Plancha vs griddle vs teppanyaki: differences & 7 griddles reviewed

by Joost Nusselder | Updated:  May 8, 2022

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Grilling is a process of cooking food using a significant amount of direct dry heat that is usually situated below or above your food.

There are many methods of grilling; these include grid ironing, stove-top pan grilling, charbroiling, overhead grilling, two-sided grilling, whole grilling, and flattop grilling.

In this article, I’d like to talk to you about flattop grilling, as it is very popular in both Japan and Spain and is becoming increasingly popular in America as well.

Plancha vs griddle vs teppanyaki: differences & 7 griddles reviewed

There are different types of flat-top grills, and the three most popular ones are the griddle, the teppanyaki, and the Plancha.

The Plancha is a Spanish word that means “plate”. It is a flat-top grill that is usually made out of cast iron.

The Plancha has many similarities to griddles and teppanyaki-style grills.

The enameled Staub Cast Iron plancha griddle is an authentic Spanish double burner plate with shallow sides to prevent the juices from spilling out while you cook. It doesn’t require regular seasoning so you can start grilling right away.

Because of the higher backdrop, this style of flat iron grill is also found a lot in diners around America and is what the Japanese took into their cuisine.

The plancha grills are just a little bit different from the teppanyaki style ones that I mostly use though but I’ll explain that below.

Check out the top products in each category and read detailed reviews below.

Best plancha, griddle, and teppanyaki Images
Best overall plancha grill: Staub Cast Iron Double Burner Griddle

 

Staub Cast Iron 18.5 x 9.8-inch Plancha

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Best budget steel plancha: VEVOR Stainless Steel Plancha

 

VEVOR Stainless Steel Griddle

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Best large & portable plancha: Lavo Home Folding Portable Plancha

 

Lavo Folding Portable Two Burner Cast Iron

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Best small & best gas plancha: Campingaz Gas Plancha

 

Campingaz Gas Plancha L

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Best for griddle for Weber grill: Weber 6465 Plancha Grill

 

Weber 6465 Plancha Grill

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Best electric griddle: AEWHALE Electric griddle

 

AEWHALE Electric griddle nonstick

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Best teppanyaki grill: Zojirushi EA-DCC10 Gourmet Sizzler

 

Zojirushi EA-DCC10 Gourmet Sizzler Electric Griddle

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Plancha vs griddle vs teppanyaki grill

Plancha

If you want a true Spanish plancha, you must buy one that has raised sides.

A traditional plancha grill is a flat griddle with raised sides and it looks like a serving tray that is placed over a heat source or on the grill.

These are basically metal plates with raised edges that you place over your fire or grill. You can use a plate on top of a charcoal grill, gas grill, and stovetops.

The flat-top grill has two handles on either side and it is meant to be placed directly on the table or countertop for cooking.

Planchas can be used both indoors and outdoors. They can get very hot (up to approximately 750 F).

A griddle plancha is generally made out of thick gauge steel or cast iron and it has a smooth surface.

A plancha is designed for intensive cooking on extremely high heat. The smooth plate is good at searing food and all kinds of grilling methods.

American griddle

A griddle is a flat plate that is used for cooking food. It can be made out of various materials such as cast iron, steel, aluminum or stone. Griddles are available in different sizes and shapes.

They can be either circular or rectangular. Some griddles have raised sides while others do not. Griddles can be used on both stovetops and grill tops.

They can be used to cook various food items such as pancakes, eggs, bacon, sausage, hamburgers, steak, and fish.

Teppanyaki

Teppanyaki is a type of Japanese cuisine that uses an iron griddle to cook food. Teppanyaki can be cooked with various meats, seafood, and vegetables.

It is a popular dish in Japan and is often served at hibachi restaurants. Teppanyaki is also known as hibachi grill or table grill.

There are three main types of grills that are used in teppanyaki cooking:

  1. flat top grill
  2. raised edge grill
  3. trough grill

Flat top grills are the most common type of grill used in teppanyaki cooking. They are typically made out of steel or cast iron and have a smooth surface.

Raised edge grills have a lip that goes around the perimeter of the grill. This lip is used to catch any food that falls off of the grill.

Trough grills have a trough or channel in the center of the grill. This trough is used to collect any juices that drip off of the food while it is cooking.

Buying guide

Type

These days the term “plancha” is also used to describe freestanding grills that run on gas or electricity.

Griddles can be simple cast iron plates you put on the grill or they can be electric or gas-powered.

Teppanyaki grills are generally electric hot plates with a grill top. In some restaurants, they use large gas teppanyaki grills to cook more food at once.

Size

A plancha is usually big enough to fit two or more people’s worth of food. They can be as small as 12 inches by 18 inches (30 by 45 cm) or as large as 36 inches by 60 inches (91 by 152 cm).

