Types of Waffle Irons
American Waffle Makers
American-style waffle irons are used to make traditional waffles, which are thin and crispy with relatively shallow pockets. This means they cook fairly quickly, too. The savory batter used for this type of waffle makes it particularly well-suited to making special shapes like hearts, or for use in place of bread for things like breakfast sandwiches.
Belgian Waffle Makers
Introduced in North American in 1962, Belgian waffles usually use a yeasted batter that results in a waffle that rises, making them thicker and softer than American waffles -- although they should still be crispy on the outside. They're larger too, which is why they need a different type of waffle maker than traditional, American-style waffles. The deeper pockets on Belgian waffles are great for holding toppings like syrup, whipped cream or fruit.
Stovetop Waffle Makers
Although stovetop waffle makers are a little harder to use than electric because you have to regulate the waffle iron's temperature and cooking time, they're also more versatile. They can be used for tailgating, camping trips, or during a power outage (if you have a gas stove). Stovetop waffle irons are usually much smaller and thinner than countertop models, too; so they're the ideal choice for small kitchens with limited storage, camping or tailgating, off-the-grid living, or anyone who enjoys the challenge of learning to create the perfect waffle by hand.
The right batter + waffle iron = waffle bliss
nothing like the taste of a crispy, golden-brown waffle straight from your own
waffle iron, but the key is a combination of a good waffle maker and good
batter. A substandard waffle maker or poor batter will make even the most
generic frozen waffle look good.
waffle makers run on electricity and can be adjusted to produce lighter or
darker waffles. Many, but not all, have indicator lights and audible beeps to
cue you through the preheating, battering and cooking stages. Even more
important, the waffle maker should maintain consistent, even heat to make sure
your waffle isn't overcooked on the outside and mushy on the inside, or cooked
in some places but not in others.
waffle is done, it should release cleanly from the waffle maker's grids. Most
waffle irons come with a non-stick coating to make this easier, but even with
the best non-stick waffle iron you'll get better results if you apply a bit of
cooking oil or spray before adding the batter.
non-stick coating and oil combo not only results in pretty waffles on your
plate, it also means cleanup is a snap because you won't have to scrub bits of
stuck waffle out of the grids. Some electric waffle makers have removable
plates that can be tossed in the sink or dishwasher. If you're dealing with an
electric waffle maker that doesn't have removable grids, you can't dunk the
whole thing for a good cleaning -- so a soft-bristle toothbrush or damp rag are
your best cleaning options.
aware that if you're getting so-so results from a waffle maker that usually
draws rave reviews, the problem might be your batter instead of the machine.
Users who substitute pancake batter for waffle batter quickly find out that
there is, indeed, a difference between the two. Pancake batter in a waffle iron
generally produces a heavy, dense mess that'll stick to the waffle iron like
glue, and users warn that some "waffle recipes" found on the back of
pancake mix boxes don't do much better. If you're into creative pancake making,
you'll do better cooking them on a stovetop skillet or electric skillet, both of which we cover
in separate reports.
Finding The Best Waffle Irons
"The 3 Best Waffle Makers, Ever (According to Our BA Test Kitchen)"
"Waffle Makers That Make Your Morning"
"Electric Waffle Makers"
a popular breakfast (or anytime) food, and waffle irons are popular with expert
testers and test kitchens as well. We found plenty of excellent, comparative
tests of waffle makers at Cook's Illustrated, Wirecutter, Bon Appetit, Consumer Reports, Your Best Digs and Top Ten
Reviews, among others.
though, with any kitchen appliance, user reviews are king because they tell how
the appliance does under real-world conditions with a real person at the helm
-- and how long they hold up under that real-world use. Combining all those
terrific resources with our own kitchen experience led us to our
recommendations for the waffle irons that are easiest to use and clean, and, of
course, make a perfect waffle.
The best waffle irons
comes to making American-style waffles there's no question: the (Est. $30) is the
winner by a landslide, drawing hundreds of enthusiastic user reviews and kudos
from experts like Your Best Digs, Wirecutter and Good Housekeeping. The
Cuisinart waffle iron turns out one waffle at a time, with five doneness
settings to choose from and indicator lights that tell you when it's ready for
batter and when the waffle is done.
Cuisinart WMR-CA has been a budget pick at Wirecutter for multiple years.
