The Best Waffle Makers – Consumer Reports
Nothing makes a Sunday morning more awesome than a crunchy, crispy, fluffy waffle. Waffles are splendidly versatile; eat them sweet or savory, for breakfast, brunch, dinner, or even a cheeky snack. Whatever takes your fancy!
Waffles have been around for ages when they were cooked over a fire using two metal plates. The most famous waffles are associated with Belgium, where it is a popular street food dusted with icing sugar; they are prominent in the U.S and around the world and are served by large food chains. If you wish to recreate restaurant-style crispy, juicy waffles at home, you need a waffle maker.
A waffle maker bakes batter into a crispy pancake with grooves called a waffle. A waffle maker typically consists of 2 hinged metal plates molded to create the honeycomb patterns. The plates are then heated to compress and cook the batter and leave them indented with pockets filled with toppings.
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Waffle makers are compact, easy to use, allowing you to whip up as many as you like without tiring.
What else can you make with a Waffle Maker?
Waffle makers are versatile and nifty appliances that can churn out many dishes besides delightful waffles. A waffle maker is a mini grill, panini press, and sandwich toaster rolled into one; you can use some advanced models to grill cheese sandwiches, cook crispy hash browns French toast sticks, reheat pizza slices and quesadillas. Use it to get crispy hash browns, reheat leftover pizza, and even cook omelets. The possibilities are seemingly endless.
Types of Waffle Makers
Waffle Makers are available in a wide variety of models in the market, from thin and crispy classic waffle to fluffy Belgian waffle or flip-style to mini heart-shaped waffle makers for kids. Since most waffle makers can generally cook only one style, it would be ideal to zero in your favorite before purchasing.
Classic Waffle Makers: Classic waffle, also known as American waffles, are usually between 5 and 7 inches.
These waffle makers tend to have thinner plates, that yield delicate waffles that are crispy throughout. Classic waffles generally have deep pockets and tend to have an even texture. Standard waffle makers often cook several waffles simultaneously, creating clear divisions between multiple waffles for easy cutting. The plates also make more pockets per square inch that are smaller and shallower.
Belgian Waffle Makers: Belgian Waffle makers are thicker than their standard counterparts. These waffles are typically circular and require a time-intensive recipe to create. Belgian Waffles are crispy on the outside, moist on the inside, and distinguished by their larger squares and deep pockets that can be filled with butter, jam, cheese, syrup, or other toppings you crave. Belgian Waffles can also be cooked on a rotating waffle maker, as it allows even distribution of batter.
Flip or Rotating Waffle Makers: These appliances can typically make two waffles in one go. Flip waffle makers allow even cooking and equal batter distribution, making waffles crispy on the outside yet fluffy in the middle. These waffle makers are typically raised off the counter and come with a handle to twist and flip the waffle maker 180 degrees.
Rotating waffle makers follow a similar concept, except that they are rotated 180 degrees instead of flipped. Ensure that the flip-style maker seals are always shut completely. Otherwise, a recipe may end up everywhere.
Cast Iron Waffle Makers: Cast Iron Waffle makers, also known as irons, allowing you to pour the batter in and directly heat over the stovetop or fire. Cast iron plates are highly conducive and spread heat evenly and give golden, crispy waffles in a matter of minutes.
These makers have been around for a long time and are especially popular for cooking waffles outdoors.
Multi-Use Waffle Makers: Some waffle makers are equipped with removable or interchangeable cooking plates that give you an option to use the waffle maker as a grill or a griddle as well. This allows you to do more with a single piece of equipment. Because of their multifunctionality, they are kitchen favorites.
Buyer’s Guide – Things to Consider While Purchasing a Waffle Maker
Waffle Makers are available in a selection of styles, designs, and features, with several options available for each budget and taste.
Number of Waffles
A waffle maker can cook only a specified amount of waffles at once. Some of these appliances can make one large waffle that can be cut into quarters and shared, excellent for families or dinner party puddings. Evaluate the amount of waffle you are generally going to cook and select a model accordingly. It will not make sense if you need to make breakfast for six while your waffle maker can only dish out one or two waffles at once.
Quality of Construction
A Waffle maker made from flimsy materials will not be durable. Consider a waffle maker made from quality and sturdy material to last longer.
Even Cooking Capacity
A waffle maker should cook the batter evenly and effectively. Ensure that the waffle you select cooks evenly to get a consistently light and airy center with a crisp and golden edge all over without hot and cold spots. Low-end waffle irons will cook the waffle more in the middle than on the outside edges while some are plagued by hot-spots. The device should also effectively release steam, so you don’t end up with a soggy waffle.
