delivers the most bang for your buck — its performance was consistent during testing, and it’s easier to clean than many other cast iron pans thanks to its enamel-coated surface. It is on the smaller side, with a 9.25-inch interior, but we loved that its ridges are closer together than many other pans, which helped to allow liquid to evaporate and keep food from sitting in its own juices.
This budget-friendly grill pan was able to fit five zucchini planks, but just barely — it was a tight squeeze, which made it harder to flip the veggies. Still, most of the food we cooked came out well-done with defined grill marks. The only exception was the hamburgers, which cooked quicker than expected and ended up with a more even char across their surface. The pan can be slightly unwieldy to move on and off the burner, as the handle is slippery and there’s nowhere to grip the front of the pan, but overall, it’s a solid low-cost option for any kitchen.
Price at time of publish: $29.95
Dimensions: 14.57 x 9.45 x 1.22 inches | Shape: Square | Weight: 6.5 pounds | Material: Enameled cast iron
Best With Handles: Victoria Cast Iron Square Grill Pan
This pan is comfortable and ergonomic to move thanks to its light weight and dual handles.
The interior of the pan is easy to clean thanks to its more rounded edges.
The pan had a slightly sticky film on it when first removed from the package.
The pan isn’t as spacious as other models, which makes it a bit more challenging to flip food.
The Victoria Cast Iron Grill Pan is another budget-friendly pick, and it stands out from the crowd due to its light weight and comfortable handles. It has two small handles on each side, and we found that it’s extremely easy and ergonomic to move around — not to mention that it takes up less space in storage. However, this also means that the pan is smaller in terms of capacity. The interior is 8 inches in width, so we could only fit four zucchini slices in the pan. It was also tricky to flip food over, and we needed to use tongs instead of a spatula.
This grill pan was fairly average in terms of its cooking performance. The grilled cheese and pork chops cooked well and had nice char marks and coloring, but the zucchini ended up with inconsistent grill lines because there wasn’t enough space for the moisture to evaporate. It may take a little trial and error to get the best results from this pan, but it’s a worthwhile contender if you’re shopping on a budget and want a lightweight pan that’s easy to move around.
Price at time of publish: $23.28 (orig. $29.99)
Dimensions: 13 x 10.15 x 1.5 inches | Shape: Square | Weight: 4.97 pounds | Material: Cast iron
Best Enameled: Staub Enameled Cast Iron Grill Pan
Taller-than-average ridges result in fast evaporation and quick caramelization during searing.
This pan is more spacious than others, and we were able to cook more food at once without compromising cooking results.
The enameled interior prevents sticking and doesn’t require any seasoning.
The pan is fairly heavy and has a short handle.
The texture of the grates makes them more challenging to clean.
If you want the superior heat retention of cast iron without the time-consuming care, the Staub Enameled Cast Iron Grill Pan provides the best of both worlds. It’s made from durable cast iron, but it has an enamel coating on the inside of the pan, which helps prevent food from sticking without any seasoning required. We love that this pan is more spacious than many others we tested — it easily held six zucchini spears — and it also has tall ridges that help to quickly caramelize food for beautiful, defined sear marks.
The brand claims that this pan has a rough enamel interior for better browning, and while it did produce nice char marks on a variety of foods, the texture also made the pan a bit challenging to clean. We also didn’t love that design of the handle — because it’s so short, it makes the heavy pan hard to move, and the little handle on the front doesn’t provide enough area to comfortably grab with a pot holder. Still, if you’re looking for an enameled cast iron grill pan that’s big enough to cook for several people, this one from Staub will likely last for many years.
Price at time of publish: $190
Dimensions: 10 x 1.75 inches | Shape: Square | Weight: 7.3 pounds | Material: Enamel-coated cast iron
Best Design: Finex 10-Inch Cast Iron Grill Pan
This pan created consistent, well-defined grill marks on all the foods we tested.
The angled walls of the pan make it easy to move food around, and the corners allow you to easily pour off liquid, if needed.
The pan comes pre-seasoned, and it had a smooth surface that prevented food from sticking.