"It truly excels at making consistently thin, crunchy waffles," write
the Wirecutter editors. They say that a bit of uneven browning they noticed in
their test (there's a darker brown patch on the center) is just aesthetic and
doesn't affect the waffle's crispness or taste. It's also a top pick from Your
the Cuisinart Round Classic's performance too, saying they're happy to finally
find a good waffle maker that makes something other than Belgian waffles. In
fact, this little machine took almost a third of the survey vote in a poll from
Lifehacker. Users say that it takes two to three minutes per waffle and that as
long as you wait for the waffle iron to preheat and apply a little cooking oil
to it before adding batter, you'll never have issues with waffles sticking.
There is a grooved "spillover" reservoir around the waffle grid; any
excess batter gets funneled here and it also cooks, essentially making a bigger
waffle. It can't hold much, though, so be careful how much batter you add.
Cuisinart Round Classic Waffle Maker also has a non-stick coating (although
you'll want to apply a little cooking oil beforehand for best results), and
it's small enough to take up very little space, especially when stored on its
edge. Watch your fingers, though: testers for Wirecutter and Your Best Digs
warn that steam sometimes vents onto the handle when you open the lid, making
it hot to the touch. Users who encounter this issue solve it by putting
something heavy on top of the waffle maker's lid to keep it shut as the waffle
cooks, which in turn stops the steam from escaping; or you could just wear an
oven mitt when you open it.
Cuisinart is undoubtedly a top performer at a great price point, it does only
cook one waffle at a time, and the Wirecutter editors point out that it's not
as sturdily built as some of the competition -- a point echoed by many users.
That may make this waffle iron best for either small groups or occasional
waffle-making. That said, Cuisinart offers a three-year warranty -- right up
there with some pro-level appliances that cost six times as much. The Cuisinart
WMR-CA is also versatile, with users saying it's even great for making foods
like hash browns, bacon and potato cakes.
electric waffle irons, the Cuisinart WMR-CA waffle maker isn't meant to be
submerged, and the waffle plates are built right into the machine, so you can't
remove them for a good scrubbing. Surprisingly, removable plates are relatively
rare, especially in the American/traditional waffle maker category. But the (Est. $40)
has them, which makes it very convenient to use. Not only do the non-stick
waffle plates pop out for easy cleaning, they also have a completely flat reverse
side (also non-stick). Flip the plates to their flat side and open the G48TD's
lid all the way, and you have yourself a mini griddle for cooking things like
pancakes and bacon; or close the "floating" hinged lid and use it to
and Decker G48TD earns a nod from the lifestyle website Groom and Style, and
many positive reviews from users who like that it can make four waffles at a
time -- a plus for larger families, although you'll get more even browning if
you let the heating plates warm back up for a minute or two between uses. Of
course, that four-waffle capacity means this waffle iron has a larger footprint
that single-waffle irons, and you can't stand it on end to save storage space.
But most say they're more than willing to give up some counter space to this
appliance and a little bit of control over the final waffle color in exchange
for its versatility and the ability to give it a thorough cleaning.
quite a few users say that this waffle maker isn't as sturdily built as
previous versions of the same model, and that if you don't get the top heating
plate aligned just right, it can fall off -- an injury hazard if the plate is
hot. The top of the G48TD also gets very hot. Some use pliers to bend the metal
clips that hold the heating plates in place, which helps them line up better --
or you can just use an oven mitt to protect your hands.
willing to pay for a classic waffle maker that doesn't require much fiddling,
also consider the (Est. $130), which draws praise from Good
Housekeeping, Top Ten Reviews and Groom and Style for making one perfect waffle
after another. "No fancy features here -- just perfectly crisp, buttery
waffles, batch after batch," writes Betty Gold for Good Housekeeping.
almost universally positive in their praise for this waffle maker's ability to
turn out consistently beautiful and golden waffles, with a perfectly crispy
exterior. This consistency is helped by the All-Clad's unique design -- steam
is released through a vent in the top of the unit instead of building up under
the lid, which cuts down on soggy waffles.
downside, many users report that the locks on the sides of this unit get hot
and it's a bit slow to preheat, at about 6 minutes. If you're patient enough to
let the All-Clad 99012GT preheat first, though, it only takes about three
minutes to cook each waffle, and the seven-setting browning dial gives you
great control over the results.