cast iron griddle

Cast Iron Griddle Turns Stove into French Top

If you’ve ever wished you had more burners on your stovetop or found yourself with small pots teetering precariously on large burners and large pots hanging off the side of smaller burners, you’ll love this hack for using a cast iron griddle to mimic the versatile professional stovetop style known as a French top.

French tops are a popular restaurant kitchen stove style with a large metal surface and no distinct burners. The metal plate of a French top has one very hot central heat source. The area at the hot spot is like a burner on full flame, and as you move a pan away from the center, the metal is gradually cooler. So, rather than fiddle with the heat adjustment on the stove, a cook can simply slide pots from hot areas to cooler areas as needed. A wide array of pots and pans can be used across the surface without having them tip off a burner edge. You can get the same effect at home with a large cast iron griddle that fits across your burners! This hack works with all stovetop styles: gas, electric, and even induction, as long as your griddle has a flat bottom to stay in contact with the induction burner areas.

From stovetop to French top

griddle on burners

If you want a range of cooking temperatures for your makeshift French top, only turn on one burner, then you can slide pots from hotter to cooler areas on the cast iron. If you want a large area at the same temperature instead, use both burners and give the griddle plenty of time to warm completely. Remember, you won’t be cooking directly on the griddle — your pots go on the cast iron surface, which becomes the heat source. 

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One of the key advantages of using a cast iron griddle is its exceptional heat retention, so the whole surface will become hot enough for you to cook on with multiple pots and pans of various sizes, with no tipping off the burner grates. Imagine having the space to reduce a bit of red wine for a pan sauce on the hot area while keeping one pot of mashed potatoes and another pot of steamed broccoli all warm on the cooler side — culinary magic that can help you bring all your creations to the table with less stress. You’ll see why this stove top style is so popular in busy restaurant kitchens — it gives you command over your cooking surface, allowing you to get more done in the same space. Even if you are just using one or two pans, the efficiency of sliding the pans effortlessly to the right temperature zone and having an instantly hot area makes this a trick worth trying. 

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