How to Use a Grill Pan

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Don't have the time or space for a grill? A grilling pan that you use indoors is an alternative way to get the seared grill lines on your favorite foods. You can get your meat on the grill pan much faster than you can on a regular grill. Although the pan is easy to use, having a few grill pan tips and tricks up your sleeve makes the food turn out even better.

How to Use a Grill Pan
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Heat It Up

Heating the grill pan thoroughly before you put anything on it helps to get a consistent temperature without hot spots to prevent uneven cooking. Give your grill pan about five minutes to preheat on a medium-high burner on your stove. You can test it by putting a few drops of water on the hot grill. If they evaporate right away, the grill is hot enough. If the pan starts to smoke, it's too hot.

Grease the Pan

Greasing your grill pan keeps your food from sticking. You don't want to pour oil on the grill pan because it will pool in the grooves. Instead, dip a paper towel in your oil of choice and wipe it over the hot pan surface carefully. Add the oil just before you're ready to put the food on the pan. You can also add the oil to the food instead. Brush your favorite type of oil on the food you're grilling. You can also sprinkle on salt, pepper or other seasonings after you brush on the oil.

Start Cooking

Food that has a uniform thickness cooks best on a grill pan. You can season and prep your meat just like you would for a regular grill. When everything is hot, place the food directly on the pan. You can help the food cook faster without burning on the outside by placing a metal bowl upside down over the food. The bowl serves a similar function as the lid on the grill, holding in the heat to speed up the cooking process. It's especially helpful for thicker items that take a while to cook fully.

Flip the food over to cook it on both sides. If you want to create the crossed grill line look, rotate the meat by 90 degrees on the same side before flipping. Do the 90-degree rotation on both sides. The cooking process is similar to using a regular grill. Use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature to figure out when your food is done. The cooking time varies largely based on what your cooking and the thickness of the food.

Enjoy Your Grilled Food

Cooking food on a grill pan doesn't produce quite the same smokey flavor that you get from an actual grill, but it's a suitable alternative for nights when you don't want to mess with the grill. Preheating and greasing the pan help produce the kind of results you want. With just a little prep work, you can enjoy grilled food from your kitchen.


Shelley Frost combines her love of DIY and writing in her freelance career. She has first-hand experience with tiling, painting, refinishing hardwood floors, installing lighting, roofing and many other home improvement projects. She keeps her DIY skills fresh with regular projects around the house and extensive writing work on the topic.

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