Commercial griddles are a great piece of equipment to add versatility to any kitchen. With the ability to cook everything from pancakes and eggs to chicken and burgers, a griddle can be utilized from opening at breakfast time through the rush of dinner. (Looking to buy or upgrade? Learn more about commercial griddles with our helpful buying guide!) Learning correct cleaning practices for your commercial griddle prevents food debris and char from affecting the cooking process so you can continue providing the flavors and textures that customers know and love.
The Importance of Cleaning a Flat Top Griddle
Because commercial griddles are constantly crisping, searing, and toasting such a wide variety of foods, the differing fats, juices, and crumbs from these foods will be left on the griddle’s surface to build up if correct and thorough steps are not taken to clean. This accumulation can cause a thick, gummy layer of grime and gunk that carbonizes to the surface and makes it close to impossible to clean. Additionally, this gummy mess can cause uneven cooking that changes flavor profiles or even poses the risk of undercooking foods. Regular cleaning of your commercial griddle will ensure proper cooking, efficiency performance, and will prolong the lifespan of the equipment.
Note: Improper cleaning of the griddle between differing types of food can cause serious health risk to individuals with food allergies. Protect customers while protecting your equipment!
Image Credit: Vulcan Equipment
What You Need
The best tools for cleaning commercial griddles:
- Grill brick/ stone
- Soft rag
- Cooking oil
- Soda water/ club soda
How to Clean Commercial Griddles
Frequent cleaning is very important. Light cleaning should be done during and after every shift to avoid build-up and the griddle should be deep cleaned every night. Following the deep clean, operators should also season the griddle to maintain the cooking plate (details below).
The most common material used for commercial griddles is a steel plate, however, many operators do prefer chrome plates. Please note that these types of materials require different cleaning methods. Also, note that these are general guidelines for cleaning a griddle. Always refer to your operator manual for recommended processes from the manufacturer.
Light Cleaning Throughout Service:
Throughout service time, light cleaning should always be done. This will reduce the amount of time needed for deep cleaning at the end of the day and will ensure that there is no flavor transfer.
- Wipe down backsplash, inside and outside of side splash, and front of the griddle
- Empty grease/crumb drawer as needed
- Use griddle scraper between dishes and as needed to reduce grease build-up
Cleaning a Steel Griddle Plate:
- Let the griddle cool down to 300°F-350°F after service and apply room temperature water
- Use a griddle scraper to remove grease and bits of debris into the crumb tray (empty and clean afterward as well)
- Wipe clean
- For exceptionally dirty grill plates, there are two options:
- Use a griddle brick while the surface is still warm to break up the grease. Be sure to use in the direction of the grain to prevent damage to the surface
- Turn grill back on. Once hot, add soapy water to the plate to soften the build-up. Once boiling, use your scrape to guide a clean rag lightly on the griddle to soak up the grease and debris. Push leftover debris into the crumb tray.
- Season the surface by applying oil and again using the griddle brick
- Once a week, unplug the unit. Once completely cool, clean the surface with a non-abrasive griddle cleaner and cleaning cloth. Then thoroughly rinse with water.
Cleaning a Chrome Griddle Plate:
- Let the griddle cool down to 300°F-350°F after service and scrape debris off the griddle with the “special razor scraper”
- Add room temperature water (not ice water!) and scrub with a Palmetto brush
- Use a non-abrasive, food-safe polish and clean, dry cloth and wipe the surface
- Ensure all polish was removed by using a clean damp cloth and again wiping the surface
- Lightly coat the surface with oil to protect the plate
Image Credit: Vulcan Equipment
Tip: Do not short cut the cleaning process! Ice or ice water should NOT be used to cool the griddle faster. This can cause the cooking surface to buckle and cause a safety concern.
More on Cleaning
Cleaning your commercial flat top griddle is easy with the outlined steps. Make a habit of regularly cleaning and maintaining your grill surface to preserve flavor profiles and to ensure the longevity of the equipment. For more instructions on cleaning your commercial kitchen and equipment, visit our Restaurant Cleaning Checklist!
Hope has been a Content Specialist since November 2015, where she brings to the table years of experience in the food service industry in a variety of roles. Throughout her time with Central, Hope has focused on learning all things possible about everything from cooking equipment to concession and specialty products in order to empower operators with education on commercial equipment and supplies. Hope is a wife, new mom, avid crafter, and food lover (french fries please!).