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Can You Cook on a Rusty Griddle? (Explained!)

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Cracking open the griddle after you’ve chopped and prepared your delicious dinner just to see rust can halt your cooking process in its tracks. You’ll quickly begin to question whether or not it’s safe to cook your food on a rusty griddle. 

While cooking over and over on a griddle covered in rust is not advised, you are safe to eat food cooked on a rusty griddle for now, at least until you are able to get a new one. 

The remainder of the article will explain why it’s ill-advised to cook repeatedly on a rusty griddle, why it’s safe to eat off a griddle in small amounts, how you can get the rust off your griddle, and what you should do with a rusty griddle.

Can You Cook on a Rusty Griddle?

It is safe to cook on a rusty griddle. However, you should keep it to a minimum. The reason cooking on a rusty griddle is safe in small quantities, as opposed to large amounts, is because the chemical components of rust are harmful. 

When the metal of your griddle is exposed to water, it creates rust. Rust is made up of iron oxide. 

As you cook on the rusty griddle, small particles of iron oxide flake off the griddle and get into your food. It’s likely you won’t see it and you probably won’t notice a difference in taste, but it is present.

The more you cook on a rusty griddle, the more iron oxide gets into your food. This leads to the next question: can you eat off a rusty griddle?

Can You Eat Off a Rusty Griddle?

You can eat off a rusty griddle in small quantities. However, consuming large amounts of iron oxide is harmful to the body.

As mentioned, iron oxide is the chemical in rust. While consuming small amounts of it isn’t harmful, large amounts are toxic to the body. Iron poisoning can lead to stomach issues like abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, and nausea.

While there is a risk, it is important to note you will not experience any of these symptoms unless you repeatedly consume large amounts of iron oxide. 

So go ahead and cook your meal! You will be safe to eat off your rusty griddle until you have the opportunity to deep clean or buy a new one.

How Do You Get Rust Off a Griddle?

A wire brush, white vinegar, baking soda, and rust remover are all viable ways to get the rust off a griddle.

Wire brushes work well for removing rust. All you have to do is scrub until you are left with just metal. 

Another option would be to soak your griddle in white vinegar for about 10 minutes, wipe the rusted area, and repeat until the grill is clean. 

You could also try the soaking tactic with water and baking soda. However, you’ll have to let this mixture sit for about an hour or so before scraping and rinsing with water. This same tactic can be used with kosher salt if the baking soda doesn’t work.

If the household tricks can’t get the job done, turn to a commercial rust remover. Just be sure you get one meant for cooking surfaces to be sure you aren’t consuming any toxic chemicals. 

What Do You Do With a Rusty Griddle?

If your griddle is rusty, try cleaning it or replacing it altogether.

There may come a time when your griddle has rusted beyond the point of repair. If that is the case, it may be time to get a new one. You can continue using it in the meantime, but keep the thought in the back of your mind. 

Should you decide to get a new griddle, take preventative measures to ensure it does not rust in the same way. You can try: 

  • Putting an extra layer of cooking oil on your griddle will help repel water.
  • Keep your grill in a cool, dry place.
  • Use a griddle cover to cover your griddle.
  • Keep close tabs on your griddle to ensure it isn’t rusting. You don’t want it to rust without you knowing.

Final Thoughts

This article should have taught you why it’s ill-advised to cook repeatedly on a rusty griddle, why it’s safe to eat off a griddle in small amounts, how you can get the rust off your griddle, and what you should do with a rusty griddle.