The West Bend Cool-Touch Nonstick Electric Griddle is no longer available.
If you’re cooking for a crowd, you can’t beat the efficiency of a griddle. But what makes one brand better than another? A great electric griddle should be roomy and easy to handle, heat quickly and cook evenly, and clean up effortlessly. We tested seven nonstick models, cooking countless batches of French toast, bacon, and pancakes to determine which griddle was best.
Accuracy and Consistency
Accurate and consistent cooking were key factors in the contest. A good griddle will cook at or very close to the set temperature, heating evenly across its wide surface. We tested each griddle’s accuracy and consistency by setting it to 350 degrees, then recording the temperature at 5- and 7-minute intervals at three different locations on the cooking surface.
After averaging the results, one griddle was easily the most accurate and consistent, with an average temperature of 348.8 degrees, a little more than 1 degree from our desired temperature. Middle-ranked griddles had hotter or cooler spots and temperature averages that were slightly inaccurate, producing uneven browning. The bottom-ranked performers averaged more than 80 to 100 degrees over the set temperatures, and had wildly uneven temperatures at different locations on the griddle—easily explaining why our food scorched and burned.
Cooking Surface and Cleanup
After cooking performance, the size of the cooking surface is the most important feature. After all, why use a griddle unless it gives you plenty of open space? Cleanup is the final determining factor. While all of the griddles featured a nonstick surface and all could be submerged in water for washing, they used a few different systems for collecting grease—some smarter than others. We particularly disliked lightweight, unattached plastic cups sitting below drain spouts, which we feared would tip over.
In the end, one griddle took the crown. Thanks to its thick, die-cast aluminum material, it transferred heat exceptionally well and maintained even temperatures for reliable, consistent cooking results. It was also the largest among our contenders, at 21 by 11 7/8 inches. Its grease tray worked without hitch, and the nonstick surface cleaned up easily. For slightly less stellar performance at about half the price, we also recommend one “best buy” griddle.
The nonslip grip and narrow, straight blade let testers remove the smallest bones with precision and complete comfort. Perfectly balanced with enough flexibility to maneuver around tight joints. The low price was a bonus.
Hefty in weight, this knife was a solid performer when removing poultry bones, and the handle was easy to grip, even when covered in chicken fat. Piercing silver skin was a challenge since the tip wasn’t sharp enough and the long narrow blade produced slightly jagged cuts.
|Recommended with Reservations|
The sharp tip performed well when removing silver skin, but it was too flexible when maneuvering around poultry joints, leaving testers feeling a lack of control. The heavy handle was slightly unbalanced and became slippery once covered in poultry fat.
Designed to replicate a samurai blade, this expensive knife was a disappointment. It struggled to pierce the silver skin, although long cuts were smooth and even. Minimal flexibility and extreme curve got in the way when maneuvering around joints. The smooth handle was hard to grip and slippery.
The large, cumbersome handle reminded testers of an outdoors knife for fishing and hunting. The blade was too wide to maneuver around joints and it struggled to pierce silver skin. Unlike other knives, this boning knife could only slice in one direction, making intricate cuts around joints difficult.
The blade was so flexible it led to erratic cuttings; testers said the knife was hard to control. The blade was not sturdy enough to maneuver around joints and the lightweight handle felt flimsy and unbalanced.
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