4 Grill Pan Substitutes (Grill on Stove Without Grill Pan)

A grill pan is an amazing addition to kitchen cookware. If you are a meat lover and you don’t have the option of grilling outside, this is a very good substitute. But, what happens if you don’t have a grill pan? Let’s see what are some of the options in that case.

This article will cover

  • Important Properties of a Grill Pan
  • What Can You Use Instead of a Grill Pan?
  • Things To Know When Using Grill Pan Substitutes?
  • Cleaning the Grill Pan Substitutes
  • How To Make Grill Marks When Using a Grill Pan Substitute?

Important Properties of a Grill Pan

how to grill on stove without grill pan

3 Common  Materials of a Grill Pan

  • Cast Iron – Cast iron is the most common option when it comes to grill pan materials. It is very durable, and it heats up fast and evenly. It is a bit heavier than other options, but that isn’t much of a problem considering how nicely it grills meat. It should be seasoned regularly and taken care of properly, but it will last for a long time. Cast iron should be washed after every use, and it is best to avoid a dishwasher when cleaning.
alternative to grilling
Cast Iron grill pan
  • Aluminum – This is a very good option for people who don’t like having heavy cookware in their kitchen. An aluminum grill pan is much lighter than a cast-iron one. It also heats up pretty quickly, but it doesn’t retain temperatures as well as cast iron. You should also hand wash it instead of using a dishwasher, and avoid any kind of rough scrubbing as it may damage the surface.
grill substitute
Aluminum grill pan
  • Ceramic – Ceramic is another choice of material for a grill pan. It has a nonstick surface, and it conducts the heat well. One thing you should be aware of is that ceramic is prone to overheating, so don’t leave it unattended while grilling. Cleaning should be done gently, with mild soap and lukewarm water. Since it is nonstick, it shouldn’t be too difficult to clean it without any scrubbing.
how to grill chicken without a grill
Ceramic grill pan


Grill pans come in many different sizes. You should choose a size that suits your grilling habits the most. If you use it for just a few people occasionally, smaller grill pans will be enough. If you are catering or having a gathering for many people, there are bigger options to choose from.


Grill pans usually come in a rectangular, square, or round shape. Rectangular ones are bigger and allow for more food to be grilled in them. While round grill pans can be useful and practical, the safest and the most popular option are square-shaped grill pans.

What Can You Use Instead of a Grill Pan?

Cast Iron Pan

grill on stove without grill pan

Most of the grill pans are made of cast iron so it is a good solution is to use a cast iron pan as a substitute for a grill pan. It will grill meat as nicely as a grill pan would. You should make sure to preheat it so the meat doesn’t cook in its own sauces for a long time, but other than that the process and the final product are pretty much the same.

The only difference is the surface of a pan. While the grill pan has an uneven surface, the cast iron pan is flat which will reflect the shape of grilled meat. However, it will be just as delicious!

Frying Pan

substitute for grilling

Frying pans are usually made of aluminum or stainless steel. If you don’t have a cast iron pan this is the second-best option. The process of grilling is very similar – you should preheat the pan before putting the food you want to grill. Coat the pan with oil before using it. While cooking, make sure that the temperature is not at its highest so your food doesn’t burn.

Aluminum Foil

how to grill on a stove

Aluminum foil is a must-have in every kitchen. It can help you preserve your food, it can serve as a cleaning gadget, and you can grill using it! If you don’t have any other pan, you should consider this option. Wrap the aluminum foil a few times until it is thick enough.

Put it on the stove and set the temperature to medium. Let it heat and then put meat and vegetables on it. Aluminum foil is thinner than pans, so you should cut the meat and vegetables thin to prevent them from burning on the outside and staying raw on the inside.

Let them grill on medium heat until you see that they are almost done. Then, turn the temperature up and cook for a couple of more minutes on both sides. It will make the crust crispier. Grilling on aluminum foil is a more complicated option than using an iron cast or frying pan, but if you don’t have any other option it is a good choice.

Sheet Pan

how to grill on stove

Sheet pans can be used for so many things around a kitchen. From baking dough to storing food and preparing ingredients for cooking, they are really something that every kitchen needs. Grilling is also one of the things that you can use them for.

If you have a small-sized sheet pan it is even better. Just put it on the stove and coat it with oil or butter. The process is pretty much the same as with the aluminum foil because sheet pans are also quite thin. Use medium heat until the food is cooked, and then turn it up for a few minutes on both sides for a final touch and nice crust.

Things To Know When Grill Without Grill Pan

Adjust the Temperature and the Grilling Time

Depending on which substitute you decide to use, you should adjust the temperature of the stove and the grilling time. Different materials have different levels of heat conductivity.

That basically means that the higher the heat conductivity, the faster will a pan heat up. Keeping that in mind, make sure to either preheat the pan or use it right away. Some materials that are higher in conductivity are aluminum and cast iron.

how to grill without a grill pan

Check If the Material is Reactive

If the cookware is reactive it means that it reacts to some foods or ingredients. For example, aluminum and cast iron are reactive materials, so you should avoid adding anything acidic to them.

If sauce for your grill contains tomatoes or lemon, make it in another pan instead. Acidic food can react with the pan and change the taste of food. Even worse, it can be toxic in large quantities.  Stainless steel is an example of nonreactive material.

Cleaning the Grill Pan Substitutes

Once you have used some of the substitutes for a grill pan it is time to clean them. You should be careful about how you do that so the pan doesn’t get damaged.

Cleaning Cast Iron

grilling on the stove

Cast iron is pretty easy to clean. When you are done using it, put mild dish soap, wash it with a kitchen sponge, and rinse thoroughly with hot water. Make sure to season it regularly as it can prolong its lifespan and provide you with a nonstick surface.

If a cast iron pan is too dirty, you can use non-metal utensils to scrub the dirt off of it, plastic spatula for example. Make sure to dry it right away so it doesn’t corrode.

Cleaning Frying Pan

Depending on the material and how dirty it is, there are various methods that you can use to clean a frying pan. First, try to clean it using only dish soap and a kitchen sponge. If that doesn’t work, use baking soda.

Fill your pan with hot water and add half a cup of baking soda to it. Let it rest for around an hour and then rinse it and dry it. If baking soda is not enough, spray hydrogen peroxide over it and leave it for three or four hours. Use paper towels to remove the paste and wash the pan with water.

Cleaning Sheet Pan

grilling on stove

Sheet trays come in different materials as well. If you have a nonstick sheet tray, you can feel free to use any of the mentioned cleaning methods, as well as the abrasive part of a kitchen sponge. You can scrub the persistent dirt and burn marks and use stronger dish soap.

However, if your sheet pan is non-stick, don’t ever scrub it or use any aggressive methods when cleaning it. It can damage the surface and your sheet pan will not be usable anymore. Instead, wash it with water and mild soap, and dry it with a paper towel.

How To Make Grill Marks When Using a Grill Pan Substitute?

The most unique feature that grill pans have is the marks they leave on food. If you are using a grill pan substitute, you can use a dull part of a knife to insert the marks on the meat before you start grilling it. If meat is not that soft, you can cut lines evenly and it will give a similar result.


A grill pan is nice cookware to have in a kitchen. However, if you don’t grill food that often, you don’t have to buy it. Try using one of these alternatives that can also make meat and vegetables juicy and crispy. Make sure to maintain the substitutes and clean them properly.


how to grill without a grill

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