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So you have gone out and bought a cast iron grill pan, and that’s an excellent choice for kitchen equipment. However, after using it, there’s a problem.
How exactly do you clean a grill pan?
The best method will partly depend on the material of the grill pan you just purchased. While a cast iron grill pan is undoubtedly the more traditional, you may have opted for a stainless steel grill pan or even a nonstick one.
But no matter which option you did indeed go for, there are several ways in which you will be able to get your griddle pan clean. However, be warned that this will not be what you expect. The concept of a ‘clean’ grill pan is different to what you would expect with other cookware in your home.
The Concept of Seasoning
Before heading into the discussion surrounding cleaning cast iron grill pans, you need to be aware of something very important about these pans, and that’s seasoning or curing.
Seasoning refers to the process of turning your grill pan into a nonstick one. That applies whether it’s made from cast iron or anything else.
With a griddle pan, you will get a build-up of burnt grease and food particles. It’s our immediate intention to scrub that off with very hot water and a variety of metal utensils, so we need to go against that idea.
But what do you do? It’s easy, and there are a few methods.
A Brief Guide on Seasoning Cast Iron Grill Pans
It is recommended to season your cast-iron grill pans 2-3 times a year, depending on how frequently it is used.
For new cast-iron grill pans, you can wash them first with warm soapy water. And after drying, rub some vegetable oil over the entire surface of the pan, including the handle. You can use any cooking oil for seasoning but the most commonly recommended is canola.
Place the pan on the oven rack face down with a foil below to catch any dripping oil. Heat it in the oven at 350° for an hour. Leave it to cool inside the oven.
Cleaning a Cast Iron Griddle Pan
Let’s start with the cast iron version, as it’s the more common type of griddle pan, and it’s often viewed as the best type. Here, you need a few simple tools and ingredients to carry out your after-cooking care on the pan.
Method: Water and Salt
The first method will be mixing water and salt. Now, the best is coarse kosher salt due to its larger flakes.
What you need to do is to take the kosher salt and add just a small amount of hot water. This doesn’t need to be boiling water either, as warm water works fine.
After adding the water, spread this mixture over the base of the cast iron griddle pan. You then want to have nylon scrubbers for scrubbing the salt mixture into the base of the grill pan. A nylon brush is ideal, as it’s tough and won’t damage the base of the pan.
Be aware you may need to add more salt if the stuck-on food is proving to be too difficult to come off. With this, rinse off the dirty water, then start the process all over again.
After cleaning your cast iron griddle pan, you have to get it ready the next time it needs to be used. You have to put a thin coating of oil over the pan, then put it on low heat for around 30 minutes.
Switch off the heat afterwards and allow the griddle pan to cool completely. Wipe away excess oil with a clean paper towel, and it’s all ready to store.
Cleaning a Nonstick Griddle Pan
So that’s how to clean a griddle pan made of cast iron, but what about the nonstick version? For this, we have a different approach that you need to take. After all, you don’t want to damage the nonstick layer.
Method: Baking Soda is Your Friend
This method is different from the one used for a cast iron grill pan, but it will be just as effective for your nonstick variety.
For this, there are several steps to follow.
Step 1: Remove Old Cooking Oil
The first step is to remove the old cooking oil or grease from the pan. Try to drain away as much as possible since that will make a huge difference to the result.
Use a paper towel to wipe away any excess as well.
Step 2: Employing the Aid of Baking Soda
Sprinkle some of the baking soda across the grill pan. Sprinkle some warm water onto the surface as well to activate it. Then, take your nylon brush and start to scrub. Remember, the nylon brush is to prevent scratching, so you shouldn’t have any problems.
As with your cast iron grill pan, don’t just try to scrub the pan if there are some stubborn items. Instead, rinse it and start again with more baking soda sprinkled onto the pan.
Finally, you need to take some measures to prevent rusting and general damage to the pan. As like before, add a thin layer of olive oil, but don’t heat it. Instead, rub it into the base, which is why you need to use just a few drops and then wipe away any excess. Let it dry, then store.
Cleaning a Stainless Steel Grill Pan
Moving onto another version, here we have a stainless steel grill pan. And this also calls for a different approach to those we have already covered.
Method: Dishwashing Liquid
For this type of grill pan, you are looking at making a mixture that will involve dish detergent and some warm water. Alternatively, you may want to use a non-abrasive soap as the key here is to not scratch the surface and damage it. That will then ruin your grill pan for good.
Step 1: Creating Your Mixture
You simply need to add some dish detergent to warm water and mix. Make sure you get some suds going to let you know that you have added enough. You don’t want this mixture to be too weak, or it won’t work as well as it could.
Step 2: Using a Cloth
With your stainless steel pan, don’t scrub it with anything too harsh. Instead, you need to wash the pan by using a microfibre cloth. That does mean you can apply some pressure while allowing the soap to work its magic and remove those food particles and grease.
A Key Tip
But here’s a key tip for getting your stainless steel grill pan nice and clean. Always wash it in the direction of the grill gates. Not only does this make life easier, but it also means you can avoid scratching the surface of your pan. By doing so, you won’t then ruin it for the next time you are cooking.
In the case of the stainless steel version, there’s no need to add some oil to the surface as part of your maintenance. Instead, make sure the pan is completely dry, and don’t leave soap on the surface either. That will leave streaks and will make the surface look rather messy.
Some Additional Tips for Cleaning
So that is how you successfully clean the three main types of grill pans, but how about some extra tips should you run into a few difficulties?
If you have grease that has been burnt and it’s not for coming off, then the key here is to use high heat, but only in an oven. You need to bake it off, and this is something that will take a couple of hours to do. However, it’s very effective and will loosen the grease, allowing you to scrape it off easily.
Of course, if you have a cast-iron pan, watch out as a cast iron grill pan will get super hot. Put your oven gloves on for safety.
Soaking Your Pan
Another method for those stubborn pieces is to soak your pan in warm soapy water. This must be done overnight for stubborn marks that continuous scrubbing cannot remove.
Overnight soaking will allow the soap to get to work, so apply a generous amount. Leave it in your sink with enough water to cover the pan. Remember to start with hot water, as that will kickstart the process and help the soap to work.
You need to scrub hard after either of these methods to get those remnants off. To make cleaning easier, you may need to add even more soap to the mix, but elbow grease will be the only surefire way of removing the marks.
Avoid the Dishwasher
Our final tip is to ensure that you avoid using the dishwasher. You may think that this appliance will make life easier for you, but there’s a high chance you will shorten the potential lifespan of your pan.
The fact is that most of these pans are not suitable for being washed this way. Cast iron, in particular, does not sit well with dishwashers, so avoid it at all costs. You will damage your pan in next to no time, so stick to washing it by hand. It may involve more labour and effort on your part, but it will be worth it.
With a stainless steel version, this is the most effective method for getting the surface of your grill pan clean.
A Pan Worthy of All the Effort
And that is how you successfully clean a griddle pan, and as you have just witnessed, it’s not the same as other pots or pans that you may own.
Just cleaning a griddle pan in the same way as anything else will ruin the best part of owning a griddle pan in the first place. Take your time, read over the instructions above, and then put them into action.
By the end, you will have a griddle pan that is well seasoned and delivers amazing food whenever you use it, and what isn’t there to like about that?