When drizzled with maple syrup and slathered with butter, waffles can be a delicious, indulgent breakfast—and you don’t have to go to a fancy brunch spot to enjoy them. You can easily make perfect waffles at home, as long as you have the right waffle maker.
For many people, the ideal waffle is light and fluffy on the inside, and crisp and golden brown on the outside. The best waffle makers produce consistent results and are compatible with different types of batter. Read on to learn more about what various high-quality models can do and how to choose the best waffle maker for your kitchen.
- BEST OVERALL: Cuisinart WMR-CA Round Classic Waffle Maker
- BEST HIGH-END: All-Clad Stainless Steel Classic Round Waffle Maker
- BEST WITH REMOVABLE PLATES: Hamilton Beach Flip Belgian Waffle Maker
- BEST MINI WAFFLE MAKER: Dash DMW001WH Mini waffle maker
- BEST FLIP WAFFLE MAKER: Presto 03510 Ceramic FlipSide Belgian Waffle Maker
- BEST FOR FAMILIES: Cuisinart Belgian Maker with Pancake Plates
- BEST MULTIPURPOSE: T-fal EZ Clean Nonstick Sandwich and Waffle Maker
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Waffle Maker
When shopping for a waffle maker, there are numerous key factors to consider. The following includes many of the most important qualities to keep in mind when you are looking for the best waffle maker for your kitchen.
Different households have different favorite kinds of waffles, and different cooks have different levels of skill in the kitchen. Fortunately, there are multiple types of waffle makers to match everyone’s personal needs. Here are some of the most popular kinds:
- Classic waffle makers produce slightly thinner, American-style waffles. They can have either square or round plates.
- Belgian waffle makers produce thicker, fluffier waffles. They generally have round plates with deep pockets to make waffles that are an inch or more thick. Because of their thickness, Belgian waffles tend to take slightly longer to cook.
- Flip models evenly heat the batter and ensure both sides are cooked consistently by flipping the device 180 degrees.
- Double waffle makers can make two waffles simultaneously.
- Vertical models are designed to prevent batter from leaking out.
- Multipurpose waffle makers have interchangeable plates for making pancakes or press paninis, in addition to waffles.
Number of Waffles
Waffle makers generally produce one, two, or four waffles at a time. While single-waffle presses are sufficient for smaller families, models that produce more are convenient for large families or those who frequently host brunches. Machines that produce a higher number of waffles are inevitably larger and may not be ideal for a smaller kitchen.
Traditionally, waffle irons were used on the stovetop and featured molded cast iron plates, requiring careful attention on the part of the cook to ensure the waffle didn’t burn. These days, most waffle makers are electric and feature lightweight plates that are made from nonstick materials.
Plate design varies depending on the waffle style the machine makes. Belgian waffle makers, for example, have plates with deeper wells, while classic waffle makers have plates with shallower wells. Heavier plates provide added pressure to ensure the batter is evenly distributed and promote even browning on both sides. Some models are designed to grill the waffle vertically in order to prevent batter from leaking out. Some multipurpose devices offer interchangeable plates, good for making pancakes or pressed sandwiches.
Waffles vary in thickness, depending on the cook’s preferred style. American waffles are crispier and thin enough to fit in a toaster, while Belgian-style waffles are fluffier and often an inch or more thick. Typically, the product description will indicate the thickness of the waffle it produces. Since waffle size is a matter of preference, be sure to choose a waffle maker to match the desired style of waffle.
A high-quality waffle maker usually has multiple browning settings so that it can produce both lightly browned and deep golden brown waffles. This is useful for families with a variety of waffle preferences, allowing everyone to enjoy a breakfast that’s made perfectly to their liking. It’s important to note that different recipes have different effects on the browning level.
Indicator Lights and Sounds
Almost all waffle makers have an alert for when the plates are preheated and when the waffle is done. Each model varies in how long it takes for the plates to heat up. Some use indicator lights while others give an auditory alert. An indicator light is usually sufficient, but models that make a beeping noise offer greater convenience because they don’t require keeping an eye on the machine while it preheats—creating an opportunity to brew coffee or tackle other kitchen tasks.
Waffle makers vary in how long they take to cook a waffle from start to finish. Some take as little as three minutes while others can take as long as 10. A digital timer is a handy feature that helps to ensure the waffles are cooked just right. Some models feature countdown timers with digital displays that show how much cooking time remains.
Ease of Cleaning
Cleaning a waffle maker can be a hassle, so it’s important that it is easily disassembled for quicker cleaning. Many models have nonstick surfaces and removable grill plates, which may or may not be dishwasher-safe, to simplify the cleanup process. If the waffle maker has nonstick plates, be sure to use only plastic or wooden utensils to remove the waffles, to avoid scratching the surface and damaging the nonstick coating. The exterior of most waffle makers can be wiped down with a damp cloth.
