Got yourself a shiny new electric griddle and wondering what you should do first? You may have heard that the first thing to do with a griddle is to properly season it. This is usually done so that food does not stick to the metal surface and that surface is protected from moisture that could cause rust to form. But that’s usually done with outdoor gas griddles.
So can you season an electric griddle? Well, yes and no.
You can and should season an electric griddle that has a plain carbon steel or cast iron griddle top. However, most electric griddles are equipped with tops made of other materials and they usually have a non-stick coating, such as Teflon or titanium ceramic, and you should not season these.
If you are interested in the details, read on.
Table of Contents
- Materials Used To Make Electric Griddle Tops
- Why Don’t You Need to Season a Non-stick Electric Griddle?
- How About Stainless Steel Griddles?
- How Do You Season an Electric Griddle?
- Wrapping Up
Materials Used To Make Electric Griddle Tops
Electric griddle tops come in a variety of materials. Some are made from carbon steel or cast iron, while others are made from stainless steel or aluminum.
Cast iron is the traditional cookware material. It’s been used for centuries and is known for its heat retention capabilities. It’s a great choice for searing steaks.
Cast iron however has no non-stick properties and most food will stick to the surface like glue. Furthermore, it’s very prone to rusting. To combat this, a seasoning layer has to be applied, which is done by coating the surface with a very thin layer of oil and then heating it. Some cookware comes with factory-applied seasoning, meaning you don’t have to do it yourself before your first cooking session.
The fact is that cast iron is almost never used for electric griddles.
Carbon steel is an alloy of iron and carbon just like cast iron. However, there is a lower amount of carbon in the alloy and there are also other elements added, such as nickel or chromium. Cold-rolled steel is the material used for Blackstone propane griddle tops and it can and should be seasoned.
Carbon steel without nonstick coating is a rare sight when it comes to electric griddles.
Stainless steel is again an alloy of iron that contains a fairly high percentage of chromium. It is non-reactive with food and won’t rust which is why it is so popular in modern cookware.
When it comes to griddles, bare stainless steel is mostly used in commercial settings. In the home, stainless steel griddles do exist but they usually have a nonstick surface of some kind, such as titanium ceramic or Teflon.
Aluminum is lightweight and cheap material. It’s a popular choice for electric griddles and pans because of its ability to transfer heat very quickly. The downside is that heat dissipates from the surface just as quickly, making it difficult to maintain a consistent temperature once you add food.
Plain aluminum is nowadays rarely used because it can leach into cooked food when heated to high temperatures. Instead, aluminum griddles and pans are pretty much always coated with a nonstick material of sorts.
Why Don’t You Need to Season a Non-stick Electric Griddle?
Seasoning a non-stick coated griddle is not required and is usually not recommended either.
These griddles, or any other non-stick cookware, are called non-stick because a thin layer of material is applied to the surface. This layer has a single main purpose and that is to prevent food from sticking to the surface (duh). One of the main reasons seasoning is applied to cookware is to prevent food from sticking as well.
So, if the griddle is already non-stick there’s no real reason to apply another non-stick layer of polymerized oil.
Besides, the Teflon or titanium-coated surface is not nearly as porous as cast iron or rolled steel. This means even if you tried to apply the traditional seasoning layer, it would not bind to the surface very well and would quickly start to peel off in large chunks which wouldn’t look all that great in your griddled food.
Also, Teflon is not supposed to be heated up to extreme temperatures as it will start to deteriorate and the emitting fumes can be nasty and lead to flu-like symptoms.
How About Stainless Steel Griddles?
Although stainless steel does not have as good non-stick properties as Teflon or titanium, it is still better than raw cast iron.
The (almost) permanent seasoning layer known from cast iron is almost impossible to apply to stainless steel cookware as it will usually quickly start flaking off.
Some people and even professional chefs still do like to apply seasoning to their stainless steel griddles and pans. I am not a fan though and feel like it is not worth it. As long as you use the proper technique (preheat griddle/pan, add oil, add food), food will not stick all that much. But that’s just me, your mileage may vary.
You may have read on other websites that seasoning a stainless steel pan/griddle/whatever, is absolutely vital. And then they describe how they apply oil for 30 seconds and are done with it. Well, that’s not the same seasoning as most people who season their cast iron or carbon steel cookware would understand it.
I recommend checking the following video if you think seasoning stainless steel is necessary:
How Do You Season an Electric Griddle?
If you’ve concluded that your griddle really is supposed to get seasoned, then the process is virtually no different from seasoning a regular propane griddle.
Here is what you need to do:
- Preheat the griddle to medium-high.
- Rub a light layer of suitable oil onto the surface with a paper towel. Make sure to cover the whole surface with a very thin layer of oil. There should be no oil pools anywhere on the griddle because those would ultimately turn into sticky spots.
- Turn up the heat so that the oil starts to smoke (it’s best done outdoors) and let it smoke off completely. This will take a couple of minutes.
- Repeat 3 or 4 times.
- Turn off the heat and let the griddle cool down completely.
You can read more about the seasoning process in the following article:
So, whether or not you can or should apply seasoning to your electric griddle depends on the material it is made of.
As for Blackstone electric griddles, you don’t need to season them as they are titanium-ceramic coated.
Anyway, you should always check what the manufacturer says about this and follow their instructions.
What happens if you don't season a griddle?
That depends on the material the griddle top is made of and whether it has any kind of nonstick coating. Cooking on an unseasoned griddle without a nonstick coating may result in the food sticking to the griddle.
Can you season a griddle wrong?
Yes, you can season a griddle wrong but it’s not a big deal because the seasoning is removable. The number one mistake is using too much oil at once which results in sticky seasoning.