Grill Pan Construction

Almost all grill pans are made of clad aluminum, seasoned cast iron or enameled cast iron.  No one material is functionally superior to the others.  However, there are major differences between these materials that will be important to you.

Weight: Cast iron, whether seasoned or enameled, is extremely heavy compared to clad aluminum.  A 12 inch cast iron grill pan typically weighs ten pounds compared to one pound for an equivalently sized clad aluminum grill pan.   Some people physically cannot handle the weight of cast iron while others really like the feel of a heavy pan.

Heavy cast iron grill pan

Lodge Pro-Logic cast iron grill pan

Appearance: Properly seasoned cast iron is jet black and looks nostalgic.  Enameled cast iron grill pans come in many different colors and looks, for lack of a better phrase, French.  Aluminum looks sharp and sleek.  It can be clad in multiple finishes from matte to stainless.

A clad aluminum grill pan

Calphalon 13 inch round clad aluminum grill pan

Cost: The simplest grill pan to make is seasoned cast iron and as a result it is the least expensive option.  A 12 inch seasoned cast iron grill pan can usually be bought for $25 compared to $80 for its equivalent in clad aluminum or enamel.  Increased cost does not necessarily mean better performance in this case.

Cleaning: Clad aluminum is dishwasher safe.  It is not recommended to put enameled cast iron in a dishwasher but it can be done.  Warm soapy water is best for enameled cast iron.  Putting seasoned cast iron in the dishwasher is just about the worst thing you can do.  For that matter you really shouldn’t even use soapy water.

An enameled cast iron grill pan

Les Creuset enameled cast iron grill pan

These are all personal choices and there are no wrong ones.  Are you petite?  Is the rest of your cookware stainless?  Are you willing to properly care for seasoned cast iron?  If you still can’t make up your mind I have a little more in-depth information about aluminum, seasoned cast iron and enameled cast iron in some other posts.



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