Indicator lights and sounds
Your waffle will not cook properly if the waffle maker is not sufficiently heated when the batter is poured in. Consider a waffle maker with an audio and visual indication that alerts the user when it’s the desired level of heat to cook waffles, ready to cook another batch, or when your waffles are finished cooking. A model that chimes allows you to step away instead of hovering nervously over the machine. If your waffle maker does not have these indicators, a good rule of thumb is to monitor the steam output when the waffle is cooked; when the appliance stops releasing steam, it means the batter is nearly cooked through.
Ease of Storage
Since a waffle maker is a single-purpose cooking item, you probably won’t be using every day; hence select a model that will suit your storage space and needs. Some waffle makers are equipped with a locking mechanism to easily and securely tuck them away vertically or horizontally. Some models are fitted with cord winders or built-in cord storage to avoid annoying tangles. Measure your shelf space before making a purchase to ensure that it fits comfortably.
Waffle makers vary widely in the amount of time they take to get heated and cook waffles. Some waffle makers need to be reheated before cooking another batch, while others allow for continuous cooking. A good quality waffle maker should consistently and evenly cook the batter and make waffles golden brown and crisp on both sides in around 5-6 minutes. If you generally cook for a large family, consider a waffle maker that churns out multiple waffles at once or allow continuous cooking.
Easy to clean
Non-stick plates help waffles slide out in one piece out of the waffle maker, reducing the hassle involved, and minimize the amount of oil used, giving you a healthier way to enjoy breakfast. Non-stick plates can be simply wiped clean with a damp cloth once the machine has cooled. You can also consider a model with removable dishwasher safe plates for added convenience.
Waffle makers can cost anywhere between $40 to over $200 depending on the build quality and features. However, buying a budget model does not mean it will be any less efficient; it will churn out crispy golden waffles without any bells and whistles.
Size of the Waffle Maker
Waffle maker sizes vary significantly, with few models resembling round dinner plates. In contrast, some models are large enough to take the place of standalone vacuum cleaners. Typically, smaller-capacity appliances preheat and cook faster than the bigger ones. Consider the storage space in your kitchen and the frequency and number of waffles you plan to cook before narrowing down your choices.
Some folks, especially kids, are particular about waffle shapes, while others hardly bother until they get the crispy golden-brown delicious waffles. Standard waffle makers typically produce square waffles and round waffles. But a large number of manufacturers make triangular, heart-shaped, or other uniquely shaped waffles.
A non-stick surface cannot prevent batter spillage that does messier cooking. One way of minimizing the risks of ending up with the batter splattered all around your kitchen is by buying a maker with a built-in drip tray. Drip trays reduce the amount of batter spillage and concurrently keep the kitchen clean after cooking.
Make sure your iron comes with a heat-resistant handle that always stays cool to the touch to prevent burns during operation.
Best Waffle Makers – Reviews
1. Presto 03510 Ceramic FlipSide Belgian Waffle Maker
The Presto 3510 features a professional-style rotating Design with an extra-thick grid that can make a 7-inch diameter Belgian waffle with four easy-to-cut sections. The device comes with a unique 180 degrees design to spread the batter evenly and make waffles that are crispy outside and tender inside. The ceramic coated plates are deeper and slightly wider than traditional models.
The Presto 03510 boasts a brushed stainless-steel exterior, and its dual function base ensures convenient rotation for baking. The appliance can be locked in a space-saving vertical position for storage. The machine can cook a waffle in 4 minutes on average and adjusted as per your liking. The Waffle maker also comes with a countdown timer (needs battery) with digital display signals when time is complete so that you don’t have to hover around the machine at the risk of burning the waffles. The device is easy to clean with the ceramic non-stick interior that can be wiped with a cloth.
- Easy to Clean
- Convenient Storage
- Light and sound indicator
- Ceramic Coated Waffle Plates
- Durable Construction
- Timer requires battery
- Can become too hot to touch while baking
Why Buy: The Presto FlipSide Belgian Waffle Maker is affordable and reliable and can be counted on to consistently churn out well-browned, tender, and crispy round Belgian. Featuring a stainless-steel body, the waffle maker also includes a countdown timer, generally not available in this price range.
2. Cuisinart WAF-F10 Maker Waffle
The Cuisinart WAF-F10 can dish out extra-deep 1-inch restaurant-style Belgian waffles. The waffle maker features a 6-setting browning control knob that ensures your waffles are cooked perfectly and taste exactly how you want them seamlessly. The machine comes with non-stick coated waffle grids that easily release waffles and make cleaning effortless.
Made from Brushed stainless-steel housing with a black base, the Cuisinart WAF-F10 features an easy-to-handle rotary that flips waffles 180 degrees to ensure even cooking on top and bottom. The Blue LED lights and audio beep tones indicate when the unit is ready to cook and when waffles are done, removing the guesswork out of your cooking. The waffle maker includes a measuring cup and handles folds for easy storage. The Cuisinart WAF-F10 comes with a limited one-year warranty.
