Nothing beats the smell of freshly made waffles first thing in the morning. American style, Belgian style, sweet or savoury – waffles come in many shapes and sizes and are always a family favourite.
Many people think of waffles as something to have as a special treat while eating out. But why not make waffles a part of breakfast or snack time at home?
The best thing about owning a waffle maker is, of course, the fact that you can have as many waffles as you want, as often as you want. But owning a waffle iron also lets you have control over the ingredients that go into your waffle batter. This is especially useful if you have any special dietary requirements (such as being vegan or avoiding gluten). If you’re health conscious, you can even make waffles out of buckwheat, oatmeal or cornmeal– delicious and healthy!
Waffle irons are far more versatile than most people believe. There is a huge choice of quality waffle makers out there that allow for everything from making basic waffles to a whole range of related desserts. Some waffle irons can even serve as a full on grill. The following guide will talk you through everything you need to pick the perfect one for you.
Waffle Maker Types
Stovetop Waffle Makers
The original waffle irons, these predate the invention of electricity and are basically glorified cast iron pans that are used to shape the waffle as it cooks. You may think of them as something only your grandma would use, but they are still a popular choice among campers, traditionalists and those who take issue with non-stick coating (more about this below).
Belgian waffles are thick with deep grooves. Waffle makers that make those generally make one big waffle at a time (usually round) or one that can be easily broken into four parts.
American (or standard)
American waffles are thinner and have shallow grooves. Waffle makers that make American style waffles can often come in sizes that allow for two or even four waffles at a time, as well as all kinds of fun novelty shapes beyond the usual round or square.
Things to consider before buying a waffle maker
Some waffle irons are large enough to accommodate up to four waffles per batch. If your goal is to make waffles for a group of people such as a family or a bunch of friends, then you may be tempted by the timesaving aspect of this. However, if your kitchen is small, you may struggle to find room to operate and store a large waffle maker. Take the time to check your available space before choosing a size. You may find that a smaller iron is the only one you can fit in your kitchen.
Some people blame their waffle maker for poor results, when in reality many bad waffles are the result of an unsuitable recipe. Don’t discount cheaper, more basic waffle irons until you know you’re using a tried and tested recipe. You might not actually need the most expensive model to get great results.
Are you a thin waffle person or a Belgian waffle person? We love all waffles, but if you have a particular preference, it helps to keep that in mind when searching for a waffle maker. Otherwise you’ll be wading through a lot of options that are not really suitable for your tastes.
Most modern waffle makers are equipped with a non-stick coating to make it easier to remove the waffles. Some people, however, avoid non-stick coatings because of perceived health risks. The jury’s still out on whether that’s a real concern so we won’t go into this debate here. Just keep in mind that if you’re avoiding such coatings, your only option is the cast iron stovetop waffle maker.
Things to look for in a good waffle maker
Do you prefer round waffles, square waffles or something completely different? We’ve seen waffle makers that make heart shaped waffles, star shaped ones and even ones shaped like cartoon characters. If you want to bring more fun into your waffle making, you may want to shop around and go for something crazy.
Look out for waffle irons that have an indicator light. This tells you when the waffle maker has heated and is ready for the batter to be poured in.
Ease of flipping
Waffle irons cook the waffles on both sides, but flipping the waffles half way through will give the best results. Choose one that allows for this to be done without too much fuss.
If you’re only making standard waffles, you might not care about variable heat settings, but for waffles made out of oatmeal, buckwheat, cornmeal, etc. it can make a world of difference. If you think you’re ever likely to experiment, it’s worth investing in a more versatile maker.
Number of waffles per batch
As discussed above, there are waffle makers geared towards larger batches. If your kitchen has ample space and you have several mouths to feed, you may well want to save on time and effort by getting a larger waffle iron.
A good waffle iron is well insulated so that it’s cool to the touch. You don’t want to accidentally burn yourself while reaching for your waffles or accidentally brushing against the device. Even stovetop waffle makers can pass this test – you want the handles to stay cool to the touch so you can handle them safely at all times.
Cleaning a waffle iron can be a pain. Some waffle irons come with removable grids, making life a lot easier. It’s worth reading customer reviews before choosing your waffle maker as this may well be the number one complaint people have about their device. If people are consistently reporting that a particular model is a breeze to clean, you might be onto a winner.
Your kitchen may also need a clean after a waffle making session. Some models come with a handy drip tray that will minimise spills. Handy if you want to save time cleaning at the end.
More expensive models will do much more than just cook waffles. Some waffle makers have features that let you make all kinds of things, such as ice cream cones, cinnamon rolls and even grilled bacon and eggs. It’s up to you to decide whether these features are worth the extra money.
Although really a functional kitchen item, there’s no law that says your waffle maker can’t be beautiful too. Luckily, they come in lots of different colours and shapes. You can even match your waffle maker to your kitchen’s overall colour scheme if you’re lucky.
We hope this guide has helped you understand the different options that are available on the market. With so many great waffle makers available, we have no doubt that you will be able to find one to suit your needs. All you have to do is think about the things that are important to you and work out your budget and space limitations and you can be off on a fun shopping mission. You’ll be making your own perfect waffles in no time.