Waffle Makers: The Basics
Having a waffle maker in your cabinet means you can have waffles any time you want, regardless of the day or hour. Sure, these crispy carbs are staples of weekend brunches, but sometimes you'd rather just eat at home. Jump into the wild world of waffle making with our buying guide below, and see why having one of these appliances on hand is worth it. Then when you're ready to buy, check out all of our waffle maker deals!
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Kinds of Waffle Irons
- Classic round
- Flip waffle maker
The Best Waffle Irons
Wirecutter named Belgian and heart-shaped models by Chef'sChoice as their top picks.
Consumer Reports preferred more expensive brands like Breville and Calphalon, though it also had a budget pick from Chefman.
The Best Cheap Waffle Maker Brands
You can shop a number of affordable waffle maker brands that also have recognizable names. Here are some of the most well-known ones:
Cheap Waffle Maker Prices
You can find cheap waffle makers for as little as $10, and easily pay up to $50. Many well-known brands have models that fall into this category, such as Oster, Bella, Hamilton Beach, Cuisinart, Black + Decker, and Farberware.
The Pros and Cons of Cheap Waffle Makers
- Less of an investment
- Usually have a nonstick surface
- Can typically make large waffles to handle family meals
- May lack features such as temperature control, or sounds and lights to indicate when waffles are done
- May run hotter than other units
- May be bulkier than higher-end models
- With smaller capacities like one 7" or 8" waffle at a time, it could take longer to make waffles for a crowd
Features to Look for in a Cheap Waffle Iron
Here are some of the features to look for in a cheap waffle maker to ensure your purchase is worth it.
Removable plates: These will make the cleanup process easier.
Adjustable temperature control: This is especially important if you'll be making waffles for multiple people with different preferences.
Cooking area: If you're going to be cooking for two people every weekend, you can probably get away with a simple waffle maker with a 6" cooking space. However, if you're going to be cooking for a family of four, or entertaining with a DIY waffle bar for brunch, it pays to invest in a waffle maker that will cook at least two waffles at a time.
Storage area: Sure, a Belgian waffle maker that can cook four waffles at a time sounds like a great investment, but where will you store it? If you're in a small apartment or your kitchen space is limited, be sure to take into account how you'll store the waffle maker between uses.
Ready indicator: Whether it's a light or a beep, a ready indicator is handy for knowing when the machine is hot enough to add batter, as well as when your waffle is done.
Flipping capabilities: Especially handy for Belgian waffle makers, these allegedly ensure more even cooking, as batter is mixed when you flip the maker. A good one means you'll end up with the perfect waffle: crispy on the outside, and light and fluffy on the inside.
Benefits of Owning a Waffle Maker
Customizable: You can add any kinds of mix-ins you want and make whatever types of waffles you like, whether they be regular, buckwheat, or gluten-free.
Healthier: When you make your own waffles, you can rest easy, as you'll know the ingredient list in its entirety. That means you can avoid fillers or unhealthy ingredients.
Versatile: Waffle makers are capable of making other foods besides waffles. Hacks abound online for making everything from cinnamon rolls and omelettes to quesadillas , hash browns , grilled cheese , and even bacon .
How to Get Crispy Waffles
- Incorporate stiff whipped egg whites into your batter. This will keep your batter light and fluffy, and make waffles more likely to turn out crispy.
- Use cornstarch in your batter. Cornstarch helps prevent waffles from becoming soggy due to steam when cooking in the waffle maker.
- Make sure your waffle maker is hot. This will ensure the batter crisps up when you add it, rather than steaming slowly, which can lead to soggy waffles.
- Add an extra dash of sugar to your batter. This will encourage caramelization on your waffles, which will ensure a crispy exterior.
How to Keep Waffles From Sticking
- Make sure the heat is high enough. If it's not, your waffles might still be raw in the middle, and then separate when you open the maker.
- Skip the nonstick spray. Yes, it can be useful, but it can also build up residue on your waffle maker and do the exact opposite of what it's supposed to.
- Grease the waffle maker. Even if you have a high-fat batter and the surface is nonstick, it helps to use a little cooking oil or other fat to make sure waffles won't stick.
Other Things to Make in a Cheap Waffle Maker
Waffle makers are so versatile these days that blogs and books have spawned with ideas on how to make everything from cookies to pizzas . Most models are capable of making other things besides tasty breakfast carbs. Hacks abound online of people making everything from cinnamon rolls and omelettes to quesadillas , hash browns , grilled cheese , and even bacon .
Waffle Iron Care and Maintenance
- Allow the waffle maker to cool mostly but not completely, then use a damp cloth to wipe away crumbs and oil.
- Wipe down the exterior of the waffle maker with a damp cloth.
- Clean the oil from the grid plates.
- If batter has stuck on, dab on a little cooking oil and allow it to sit long enough to soften the pieces. Then wipe away with a damp cloth.
- If you have removable plates, treat those as you would any other nonstick cookware and wash gently in warm, soapy water.
Check out other care tips from The Spruce Eats .
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best waffle iron?
It depends on what you're looking for. Wirecutter recommends picks from Cuisinart and Krups for those on a budget, but Chef'sChoice models take their top spot.
What is the difference between a Belgian waffle and a regular waffle?
In general, Belgian waffles are known for having bigger and deeper pockets, perfect for filling with your favorite waffle toppings. Traditional Belgian waffles are typically made from yeasted batter, but many recipes online call for ingredients like whipped egg whites and cornstarch. Regular (or American) waffles tend to be smaller, thinner, and cook up faster.
What should I look for in a waffle iron?
No matter what size or shape you want, it's important to make sure your waffle maker has a nonstick surface, as it'll make cooking and cleaning much easier. Other features, like indicator lights and temperature control, are nice perks, but not completely necessary.
What is the best waffle maker for home use?
It'll depend on how many people you're cooking for, but Wirecutter recommends models by Chef'sChoice, Cuisinart, and Krups.
Can you use PAM on a waffle iron?
While you can use PAM and other nonstick sprays on a waffle maker, it's generally not advised. Often these sprays can build up over time, and actually cause waffles to stick rather than have an easy release.
Why do waffle makers need to flip?
Waffle makers that flip are said to produce more even cooking, because flipping during the cooking process allows the batter to be mixed on the appliance itself. This should result in a waffle that is evenly browned, crispy on the outside, and light and fluffy on the inside.
Are waffle makers that flip better?
These waffle makers definitely have their perks, but they also tend to take up more room than other waffle makers that don't flip. They're especially good for people who enjoy Belgian waffles, and if you have both the counter and storage space to accommodate owning one, they can be worth it.
Julie joined DealNews in 2015. Her work has been featured on MSN, Business Insider, Lifehacker, The Motley Fool, GoBankingRates, and Moneyish.