Frothy, Light, Crunchy: Your Best Guide to the Perfect Waffle Maker

Image credit: Cuisinart

Whether you like your waffles doused in maple syrup, sprinkled with powdered sugar, piled high with freshly sliced strawberries, or slathered with chocolate sauce and ice cream, waffles for breakfast are a special treat. And when you have your own waffle maker, you can pamper yourself with this treat any day of the week.

Choosing a waffle maker can be a bit confusing. However, there are a lot of waffle makers in the market today, and some offer a host of features while others are quite simple. To complicate matters even more, you’ll encounter waffle makers for different types of waffles. A waffle maker gives you the opportunity to make tasty waffles in a variety of shapes and sizes. This shopping guide is here to help you find the best waffle maker for your breakfast needs.

Buying a Waffle Maker

Soft, crunchy waffles—soft on the inside, yet perfectly golden on the outside with the slightest crunch. What could be more delicious on a leisurely Saturday morning with nothing ahead but a whole weekend off?

While we can’t help you decide which type of waffle you like best—that’s up to you—we can help you choose a waffle maker that will turn out delicious, perfectly cooked waffles each and every time you use it.  

If you just want to buy a waffle maker and get cooking, check out the three recommendations in the matrix above. All are excellent products that will make your breakfast table proud. If you’d like to learn more about waffle makers and waffles in general, however, read on. Up ahead: breakfast worth getting out of bed for.

What does a Waffle Maker do?

A waffle maker is kitchen appliance that bakes batter into a chewy/crispy pancake with grooves, which is called a waffle. The batter is compressed between two heated plates. The plates cook the batter and leave them indented with pockets to be filled with whatever toppings the cook prefers. Waffle makers are easy to use, allowing a cook to whip up as many as he or she would like without tiring. Waffle makers vary in several different ways.

What are the different types of Waffle Makers?

  • Standard Waffle Makers: Standard waffle makers create waffles that are usually between 5 and 7 inches across. The pockets are not very deep and the waffles tend to be an even texture all the way through. Standard waffle makers often cook several waffles at a time, creating clear divisions between multiple waffles for easy cutting.
  • Belgian Waffle Makers: Belgian waffles are thicker than their standard counterparts, but they tend to be the same size across. Belgian waffles are often circular and require a more time-intensive recipe to create. These waffles are crispy on the outside, moist on the inside, and can be easily recognized by their deep pockets.
  • Flip/Rotating Waffle Makers: Some waffle makers come with a clamshell shaped cooking device. This offers users the option to cook two waffles at once. Simply fill the top portion of the clamshell with batter, close the lid, and flip it 180 degrees to access the other side. Cooking waffles this way allows for even cooking on both sides. Rotating waffle makers have basically the same design, except that instead of flipping them 180 degrees, they’re rotated.
  • Multi-Use Waffle Makers: Some waffles makers come with removable and or interchangeable cooking plates. These devices will have other plates included, allowing you to use the appliance as a grill or a griddle along with being able to make waffles. This gives you the option to do more with a single piece of equipment. These are so multi-functional! Imagine being able to cook waffles, pancakes, paninis, sandwiches, and eggs all on the same device, sometimes at the same time!
  • Cast Iron Waffle Makers/Irons: These are metal waffle makers that you pour the batter in and then directly heat over the stove top or over a fire. These can be a hit if you’re camping or if you’re being especially careful with how you cook your food. Some people are hesitant to eat from non-stick cookware and prefer to eat from cast iron pans. To get an idea of what this looks like, see below!

What are the Features to Consider?

You might think waffles are too much trouble to make at home. Perhaps you remember the stovetop waffle irons of long ago that required close, careful monitoring. But you’ll be glad to know that today’s electric waffle makers are easy to use and complete with indicators and timers that take the guesswork out of producing delicious waffles every time.

  • Waffle Thickness

The thickness of your waffle comes down to personal preference. If you want thicker waffles, select a Belgian waffle maker. If you want thinner waffles, select an American waffle maker. Just check the product’s descriptive copy on the box to determine the waffle thickness it produces.

  • Waffle Shape

Waffle irons come in different shapes, most notably square or round; although, there are also specialty shapes that allow you to make waffles in the shape of a heart, a flower, or even Mickey Mouse. The shape you choose comes down to preference, though some cooks claim that round waffle irons heat up faster and more evenly.