The stainless steel handle is too short to comfortably hold and still gets hot while cooking.
The Finex Cast Iron Grill Pan has an unconventional design with several features that make it easier to use in the kitchen. Its stainless steel handle actually sticks off one of the corners of the pan, and it has several corners where you can easily pour off liquid. We found that the pan’s angled walls make it easy to move food around, as well. However, we didn’t love the stainless steel handle — while the concept was nice, it was simply too short to comfortably hold and still got hot while we were cooking.
The good news is that this pan still delivers when it comes to cooking your favorite grilled foods. It left consistent, well-defined grill marks on all the meals we cooked, and its ridges do a superior job keeping food out of the moisture below. None of the food stuck to the pre-seasoned cast iron surface, and we found it was easy to wipe any residue out of the pan after we finished cooking.
Price at time of publish: $200
Dimensions: 11 x 3 inches | Shape: Square | Weight: 5.8 pounds | Material: Cast iron
Best Investment: Smithey Ironware Co. No. 12 Grill Pan
The cast iron has a beautiful seasoning that prevented the food we cooked from sticking.
The sides are higher than average, providing more leverage for flipping foods.
This grill pan has two small side handles, so it takes up less space in storage than many other models.
The heat distribution in this pan isn’t always even, occasionally resulting in uneven grill marks.
If you’re willing to spend a little more on a cast iron pan that will stand the test of time, the Smithey No. 12 Grill Pan won’t disappoint. This high-end cast iron pan comes with a beautiful seasoning that makes it easy to use — we didn’t have a problem with any food sticking during testing, and the pan was a breeze to clean and re-oil after use. We also loved the pan’s 2-inch walls, which are higher than many other models and provide better leverage when it’s time to flip burgers or other food.
This grill pan forgoes a classic long handle and opts for two small side handles instead. This makes it easy to lift on and off your stove, and it will also take up less space in storage — a win-win. During testing, we used it to cook grilled cheese, zucchini, hamburgers, and more, and while it created nice char marks on most of the food, we did notice that the heat could sometimes be a little uneven. For instance, with the hamburgers, there was a nice sear on one half of the burger but less browning on the other half.
Price at time of publish: $220
Dimensions: 15 x 12 x 2 inches | Shape: Square | Weight: 10.8 pounds | Material: Cast iron
Other Grill Pans We Tried
Lodge Chef Collection Seasoned Reversible Grill/Griddle: If you have a stove with a long, oval-shaped burner, this $50 reversible grill pan may be a good option for you. Its extra-large size makes it easy to cook a variety of food at once, and during testing, it produced beautiful char marks with minimal sticking. Plus, you can flip the pan over and use the flat griddle side for cooking pancakes, veggies, and more. However, if you have a standard stovetop with round burners, you’re better off with a standard grill pan that will fit on top of an individual heating element.
OXO Non-Stick 11-Inch Grill Pan: Unlike the other grill pans we recommend, this $50 model is made from hard-anodized aluminum with a nonstick coating. It’s very lightweight, and its handle actually stays cool to the touch while you’re cooking — unlike most cast iron pans. Despite having very short ridges, this pan did create grill marks on foods like grilled cheese and zucchini, but it’s not a great option if you want to cook fatty pieces of meat, as they’ll end up sitting in their own juices.
Things to Consider Before Buying a Grill Pan
You can find grill pans that are made from a variety of materials, but cast iron grill pans will ultimately deliver the best results. “Cast iron is my go-to material for grill pans because of its superior heat retention and even distribution,” says Pernell. Cast iron grill pans typically deliver the most defined char marks on your food, and most are oven-friendly, as well.
If you don’t want the hassle of caring for a traditional cast iron pan, you may want to look for an enamel-coated model like the Le Creuset Signature Cast Iron Grill Pan or Staub Enameled Cast Iron Grill Pan. These pans have a smooth, nonstick enamel finish that makes them much easier to clean and maintain, yet they still deliver the superior heat retention of cast iron.