I recommend getting a plancha that fits over two burners because this ensures it can reach the extremely high temperatures you need for authentic plancha-style cooking.

Griddles come in all shapes and sizes. The most common sizes are 10 inches by 18 inches (25 by 45 cm), 12 inches by 24 inches (30 by 60 cm), and 16 inches by 32 inches (40 by 80 cm).

Teppanyaki grills can be as small as 12 inches by 12 inches (30 by 30 cm) or as large as 48 inches by 24 inches (120 by 60 cm).

Material

A traditional Spanish plancha is made out of thick gauge steel or cast iron. These days you can also find them made out of aluminum, copper, or even stone.

Griddles can be made out of various materials such as cast iron, steel, aluminum, or stone. The material you choose will affect how evenly the heat distributes and how well the food cooks.

Cast iron is a popular choice because it heats evenly and retains heat well. However, it can be tricky to clean and is susceptible to rusting.

Steel griddles are less likely to rust but they don’t retain heat as well as cast iron. Aluminum griddles are lightweight and conduct heat well but they can warp over time.

Stone griddles are made out of either granite or lava rock. They distribute heat evenly and retain heat well but they can be heavy and difficult to clean.

Teppanyaki grills are typically made out of aluminum, steel, or some cases cast iron. Electric teppanyaki grills have a non-stick coating so your food doesn’t stick to the grill.

Removable drip tray

A plancha usually doesn’t come with a drip tray because the juices from the food just fall off to the side or they remain on the tray.

Electric or gas planchas may have drip trays to collect fat drippings and grease.

Griddles typically come with a removable drip tray that catches any grease or juices that drip off of the food. This makes them easy to clean.

Some teppanyaki grills come with a drip tray but others don’t. If your teppanyaki grill doesn’t have a drip tray, you can put a cookie sheet or aluminum foil underneath it to catch any drippings.

Temperature control

A traditional plancha is placed over an open flame so you can’t control the temperature. This is one of the reasons why it’s important to choose a material that conducts heat well and retains heat.

Nowadays, many planchas come with temperature control so you can adjust the heat to your liking. If you’re using an electric or gas plancha, I recommend getting one with temperature control.

Griddles usually have some type of temperature control whether it’s a knob on the side of the griddle or an electric cord that plugs into an outlet. This allows you to adjust the heat to your liking.

Teppanyaki grills typically have temperature control so you can adjust the heat. If you’re using an electric teppanyaki grill, I recommend getting one with temperature control.

Best products reviewed

While I love a good Japanese-style dish, I have a lot of friends who insist a plancha grill is way better, so I decided to look into it.

And there are a lot of top choices when it comes to planchas.

If you’d like to learn more about Teppanyaki, read my post on the top Teppanyaki grills here that I wrote a while back.

Now that you have some idea of what a plancha grill is and how it works, it is time to find out what are the best brands of planchas that are available in the market today.

I’m comparing the top plancha grills with the best flat top griddle and best teppanyaki grill.

If you’re cooking requirements will include very high temperatures and fast cook times, then the plancha is the perfect kitchen tool for you.

Best overall plancha grill: Staub Cast Iron Double Burner Griddle

Staub Cast Iron 18.5 x 9.8-inch Plancha

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  • type: cooktop/grill top/open flame plate
  • size: 18.5″ x 9.8 “
  • material: cast iron
  • removable drip tray: no

An authentic Spanish plancha grill can get very hot (up to 750 F) and that’s the secret to cooking the perfect plancha food.

This Staub plancha griddle is made of cast iron which makes it durable and also ensures even heat distribution.

The large dimensions (18.5 x 9.8 inches) of this double burner griddle make it ideal for cooking for a large family or for entertaining guests. The fact that it has dual handles also makes it easier to maneuver.

The smooth surface of this grill is ideal for cooking delicate fish, vegetables, and fruits. And the ridged side can be used for searing meat and poultry.

Since it’s made of an enameled cast iron material, it doesn’t require seasoning so once it’s heated, you’re ready to start grilling.

This grill does not come with a drip tray to collect any excess grease. But since the juices from the food just fall off to the side, it’s not a big issue.

The only downside of this grill is that it doesn’t have temperature control. But if you’re used to cooking with an open flame, then you shouldn’t have any problems adjusting the heat to your liking.

This Staub plancha grill can also be used on induction cooktops as well as electrics and gas stovetops because it fits over 2 burners easily.

I prefer to use it for outdoor cooking though because I can get my grill super hot and then add the plancha on the grates.

This way I get that perfect smoky flavor. Plus since it’s made of cast iron, this plancha ensures even browning of the food.

Some users found that the plancha isn’t completely flat so it can move around the stovetop a bit while you’re grilling.

After cooking, it’s best to use some salt and water to clean the plate with a non-abrasive sponge.

