In the early 2000s, my parents decided to build a cabin in northern Minnesota so our family could get away from the city and spend uninterrupted time together on summer weekends. But while the cabin was being finished, it lacked a functioning kitchen for many years. How did she make three meals a day for a family of six without a stove, oven, or supernatural abilities? She relied heavily on electric griddles to make buttermilk pancakes with bacon and eggs, paninis and grilled cheese sandwiches, and even grilled fish and vegetables.
To me, nothing was more exciting than watching my mom work in her half furnace room/half kitchen that was the size of a medium walk-in closet. I loved breathing in the smell of whatever she was cooking and hearing the gentle sizzle from the small griddle. Even now that we’ve had a full-size kitchen (stove and oven included) installed in our cabin for a few years, she still prefers to use the griddle to “extend” her stovetop and cook more food at once.
Cooking for at least six people requires an extra-large nonstick griddle. The electric griddle by Black + Decker features 200 square inches to hold about eight servings of food at a time. And if she somehow needs more space (which has happened several times), she transfers cooked food into the built-in warming tray to keep it hot while she finishes the rest of the meal on the griddle. The nonstick coating allows my mom to slide food off the griddle without the need for scrubbing even after frying several slabs of bacon, and the drip tray makes grease disposal easy.
To buy: $40; amazon.com.
With a 4.6-star average rating and over 1,700 rave reviews (along with the stamp of approval from my mother), this electric griddle gets high praise from Amazon shoppers for its warming tray, even heat distribution, and nonstick surface.
“This is our second one. We loved the first one so much we wore it out after a couple years,” one happy shopper wrote. “We have our grandkids before school in the mornings so we make some bacon in advance and put it in the warming tray. They come in and grab a piece right away since the warming tray never gets hot to touch. Well done!”
Another reviewer wrote, “Best electric cooking grill I've ever had. Cooks evenly, especially when you cook a full pound of bacon and is easy to clean.”
You can score the top-rated electric griddle hundreds of Amazon shoppers—and more importantly, my mom—love for just $40.