  • Waffle Size

Waffle makers offer the beloved breakfast food in a range of sizes. There are waffle makers that produce one large waffle, and there are waffle makers that cook two to four smaller waffles simultaneously. Most multi-waffle makers produce deeper lines so you can easily divide the waffle into smaller pieces.

Some waffle makers include switchable plates that let you vary the size of waffles produced. If you are cooking for a family, a larger waffle iron will get breakfast on the table faster.

  • Even Heat Distribution

This is an important quality in a waffle maker. A good machine heats the batter evenly to produce an evenly cooked breakfast treat.

  • Multi-functionality

If you want a waffle maker that does more than just make waffles, look for a model that switches out the waffle plates for flat plates suitable for heating sandwiches, paninis, or French toast.

  • Temperature Control

Similar to a toaster, many waffle irons have a temperature setting that lets you determine how brown and crispy your waffle will be.

  • Preheat Indicator

For perfect waffles, it helps to preheat the iron to just the right temperature before pouring the batter inside. A preheat indicator can assist with this. The indicator sounds a buzzer or flashes a light when the waffle iron comes to temperature.

  • Baking Complete Indicator

To avoid any confusion, this handy feature lets you know when the waffle is ready.

  • Countdown Timer

A countdown timer lets you know exactly how much time remains before you can start enjoying your breakfast.

  • Nonstick Coating

Pretty much every waffle iron sold today has a nonstick coating, which makes cleanup a breeze.

  • Removable Plates

If you’re interested in a simple clean-up process, look for a waffle maker with removable plates. It’s easier to wash the waffle plates when you can remove them from the waffle maker.

  • Flip-Over Feature

“Flip-over” waffle makers allow you to flip the unit over halfway through the cooking process, thereby enabling even heating and batter distribution.

  • No-Drip Channels

If you dread the thought of waffle-batter drips on your kitchen counter, choose a waffle maker with no-drip channels. The channels will catch the batter before it leaks.

  • Cool-Touch Handle

A waffle maker with a cool-touch handle is easier to operate. The stay-cool handle material safeguards your fingers from a burn while cooking breakfast. If you have young children in your home, this is a particularly valuable feature.

  • Lid Lock

This clamp keeps the waffle maker from opening as the waffles rise during cooking, or while the waffle iron is being flipped.

  • Easy Storage

Most waffle irons are stashed in a cabinet when not in use. A machine with easy-storage features makes life a bit easier. Look for a waffle maker with a wrap-around cord and a lock that keeps the iron closed when it’s stored on its side.

  • Appearance

If you want a waffle iron that looks attractive enough to stay out on the countertop, stainless steel is a good choice.

  • Price

Generally, you can expect to pay between N7,000 and N15,000 for an electric waffle maker.

Brands to Consider

Cast Iron

There are many brands of waffle makers in the market today, but a few companies rise above the rest as makers of quality products. Here are some brands to consider:

  • Black and Decker: For a variety of different types of waffle makers, Black and Decker is the place to look. You’ll find innovative new uses of these appliances and some multi-use irons that can double as griddles and grills.
  • Cuisinart: Waffle makers by Cuisinart are perfect for those with large families or those who aren’t sure if they will use one too often. These waffle makers often make four or six waffles at a time at an affordable price.
  • Masterchef: If you prefer bubble waffles, try Masterchef Bubble Waffle Maker. They offer electric nonstick waffler iron griddle that makes your waffles ready to eat in under 5 Minutes. The waffle maker lets you create Hong Kong style bubble waffles in minutes.  
  • Waring: Waring makes high quality waffle makers that are similar to what you might see in a restaurant or hotel buffet. The waffles they make come out perfectly: crispy on the outside and moist on the inside.
  • Hamilton Beach: Hamilton Beach is a longtime producer of waffle makers and other quality kitchen appliances.
  • Oster: Believe it or not, Oster currently has the number 1 best-selling Waffle Maker on Amazon right now!
  • In Nigeria, you will find brands such as Kenwood, Binatone and others. These brands are sometimes called sandwich and paninis makers. These brands are equally good.

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