People often compare this cast-iron Staub plancha to similar aluminum griddles with a Teflon coating.

There’s really no comparing the two because this cast iron plate lasts a lifetime whereas a Teflon-coated aluminum plate begins to erode and chip after a couple of uses – it just can’t handle the high heat as well.

Finally, when cooking with this plate, your food develops a nice brown caramelized crust, and the meat sears perfectly.

Check the latest prices here

Best budget steel plancha: VEVOR Stainless Steel Plancha

VEVOR Stainless Steel Griddle

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  • type: cooktop/grill top/open flame plate
  • size: 23″ x 16 “
  • material: stainless steel
  • removable drip tray: it has a drip hole

As you know, traditional planchas are made of stainless steel and this VEVOR product is a very good value purchase.

This plancha is larger than the Staub so you can cook for more people. It’s better suited for larger families or restaurants.

The good thing is that it’s much more affordable than most steel plates and distributes the heat quite evenly so you can cook delicate items without any problems.

You can use it with any type of cooker, including stovetops and grills (except induction).

The VEVOR plancha is also suitable for use with charcoal grills so you can get it really hot. You can also add it to your gas grill so it’s very versatile.

This griddle doesn’t get sticky so you don’t have to worry about BBQ sticking to the hot plate.

The reason why I really like this plancha is that it has a drip hole. This allows the food debris, excess oil, and fat drippings to go into a tank or drip tray.

The oil drip port is capable of draining waste oil without fail.

Some people found that this grill doesn’t retain heat as well as they’d like. But I think that’s normal for any steel grill. Also, there can be some warping if you use it over an open flame.

As with the Staub plancha, this one also requires some care when cleaning. The best way to clean it is with a non-abrasive sponge and some water.

The plate has large handles so it’s easy to maneuver and move around. Additionally, the backside has a raised edge so the oil doesn’t splatter all over.

If you’re looking for a durable, large-sized plancha that’s easy to clean, then this VEVOR product is a great choice.

Check the latest prices here

Staub cast iron plancha vs VEVOR stainless steel plancha

The main difference between the Staub cast iron plancha and the VEVOR stainless steel plancha is the material.

The Staub is made of cast iron while the VEVOR is made of stainless steel. Both materials have their pros and cons.

Cast iron heats up faster and retains heat better than stainless steel. However, it’s also heavier and more difficult to clean.

Stainless steel, on the other hand, is lighter and easier to clean but it doesn’t heat up as evenly or retain heat as well.

Another difference is the size. The Staub plancha is smaller than the VEVOR so it’s better suited for individual use or small families.

The VEVOR plancha is larger and better suited for larger families or restaurants.

Finally, the Staub has a drip hole to catch any excess oil or fat while the VEVOR doesn’t. If you like easy clean-up you’ll enjoy using the VEVOR product.

But, if you’re looking for authentic Spanish-style plancha cooking, you can’t beat the Staub because it can withstand high temps and cooks the food faster.

Also, the cast-iron plancha will give your food a nice caramelized crust.

Best large & portable plancha: Lavo Home Folding Portable Plancha

Lavo Folding Portable Two Burner Cast Iron

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  • type: portable gas
  • size: 30″ x 50″
  • material: stainless steel
  • removable drip tray: no

The Lavo Home Folding Portable Plancha is one of the best portable planchas on the market because it has two powerful burners so you can sear and grill any food on it.

This one is for the real fans of plancha cooking, that would like to be able to do it anywhere.

It folds down so it’s compact and perfect for camping, tailgating, or cooking outdoors in your backyard.

This portable plancha grill weighs about 50 lbs so although it’s heavy, it still fits in RVs, and cars, and won’t break your back as you move it to and fro.

It would be better if the plancha had wheels because then it would be truly portable.

The plancha cooking surface is made of stainless steel but the 2 burners are made of heavy-duty cast iron.

Most people have no problems with food sticking to the stainless steel and the heat distribution is very even.

This grill is large enough to cook for a family of four. It has two side handles so you can pick it up and move it easily.

I think you can even get away with cooking for larger groups while camping because you can fit quite a lot of food items close together.

An advantage is that you can cook at different temperatures. You can sear a steak on one side, for example, and grill some corn or zucchini on low heat on the other.

There are two temperature control knobs so you can set each burner to the desired heat. The maximum temperature is 500 degrees Fahrenheit which is high enough to sear any food.

The biggest disadvantage of this design is that there’s no drip tray to collect fatty drippings. Therefore, you’ll have to do a bit more clean-up afterward.

You can compare this Lavo plancha with expensive griddles like the Royal Gourmet which costs upwards of $500. The Royal Gourmet is a great portable griddle but it doesn’t have the side handles or the ability to fold down.

