Cast Iron vs Stainless Steel Grill Grates – Which One Best

When it comes to considering the best cooking grates, we stuck to cast iron vs stainless steel grill grates. But some people rely heavily on different cooking grates for different times. Cast iron and stainless steel both are better options but both have advantages and disadvantages so let’s see which is better cast iron vs stainless steel comparison.

When you entertain your guests with grilling, someone will tell you many things such as which grill grates give you the best flavor of meat or speech on the size of the grill grates or which grill grates material is best.

Many such suggestions make you want to compare cast iron vs stainless steel grates, so your mind is wondering if you haven’t satisfied your guests, then go looking for that other one.

Finding a new one depends on your individual needs whether you’re considering buying a whole new grill or just replacing your cooking grates. We request you not to take any decision without thinking, if you want, then this article will definitely help you. read in detail below.

Cast Iron vs Stainless Steel Grill Grates – Reviews

So now you will be given complete information from here with both pros and cons. So let’s start the review.

Cast Iron Grill Grates

Cast Iron vs Stainless Steel Grill Grates

Did you know that pure iron is so soft that you can cut it with a knife and elbow grease? By the way, cast iron has been a part of our kitchen for many decades for cooking and still is today.

Cast iron cannot be formed without carbon, which makes it extremely durable and hard, but if it is hit hard or falls on a hard place by hand, it will shatter into many pieces, which physics is called brittle.

There are two types of cast iron grill grates available in the market, one that will be coated with porcelain enamel which will be shiny and available in different colors. The other is always a black one that will be a bit rough.

Non-enamel coated cast iron grill grates do not contain chemicals of any kind that will not harm your food and health. As it cooks over time, its tiny pores absorb oils and fats from foods, giving it a non-stick quality.

The same if we talk for enamel-coated cast iron grate, then it provides better non-stick properties than uncoated but they can definitely crack as soon as it falls from your hands.

Enamel-coated grates are more prone to cracks and scratches because of cleaning, which is nearly impossible to do with uncoated cast iron. Here are the best gas grills under $600.


  • Retain heat exceptional – cast iron will give you a good sear, perform well on outdoor grilling, and transfer heat well to meat, helping your meat or vegetables cook well.
  • Heating up directly – Helps to form a coating on the outer surface of the food. It is an ideal choice for cooking food in less time by transmitting heat inside and out.
  • Longlife – For its long-term use, you need to take proper care of it which will turn you into being with you for the rest of your life.
  • Heavy – Cast iron grill grates are made of solid metal, making them heavy enough to sit easily on the surface of your grill but not too heavy to cause trouble.


  • Rusting quickly – It is true that cast iron grates without coating rust quickly. To avoid this, keep it indoors if you are not using it, as it can oxidize in humid weather.
  • Take more effort to clean – It will take longer to clean and the extra step of seasoning to maintain the finish.

Stainless Steel Grill Grates

First, it should be noted that the luster of any grill grates, such as stainless steel, does not necessarily mean that it will be made of stainless steel materials.

Most of the grill grates are steel-plated or chrome coats which are cheaply available in the market. Any grill grates of this type that are plated with regular steel are not durable and will flake off after a few uses.

As it is used, the coated steel plate will lift up and the surface will become sticky and rough which is the first direct possibility of rusting and also starting to spoil your food.

Genuine stainless steel is difficult to identify but you can ask for certification details. Stainless steel grill grates have a smoother surface and take longer to rust than regular steel hence having a longer lifespan.

Did you know that stainless steel is completely rust-proof? Well, this is a myth. Stainless steel tends to deform and break over time but it takes a long time to process. If you are looking for a premium gas grill read our article for the best gas grills under $1500.


  • Quick heat up – Stainless steel grill grates take less time to heat up so that your food doesn’t wait too long.
  • Easy to maintain – Stainless steel grill grates are easy to maintain and easy to clean, and do not require much effort.
  • Won’t rust easily – Stainless steel grill grates take years to rust compared to cast iron, so leaving you free of rust worries.
  • Long-Lasting – If you have selected the right stainless steel grill grates they are quite durable but often the lower-priced stainless steel is usually not as durable.


  • Don’t retain heat well – it quickly drops to cooking temperature when you remove the heat source.
  • Lose their non-stick – Stainless steel grates tend to lose their non-stick properties over time as they become coarser.

Which one should you buy?

When you’re looking to buy new grill grates, which grill grates are best for you depends more on the type of food you’re cooking.

Above you must have understood that cast iron grill grates transfer heat evenly but heat up more slowly than stainless steel. It is the best choice for dishes like meat or rather gives the best results.

Cast iron gives your outdoor grill a professional look. The question is, does the sear mark that gauge? It really depends on your preferences but some pitmasters believe that grill marks are not an indicator of perfection.

The part of the grill that directly touches the meat turns dark brown, in fact, it is due to the Maillard reaction that gives it the crust which is meant to improve the flavor.

When you consider grilling delicate or thin cuts of meat, they need to be exposed to direct heat which further enhances their flavor. Otherwise, the meat will not develop a crust. Now you have to choose whether you want fully cooked meat that is slightly soft on the outside or a good sear.

With Stainless Steel Grill Grates you fail to cook delicate and thin chicken. As soon as you try to turn the flaky fish over, it may disintegrate.

What happens when you try to cook lots of vegetables and optional things on them? Stainless steel grill grates work well for large chunks of vegetables as well as pizza on the grill mesh.

But when you grill smaller vegetables and turn to iron grill grates, you may not be satisfied because its wide, flat rods give the best grip to smaller vegetables, which sometimes leads to caramelization in the vegetables. Adds incredible flavor.

Final Verdict

The worst decision you can make when it comes to choosing grill grates is when you buy low-quality grates. When you use low-quality grates, the temperature changes dramatically. Lower-quality grill grates will lose their non-stick properties after a few uses, and higher-quality grills will take a long time to degrade.

Cast iron requires proper maintenance otherwise rust will take hold as it is practically indestructible. It can be difficult to cook all types of food if you skip using cast iron grates.

Stainless steel is more durable and retains its heat in all types of weather. It requires less maintenance than cast iron and is extremely easy to clean. If you live in a damp area, choose stainless steel instead of cast iron.

Conclusion There is no winner and no loser in the battle of stainless steel grill grates vs cast iron. But whenever a friend of yours recommends the best grill grates, it’s their personal preference and you can recommend your own grill grates.

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