Best Waffle Makers of 2020
A waffle maker gives you the opportunity to make tasty waffles in a variety of shapes and sizes. Our shopping guide is here to help you find the best waffle maker for your breakfast needs.
Light, Fluffy, Crispy: Your Guide to the Perfect Waffle Maker
Light, fluffy 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?
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 on 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 two different types of waffles: Belgian and American (also called "traditional") waffles.
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. At BestReviews, we want to be your go-to source for product information any time you're considering a purchase. That's why we never accept manufacturer perks or free products. Instead, we do our own research, talk with experts in the field, and listen to feedback from owners of the items in question.
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.
Belgian Waffles vs. American Waffles
The terms "Belgian," "American," and "traditional" are all used in reference to waffles, often interchangeably. Though similar, there are in fact differences between a Belgian waffle and an American, or traditional, waffle.
- Belgian waffles are made with a batter containing yeast. The yeast helps create light, fluffy, thick waffles with deep wells that hold toppings beautifully. Belgian waffles tend to be crispy on the outside and moist on the inside.
- American waffles use baking powder for leavening. This ingredient helps create a waffle that is thinner, doughier, and softer throughout.
- Belgian waffles are most often made on a round waffle iron, and American waffles are usually made with a square waffle iron. That said, there is no rule dictating that Belgian waffles must be round or American waffles must be square.
Features to Consider in a Waffle Maker
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.
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 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 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.
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.
Similar to a toaster, many waffle irons have a temperature setting that lets you determine how brown and crispy your waffle will be.
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.
A countdown timer lets you know exactly how much time remains before you can start enjoying your breakfast.
Pretty much every waffle iron sold today has a nonstick coating, which makes cleanup a breeze.
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" waffle makers allow you to flip the unit over halfway through the cooking process, thereby enabling even heating and batter distribution.
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.
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.
This clamp keeps the waffle maker from opening as the waffles rise during cooking, or while the waffle iron is being flipped.
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 wraparound cord and a lock that keeps the iron closed when it's stored on its side.
If you want a waffle iron that looks attractive enough to stay out on the countertop, stainless steel is a good choice.
Generally, you can expect to pay between $20 and $50 for an electric waffle maker.
Tips for Making Scrumptious Waffles in a Waffle Maker
- To prevent waffles from sticking, spray a light coating of cooking oil onto the waffle plates before cooking your first batch. Don't get heavy-handed; too much oil will make your waffles greasy.
- Resist the urge to peek at your waffles while they are cooking. Lifting the waffle maker lid before the device finishes the cooking process is a surefire way to ruin your breakfast.
- If you're preparing several batches of waffles for a family breakfast, keep the first batches warm and crispy in an oven set to 200°F.
- Add extra flavor to your waffles by adding cinnamon, vanilla extract, or nutmeg to the batter.
- For the lightest, fluffiest waffles, separate your egg before preparing the batter, and whip the egg white until it forms soft peaks.
- Don't overmix your waffle batter, or you'll end up with chewy results. Stir the batter just enough to mix all the ingredients until smooth.
- Clean your waffle maker's plates as soon as they cool down enough to handle. Cleanup will be much easier this way.