So, it’s not as convenient as the Lavo Home Folding Portable Plancha.

Overall, this is a great choice for those who are looking for an affordable, durable, and portable plancha that can sear and grill any food.

Check the latest prices here

Best small & best gas plancha: Campingaz Gas Plancha

Campingaz Gas Plancha L

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  • type: tabletop gas
  • size: 27.17″ x 18.5 “x 11.02”
  • material: stamped steel
  • removable drip tray: yes

This tabletop is your best option for outdoor plancha cooking for a small group or couples.

The Campingaz plancha has all the features you need in a good quality gas grill. It has two independent cooking zones so you can adjust the temperature on each side.

It’s easy to start the plancha because it has a piezo ignition system and a light stays on while the device is being used.

The enameled steel plate heats up quickly and evenly so the entire cooking surface is the same temperature. This makes it easy to ensure the meat is perfectly browned and caramelized regardless of its placement.

The plate has an enamel coating that prevents the food from sticking and it makes it easy to move the food around.

What makes this plancha better than cheaper versions is that there are no flareups and you don’t end up with unevenly cooked meats and vegetables.

People are using this plancha griddle to cook meats like Spanish sausage, burgers, and steak. But, you can also make rice and chorizo, caramelized onions, corn, broccoli stems, and teriyaki teppanyaki foods.

The Campingaz also comes with a drip tray to collect any excess grease or fat. This is a great feature because it makes clean-up much easier.

The only disadvantage of this plancha is that the build quality isn’t as amazing as it could be. The frame is slightly warped in some places and it gets scratched easily by cooking tools.

Although this plancha grill is advertised as a good portable camping grill, it’s a bit on the heavy side, weighing 44 pounds. It doesn’t have any legs so it’s not as portable as the much larger Lavo plancha.

If you like to cook plancha meals for yourself and another 2-3 people, this Campingaz is a good option.

Check the latest prices here

Lavo folding plancha vs Campingaz plancha

The first notable difference between these two planchas is size/cooking surface.

The Lavo is also considerably larger, measuring 33″ x 18.5″ x 11″. This means it can accommodate more food items and it’s better suited for cooking for large groups of people. Thus, it’s best for group camping.

Another advantage of the Lavo is that it has side handles so it’s easier to carry. The Campingaz doesn’t have any handles so it’s a bit more difficult to transport.

The Lavo also has a better build quality overall. It has a thicker enamel coating on the cooking surface and the frame is made of sturdier materials.

Campingaz plancha grills have one important feature that makes them better than the Lavo. They have a removable drip cup to collect excess grease and fat. This makes clean-up much easier.

The Campingaz is also a bit cheaper than the Lavo folding portable plancha.

Finally, both of these planchas have a steel cooking surface but the Campingaz seems to be truly nonstick.

Best plancha for Weber grill: Weber 6465 Ceramic

Weber 6465 Plancha Grill

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  • type: for Weber gas grills
  • size: 26″ x 48″ x 57″
  • material: ceramic
  • removable drip tray: no

If you, like many pitmasters, prefer a Weber grill, you can turn it into a plancha with this add-on. Once you’re done, you can simply remove the griddle and continue

The Weber 6465 Plancha Grill is a ceramic cooking surface that fits most Weber gas grills. It’s a good size for feeding a large group of people and it has a raised lip so the food doesn’t roll off.

The ceramic construction ensures even heat distribution so the entire surface is at the same temperature. This is great for cooking thin cuts of meat like steak and fish.

This plancha grill plate is made of a ceramic material that heats up quickly and evenly. It has a double-sided design so you can use it as a griddle or a grill.

The cooking surface is nonstick so you don’t have to worry about the food sticking.

The Plancha Grill is designed to fit perfectly on top of your Weber Genesis II or Summit gas grill. It’s easy to install and it doesn’t require any special tools.

One reason why you need a special Weber-designed plancha for Weber grills is because of their shape. These plates are curved to fit the contour of the grill grates.

One disadvantage of this grill plate is that it doesn’t have handles so it’s a bit difficult to remove from the grill.

The Weber Plancha Grill doesn’t have a removable drip cup so you’ll have to clean the grill after each use.

Surprisingly, this grill plate is dishwasher-safe so you don’t need to spend time scrubbing it.

Check the latest prices here

Best electric griddle: AEWHALE Electric griddle

AEWHALE Electric griddle nonstick

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  • type: electric indoor grill
  • size: 18″ x 12″
  • material: ceramic
  • removable drip tray: yes

If you’re looking for an electric indoor grill, the AEWHALE is a great option. It’s large enough to cook for a family of four and it has a nonstick ceramic cooking surface.

Even though this electric grill is very affordable, it’s great for making quick meals. It heats up fast and you can cook most plancha-style recipes. Just don’t expect it to reach very high temperatures like those authentic plates.