Our Top Picks
The following waffle-maker selections cover all of the features above, including style, grill surface, browning settings, ease of cleaning, and additional options. This list offers a variety of choices for a top-notch waffle maker to suit a range of needs and budget.
This Cuisinart waffle maker has a simple design, producing round, American-style waffles for those who prefer a slightly thinner version. It has a weighted lid to provide added pressure and ensure the waffles are evenly browned on both sides, without having to flip them. It has five settings of browning control to create a waffle to the taste of every member of the household.
It has easy-to-clean nonstick plates and a brushed, stainless steel exterior. It can be stored vertically and has a compact design, making it suitable for storage in most kitchens.
The All-Clad waffle maker produces evenly browned, crisp waffles, no matter what style of batter. It has seven browning settings, good for producing pale golden or deep brown waffles, depending on preference. It has a steam-release system to ensure the waffles are fluffy on the inside but don’t get soggy on the outside. It makes classic, round-shaped waffles that are half-an-inch thick with four easy-cut sections.
Red and green indicator lights, as well as sound alerts, alert the cook when the iron is preheated and when the waffle is done. It has nonstick plates and a stainless steel body, for an elegant, high-end look.
If ease of cleaning is a priority, then this model by Hamilton Beach may fit the bill. Its ceramic nonstick plates are removable and dishwasher-safe, as is the machine’s drip tray. It features adjustable browning control, and it flips to ensure even cooking.
Though this model is marketed as a Belgian waffle maker, the waffles it produces are on the slightly thinner side at just over ¾ inch. With its thickness between the standard Belgian-style and American-style, it’s a good choice for households with some classic waffle lovers and some who prefer thicker waffles.
This compact waffle maker is sized for a small kitchen or for those who don’t have the storage space for a standard-size waffle maker. It has a 4-inch cooking surface and weighs just 1 pound, so it’s also an appealing option for dorm rooms and RVs. The design is simple, with an indicator light for when it’s time to pour in the batter. It has nonstick plates that can be easily wiped clean.
Dash’s Mini Waffle Maker is available in a number of fun colors, and the brand makes models that produce waffles of varied shapes, such as hearts, pumpkins, skeletons, and pineapples. Also, its regular tiny waffles are just plain adorable.
The Presto Ceramic FlipSide Belgian Waffle Maker has a unique design: It flips from side to side using a hinge, rather than rotating. By flipping the waffle partway through cooking, it ensures that both sides are evenly browned. One of the additional features is a countdown timer with a digital display. It also locks into place vertically for easy storage.
The interior grill plates are made with a nonstick ceramic coating, and the exterior has a brushed, stainless steel finish. It makes thick, round waffles with a 7-inch diameter.
This Cuisinart waffle maker produces four Belgian waffles at a time, making it the perfect choice for larger families or those who entertain often. It’s also a multitasker, including interchangeable pancake plates. The nonstick plates are removable and dishwasher-safe, making cleanup a breeze. The six temperature control settings enable precise cooking. It has indicator lights for when it’s time to pour the batter and when it’s time to eat, which also are paired with auditory alerts.
It has a brushed, stainless steel finish, and comes with tongs and a recipe book.
Those with limited kitchen storage may have a hard time justifying the purchase of a single-use device like a waffle maker. This model from T-fal, however, can produce light and fluffy waffles, and can also make grilled cheese and pressed sandwiches with the use of interchangeable plates. The plates are dishwasher-safe, making for easy cleanup. It produces square-shaped and Belgian-style waffles, and it makes two at a time. It has two indicator lights to let the cook know when it’s powered on and when it’s sufficiently preheated. The nonstick surface of the plates ensures that both waffles and sandwiches are easy to remove.
FAQs About Waffle Makers
Here are some answers to frequently asked questions about waffle makers.
Q. What is the difference between a Belgian waffle and a regular waffle?
Belgian waffles are thicker, with a fluffy inside and a crisp outside. Regular (or American-style) waffles are thinner and crispier.
Q. What is the difference between a flip waffle maker and a regular waffle maker?
A flip waffle maker is designed to encourage even browning on both sides by flipping the waffle 180 degrees while cooking.
Q. Do I need to grease a waffle maker?
Even if the waffle maker has nonstick plates, greasing it with a neutral oil will help ensure that the waffles can be cleanly removed when they’re done cooking.
Q. Can I use cooking spray on a waffle maker?
Yes, cooking sprays are safe to use on a waffle maker as an alternative to oil.
Q. What is the easiest way to clean a waffle iron?
After the waffle iron cools, wipe away crumbs and excess oil with a paper towel. If the iron has removable grill plates, they can be washed in the sink with warm water or cleaned in the dishwasher if they are dishwasher-friendly.