Griddles Vs. Frying Pans - What To Choose

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Cast iron skillet over a campfire

When planning to throw down your favorite comfort food for your family on a sunny Sunday, you need the right cooking equipment. This will play a massive role in how well your food turns out.

Your choice will impact the flavor of the food and how delicious it will be. To ensure that it is a success, you need the right equipment.

This leads to the question, which is better, between a camping griddle and frying pan (you’ll want to pack at least one of these to cook with on a weekend camping trip), and what is the difference? Many people, when faced with this decision, are confused on what to go for.

If this is you, then worry not! Below is a guide on camping griddle vs. frying pan, and the advantages and disadvantages.

Feature Frying Pan Griddle
Material Non-stick, Stainless Steel, etc. Cast Iron, Aluminum, etc.
Heat Distribution Varies Even
Best for Sautéing, Pan-frying Pancakes, Eggs, Bacon
Portability High Moderate to Low
Weight Lighter Heavier
Cleaning Easier Requires more care
Price Range $ - $$$ $$ - $$$

What Is A Griddle?

A griddle is a large cast-iron plate that is usually rectangular or square. It is a flat metallic cooking plate that is heated from underneath. The flat surface is generally great for granular foods such as rice or even liquid heavy ones such as fried eggs and pancakes.

You can cook almost anything on it unless it has overlapping ingredients, as it is quite shallow. The other great thing about camping griddles is that they can cook more than one food at a time. This means that you can make your food faster.

What Is A Griddle Pan Used For?

Griddles are usually great as they provide consistent heat across large cooking surfaces. They can be used for:

  • Frying bacon. This can be done on the smooth or rigid side to allow the grease to run down from the meat.

  • It can also be used to grill steaks, vegetables, pork chops, and even chicken. The raised edges on the griddle are ideal for the perfect char marks needed for meat and vegetables.

  • It can be used to toast paninis and even grilled ham.

  • It can also be used to cook breakfast foods such as eggs, hash browns, and pancakes.

  • You can also charbroil steaks and burgers on your camping griddle.

Pros And Cons Of A Griddle

Aspect Benefits Disadvantages
Usage Easy to use with a large surface area, ideal for beginners. -
Temperature Control Excellent temperature control, perfect for a variety of foods. -
Cleaning Comes with a drip tray for easier cleaning. -
Versatility Can cook almost anything, very versatile. -
Cost - Can be expensive, especially models with more features.
Food Handling - Foods may stick to the surface, requiring careful handling.

Benefits Of A Griddle.

There are many reasons why people use camping griddles. Below ARE some of them:

  • They Are Easy To Use.

One of the reasons why people love griddles is that they are effortless to use. With other cooking methods, you will need prior experience to use them, but with this one, it is relatively easy. An example of this is charcoal grilling, where you may need some time to master it well.

You cannot learn it in one trial. Griddles are easy to use, and since they have a large surface area, you will have enough space to cook different things. You will have enough space to flip your pancakes without any problems. It will leave enough room for making mistakes and correcting them.

This is where it is better than a frying pan, where you will have less space to flip things. You might even end up with your food falling onto the stove, which will not be great for you.

  • Temperature Control.

Another great advantage of having a griddle is that you can control its temperature well. This makes it perfect for foods that need an exact temperature to get ready. Therefore, you can set the temperature to the one the food requires to cook and ensure that its flavor is preserved. This feature makes it perfect for eggs, meat, and vegetables.

  • It Has A Drip Tray.

Most griddles come with a drip tray, which ensures that the spillage of grease is prevented. Therefore, this helps to reduce the time you will need to clean it, which will be great for you. No one wants to spend hours cleaning their griddle once the food is ready, while they could be enjoying the sizzling hot food already made.

  • You Can Cook Almost Everything.

As seen above, griddles are versatile, and you can cook just about anything on them. Whether it is breakfast foods (if you need help planning breakfast check out our article) or even lunch, you can use your camping griddle pan, and it will get the food ready in no time.

Disadvantages Of Griddles.

  • They Can Be Expensive.

Griddles can be quite pricey, especially is you buy those that have more complex features.

  • Foods also tend to stick easily onto the griddle, which can be tricky for you.

What Is A Frying Pan?

Stainless steel skillet on a camping stove

Known as a skillet in the US, they are otherwise known as frying pans by the English. They are usually more rounded and have deep edges that flare out to allow for more food. Frying pans typically do not have lids, and most of them will have pouring sprouts. The most common frying pans are made from cast iron. However, you will find others made from aluminum, copper, steel, and even ceramic.

Pros and Cons Of A Frying Pan

Aspect Benefits Disadvantages
Heat Retention Excellent heat retention and even heating. -
Versatility Good for high-heat cooking and can be used in oven or stove. -
Durability Extremely durable, can last for generations if properly cared for. -
Non-Stick Develops a natural non-stick surface over time with proper seasoning. -
Weight - Heavier than other types of pans, can be difficult to handle.
Maintenance - Requires regular seasoning and special cleaning to prevent rust.
Heat Up Time - Takes longer to heat up compared to other materials.

What Is A Frying Pan Used For?

Frying pans (like this one from Hexclad) can be used for a variety of cooking styles, such as pan-frying and sautéing. Below are some of the uses:

  • Pan fry chicken or pork chops to give them a crispy coating.