This electric griddle has a flat cooking surface that’s ideal for pancakes, eggs, and bacon. The ceramic material ensures even heat distribution so the food doesn’t stick and it’s easy to clean.

The AEWHALE electric griddle has a temperature control knob so you can adjust the heat to your liking. The indicator light lets you know when the griddle is preheated and ready to use.

This electric grill also comes with a drip tray to collect excess grease and fat. The tray is removable so you can easily clean it in the dishwasher.

There’s a temperature control knob that lets you adjust the heat to your liking. The indicator light lets you know when the griddle is preheated and ready to use.

There is a cool side handle to prevent any burns and injuries. This part stays cool while you’re cooking.

This plancha is small, lightweight, and compact so it works for tiny apartments and RVs too.

My main concern is that there’s no lid so all the BBQ smells are going to spread all over your home. Be sure to use the grill farther away from the smoke alarm.

But if you’re looking for a simple, cheap electric grill, there’s no need to look further because you can cook all kinds of dishes from pancakes to grilled veggies to fish on this plancha.

Check the latest prices here

Best teppanyaki grill: Zojirushi EA-DCC10 Gourmet Sizzler

Zojirushi EA-DCC10 Gourmet Sizzler Electric Griddle

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  • type: electric indoor grill
  • size: 19″ x 12.5″
  • material: aluminum with nonstick coating
  • removable drip tray: no

When it comes to reputable Japanese brands Zojirushi is one of the most popular. They make some of the best rice cookers and of course, indoor teppanyaki grills.

This Zojirushi teppanyaki grill has a large cooking surface that’s great for feeding a family or a group of friends. The die-cast aluminum plate heats up quickly and evenly so you can cook all kinds of food.

The nonstick cooking surface is very easy to clean. You just need to wipe it with a damp cloth after each use.

This teppanyaki grill comes with a spatula so you don’t scratch the ceramic coating.

A major downside though is that this grill doesn’t have a drip pan to collect grease.

The temperature control knob lets you adjust the heat to your liking. The indicator light lets you know when the grill is preheated and ready to use. It can reach temperatures of up to 425 degrees F.

You can cook foods like steak, yakitori chicken, seafood, veggies, and even fruit on this teppanyaki grill.

What makes this Zojirushi teppanyaki grill stand out from budget ones like AEWHALE griddles is that this one has a lid which allows for faster grilling.

Also, this Teppanyaki grill has one of the best heating elements because it heats up evenly and there are no hot or cold spots at all. Most indoor electric grills have a problem with the heating element but this one doesn’t.

Compared to larger teppanyaki grills from brands like Costzon, the Zojirushi is the best smokeless option. Those other grills will smoke up your home!

Another advantage is that you can cook at 350 F without the oil and grease splattering all over the place. And at higher cooking temperatures, you can put the lid on and avoid any messes.

Since the cooking plate doesn’t slope, the oil won’t slide off the sides.

Check the latest prices here

Aewhale electric griddle vs Zojirushi teppanyaki grill

The Aewhale electric griddle is a budget-friendly option that’s great for cooking all kinds of foods. It has a large cooking surface that’s perfect for feeding a family or a group of friends.

The nonstick coating is very easy to clean. You just need to wipe it with a damp cloth after each use.

However, this grill doesn’t have a lid like the Zojirushi teppanyaki grill. Therefore, you can have a smokeless cooking experience with the Zojirushi grill.

It also depends if you really need a teppanyaki grill or just want a simple electric indoor griddle for breakfast foods.

The Aewhale electric griddle is a good choice if you want to save money and don’t mind the smoke.

The Zojirushi teppanyaki grill is better in the long term because it is more durable, has a larger cooking surface, and has a lid.

What is a plancha grill?

Considered by historians as the first flattop grill in history, the plancha is a cooking device that originated in Spain.

This is a traditionally Aztec flattop grill of Meso-America is similar to modern griddles; however, instead of having a square or rectangular shape, it is designed with a rounded cooking surface.

Flattop grills were first introduced in Spain, where the term plancha was derived. Plancha is a Spanish word, which means “metal plate.”

Cuisines that are cooked a la plancha refer to foods that are grilled using a metal plate.

For instance, grilled beef fillets are known as “filets à la plancha” in Spanish.

Planchas are plated with chrome to prevent the food from reacting with the metal, which can create a subtle flavor to the food.

These days plancha grills have a rectangular shape like a serving tray and raised edges to prevent all the cooking liquids from spilling out.

How does a plancha work?

A plancha grill is placed on top of a stove, and the heat is transferred to the metal plate.

The advantage of using a plancha is that the heat is evenly distributed across the surface, so you don’t have to worry about hotspots.

This type of grill is perfect for cooking thin cuts of meat, fish, and vegetables.

