If you’ve never used a plancha, you might be wondering what exactly differentiates it from a flat-top grill or griddle. With long and flat builds, the two look similar and can be used to cook many of the same foods—pancakes, bacon, burgers, you name it—so it’s natural to assume they’re identical cookware pieces. However, the difference is in the make and heat distribution.
Flat-top grills or griddles are typically made with a ceramic nonstick surface similar to a nonstick saucepan. Planchas are often made from cast-iron, allowing for a higher concentration of heat. When cooking on a flat-top grill or griddle, it’s likely that you’ll need to move around the item you’re cooking to find the hottest spot to get the best sear—think about when you’ve sat at the counter at a diner and watched the cooks flip the pancakes. That’s because the just-used spot on the surface needs time to recover in order to reach its peak heat again. With the plancha, the temperature remains consistent over the entire heat source. Simply put: When used on a stove, the spot right over the burner is hottest, whereas on a grill, where the heat is equally distributed, the entire surface of the plancha will be equally hot.
Thanks to that equal heat distribution, you’re able to maintain a consistent heat level that makes for a perfect sear on anything you’re cooking, whether it’s a steak, fish, or hash browns. If you’ve been thinking about trying your hand at grilling a la plancha, or are already a seasoned plancha fan but are looking for a new one, the Staub Cast-Iron Double Burner Griddle & Plancha is a favorite among our Food52 community.
This multi-talented cast-iron griddle from the French cookware experts at Staub is designed for getting that A+ sear every time. It’s an everyday workhorse that can go from the stovetop, to the oven, to your grill. Cleaning is easy, too. Just wash it with a little hot water and a good scrub.
The best part? This cookware staple is on sale right now, so strike while the iron (or plancha) is hot.