Size and Shape
Grill pans are available in both square and round forms, and in our testing, we found that square options generally fit more food. “Ten to 12-inch pans work best because surface area is important in a grill pan,” explains chef David Figueroa, co-founder of Melinda's Hot Sauce. “Overcrowding a pan leads to steaming and not searing, and that isn't what you want.”
It’s also important to select a pan that will fit fully on your stove’s burner. If the sides overhang, the pan may not heat up evenly, making it more challenging to cook.
Finally, you’ll want to consider the height of the pan’s walls. The higher the walls, the easier it will be to flip over large pieces of meat. High walls also help to minimize grease splatter while you cook.
Cast iron grill pans can be quite hefty, weighing up to 10 pounds, so it’s important to find one with well-designed handles that make it easy to move on and off the burner. Some designs, such as the Lodge Grill Pan, have a long pan handle and a smaller loop handle on the front, providing multiple ways to pick up the cookware. Alternatively, designs like the Victoria Cast Iron Grill Pan have two loop-style handles, which often makes them lighter in weight and more compact to store.
How We Tested
To find the best grill pans out there today, we put 20 different models to the test, cooking with them for a total of 28 hours. We made four different dishes with each grill pan — grilled cheese, roasted zucchini, pork chops, and hamburgers — and we also made pancakes on any models that doubled as a griddle. As we cooked with each pan, we looked at factors like their ergonomics, heat distribution, heat retention, performance, and ease of cleaning, evaluating how well they cooked different types of food.
After all the testing was complete, we scored each product on its design, ease of use, performance, and ease of cleaning. This data was then used to rank the products, and the top scorer was the Lodge Cast Iron Square Grill Pan, which earned a perfect 5 out of 5. It was closely followed by the Le Creuset Signature Cast Iron Grill Pan, which followed close behind.
Frequently Asked Questions
What material is best for a grill pan?
Most chefs agree that cast iron is the best material for a grill pan. “A good grill pan needs to get really hot, so I like cast iron and carbon steel,” recommends Chef Figueroa. This material offers superior heat distribution and retention over stainless steel and aluminum, and most cast iron cookware will last for a lifetime if it’s cared for properly.
How do I choose a grill pan?
There are a few key decisions you need to make as you search for the best grill pan. First, you’ll need to decide if you want a cast iron or enameled pan — or potentially another material, depending on your needs. From there, you’ll want to measure your stove burners to find the best pan size, and decide whether you want a square or round model. In general, we recommend a square pan, which can fit a bit more food than a circular one. Once you’ve decided on these key elements, it’s just a matter of finding a pan that fits your budget!
How much should I spend on a grill pan?
Grill pans can range in price from $20 to $200 or more. Our top pick, the Lodge Cast Iron Square Grill Pan, is actually surprisingly affordable, typically retailing for around $40, and it’s a great choice for most households.
However, if you plan to use your grill pan frequently, you may want to spend a little more on a heavy-duty model. “A grill pan is an heirloom, so don’t skimp,” says Chef Figueroa. “Spend the $150 to $200. It’s a long-term investment that will pay huge dividends.”
Why Trust PEOPLE?
Camryn Rabideau is a freelance writer and product tester who specializes in home products, and she’s previously tested several grill pans herself, including the Cuisinart Enameled Square Grill Pan. While writing this article, she pulled insights from the PEOPLE Tested team’s firsthand testing notes, and she also spoke with two experts — food blogger Yaz Pernell of By The Forkful and chef David Figueroa, co-founder of Melinda's Hot Sauce — for insights on selecting a grill pan and how to best use them in your kitchen.
What Is People Tested?
We created the PEOPLE Tested seal of approval to help you find the very best products for your life. We use our unique methodology to test products in three labs across the country and with our network of home testers to determine their effectiveness, durability, ease of use, and so much more. Based on the results, we rate and recommend products so you can find the right one for your needs.
But we don’t stop there: We also regularly re-review the categories in which we’ve awarded the PEOPLE Tested seal of approval — because the best product of today might not be the best of tomorrow. And by the way, companies can never buy our recommendation: Their products must earn it, fair and square.
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