They also come in different materials, such as cast iron, stainless steel, or aluminum.

The circular shape changes the way heat is distributed by allowing it to spread out radially. This creates a cooking surface that has a very high temperature that will sear food perfectly.

Recipes that are traditionally cooked on a round, flat metal plate are called a la plancha in Spanish.

Nearly all plancha griddles are created with chrome-plated overlay, and the reason for this is to ensure that there would be zero harmful chemical reactions between the food and the metal surface where it is being cooked.

The plancha can easily reach 550°F-700°F (some even tap out at 800°F where most griddles max out at around 550°F- 575°F), which makes it the perfect choice for restaurants to sear and finish proteins, vegetables, and more as it provides high heat continuously.

Alternatively, you could also use the plancha’s incredible heat indirectly where you use pans and do conduction heating to sauté or stir-fry food.

While most griddles are controlled by a thermostat (an electronic sensor that controls the grill’s temperature), most traditional planchas are controlled manually, where a person decides whether he wants to raise or lower the temperature.

Therefore, the person can allow the plancha to reach very high temperatures.

The plancha’s surface is typically made of steel, but sometimes it is also made of cast iron or chrome, and its thickness is around 5/8 – 3/4 of an inch, which is a fraction thinner when compared to other griddles that have an inch thick plate.

But cast iron requires more upkeep than steel; it can rust and needs seasoning.

Chrome, on the other hand, is great for sanitary cooking. Still, it isn’t as strong as steel is when exposed to extreme temperatures, and it will eventually deteriorate after prolonged use in grilling.

When you see a plancha top for the first time, it will look like a medieval castle (except it doesn’t have the castle but rather just the platform) that sits on 3 or 4 sides by a grease “moat” or trough.

The newer style of plancha comes with distinctive 12 or 14-inch side-by-side wide zones that are available on popular grill manufacturers’ websites.

These wide zones operate independently from each other, they maintain a uniform temperature throughout the zone’s surface, and the patented thermal breaks between the zones and the plancha ensure that only minimal heat transfer will take place.

So, you could have three separate zones with varying temperatures and cook your food according to each required heat setting.

In culinary terms, “plancha” can be equated to iron griddles that are used for cooking, grilling, and/or barbecuing food.

Today there are thousands of custom-built models available for you to choose from.

The plancha is heated via charcoal fuel to an extreme temperature reaching as high as 350°C (662°F) similar to those griddles used in fast food joints that sear hamburger patties.

The plancha differs from standard iron griddles in terms of its heating distribution across the grill’s surface as the standard griddles require a thermostat to control the temperature.

In contrast, the plancha has a uniform heat distribution that emanates from its center.

Most planchas are also coated with a layer of non-reactive chrome metal to minimize flavor changes and make cleanup easier.

These days people now have the option to choose between a fully modernized plancha that has all the technological capabilities (i.e., gas for fuel and control knobs) to cook any food they want efficiently, or the most basic and robust rectangular metal sheet that requires a lot of manual labor and monitoring to cook food in the precise cooking direction that it demands.

The thin sheet steel plates that make up the traditional planchas were quite conducive for grilling and cooking food.

The reason behind it is because they have the unique ability to warp the temperature in and around the grill plate with the bulge design on the center of the grill, so that heat is distributed evenly across the cooking surface.

An amazing benefit that goes with the plancha’s design is that it creates a hump (of heat) that drains the excess grease from mostly the meat being cooked, yet it does not dry the food altogether compared to regular barbecue grills.

Most planchas of today still bear this center bulge (or a slight slope) design to imitate the same effect when grilling food.

Flattop griddle

Grilled food can be prepared using a flat pan or flattop grill, which is also known as plancha or teppanyaki grill although it commonly refers to the American flat top griddle used to make pancakes and bacon.

When cooking food, vegetable oil or butter can be applied on the cooking surface.

A flattop grill uses a heating technology that produces extreme heat that radially spreads through the surface.

This cooking device offers a unique sort of crust and sear, which you can’t obtain with straight grilling.

This is also a choice for many seafood restaurants since it can be conveniently set to a consistent and flexible temperature.

So, the differences are minute, and often people use these two as synonyms.

A Plancha grill came from Spain, the teppanyaki one from Japan. But they have similar cooking styles.

Here’s Camp Chef explaining how to grill on a flat top griddle:

Plancha vs griddle: the main differences explained

Plancha Griddle
Requires higher preheating time Requires shorter preheating time
Max temperature range of about 570-750˚F Max temperature range of about 500-570˚F
Even distribution of heat throughout the grill plate with the highest concentration on the center and least on the edges Controls temperature automatically
With portable heat sources, you can easily modify the temperature across the grill plate The grill plate is perfectly flat
Gives you the ability to control the temperature manually Sears food slower
Center bulge has many benefits Not very energy efficient
Able to quickly sear food Expensive price range causes fewer purchases
Better energy efficiency

Is a plancha and griddle the same?