- Extra deep waffle pockets
- Visual and Audible Indicators
- 180 degrees rotation
- Sturdy construction
- easy to use and clean
- Weak Hinge
Why Buy: Cuisinart WAF-F10 makes Restaurant style extra-thick Belgian waffles at the comfort of your home. The machine is easy to use with non-stick coating allows sliding waffles a breeze, and it can be easily wiped with a damp cloth.
3. Euro Cuisine WM520 Eco-Friendly Heart Shaped Waffle Maker
The Euro Cuisine WM520 can bake thin and authentic Scandinavian style five heart-shaped waffles at a time. While each heart shape waffle is small on its own, it measures 8-inch waffles if left intact. The waffle maker features non-stick ceramic coating plates that are PFOA and PTFE free. The machine is designed with built-in power and ready indicator lights and includes a cool-touch handle for safe and easy operation.
Euro Cuisine WM520 features adjustable temperature control allows you to choose multiple heat settings for light to dark browning to suit your taste. To preheat, turn the temperature control knob to “Max,” that will close the ready light. Once the ready light turns again, the machine is ready to cook. The device comes with a 3-year limited manufacturer warranty and includes a recipe book.
- Eco friendly
- Adjustable temperature control
- Easy to Clean
- Long warranty
- Wide Drip Rims
- Plates cannot be removed
- Some users have complained about unevenly cooked waffles.
Why Buy: The Euro Cuisine WM520 Eco-Friendly Heart Shaped Waffle Maker combines sturdy construction, state of the art functionality, and advanced safety features. If your or kids love heart-shaped waffles, this is worth serious consideration.
4. Secura Upgrade Automatic 360 Rotating Non-Stick Belgian Waffle Maker
Create Deep-pocket Belgian waffles with the Secura Automatic Belgian Waffle Maker. This waffle iron comes with deep ridges, helping you make thicker Belgium waffles with the fluffiest insides. Moreover, the 360 degrees rotating helps spread the better evenly, ensuring consistently cooked waffles every time.
The Secura Automatic Belgian Waffle Maker features “Cool touch” Handles for safe and easy turning, and a unique “locking clip” design ensures even distribution of waffle batter and less leakage. The device comes with Power-on & ready-to-cook” light indicators so that you will know precisely when the machine is hot and ready to cook. The machine also features non-stick coating on the removable plates for fast and easy clean-up. Push a button, and the non-stick waffle plates come right off of the base. The base unit and handle are also easy to disassemble & reassemble for easy clean-up. The Secura Waffle Maker comes with a 2-year manufacturer’s limited warranty.
- 360 degrees rotation for even cooking
- Easy Storage
- Non-stick removable plates
- Deep Pockets
- No sound indicator
Why Buy: Featuring deep pockets and 360-degree rotation, the Secura Upgrade Non-Stick Belgian Waffle Maker is a delight for Waffle connoisseurs.
5. Holstein Housewares HH-09125016B Personal Non-Stick Waffle Maker
The Holstein Housewares personal waffle maker cooks 4 inches waffle, perfect for younger kids or 1-2 people. The machine is capable of cooking single-serving waffles, hash browns, brownies, pizza waffles, small paninis, and more. Its compact design and built-in cord storage make it easier to store in tight spaces, perfect for small kitchens, dorms, and RV’s.
Featuring non-stick coating, the Holstein Housewares Waffle maker is straightforward to clean, just wipe it with a damp cloth, and you are good to go. The device comes with indicator light lets you know when the waffle maker is ready to cook. As per the manual, the maker takes around 7 minutes to cook waffles.
- Stainless steel upper housing
- Non-stick coating
- Cool-touch handle
- Vertical space-saving storage
- Easy to clean
- Small size
- Long time to heat up
Why Buy: The compact and portable Holstein Housewares Non-Stick Waffle Maker is an ideal choice if you like to make waffles or kids or to follow a diet plan. Its ability to cook hash browns, chaffless and other things makes it an ideal choice for small kitchens or travels on RVs.
Care and Maintenance Tips
Waffle Makers generally recommend oiling the appliance’s grids with a paper towel or spray before using it for the first time. Discard the first waffle batch (not each time, just the very first) as it may have absorbed some unpleasant oiliness.
Tongs with silicone or nylon heads make removing hot waffles without burning yourself easier. You can also use a wooden chopstick to get the waffles out, as it can get it under there. Chopsticks are also useful for scraping out burned bits. Avoid using metal to remove waffles as it may scratch the non-stick surface as it may cause the batter to stick and make clean-up more difficult.
Never use steel wool or scouring pads, sharp knives, or abrasives on the units.
Don’t use cooking sprays for cooking waffles as they add a sticky layer on the inside that is difficult to remove.
You can use a glass cleaner to polish the outside of the waffle maker. Use a soft toothbrush to remove stuck-on crumbs.
Go ahead and get a waffle maker to treat your kids, friends (and yourself) to delicious enjoyment right at the comfort of your home. Happy waffle-ing!