  • Pan smear steaks before adding them to the grill.

  • To saute onions and peppers to add flavor to the main dish.

  • Roast a chicken.

  • To broil casseroles before serving.

  • They can also be used to braise tough meats before putting them in a stew.

The high walls on the frying pans are useful when mixing ingredients, and also when you are cooking with liquids.

Benefits Of Frying Pans.

  • They Are Long Lasting.

Cast iron is one of the most durable materials in the market today. Therefore if you have a cast-iron frying pan, it will serve you for a long time. It will last longer than your griddles and other cooking equipment in the house if maintained well. This is also because it has a massive and robust frame.

  • They Are Usable In The Oven.

You can use cast iron in the stove, and even the oven. Amazing, right? It can be used in the oven at any temperature, which gives it an edge over other cooking equipment and makes it convenient. Through this, you can prepare meals in various ways, to add an edge to them.

  • They Are Non-Stick.

Cast iron frying pans are non-stick, which will be great for your food. You do not need to use harmful chemicals to make it non-stick, which ensures that the food you make is healthier for you and your family. Since they do not need these toxic chemicals, you will be able to decrease your likelihood of getting cancer, liver damage, and other serious problems.

Griddle Vs. Frying Pan.

There are fundamental differences that separate these two cooking equipment. The main one is that frying pans have a flat surface; hence they can be used for searing meats and shallow frying. On the other hand, griddles have a raised surface; hence, they are used for cooking meats and vegetables. They allow food to breathe while it is cooking, which helps increase its flavor profile.

Below are some of the things to consider when deciding between a griddle and a frying pan.

  • The Type Of Cooking That You Do.

If you are someone that cooks dense meals that require lots of liquids, you should choose a skillet. If you have lots of ingredients that need to be used in a deep one, then a frying pan is the way to go. If, on the other hand, you prefer grilling and you rarely need to stir anything, then a griddle is the best option for you.

  • Number Of People.

The number of people you will be cooking for will play a key role in whether you will choose a skillet or griddle. If you have a large crowd, then the latter is the best choice. However, if you only have a small group of people, then a frying pan will do.

  • Cooking Technique.

Griddles usually use a faster cooking technique such as toasting and flash frying while its counterpart uses slower methods such as roasting.

Choosing between a frying pan and a griddle can be quite daunting. It is something that confuses many people, but it is not without reason. They are similar in many ways, with no much difference. The things that will distinguish them will be the tasks you will use them for, and their shape. However, with the above factors, you will be able to decide which one suits you best. This will mainly depend on the type of food and how much time you will be spending to cook your meals.

If you want to learn more about frying pans and griddle pans,check out the pans at Hexclad.

And if you want to learn how to cook with a campfire, check out our campfire cooking guide.


  1. What are the main differences between a camping griddle and a frying pan?
    • Answer: Frying pans typically have a flat surface suitable for searing meats and shallow frying, while griddles have a raised surface ideal for cooking meats and vegetables, allowing food to breathe and enhancing flavor. Griddles are also larger, offering more cooking space.
  2. What are the best uses for a griddle when camping?
    • Answer: Griddles are versatile and can be used for frying bacon, grilling steaks, vegetables, pork chops, chicken, toasting paninis, and cooking breakfast foods like eggs, hash browns, and pancakes.
  3. Can a griddle be used for cooking a variety of foods, including breakfast items?
    • Answer: Yes, griddles are highly versatile and can be used to cook almost anything, including various breakfast items.
  4. What are the advantages of using a griddle over other cooking methods?
    • Answer: Griddles are easy to use, offer excellent temperature control, come with a drip tray for easier cleaning, and can cook multiple foods simultaneously due to their large surface area.
  5. Are there any disadvantages to using a griddle for camping?
    • Answer: The main disadvantages are that griddles can be expensive and foods may stick to the surface, requiring careful handling.
  6. What materials are commonly used for frying pans, and how do they affect cooking?
    • Answer: Frying pans are commonly made from materials like cast iron, aluminum, copper, steel, and ceramic. These materials affect heat retention, heating speed, and whether the pan can develop a non-stick surface.
  7. What are the benefits of using a frying pan for camping cooking?
    • Answer: Frying pans are durable, especially if made from cast iron, can be used in both stoves and ovens, and develop a natural non-stick surface over time with proper seasoning.
  8. Can frying pans be used for a wide range of cooking styles? If so, what are some examples?
    • Answer: Yes, frying pans are suitable for pan-frying, sautéing, roasting, broiling, and braising. They are great for pan-frying chicken or pork chops, sautéing onions and peppers, roasting chicken, and more.
  9. How does the choice between a griddle and a frying pan depend on the type of cooking and the number of people?
    • Answer: If cooking dense meals with lots of liquids or for a small group, a frying pan is preferable. For grilling or cooking for a large crowd, a griddle is more suitable due to its larger surface area.
  10. What should be considered when deciding between a griddle and a frying pan for camping trips?
    • Answer: Consider the type of meals you plan to cook, the number of people you’ll be cooking for, and your preferred cooking techniques. Also, factor in the equipment’s material, size, weight, and ease of cleaning.