The Spaniards use the word “plancha” to refer to any type of flat heated surface, which may include even the hot irons that are used to press and smooth out garments (although the use of this term in this context is not relevant to cooking griddles in any way).

In culinary terms, “plancha” can be equated to iron griddles that are used for cooking, grilling, and/or barbecuing food.

Today there are thousands of custom-built models available for you to choose from.

The plancha is heated via charcoal fuel to an extreme temperature reaching as high as 350°C (662°F) similarly as those griddles used in fast food joints that sear hamburger patties.

The plancha differs from standard iron griddles in terms of its heating distribution across the grill’s surface as with the standard griddles requires a thermostat to control the temperature.

In contrast, the plancha has a uniform heat distribution that emanates from its center.

Most planchas are also coated with a layer of non-reactive chrome metal to minimize flavor changes and make cleanup easier.

These days people now have the option to choose between a fully modernized plancha that has all the technological capabilities (i.e., gas for fuel and control knobs) to cook any food they want efficiently, or the most basic and robust rectangular metal sheet that requires a lot of manual labor and monitoring to cook food in the precise cooking direction that it demands.

The thin sheet steel plates that make up the traditional planchas were quite conducive for grilling and cooking food.

The reason behind it is because they have the unique ability to warp the temperature in and around the grill plate with the bulge design on the center of the grill, so that heat is distributed evenly across the cooking surface.

An amazing benefit that goes with the plancha’s design is that it creates a hump (of heat) that drains the excess grease from mostly the meat being cooked, yet it does not dry the food altogether compared to regular barbecue grills.

Most planchas of today still bears this center bulge (or a slight slope) design to imitate the same effect when grilling food.

What is a teppanyaki grill?

As regards the term teppanyaki, this word comes from the Japanese words “teppan,” which means iron plate, and “yaki,” meaning broiled, pan-fried, or grilled.

Teppanyaki is a Japanese-style cuisine that utilizes a flattop grill or metal griddle, known as teppan, to prepare food.

This style of cooking was first introduced by Shigeji Fujioka of Misono, a Japanese chain restaurant.

Japanese teppanyaki cuisines include yakisoba or cabbage with seafood or meat that is cooked using animal fat or vegetable oil or both.

These cuisines became popular not only in Japan, but have also influenced Western society.

Some ingredients that are used in Western-style teppanyaki include mixed veggies, beef, shrimps, scallops, chicken, and lobsters, which are commonly cooked using soybean oil.

Thus, those are the reasons why both the terms teppanyaki and plancha are highly associated with flat pan or flattop grill.

These terms are commonly used interchangeably in a sentence.

How to use plancha, teppanyaki, or griddles

Apart from grilling, a plancha, griddle, or teppanyaki grill is a flexible cooking device that can also be used in other various cooking techniques as follows.

Take note that pans or pots can be placed directly over the cooking surface of the grill.

  • Sautéing – This refers to “tossing while cooking.” This method involves the use of a little amount of oil or fat applied to an extremely heated pan or flattop grill.
  • Toasting– This is a method of browning bread through the use of radiant heat. The brown color of the bread is a result of the Maillard reaction that makes it firmer and palatable.
  • Simmering– This technique utilizes hot liquids (below water boiling point) to cook food. Simmering is a gentler method than boiling, thereby avoiding the breaking up or toughening of food.
  • Shallow frying– This method is usually utilized for cooking small-sized cuts of meat, fish, vegetables, or patties. The food is partly submerged in oil.
  • Stir-frying– This is a Chinese cooking technique that involves the use of a small amount of hot oil. The ingredients are stirred in a round-bottomed cooking vessel known as a wok.
  • Pan-frying– This technique uses a little amount of oil, which is much lesser than the oil or fat used in shallow frying. The oil is only used to lubricate the pan.
  • Browning– This process refers to the initial cooking of the meat surface to eliminate excess fat. This will give the meat a brown color flavor and crust.
  • Blackening– Popularized by Chef Paul Prudhomme, this method is used in preparing Cajun cuisines. The food is then soaked in a mixture of spices and herbs and melted butter. It is then cooked in a very hot cast-iron frypan.

Those are some of the cooking methods wherein you can use the teppanyaki or plancha grill. Because of its versatility, you can cook almost any food on these appliances.

How to care for plancha grill

Just like any other appliance, you also need to care for your grill to maintain its efficiency and durability.

So here are some of the ways that you can do to keep your grill clean and in good condition:

  1. Before utilizing your new grill, it is best to clean it with warm soapy water. You can also use a plastic scrubber or brush to eliminate any dirt or factory grease.
  2. Dry thoroughly. Then evenly wipe the two sides with shortening or vegetable oil.
  3. Set up your plancha for indirect grilling or set it up in a 300-degree oven till the oil is absorbed by the plancha metal pores. Do this for 30 to 60 minutes.
  4. Let it cool and wipe with paper towels. Then you can now use your plancha grill.
  5. Similar to other cooking devices, it is also essential to thoroughly clean your plancha after using it. Splash a cup of water over the cooking surface while the plancha is still hot. As the water evaporates, brush your grill. Repeat this process as needed until the plancha is thoroughly clean.
  6. Then, sprinkle 1-2 tablespoons of vegetable oil on the plancha while it is still hot. Wipe it using a folded paper well attached to the end of your tongs.
  7. Keep your plancha on a dry surface. Repeat the above steps as necessary.

You can also use these grill stones to care for your teppanyaki grill just as you would with a normal grill.

Also find out about an easy way to clean your flat top grill plate with simple vinegar

Additional grill accessories

Now let’s talk accessories! Once you nail down which plancha grill you want, you can then decide what additional accessories you would like to have.

For example, grease trays are pretty standard when it comes to these grills; however, there are different designs you can choose from.

Drip trays will help make the cleaning and maintenance of your grill much easier.

Tilting cooking plates also increase the grease flow when cooking. Also, if you plan on moving your grill around a lot, then you may want to consider a plancha trolley.

This is a practical item that makes mobility easier.

Origami plancha BBQ trolley

Origami plancha BBQ trolley

(view more images)

This plancha trolley comes with two wheels and a handle and makes it easy to transport your plancha grill from one location to another.

It also features a small spice dispenser at the front of the trolley, so you can keep everything you need in arm’s reach when you are cooking and entertaining.

The bottom rack makes the perfect storage area for any cooking utensils you may need.

Click here for price and availability

For a complete list of recommendations, check out this roundup of the best accessories for teppanyaki grilling

FAQs

What is a plancha grill used for?

A plancha is a flat iron surface that is used in Spanish cuisine to grill vegetables, seafood, and meat at very high temperatures.

It provides an easy flat surface to toss around the grilled food, so each side receives equal heat.

What is a la plancha cooking?

The plancha is a Spanish flat iron grill surface, so “a la plancha” cooking means: “cooking on a flat iron grill” or more literally “cooked in the flat iron grill style.”

What is an electric plancha?

An electric plancha grill is a standalone cooking device where the round metal surface is heated through electricity. Plancha comes from a “round flat cooking surface” and is usually used on a stovetop.

The electric version is used separately from the stovetop, and you need to plug it in to be able to use it.

What is a plancha burger?

Plancha refers to the style of cooking used to prepare the burger. Instead of being grilled on a grill rack, it is grilled on a flat iron surface on top of a heat source, most often charcoal flames.

Because of using the flat surface, the burger can be loosely packed, and the juices are preserved inside the meat better.

What is salmon a la plancha?

Salmon prepared on a round flattop grill instead of a grill rack is called “salmon a la plancha,” where plancha is the flat grilling surface.

The plancha is Spanish, so salmon a la plancha is best prepared in a Spanish style with parsley, dill, coriander, chives, and lemon zest.

What’s better: a flat top grill or a regular grill?

When you have a flat top grill, you can set different temperatures for all of your different items.

Regular grills don’t have specific temperatures.

Flat top grills can also prove to be much easier to use and offers more even heat distribution. This allows the food to cook evenly and completely for more healthy cooking.

What can you cook on a plancha grill?

You can cook pretty much anything on a plancha grill that you can cook on a regular grill.

The main difference is that the plancha grill will give your food a more intense flavor since the juices and fats from your food will be seared directly onto the hot metal surface.

Some of the most popular items to cook on a plancha grill are meats, fish, vegetables, and even pizzas.

Can you cook pizza on a plancha grill?

Yes, you can cook pizza on a plancha grill. The key is to preheat the grill before you add your pizza so that the crust will cook evenly.

You can also use a pizza stone on a plancha grill to help ensure that your crust comes out perfectly crispy.

Takeaway

Flattop grill, also called plancha or teppanyaki grill, is well known in many places around the world.

This cooking device can be used to cook a wide variety of food and ingredients because of its capacity to be set at flexible and constant temperatures.

If you already own a grill, all you need is the Staub Cast Iron plancha griddle because it’s made of cast iron so that it can be placed directly on your grill.

Now that you’ve seen all the options, I’m sure you’re ready to try juicier BBQ with the plancha.

Don’t have a grill at home yet? Start with these amazingly handy 7 Grill with Griddle Combo’s

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Joost Nusselder, the founder of Bite My Bun is a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new food with Japanese food at the heart of his passion, and together with his team he's been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with recipes and cooking tips.